SART TOOLKIT: Resources for Sexual Assault Response Teams
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Know Your Team

When a person is harmed by a criminal act, the agencies that make up our criminal and juvenile justice systems have a moral and legal obligation to respond. It is their responsibility not only to seek swift justice for victims, but to ease their suffering in a time of great need.1

SARTs that develop collaborative partnerships to meet multiple and long-term needs must be prepared to coordinate those services. Consider that victims may go to a hospital for a forensic medical exam, speak with a detective at a law enforcement agency, interview with a prosecuting attorney at another office, and obtain counseling and support services at yet another facility. From the victim's perspective, this flurry of activity is about one event, yet the response is spread out among many organizations and agencies.

Build Your SART briefly reviewed the roles of possible core team members. This section reviews some of those roles in more detail to help you integrate victims' issues and criminal justice objectives into your SART and make the treatment of and response to victims as seamless as possible:

A few tips are provided on the way to help you strengthen your SART in these fields.


Our level of kindness to people courageous enough to seek justice is a matter of fundamental decency. We need to raise our standards for the skill levels, dedication and effectiveness of all sex crimes' responders . . . from the first 911 operator to the post-conviction appeals bureau prosecutor. We owe victims more than systems that are nice to them. We owe them systems that work. Victims should not have to trade compassion for competence.

Source: Alice Vachss.


Advocates promote victims' rights and ensure that victims' needs (e.g., emotional, physical, psychological, economic, spiritual) are given priority.

This section reviews the following victim advocates and the issues they face:

The Right Tool

In This Toolkit: Advocacy

Systems Advocates

Systems advocates work on behalf of all rape victims to change knowledge, beliefs, policies, and practices within medical, legal, and advocacy systems.

Although systems advocates work proactively to address issues, specific cases are often a catalyst for systems change. For example, when an adult victim was brutally raped by a juvenile in Oklahoma, the adult victim was not allowed to have an advocate or support person with her during the court proceedings yet the offender was allowed to have his family present. Although prosecutors attempted to persuade the court to allow the victim's advocate to be present, the judge ruled that under current law, the court hearings for juvenile offenders were private (the law stated that only persons having a direct interest in the case are permitted to attend juvenile court proceedings). After the case was adjudicated, the victim, the victim's advocate, and the prosecuting attorney's office worked with state legislators to amend the law to specify that victim advocates and other support persons do have a direct interest in the case and can attend private, juvenile court proceedings. (See Title 10A: Children and Juvenile Code, § 10A-2-2-402, of the Oklahoma Statutes.)

To make meaningful system changes, SART members must understand and be committed to the fact that all victims deserve equal and easy access to competent, compassionate, and comprehensive services. This commitment needs to be acknowledged whether victims seek services at rape crisis centers, health care facilities, American Indian centers, family planning clinics, campus health service departments, domestic violence shelters, community centers, military bases, substance abuse treatment centers, or through the criminal justice system.

The services provided also need to meet the needs of victims regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, occupation, sexual orientation, language, or disability. In Pennsylvania, for example, statewide disability advocacy agencies, disability experts, victim service advocates, and other interested professionals joined forces as part of the Cross Systems Advocacy Coalition to train and educate each other in how best to address trauma in the lives of people with disabilities. Some successes include training related to trauma and sexual and domestic violence for personnel at the state mental health hospital and ongoing systems advocacy at the local level.2

Systems-Based Advocates

Systems-based advocates differ from systems advocates in that they work specifically for victims seeking help in their organizations (e.g., juvenile court system, military court system). According to the Center for Sex Offender Management, systems-based advocates "are employed by a criminal or juvenile justice agency, typically a prosecutor's office, but sometimes by a law enforcement, probation, or corrections department, or by a paroling authority or state Attorney General's office. System-based advocates generally serve as the primary contact for victims with that particular criminal justice agency."3

Read on for information about—

Roles and Responsibilities

Systems-based advocates—

Ethical Codes of Conduct

According to the Florida Network of Victim Witness Services, ethical codes of conduct for advocates include the following:5

Systems-based advocates also should never discriminate against any victim based on age, gender, disability, ethnicity, race, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.

Victim Advocates in Juvenile Court

Victim advocates in juvenile court—

Military-Based Advocates

To ensure that victims of sexual assault are protected, treated with dignity and respect, and provided proper medical and psychological care, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) employs sexual assault response coordinators (SARCs) and victim advocates (VAs).

Civilian and Military Collaboration

Collaboration between civilian and military entities is crucial to effective advocacy. For example, VAs at Nellis Air Force Base collaborate with metropolitan police, the district attorney, health department, and SANE programs off base. In addition, VAs attend volunteer training at the Las Vegas Rape Crisis Center in addition to the required Air Force curriculum. As a direct result of this collaboration, the center started a second support group for victims' friends and families based on a recommendation from Nellis Air Force Base. The partnership has influenced and shaped the direction of community programming and is positioned to meet the needs of potentially 60,000 potential Air Force beneficiaries.

Source: Suzanne Moore and Kristina Heick, Innovations for Program Success, Nellis Air Force Base, 2006.

SARCs serve as the single point of contact at military installations for DoD's integrated sexual assault response. They place particular emphasis on victim support and safety and oversee routine management and followup of cases. In particular, SARCs—

According to the SAPR (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response) Reference Guide (from the Commander, Navy Installations Command), VAs can be military personnel, DoD civilian employees, DoD contractors, or volunteers. VAs facilitate service provisions for victims and act as a liaison between civilian agencies and organizations and military programs. VAs also serve as companions to victims during medical, legal, and judicial proceedings. They listen, provide empathy, and offer emotional support.

Community-Based Advocates

According to the Center for Sex Offender Management, community-based advocates "work in an independent, usually nonprofit, organization dedicated to assisting victims of sexual assault."6 Victims are generally referred to community-based advocates by rape crisis hotlines, hospitals, or law enforcement agencies. However, referrals also may come through prosecuting attorney's offices, educational institutions, faith-based organizations, social service agencies, or victims' friends, relatives, or colleagues.

Community-Based Versus Systems-Based Advocates

Here are a few of the differences between systems- and community-based advocates, according to the Center for Sex Offender Management:

  • Community-based advocates serve victims regardless of whether they report to the criminal justice system; systems-based advocates generally serve victims whose cases are in the criminal justice system.
  • Systems-based advocates are not able to offer victims confidential services; community-based advocates typically can.
  • Some systems-based advocates work with all crime victims; community-based advocates are specially trained in working with victims of sexual assault.

For more differences, check "Working with Sexual Assault Victim Advocates," in the Center's The Role of the Victim and Victim Advocate in Managing Sex Offenders: A Training Curriculum.

Read on for information about—

Roles and Responsibilities

Community-based advocates champion the rights of victims. They provide crisis intervention and accompany victims during medical and legal appointments and interviews. Advocates also give victims information on anonymous reporting options and sexual assault forensic exams (including timelines for exams). Additionally, advocates reinforce explanations offered by health care, law enforcement, and prosecution personnel and support victims' friends and family, as requested.

Advocates also help victims7

Sexual Assault Follow-up Evaluation

The Sexual Assault Follow-up Evaluation clinic program at the Medical University of South Carolina provides medical care to women regardless of whether they report the assault to police. In addition, the clinic provides followup care 6 weeks and 6 months after the assault. Such care includes reassessment and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, long-term followup blood testing for HIV and hepatitis B, and referrals for mental health treatment and other counseling services. The clinic includes a multidisciplinary team of OB-GYN professionals, staff from the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, and staff from the local rape crisis center.

Source: Dean G. Kilpatrick, Anna Whalley, and Christine Edmunds, "Chapter 10: Sexual Assault," National Victim Assistance Academy, 2002.

Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention is the immediate support given to a victim after he or she discloses a sexual assault. An advocate's first concern should be for the victim's physical safety. Until it is clear that the victim is not in physical danger or in need of emergency medical services, other issues should be put aside. However, medical and safety needs may not always be immediately obvious. Victims who are in physical shock may be unaware of injuries they have sustained or the dangers they still face.

A parallel concern should be whether the victim feels safe. Even with law enforcement or security personnel present, a victim may not feel safe if—

Ask victims where they would feel safest talking to you and move to that location.

Cell Phones

Consider carefully whether cell phones can safely be used by hotline responders. Although they are a great convenience for volunteers and staff members who answer calls 24/7, cell phones have some drawbacks, including the possibilities of diminished privacy or unreliability.

Some potential solutions? Use the phone like a pager: get the caller's number and return the call from a landline phone. Or, after assessing victim safety, inform victims of potential privacy issues due to cell phone use and let them decide how they want to proceed.

Source: Toby Shulruff, "Safety Bet," Reshape: Issue 20, Sexual Assault Coalition Resource Sharing Project, 2006.

Effective advocates anticipate victims' immediate and long-term needs and assist them in making informed decisions. To provide personalized services to both primary and secondary victims, consider assigning co-advocates. One could concentrate on the needs of the victim and the other could assist family and friends, and work with allied service providers. The pair of advocates may come from the same agency or, ideally, from two different agencies that provide different but complementary services (e.g., a rape crisis center advocate and a staff member from a culturally specific agency or an agency that serves individuals with disabilities or elder victims).8 Also consider assigning the same advocate from the victim's first contact with the advocate until services are no longer needed.

Medical Accompaniment

Advocates support victims during medical forensic exams or when victims seek followup medical care. To ensure that medical advocacy works effectively, make sure your SART develops activation protocols that address jurisdictional issues, HIPAA, multiple exam facilities, and timelines for first responders.

Once victims consent to advocate support during medical care, advocates can9

Informational Brochures

Many community- and government-based agencies provide informational packets and brochures to inform and help victims during the healing process. Providing victims with written information on self-care, reporting their assaults, medical forensic exams, criminal justice, immigration, advocacy or counseling, and culturally specific services can go a long way in strengthening a SART's victim-centered response.

For examples of brochures that can be adapted locally, see OVC's Sexual Assault Victimization and the Victim Rights Brochure (Word) in this toolkit.

Accompaniment During Investigative Interviews

Sexual assault victims can feel especially apprehensive about law enforcement interviews. They may be concerned that law enforcement will interrogate rather than interview them. They may have had negative experiences with law enforcement in the past. They may have been using recreational drugs prior to their assault. They may not remember all the facts due to alcohol-induced sexual assaults. Or they may have outstanding warrants and fear being arrested.

You can offset these concerns by addressing the victim's concerns proactively. For example, the Ramsey County (Minnesota) Adult Sexual Assault Response Protocol recommends that, unless there is a warrant against the victim for a serious offense (e.g., robbery, homicide), the warrant should be dealt with at a later time rather than at the time the victim seeks help after being sexually assaulted. Similarly, the U.S. Department of Defense's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedures state that commanding officers should consider delaying taking action against victims for misconduct before or during the assault (e.g., underage drinking) until after the investigation of the sexual assault is complete.

Generally, law enforcement conducts two interviews:

Jurisdictions differ as to whether advocates or support persons can be present with victims during indepth interviews. In California, a state statute gives victims the right to have an advocate or another support person at any interview by law enforcement authorities, district attorneys, or defense attorneys. Law enforcement or the district attorney can exclude the support person, however, if they determine that his or her presence would be detrimental to the purpose of the interview.10

SART models that do not support advocates during interviews generally want to ensure that privileged communications are maintained as such. Professor Doug Beloof at Lewis and Clark Law School in Oregon cautions against advocates attending interviews because they could be subpoenaed to testify against victims should their recollections differ from victims.11 However, in some SART models, law enforcement agencies videotape interviews, which can reduce the concern that advocates would be called to testify. In other jurisdictions that exclude advocates from interviews, advocates can accompany victims to the law enforcement agency and provide support directly after the interview.

Legal Accompaniment

Legal advocacy is about assisting and supporting victims as they interact with justice systems. Legal advocates provide victims with information about criminal and civil justice and victims' rights statutes, provide referral assistance for attorneys, assist victims with filing orders of protection, work to ensure victims are treated fairly and respectfully by justice personnel, and partner with government-based victim witness assistants to coordinate victim support.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office recommends that community-based advocates who accompany victims to court should coordinate their services with the prosecutor's victim assistance program. To ensure effective collaboration between community- and government-based programs, Kitsap Sexual Assault Center in Port Orchard, Washington, has a memorandum of understanding with the prosecuting attorney's office. This is especially helpful because the community-based legal advocate is located at the prosecutor's office but maintains privileged communications as an employee of the rape crisis center.12

Advocates who help victims with legal issues can—


Databases and Directories

Communities Against Violence Network
Serves as a comprehensive, searchable database for information about violence against women.

Hot Peach Pages
Links to abuse hotlines, shelters, refuges, crisis centers, and women's organizations and includes information about domestic violence in more than 75 languages.

International Rape Crisis Hotlines
Provides worldwide rape crisis hotline information.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center: Organizations
Lists rape crisis centers in the United States and its territories.

OVC Directory of Crime Victim Services
Helps service providers and individuals locate non-emergency crime victim service agencies in the United States and abroad.

Juvenile Court Resources

Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report, Chapter 4: Juvenile Justice System Structure and Process
Reviews the history of juvenile justice and summarizes changes states have made regarding the system's jurisdictional authority, sentencing, corrections programming, confidentiality of records and court hearings, and victim involvement in court hearings.

National Center for Juvenile Justice
Offers technical assistance in statistical research, program planning, law and statute analysis, and informational packets.

Military Resources

California National Guard: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program
Increases awareness of the frequency of sexual assault in the military, educates all service members about sexual assault prevention, and protects the rights and dignity of victims. 

DOD Dictionary of Military Terms
Links to military definitions and acronyms.

Defense Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies Assessed how well the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy prevented and responded to sexual harassment and sexual violence at the schools.

Marine Corp Community Services: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office
Provides information and resources regarding sexual assault.

Military Onesource
Serves as a one-stop resource for members of all branches of the military and their spouses and families. The Web site allows users to search for resources, including those dealing with sexual assault.

The Navy Fleet and Family Support Center: SAVI Reference Guide
Reviews the Sexual Assault Victim Intervention program, sexual assault advocacy, confidentiality, exams, and other issues.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office
Serves as the U.S. Department of Defense's single point of accountability on sexual assault policy matters in the U.S. military. This Web site provides links to military directives and services for each branch of the Armed Forces.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedures
Outlines U.S. Department of Defense policy regarding sexual assault.

U.S. Army: SHARP Program
Reinforces the Army's commitment to eliminating incidents of sexual assault through a comprehensive policy that centers on awareness and prevention, training and education, victim advocacy, response, reporting, and accountability.

U.S. Coast Guard: Health, Safety & Work-Life Directorate (CG–11), Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program
Establishes procedures for responding to sexual assault victims, reporting requirements to ensure initiation and continuity of care, and geographic separation of suspected offender and victim, if required.

Resources for Safety Planning

Address Confidentiality Program, Washington State
Helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other crimes who have relocated to avoid further abuse by providing them with substitute mailing addresses and allowing them to register to vote or apply for marriage licenses without revealing an address.

Danger Assessment Website
Assesses the severity and frequency of intimate partner violence and includes online training materials, domestic violence resources, conference information, references, and more.

A Guide to Domestic Violence: Risk Assessment, Risk Reduction, and Safety Plan
Serves as a training and reference guide for Nashville police officers and other professionals (e.g., prosecutors; court, corrections, and probation staff; victim advocates) who come into contact with victims of domestic violence.

Personalized Safety Plan
Covers safety planning for victims in abusive relationships.

Resources for Service Providers

Advocacy Checklists
Prompts advocates to remember critical issues throughout the criminal justice process.

Advocacy in a Coordinated Community Response: Overview and Highlights of Three Programs
Reviews individual and systems advocacy and describes them as an integral part of a community response to intimate partner violence.

Advocates and Law Enforcement: Oil and Water?
Describes the role of advocates in the criminal justice system and explains the similarities and differences between community- and systems-based advocacy.

Advocating for Women in the Criminal Justice System in Cases of Rape, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
Helps advocates navigate the criminal justice system.

Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance
Establishes guidelines for government-based (systems-based) advocates located in investigative, prosecutorial, and correctional agencies.

Handbook on Justice for Victims
Outlines the basic steps in developing comprehensive services for victims of crime. Recommended guidelines for medical, legal, and advocacy responses are included.

HELP for Victim Service Providers
Serves as a tool for victim service providers and allied professionals to share ideas, suggestions, and recommendations concerning promising practices, best practices, and victim issues.

Illinois Policies and Procedures
Provides standards for those serving sexual assault victims, covering issues such as codes of ethics, confidentiality, mandated reporting, and public education. You must be a registered member of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault's Web site to view this manual.

In This Toolkit: Advocacy
Links to tools and forms for victim advocates.

Information for Survivors of Sexual Violence
Gives sexual assault victims information about their legal rights.

It Happened To Alexa Foundation
Assists rape victims' families with travel expenses during the litigation process.

Recommended Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexual Assault Response and Prevention on Campus
Provides college and university campuses with recommendations and strategies for developing a multidisciplinary sexual assault response policy and protocol.

Sexual Assault Advocate Training Manual
Offers a detailed introduction to sexual assault and reviews advocate responses to it.

Sexual Assault Advocate/Counselor Training
Teaches advocates about advocacy/counseling, the realities and impact of sexual assault, procedures to follow in common situations, techniques to support recovery, and compassion fatigue and self-care.

Standards for Victim Assistance Programs and Providers
Describes common standards suitable across victim service settings that can be adapted for a range of victim assistance programs.

Toolkit to End Violence Against Women
Includes information about medical, law enforcement, and criminal justice responses to violence against women and also covers culturally specific issues. Topics include economic security, campus and workplace safety, faith-based groups, American Indian women, and the military, among others.

Victim Assistance Online
Serves as an information, research, and networking resource for victim assistance specialists and professionals in related disciplines.

Victim Assistance Research Listserv
Covers victim assistance and victimology and is open to victim assistance practitioners and academics, professionals, and post-graduate students in the fields of victim assistance and victimology.

Provides a national snapshot of victims' rights created by the National Center for Victims of Crime.

VINELink: The National Victim Notification Network
Allows victims to inquire about the current status of an offender and to register to be notified immediately in the event of an offender's release, escape, transfer, or court appearance.

Witness Justice
Provides information for victims and service providers, reviews justice systems, and links to topical resources.

Health Care Providers

Health care providers understandably are some of the first people victims see in the aftermath of sexual violence. It is important to note, however, that victims may not seek medical care only at hospitals or their regular doctors. Consider promoting public awareness about your SART and expanding collaborations with a broad range of medical practitioners, such as obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives, American Indian healers, campus health service providers, public health professionals, mental health professionals, military medical personnel, administrators of health maintenance organizations, and medical schools.

To ensure consistent and equitable health care responses—

Victims need to know that their health concerns are your priority. They also need to know which services are provided without charge and whether those services require reporting to law enforcement initially or followup medical care. For example, if crime victim compensation pays for the initial medical forensic exam without a report, will followup medical services also be provided without filing a report?

Here are some other considerations to keep in mind:13

Health Care and Sexual Violence: Statistics
  • Of adult American women who are raped, 31.5 percent are physically injured, but only 35.6 percent of those who are injured receive medical care.1
  • In a study of 226 female acquaintance rape survivors, 72 percent did not report the assault to authorities compared with only 28 percent who did. Of the 72 percent who did not report the assault, none sought medical assistance.2
  • More than half of spousal rapes, rapes by ex-spouses, and stranger rapes resulted in victim injury. Injuries were the most common among victims age 30 or older and victims of rapists armed with a knife. Nearly 6 in 10 rapes involving a knife resulted in victim injury.3
  • Of the victims of completed rapes whose victimizations were reported to the police, 59 percent were treated for their injuries, compared with 17 percent of rape victims with unreported victimizations receiving treatment.4
  • Of injured females of a reported attempted rape, 45 percent received medical treatment, compared with 22 percent of injured victims of an unreported rape.5
  • Of all injured sexual assault victims, 37 percent of victims who reported the violence and 18 percent of victims who didn't report received medical treatment.6

1 Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 1998.

2 Wiehe and Richards, Intimate Betrayal: Understanding and Responding to the Trauma of Acquaintance Rape, New York, NY: Sage Publications, 1995.

3 Lawrence Greenfeld, Sex Offenses and Offenders, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997.

4 Callie Rennison, Rape and Sexual Assault: Reporting to Police and Medical Attention, 1992–2000, Washington DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

This section reviews—

Patient Confidentiality

According to A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, service providers should be able to explain to victims how confidentiality and privileged communications affect their medical records and forensic evidence collection. For example, when health care providers collect evidence and forensic information from victims who do not want to report to law enforcement, they typically hold evidence collection kits in a secure setting for a period of time. Patients' identity is not revealed to law enforcement. On the other hand, if victims share information with law enforcement officers, prosecutors, justice system-based advocates, and adult/child protective services workers, it is typically available to investigators and prosecutors and may be discovered by the defense (although prosecutors may ask the court to shield certain information from the defense, such as any history of prior pregnancies, abortions, and sexually transmitted infections).

More information about confidentiality and about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which protects individually identifiable health information created or held by health care providers, health insurance companies, and health clearinghouses, is found in the following sections of this toolkit:

Consent for Medical Care

To give consent for medical care, patients must be able to understand and make reasoned decisions regarding the nature and consequences of the medical intervention, the proposed treatment, and alternatives to treatment.14

Patients should be able to weigh the risks and benefits of different treatments and fully understand their evidence collection options. Health care providers need to have policies in place to address consent when patients are permanently incompetent (e.g., intellectual disability, irreversible dementia) or temporarily incompetent (e.g., unconscious, intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, injured) to give consent. These policies are best developed in conjunction with advocacy organizations, law enforcement agencies, district attorney's offices, forensic examiner programs, and hospital administrators, when applicable.15

If a patient gives consent or refuses to do so when competent, that decision applies even if the patient later becomes incompetent. Obtaining evidence without appropriate consent could subject examiners or hospitals to legal liability.16

There are two essential but separate consent processes—one for medical evaluation and treatment and another for the forensic exam and evidence collection. Victims should understand the full nature of their consent for each procedure and whether it is for medical care or evidence collection. Forensic medical examiners need to inform patients of their options, including the consequences of their decisions, without being judgmental or overly coercive (e.g., victims should not feel guilty or shameful). When seeking consent, health care personnel must be sure that any information given to patients is complete, clear, concise, and tailored to their communication skill levels. They also should be aware of verbal and nonverbal cues from patients and adjust their methods of seeking consent to meet patients' specific needs.

Consent is typically given for the following:17

Emergency Medical Services

Emergency medical services (EMS) may be provided by fire departments; private ambulance services; city-, county-, or government-based services; hospitals; or a combination of these. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and first responders may be paid or could be volunteers in the community. Although a small percentage of sexual assault victims enter the medical system through EMS (e.g., by ambulance), including EMTs and paramedics as core SART members can be a critical component of an ideal coordinated response that meets the needs of all victims.

If you include EMS personnel on your SART, they can—

Whether or not you invite EMS to be a member of your SART, you can—

EMS providers are trained to follow a formal and carefully designed protocol or standard of care, which has been created and approved by physicians. It is important to note that a request for assistance following sexual assault does not automatically imply consent for treatment. If injuries do not appear serious, EMS providers should still emphasize the need for further medical evaluation to address related health concerns. The amount of information that victims want or need at this time varies and could be offset by other issues such as concerns about safety or family or language barriers. EMS personnel need to tailor their responses as appropriate.

Sample EMS SART Protocol

Primary Intervention

  • Ask victims if they would like family members or friends to be contacted.
  • Explain victims' rights for advocacy, even if victims choose not to receive medical care or have the medical forensic exam.
  • Explain reporting options to victims, keeping in mind that the amount of information desired will vary with each individual.
  • Take measures to preserve crime scene evidence, including evidence on victims.

History and Documentation

  • Document victims' demeanor and statements related to the assault (e.g., time, date, place of attacks).
  • Obtain medical history, including the possibility of pregnancy.
  • Document physical areas violated in the attack (if patients volunteer the information). Include all marks or evidence of trauma and other significant physical findings.
  • Record information about whether victims bathed since the attack.
  • Document all treatment given.

Physical Exam (unless a life-threatening condition occurs)

  • Keep in mind that physical exams need to be limited in scope without causing further emotional distress to victims.
  • Explain to victims the importance of preserving bodily evidence until it can be collected (e.g., do not wash, change clothes, urinate, defecate, smoke, drink, eat, brush hair or teeth, rinse mouth).
  • If drug-facilitated sexual assault is suspected and victims can't wait to urinate until arriving at the exam site, collect urine samples.


  • Obtain consent for all treatment.
  • Obtain vital signs.
  • Stabilize injuries that need immediate attention (e.g., fractures, bleeding).
  • Advise victims of their right to have an advocate meet them at the exam facility.


  • If victims are wearing clothing worn during their assaults, make sure that they bring replacement clothing to the hospital because victims' clothing is taken into evidence.
  • If victims changed clothes after their attacks, make sure that they bring the clothing they were wearing while assaulted. Use paper rather than plastic bags as plastic bags trap moisture and promote mildew, which destroys vital evidence. Follow law enforcement procedures for retrieving clothing or other items from a crime scene so that evidence is not inadvertently destroyed or contaminated).
  • Transport victims to designated facilities where rape evidence exams are performed, unless medical conditions or local protocol dictate otherwise.
  • Victims with disabilities may have equipment (e.g., wheelchairs) or service animals that also need to be transported.
  • Notify receiving facilities of estimated time of arrival according to jurisdictional policies.

Forensic Medical Examiners

A forensic medical examination addresses the safety and well-being of the patient and provides an opportunity to collect evidence and document the presence or absence of injury for prosecution. Examiners do not determine whether a sexual assault has occurred; investigators and attorneys determine the legal significance of the evidence gathered from the patient. The examiner's collection of evidence is the beginning—not the end—of the development of evidence for use at trial.18

Forensic medical examiners assess, provide care for, and document the signs and symptoms of physical and emotional trauma.19 According to the San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team manual, their roles and responsibilities also may include the following:20

Exam Sites

Exams can be performed in clinics, hospitals, community-based advocacy programs, and other settings. Most sexual assault nurse examiner programs are based in hospitals (75 percent) and are located in the  emergency department; others are located in community settings, such as rape crisis centers or health clinics.21

Regardless of the setting, consider whether the current or proposed response includes timely, compassionate, victim-centered care that meets the health care needs of victims and the evidentiary needs of the criminal justice system. In New York, for example, St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital's Crime Victims Treatment Center worked with the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault to train all first-year residents in the Department of Emergency Medicine.22

When designating a sexual assault exam site for your SART, consider whether23

Hospital Care

Hospital medical staff are uniquely suited to documenting the condition of the victim carefully and objectively reporting these findings as evidence in criminal cases. The immediate and appropriate treatment of the victim is paramount; however, in the course of treatment, appropriate documentation provides useful information for prosecutors and victims. Of particular importance is the use of appropriate kits for collecting evidence in sexual assault cases for later use at trial. The exam needs to be done sensitively but competently, so that the trauma it can trigger is minimized and evidence is accurately collected.

Read on for information about—

Hospital Guidelines

Hospitals certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations must develop services that identify and document cases of sexual assault and refer victims to agencies that can provide further support and advocacy. 24 According to the commission's guidelines, appropriate patient management requires a standardized clinical evaluation, effective interface with law enforcement for the handling of forensic evidence, and coordination of the continuum of care with a community plan. It also requires health care providers to address the medical and emotional needs of the patient while addressing the forensic requirements of the criminal justice system.

Victims' Practical Needs

Hospitals also should consider victims' practical needs, such as for food, clothing, and transportation. To help maintain the privacy of victims and their families who are in public emergency or waiting rooms, many hospitals have developed codes for personnel to use when referring to sexual assault cases. Consider working with hospitals in your jurisdiction to create similar policies.25

Crisis Intervention

Cases of acute sexual assault are medically urgent even in the absence of noticeable physical injuries. During intake, hospital personnel should provide a private setting to ensure confidentiality. The intake process should include activating victim advocates without providing any personally identifiable victim information. Crisis intervention is most effective when it is offered as quickly as possible following the victim's request for services.

Emergency department personnel must manage victims' intakes and transfers in accordance with state and federal laws. For example, according to the Ohio Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical and Forensic Examination

Followup Care

According to A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, hospital personnel should make sure that patients are aware of available followup care and should arrange for such care before discharging them from the hospital. For example, personnel can26

Campus Care

Students who are sexually assaulted may come forward at various entry points, with differing emotional states and at varying lengths of time following the assault. The victim may first make contact with a staff assistant, resident assistant, nurse, counselor, clinician, faculty member, administrator, or volunteer advocate. The American College Healthcare Association recommends that a seamless response to sexual assault includes service coordination between campuses and communities.

Student options need to include anonymous reporting, law enforcement involvement, judicial or disciplinary board actions, forensic medical care, emergency contraception, academic/housing accommodations, and followup counseling, support, and advocacy services.27 For example, Montclair State University (MSU) developed a SART composed of university police, county rape care advocates, and health center forensic nurse examiners who provide all necessary services to victims of sexual assault on campus. SART services are available 24/7 to any student, visitor, or employee who is a victim of sexual assault occurring on campus grounds and to MSU students who are victims of sexual assault occurring off MSU property.

At MSU, the SART is activated upon victim consent. If the victim chooses to seek services elsewhere, campus and community resources are offered to victims, safe transportation is arranged, and all the victim's choices are documented in the medical record. Information about victims' rights is given to all victims. For example, victims have the right to have a victim advocate present, to receive medical care and forensic examinations, to have forensic evidence held for 90 days if victims choose not to report initially, and to file criminal or disciplinary charges against the assailant.

Military Care

In addition to receiving general medical care, victims in the military can elect to receive sexual assault forensic exams, which are provided by health care professionals who, ideally, have specialized education and clinical experience in the collection of forensic evidence and treatment of sexual assault victims.

The military's minimum standards of health care intervention correspond to clinical standards set in the U.S. Department of Justice's National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations. However, clinical guidance is not solely limited to this resource. The U.S. Department of Defense's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office oversees policy directives, victim care, research and analysis, outreach, and operations.

Mental Health

With the help of mental health professionals, society is beginning to recognize that the treatment of psychological injury is as important as the binding of a wound or the setting of a broken bone.28

One way to think about mental health is by looking at how effectively and successfully a person functions. Feeling capable and competent, being able to handle normal levels of stress, maintaining satisfying relationships, leading an independent life, and being able to recover from difficult situations are all signs of mental health. Mental health personnel (e.g., psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, marital and family therapists) may be called upon to help both victims and those close to victims who are also traumatized by the rape, including families, friends, and spouses or partners. This assistance could be limited to providing information about rape and its effects and could extend to short- or long-term counseling or support groups.29

Consider setting up a collaboration with mental health professionals up front, so that any referrals you make will be as seamless as possible.

Read on for information about—

Setting Up the Collaboration

As a first step, ask yourself the following questions:30

Carefully assess mental health professionals' training and experience before collaborating with them or referring victims or their families to them. Screening questions to consider include the following:31

Once you have found mental health providers with whom to collaborate32

Roles and Responsibilities

Counselors, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists who provide sexual assault recovery therapy must have the advanced training and expertise needed to do such work. According to Arizona's Recommended Guidelines for a Coordinated Community Response to Sexual Assault, for example, mental health practitioners need to33

Public Health

One of the tasks of public health care in the United States is to promote and encourage healthy behaviors and mental health in the population. The public health approach, which focuses on prevention before an act occurs, complements SARTs' multidisciplinary approach. For example, the public health model considers issues of environmental health, occupational health and safety, mental health, substance abuse, and violence. Service providers, such as managed care organizations, hospitals, nonprofit corporations, schools, faith organizations, and businesses, are also an integral part of the public health infrastructure in many communities.34 Consider collaborating with public health practitioners—not only to assess the impact of sexual violence within communities, but also to work to end sexual violence through education.

Public health officials on your SART may monitor community health problems related to sexual violence, inform and educate service providers and the community about health issues following sexual violence, enforce regulations that protect health and ensure safety, link victims to needed personal health services, and ensure that health care is provided when otherwise unavailable.35

Additionally, public health officials may—



American College Health Association
Provides advocacy, education, communications, products, and services and promotes research and culturally competent practices to enhance the health of students and the campus community.

The Handbook for Campus Crime Reporting
Provides a step-by-step process to meet the regulatory requirements of the Clery Act, contains references to specific sections of the regulations, and provides examples of documents that can be used as models for institutions of higher education.

Healthy Campus 2010
Offers various resources for download from the Healthy Campus 2010 program, including PowerPoint presentations, health objectives, and PDF documents.

Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Are Doing About It
Reviews the sexual assault policies of U.S. colleges and universities and includes recommendations for promising practices.

Emergency Medical Services

An Alternative Approach to Defining Rural for the Purpose of Providing Emergency Medical Services
Describes the unique challenges for EMS in rural areas and offers information on appropriate EMS definitions for rural areas based on service availability, population, and geographic delivery of emergency services.

Community-Based Needs Assessment: Assisting Communities in Building a Stronger EMS System
Suggests that local communities should participate in a structured planning process to determine the attributes of their local EMS systems.

Emergency Medical Services Protocol for Sexual Assault
Provides an overview of the EMS response to sexual violence.

Emergency Medical Technician Oath and Code of Ethics
Provides the oath and code of ethics adopted by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Ethical Challenges in Emergency Medical Services
Summarizes the ethical challenges facing emergency medical care providers.

Office of Rural Health Policy
Includes links to information concerning health care in rural areas (including emergency response).

Evaluations, Assessments, and Surveys

Efficacy of Illinois' Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Pilot Program
Reports on the efficacy of the SANE pilot program in Illinois and provides recommendations based on the study's findings.

Impact Evaluation of a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program
Details the findings of an outcome evaluation of the Albuquerque SANE Collaborative.

Injuries From Violent Crime, 1992–1998
Provides statistics from the National Crime Victimization Survey, including victimization rates for rape/sexual assault, robbery, assault, homicide, and intimate partner violence; types of injuries sustained; medical treatment of injuries; characteristics of victims and offenders; and other characteristics of crimes.

A Report on the Level of Care of Sexual Assault Patients in Texas Hospital Emergency Rooms
Summarizes a survey that assessed the level of care provided to sexual assault patients in Texas hospital emergency rooms, specifically pertaining to the patient's care in the hospital before, during, and after a forensic medical examination.

Sexual Assault Evidence: National Assessment and Guidebook
Contains a survey of the collection, preservation, and use of physical evidence in sexual assault cases.

Mental Health

American Psychiatric Association
Works to ensure that people with mental disorders are treated effectively and humanely.

Center for Mental Health Services
Leads national efforts to improve mental health treatment and prevent mental health problems. Its Web site links to online publications covering rural mental health, stigma, protection and advocacy, statistics, stress and anxiety, elder issues, culture and ethnicity, and violence against women.

Cultural Competency: A Practical Guide for Mental Health Service Providers
Serves as a guide to cultural competency to be used when serving clients from diverse backgrounds.

Mental Health America
Provides a searchable database for information by audience, issue, and treatments. Formerly known as the National Mental Health Association.

Mental Health Matters
Features descriptions of mental health problems, articles, advocacy resources, and research.

National Center for Trauma-Informed Care
Offers trauma training, technical assistance, education and outreach, a speakers' bureau, and other resources. Formerly the Center on Women, Violence and Trauma.

National Institute of Mental Health
Provides information and outreach on mental health, research funding, and the field's science news.

The Practical Aspects of Online Counseling: Ethics, Training, Technology, and Competency
Addresses the strengths and limitations of online counseling. The article also offers information on guidelines describing when and for whom online counseling may be appropriate.


Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office
Serves as the single point of accountability for the U.S. Department of Defense's sexual assault policy. Its Web site provides guidance and other information for victims of sexual assault, unit commanders, first responders, and those who want to prevent or respond to this crime.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedures
Describes the protocols for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response of the U.S. Department of Defense.


The Response to Sexual Assault—Removing Barriers to Services and Justice
Recommends ways to enhance the ability of the community, victim advocacy organizations, medical systems, criminal justice systems, and other key systems to design and support effective local and state responses for adult and adolescent victims of sexual assault.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Programs: Improving the Community Response to Sexual Assault Victims
Reviews SANE programs and their contributions to improving community response to sexual assault victims, identifies promising practices in such programs, and provides practical guidelines for establishing a SANE program.


Asian American Health
Increases public awareness of the health concerns of Asian Americans. Links to documents, Web sites, databases, and other resources.

Black Women's Health Imperative
Highlights health issues of African-American women and girls through health education, research, advocacy, and leadership development. Formerly the National Black Women's Health Project.

Consumer Health Information in Many Languages Resources
Compiles resources that offer health information in languages other than English.

Contains information about cultural beliefs, medical issues, and related issues pertinent to the health care of recent immigrants.

Maze of Injustice: The Failure to Protect Indigenous Women from Violence
Documents Amnesty International's research on sexual violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women.

Migrant Clinicians Network
Works to improve health care of migrants and other mobile poor populations by providing support, technical assistance, and professional development services to clinicians.

National Asian Women's Health Organization
Provides research and information about the health of Asian Americans to the public health field and critically needed health education to the Asian-American community.

National Center for Cultural Competence
Includes culturally and linguistically competent health promotion materials, a checklist to assist organizations with cultural and linguistic competence, and a database with links to policies, practices, articles, books, research initiatives and findings, curricula, and multimedia materials.

Native American Medicine—History & Philosophy
Reviews traditional American Indian healing.

New South Wales Multicultural Health Communication Service
Assists health professionals in communicating with non-English speaking communities. The Web site includes publications on health in a wide range of languages.

National Protocols and Guidelines

Clinical Management of Rape Survivors: Developing Protocols for Use With Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (revised edition)
Helps qualified health care providers develop protocols for managing rape survivors in emergencies, taking into account available resources, materials and drugs, and national policies and procedures. It can also be used in planning health care services and training health care providers.

Evaluation and Management of the Sexually Assaulted or Sexually Abused Patient
Provides a set of useful and practical recommendations that standardize a health care practitioner's response to sexual assault.

Final Privacy Rule Preamble
Includes standards to protect the privacy of individually identifiable health information. This Web site includes general provisions of the Privacy Rule and information about compliance.

Guidelines for Medico-Legal Care for Victims of Sexual Violence
Provides guidance for a wide range of health care professionals who come in contact with victims and describes the prevalence, dynamics, and consequences of sexual violence; service provisions; assessment and examination of victims; evidence collection; treatment and followup; child sexual abuse; and documentation and reporting.

Handbook on Justice for Victims (Chapter 3, "Front-Line Professionals," health care section)
Covers interdisciplinary approaches to victims of crime in medical settings, including emergency rooms and trauma centers, and recommends protocols for treatment, referrals, and reporting.

A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Exams
Serves as a guide for criminal justice and health care practitioners who respond to victims of sexual assault.

National Training Standards for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examiners
Provides information for preparing sexual assault forensic examiners to coordinate with other responders to meet the health care, forensic, and information needs of adult and adolescent sexual assault patients who present for the medical forensic examination.

SANE Development and Operational Guide
Helps readers develop and operate a sexual assault nurse examiner program by incorporating forms, policies, procedures, protocols, training options, and program evaluation tools.

SANE Programs National Database
Collects data from and shares it with participating sexual assault nurse examiner programs throughout the Nation.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team
Provides information and technical assistance to individuals and institutions interested in developing or improving sexual assault nurse examiner programs and sexual assault response teams.

Organizations and Projects

American Telemedicine Association
Promotes access to medical care for consumers and health professionals via telecommunications technology.

International Association of Forensic Nursing
Develops, promotes, and disseminates information about forensic nursing. Its Web site provides information about forensic careers, conferences, and trainings. It also offers links to publications; sponsors listservs and chat rooms; and maintains a list of self-reported programs for sexual assault nurse examiners in the United States.

National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
Advances and strengthens public policy on behalf of state coalitions, individuals, and other entities working to end sexual violence. Its Web site includes a legislative watch list, position papers, and resources.

National Institutes of Health
Funds both basic and applied research on a wide variety of diseases (e.g., cancer, heart disease, diabetes) and discusses issues such as drug abuse, alcoholism, and mental health.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Presents online resources and publications, funding alerts, calendar of events, updates on special projects, and links for technical and library assistance.

National Women's Health Information Center
Provides a gateway to the vast array of resources on women's health.

Office for Victims of Crime
Enhances the Nation's capacity to assist crime victims and provides leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims.

Office of Justice Programs
Provides federal leadership in developing the Nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, improve the criminal and juvenile justice systems, increase knowledge about crime and related issues, and assist crime victims.

Office on Violence Against Women
Works to reduce violence against women and administer justice for and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Technical Assistance
Provides technical assistance for the Office on Violence Against Women's National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations of Adults/Adolescents. This Web site links to governmental agencies and resources and to trainings for forensic medical examiner, provides a national list of SANE/SART programs, and has a link for requesting technical assistance.

World Health Organization
Provides leadership on global health matters and health research agendas. Its Web site provides a range of online publications on violence and gender violence as well as health-related topics.

Public Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. The Injury, Violence & Safety section provides information specific to sexual assault; also useful for SARTs are the Division of Reproductive Health page and the Sexually Transmitted Diseases page.
Links to health information from more than 1,600 government and nonprofit organizations.

Improving the Health Care Response to Domestic Violence: A Trainer's Manual for Health Care Providers
Describes how to recognize and respond to victims of intimate partner violence.

Legislative and Regulatory Resources
Links to California, federal, and other legislative and regulatory resources.

Brings together authoritative information from government agencies and health-related organizations and includes an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive patient tutorials, and the latest health news.

Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce
Provides links to grants and funding, health data tools and statistics, education and training, conferences, and information about health promotion and education.

Public Health Information and Data: A Training Manual
Focuses on information access and management.

Sexual Violence Prevention: Beginning the Dialogue
Discusses sexual violence as a serious public health problem with short- and long-term health consequences and identifies concepts and strategies that may be used as a foundation for planning, implementing, and evaluating sexual violence prevention activities.

Substance Abuse &  Mental Health Services Administration
Provides the latest national data on substance abuse and mental health.

World Report on Violence and Health, Chapter 6: Sexual Violence
Reviews the problem of sexual violence on a global scale—what it is, who it affects, and what can be done about it.

State and Local Protocols and Guidelines

California Medical Protocol for Examination of Sexual Assault and Child Sexual Abuse Victims
Contains recommended methods for meeting the minimum legal standards established by Penal Code Section 13823.11 for performing evidential examinations.

California: San Diego County: Sexual Assault Response Team
Lists documents from the San Diego SART, including standards of practice, committee reports, and resource pamphlets in English and Spanish.

Kentucky: Developing a Sexual Assault Response Team: A Resource Guide for Kentucky Communities
Helps communities create and sustain SART programs.

Kentucky Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Protocol
Provides standardized procedures for hospitals and community facilities in Kentucky for the forensic and medical examination of adult sexual assault victims.

Maryland Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Programs Statewide Needs Assessment
Reviews the findings of the Maryland SAFE Programs Needs Assessment and includes information on each program, barriers and problems facing SAFE programs, a summary of how forensic nurse examiners envision the future of SAFE programs, and key issues and recommendations for next steps.

Massachusetts: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program
Improves the care for victims of sexual assault through the development of a statewide, standardized method of evidence collection and the provision of high-quality, coordinated care within the medical, legal, forensic, and advocacy communities.

New Jersey: Attorney General Standards for Providing Services to Victims of Sexual Assault
Focuses on the needs and concerns of sexual assault victims in an effort to ensure the compassionate and sensitive delivery of services in a nonjudgmental manner.

New York: Protocol for the Acute Care of the Adult Patient Reporting Sexual Assault
Assists health care providers in minimizing the physical and psychological trauma to victims of sexual assault by ensuring appropriate and consistent treatment in hospital emergency departments.

Ohio: Protocol For The Treatment Of Adult And Adolescent Sexual Assault Patients
Covers triage guidelines in a hospital setting, victim support, evidence collection, patient history, detailed exam instructions, treatment and tests, suspected drug-facilitated sexual assault, referrals, followup and release, billing and payment for exams, reporting to police, crime victim compensation, and quality assurance.

Virginia: Emergency Department Forensic Nurse Examiner Protocol for Sexual Assault Physician's Orders
Describes CarePlex Hospital's medical directives for sexual assault.

Suspect Exams

California: Forensic Medical Report: Sexual Assault Suspect Examination
Provides a suspect medical examination form.

California Medical Protocol for Examination of Sexual Assault and Child Sexual Abuse Victims
Includes suspect exam information (pp. 8–9).

North Dakota: Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Protocol (4th Edition)
Includes suspect exam information (pp. 74–76 and appendix H). Available on the Coalition Against Sexual Assault in North Dakota's Publications page.

Tools and Forms

Glossary of Forensic Terms
Lists forensic terms relevant to sexual assault and post-assault forensic exams.

Practical Guidelines on Handling Abuse Issues in Clinical Settings
Promotes, develops, and disseminates information to improve the health and expand the life choices of women with disabilities. This Web site provides 10 recommendations for physicians for raising the subject of abuse and eliciting responses.

Put Down the Chart, Pick up the Questions—A Guide for Working with Survivors of Sexual Violence
Offers information for health care providers on how to talk to their patients about sexual assault.

Screening Tools—Sexual Assault
Presents tools that can helps physicians screen patients for sexual assault.

Sexually Transmitted and Other Reproductive Tract Infections: A Guide to Essential Practice
Includes a section on treatment of sexual assault victims.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Treatment Guidelines
Provides treatment resources and links related to sexually transmitted diseases.

Various State Forms

Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists
Develops standards of service and education for those who provide emotional care to trauma victims and survivors.

Current Trends in Psychological Assessment and Treatment Approaches for Survivors of Sexual Trauma
Reviews trends in mental health assessment and treatment for sexual trauma survivors with an emphasis on early intervention. Treatment approaches are restricted to psychotherapy.

Handbook on Justice for Victims (Chapter 3, "Front-Line Professionals")
Outlines critical issues for mental health professionals.

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
Provides resources about traumatic stress for the public, clinicians, professionals, and the media.

National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Conducts research and provides education and training materials related to posttraumatic stress disorder.

National Center for Trauma-Informed Care
Assists publicly funded agencies, programs, and services in making the important cultural shift to an environment that is more supportive, comprehensively integrated, and empowering for trauma survivors. Its Web site includes a mental health service locator, online publications, mental health dictionary, and professional information.

National Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center
Improves the quality of mental health services provided locally and nationally to victims of crime, abuse, and trauma. Its Web site provides resources for the public and professionals and includes links to recent faculty presentations.

The National Trauma Consortium
Provides online publications and links to national organizations and training opportunities.

The Psychological Consequences of Sexual Trauma
Describes research findings on the effects of childhood and adulthood sexual victimization on women's mental health.

Civil Justice Practitioners

About This Section

This section is adapted with permission from the Victim Rights Law Center's manual Beyond the Criminal Justice System: Transforming Our Nation's Legal Response to Rape. We want to thank the center and the chapter's authors, Susan Vickers and Jessica Mindlin, for the use of their material.

The Victim Rights Law Center hopes that Beyond the Criminal Justice System and other tools available on its Web site will assist attorneys and advocates in their efforts to secure the best possible outcomes for their clients. The center has learned from past reform efforts that survivors' civil rights and remedies will be merely symbolic unless attorneys and advocates are able to enforce them and hopes more lawyers and advocates will join in this effort.

Too often, the criminal and civil authorities to whom victims turn for help fail to redress—and may even exacerbate—the harms. Survivors need attorneys and other advocates to champion their rights in both the civil and criminal arenas. Rape reforms in the criminal arena have yielded limited success for sexual assault survivors. Criminal prosecution may enhance victims' safety or help victims in their emotional healing, but such resolution may be remote in time and difficult to achieve.36 Civil courts, too, must become a vehicle for promoting victim healing and recovery.

Sexual assault is a private, personal event, but every victim's experience is uniquely influenced by the social and cultural context in which the assault occurs. To be effective, legal advocates need to understand the distinct legal and cultural norms of the community in which a victim resides. A truly effective legal response to sexual assault must include population-specific services and perspectives and a holistic approach to meeting survivors' legal needs.

For most victims of sexual assault, there is a hierarchy of fundamental needs. The most urgent needs include economic security, educational stability, emotional well-being, and physical safety. These needs are most acute in the first 6 months following an assault,37 but may persist and shift over time. The life-long consequences of sexual assault can be enduring and profound (e.g., failure to graduate from high school or college can reduce lifetime earnings, job loss can affect future employment prospects). Victim-centered civil remedies can help alleviate and even eliminate certain harms.

This section reviews victims' core civil legal needs:


For most sexual assault victims, privacy is an omnipresent and enduring need. Once a sexual assault is disclosed publicly or reported to criminal or civil authorities, victims' privacy becomes vulnerable in sadly familiar ways. Their medical, mental health, rape crisis center, and other records are demanded and disclosed in criminal proceedings, often with little or no notice to the victim. Outside of the criminal justice arena, privacy violations may easily occur in relation to employment, education, housing, and financial compensation. Advocates and attorneys must be mindful of the many forums in which victims' records may be disclosed and work proactively to protect them. Maintaining victim privacy requires vision as well as vigilance.

Non-Citizen Victims

Non-citizen victims face actual and perceived barriers to obtaining the civil remedies that can assist in their recovery. Victims without legal status are especially vulnerable and isolated from the remedies that can help protect them.38 Fear and misinformation prevents many undocumented and non-citizen victims from applying for and receiving the safety protections, medical assistance, counseling, housing, and employment benefits victims are qualified to receive.39

Despite common perceptions and information to the contrary, some public services are available to individuals without any status qualification, meaning that providers should not inquire into a client's immigration status or require a social security number in order to provide services. According to the Final Specification of Community Programs Necessary for Protection of Life or Safety Under Welfare Reform Legislation (66 C.F.R. §§ 3613–3616 (2001)), available services include the following:

Undocumented and non-immigrant victims may be reluctant to access government benefits to which they are entitled because they fear being declared a public charge (i.e., someone who is or will become primarily dependent on the U.S. government for subsistence), a determination that can be the basis for denials of future applications to remain in the United States.40

A sexual assault may also disrupt or alter a victim's immigration status. For example, if a victim is in the United States on a student visa and drops out of school as a result of the assault, she may lose her legal status. Non-immigrant victims with employment-based visas are similarly at risk of being deported or losing legal status if they are dismissed from or quit work as a result of an assault. To address these issues, the Federal Government created a visa specifically for victims of sexual abuse, trafficking, and many other crimes. Under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-386, 114 Stat. 1464), the U-Visa is available to victims who report the crime to law enforcement officials and cooperate in criminal investigations. Victims who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity, including sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, and felonious assault, are eligible for the 3-year visa and can receive work authorization.

Medical and Counseling Benefits

The medical and emotional harm caused by a sexual assault may result in significant financial cost. According to OVC's Report to the Nation for fiscal years 2007–2008, nearly $70 million from the Crime Victims Fund was spent in support of sexual assault victims nationwide, including medical expenses—the most paid for any type of victimization except domestic violence.41

Basic medical care costs include medical examinations, mental health counseling, and prescription drugs (including medications for the prevention or treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy and anti-depressants). A victim who bills his or her medical insurance for the cost of HIV prophylaxis, or for treatment of depression or posttraumatic stress disorder, may experience escalating insurance premiums and coverage exclusions in future plans. These outcomes in turn may lead to long-term disqualification for life insurance and other coverage.

Safety and Protection Remedies

Sexual assault often shatters a victim's sense of physical safety for years to come. Mental health research demonstrates that sexual assault victims routinely suffer as high or higher rates of posttraumatic stress and other anxiety disorders as do victims of other violent crimes. Planning for victims' safety and protection may help to alleviate some of this anxiety.

Courts' civil protection orders, criminal no-contact provisions, and other legal structures that proscribe any future direct or indirect contact between the victim and the perpetrator are essential. Civil protective orders may insulate victims from physical harm and, in some jurisdictions, provide for relocation costs and medical expenses. Although most civil restraining order statutes require a familial or intimate partner relationship, in some jurisdictions civil protection orders are available to victims of non-intimate partner sexual assault. Because of their expedited application process and speed of entry, these civil orders are easier for victims to secure and more likely to be pursued.42 Protective order hearings in particular may be speedier and more comfortable for victims than other avenues for holding the accused accountable. They tend to be resolved within 2 weeks, instead of the 1 to 2 years a criminal prosecution takes or the 2 to 4 months required for a school or employment disciplinary process. Filing procedures, court personnel, and hearings for protective orders are often more victim friendly than criminal procedures and other types of protection orders because the legislation has often been drafted with victims (albeit domestic violence victims) in mind, and rules of evidence are applied with flexibility to allow plaintiffs and defendants to speak freely. In Massachusetts, for example, there is no right to a jury trial in such proceedings and while there is a general right to cross-examination, the judge may limit cross-examination for good cause.

Safety remedies may also be sought at educational, residential, and other institutions where a perpetrator and victim may intermingle (e.g., schools, offices, factories, apartment buildings, reservations, places of worship). Finally, criminal courts may issue stay-away orders when a defendant is arrested or arraigned.

Safe Housing

Many sexual assaults take place in or near the victim's home. Some victims feel compelled to relocate for safety, mental health, or other reasons. A civil attorney may help victims be excused from their lease or rental agreement or help them receive compensation for their damages. A limited but increasing number of jurisdictions have enacted laws to limit victims' liability if they break a lease or contract as a result of a sexual assault.

A civil attorney may also help victims enter public or subsidized housing or secure a housing transfer. For victims who want to remain in their current housing, an attorney may help obtain security enhancements, reasonable accommodations, or other necessary adaptations that allow victims to retain their home.


The incidence of sexual assault is disturbingly high in both universities and high schools throughout our Nation. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 35 out of every 1,000 undergraduate females are sexually assaulted every year.43 The figures are no less staggering for high school students. For example, research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that one in five high school students had experienced forced sex (rape), and half of the victims told no one about the incident.44

Title IX of the Civil Rights Act (20 U.S.C. § 1681 (2004)), the Jeanne Clery Campus Safety Act (20 U.S.C. § 1092 (1998)), and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g (2001)) impose specific duties regarding educational institutions' obligations to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault.45 Colleges and universities may be held civilly liable for intentional wrongful acts committed on their campuses by or against their students.46


A sexual assault victim's employment is likely to suffer major disruptions after a sexual assault. Absenteeism may skyrocket, productivity often plummets, and an assault by a coworker or at a work location will usually trigger an even more acute employment crisis that, without legal intervention, will likely result in a victim's resignation or termination.47 The federal Family and Medical Leave Act and its state counterparts, Title VII, and state anti-discrimination laws all provide potential sources for employment protection rights.48 Unions, too, may have negotiated worker protection policies.

If victims become physically or emotionally disabled as a result of a sexual assault, they may be entitled to reasonable accommodations and protection from discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12112 (2004)). A disability is defined as any impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, such as walking, standing, thinking, lifting, or taking care of one's self (§ 12102). Victims are also protected under the Act even if they are only perceived as being disabled, regardless of whether they have some actual disability. The act requires that the employer provide reasonable accommodations to the victim, as long as she or he is able to perform the essential functions of the job. A modified work schedule, transfer to a different location, and changes in the workspace or equipment all qualify as reasonable accommodations, and employers cannot discriminate against qualified employees who request such accommodations.

Victims who are terminated or leave their job due to a sexual assault may also qualify for unemployment compensation.49 In Massachusetts, for example, an employee who leaves work or is discharged from her job because of domestic violence is eligible for unemployment compensation.50 Although the statute is intended to benefit battered women, the definition of domestic violence is broad enough to include many victims of sexual assault. The statute specifically provides benefits to victims who have been in a dating or engagement relationship with the perpetrator. The statute also defines abuse as attempting to cause or causing physical harm, placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm and/or causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat, or duress.

If the assault is directly related to employment (e.g., when the perpetrator is a coworker, when the assault takes places at work), a victim may need and be entitled to more protection in the work environment. A sexual assault at work, as well as an employer's failure to appropriately address or protect against that assault, may constitute sexual harassment in violation of federal and state laws prohibiting sex discrimination in the workplace.

Financial Stability

Lost wages, weakened worker productivity, the cost of health care and counseling, tuition loss, and relocation and other moving expenses are just a few of the staggering economic consequences of sexual assault. Advocacy to prevent these losses may include insurance claims against third parties; an application for disability, unemployment, and other benefits from state and local benefit programs or private insurance programs; actions for child support; applications under victim compensation statutes; and tort claims against perpetrators, employers, hosts, landlords, universities, and others.51 The most accessible financial remedy may be a claim under a state victim compensation fund (if the statutory requirements for crime victim compensation have been met). State victim compensation schemes typically cover medical, dental, and counseling expenses; lost wages; lost homemaker services; and lost financial support for dependents of victims of homicide.

Read More

National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards Links to each state's crime victim compensation programs.

Most compensation statutes do not cover lost tuition, relocation and housing expenses, or lost employment due to non-physical injuries such as mental health problems. Crime victim compensation statutes can offer much-needed temporary financial relief immediately after an assault. In many jurisdictions, however, crime victim compensation is a payor of last resort and carries with it certain hurdles that may prevent victims from seeking or receiving compensation benefits. For example, compensation requires that a victim report the crime and cooperate with law enforcement officers. Due to a low incidence of reporting by sexual assault survivors, only a minority of them will be eligible for this remedy. In addition, victims who were engaged in illegal activities (e.g., underage drinking, illegal substance abuse, prostitution) may be ineligible for benefits entirely.

Independent Legal Counsel

The victim's role in the criminal justice process is the subject of new legislation and increasing debate. Thousands of relatively recent legislative enactments provide victims with various rights pertaining to restitution and privacy, the right to be informed in matters of trial and sentencing, and the right to make statements of victim impact at sentencing.52 Most states have enacted victims' rights amendments to their constitutions and the remaining states and the U.S. Congress have enacted statutes doing the same. If victims are going to succeed in enforcing their current rights under existing laws, however, they need legal representation.53

The Right Tool

National Crime Victim Law Institute Links to state and federal crime victims' rights laws and related publications.

Victims' and prosecutors' interests intersect, but they are not always aligned.54 This conflict is most apparent in the realm of privacy rights. For example, the prosecution may want evidence from victims' personal lives to strengthen its case, while victims want to keep their personal lives private despite the impact it might have on the prosecution's case. Or, a prosecutor may gather extensive medical, counseling, and other private information about victims that must then be disclosed to the defense pursuant to the state's obligation under Brady v. Maryland (373 U.S. 83 (1963)).

Until recently, rape crisis advocates routinely struggled alone to protect rape victims once the criminal process had begun.55 While non-lawyer rape advocates have played the largest and most vital role in protecting victims' privacy rights, victims' civil attorneys should also be present in the courtroom defending their clients' civil (and crime victim) rights.


For Victims

Civil Justice for Victims of Crime
Gives crime victims and those who work with them a basic understanding of the civil justice system and makes them aware of civil justice options.

Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website
Allows users to identify the location of known sex offenders in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and participating tribes.

Helps low- and moderate-income people find free legal aid programs in their communities and answers to questions about their legal rights. The site provides state listings for housing, work, family, bankruptcy, disability, and immigration resources.

A Survivor’s Guide to Filing a Civil Law Suit
Includes definitions related to civil lawsuits and information on the advantages and disadvantages of filing a civil suit (personal, financial, and legal factors) and discusses the role of attorneys and how to select one. Civil lawsuit procedures are outlined and explained.
Includes sections on staying safe, knowing the laws, preparing for court, learning about abuse, and helping others, among other information.

For Providers

California Superior Court’s Legal Glossaries
Provides comprehensive legal glossaries in many different languages.

Civil Protection Orders: Victims’ Views on Effectiveness
Summarizes a research study that has shown that the effectiveness of civil protection orders for victims of family violence depends on how specific and comprehensive the orders are and how well they are enforced.

Confidentiality and Sexual Violence Survivors: A Toolkit for State Coalitions
Includes chapters on state and federal privileged communications statutes, rape shield laws, sources of privacy for victims, confidentiality waivers, discovery issues and confidentiality, public records, mandatory reporting, anonymous victims, and privacy considerations for specific populations.

Cornell Legal Research Encyclopedia
Provides legal research material by subject and country.

The Crime Victim's Right To Be Present
Reviews state laws addressing the rights of victims to attend criminal justice proceedings, particularly trials, and how their presence might affect the rights of defendants.

A Criminal Justice Guide: Legal Remedies for Adult Victims of Sexual Violence
Provides comprehensive information for survivors' rights in the context of a criminal prosecution and how to enforce those rights.

Enforcement of Protective Orders
Reviews state laws and issues related to the enforcement of protective orders.

Family and Medical Leave Act
Provides a synopsis of the law, compliance assistance materials, fact sheets, forms, tools, and other resources.

Provides a search engine for legal resources nationwide.

Global Legal Information Network
Serves as a database of laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other complementary legal sources contributed by governmental agencies and international organizations.

Guidebook for Immigrant Victims
Provides basic information and a comprehensive referral list for documented and undocumented immigrants who are victims of crime.

Immigration Benchbook for Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Covers lawful permanent residence under the Violence Against Women Act, U And T visas, asylum and other ways non-citizens can obtain lawful status, adult criminal convictions, and immigration resources.

Immigrant Populations as Victims: Toward a Multicultural Criminal Justice System
Summarizes findings from a study about the criminal justice system's approach to immigrant victims of crime and barriers that prohibit immigrants from reporting crimes.

Immigration, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders
Provides legal information for immigrants who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and those who are HIV-positive.

Impact Statements: A Victim's Right To Speak, A Nation's Responsibility To Listen
Discusses the state of victims' rights in the United States and focuses on the right to submit victim impact statements. It examines the effectiveness of victim impact statements, proposes models for implementing these statements in states that do not yet provide for them, and discusses various aspects of victimization and social services for victims.

The Justice for All Act
Focuses on the component of the act that specifies crime victims' rights.

Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Recipients' Policy Guidebook, Fiscal Year 2005
Provides information on activities that may enhance or compromise victim safety, sexual assault issue spotting, and sample forms for civil legal intake sessions and releases of information.

National Evaluation of the Legal Assistance for Victims Program
Serves as the final report on the national evaluation of the Federal Legal Assistance for Victims grant program, which is intended to increase the capacity of local organizations to provide free or low-cost, comprehensive civil legal and advocacy services to victims of domestic violence. The program also addresses the needs of victims of sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence.

National Victim Assistance Academy Textbook, Chapter 5, Section 1: Civil Remedies
Covers the distinctions between the criminal and civil justice systems, the basics of civil litigation, types of lawsuits typically brought by victims, defenses to civil litigation, damages in civil lawsuits, benefits and limitations of victim civil litigation, and recommendations regarding civil remedies for victim service providers and allied professionals.

New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century, Civil Remedies
Presents promising practices and recommendations related to civil remedies for crime victims.

No Free Pass To Harass: Protecting the Rights of Undocumented Immigrant Women Workers in Sexual Harassment Cases
Includes information on retaliation, developing a strategy to exclude immigration status information, introducing and obtaining evidence in litigation, anticipating relevance arguments, bifurcating proceedings into liability and damages phases, privileges to protect immigration status information, in camera disclosure and confidentiality agreements, motions in limine, using pseudonyms, and how workers might qualify for legal immigration status.

Ordering Restitution to the Crime Victim
Reviews state laws that address victims' rights to receive court-ordered restitution from offenders in criminal cases.

Rights and Remedies: Meeting the Civil Legal Needs of Sexual Violence Survivors
Includes chapters on victims' civil legal issues for safety and protection, safe housing, employment, education, tort liability, and tribal issues.

Sexual Violence Legal News Online
Summarizes the latest changes in relevant law as a result of court decisions. The summaries are also kept online in a searchable database. Most of the cases currently in the database involve issues of criminal law and procedure or of evidence.

Social Security Privacy Legislation
Provides a chart that lists state laws throughout the country addressing social security number privacy.

Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking in Civil Protection Order Cases
Includes information on culturally competent representation, effective client communication, client safety, scope of representation and procedures for intake, and hearings.

State Law Guide: Workplace Restraining Orders
Reviews state laws (proposed and enacted) that allow employers to apply for restraining orders to protect their employees.

Statutory Summary Charts
Summarizes state statutes regarding domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and trafficking.

Tools for Pro Bono Recruitment: A Resource Guide
Covers legal considerations, recruitment, training, and retention of pro bono relationships.

Tribal Resources, Tribal Law Journal
Provides tribal government information and links to other indigenous resources.

Understanding Rape Shield Laws
Discusses rape shield laws.

Victim Assistance Online (
Links to hundreds of organizations, agencies, and institutions that serve victims.

Features more than 15,000 victims' rights statutes, tribal laws, constitutional amendments, court rules, administrative code provisions, attorney general opinions, and case summaries of related court decisions.

Victims' Bill of Rights
Links to Web sites within states that outline the rights of crime victims.

National Organizations

American Bar Association's Commission on Domestic Violence
Increases access to justice for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Serves as the comprehensive training and technical assistance provider to more than 100 colleges and universities throughout the country that are recipients of the Office on Violence Against Women's (OVW) Grants to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking on Campus Program.

The Center for Survivor Agency and Justice
Cultivates a community of attorneys and advocates who are skilled in survivor-centered advocacy and capable of meeting the entire spectrum of civil legal assistance needs of survivors.

Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence
Seeks to end partner violence, focusing on the workplace. Its Web site includes articles on workplace violence, best practices, and links.

Institute for Law and Justice
Provides consulting services and conducts research, training, and evaluation in criminal justice issues.

Legal Momentum
Works to promote the rights of women and girls, covering issues such as employment, housing, immigrant women, teen dating abuse, and intimate partner violence.

National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards
Helps assist crime victims financially. Its Web site links to state victim compensation agencies.

National Center on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Provides training and consultation to address domestic and sexual violence. Its Web site links to training opportunities, resources, and news.

National Center for State Courts
Helps courts improve the administration of justice. Its Web site includes links to state courts, among other resources.

National Conference of State Legislatures
Serves the legislators and staff of the Nation's 50 states, its commonwealths, and territories by providing research, technical assistance, and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on state issues. Its Web site provides information on privacy issues for social security numbers. It also includes a list of victims' rights statutes nationally, including newly enacted legislation.

The National Crime Victim Bar Association
Provides technical support to attorneys representing crime victims in civil actions, refers crime victims to lawyers in their local areas, and works to increase general awareness about the availability of civil remedies for victims of crime.

National Crime Victim Law Institute
Promotes a fair and balanced criminal justice system through legal education, legal scholarship, and legal information, resources, and advocacy. Its Web site provides legal information on victims' rights, confidentiality, criminal justice, civil justice, and pro bono recruitment.

National Immigration Law Center
Protects and promotes the rights of low-income immigrants and their family members.

National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
Includes information on housing, human rights, civil rights, and domestic violence.

National Organization for Victim Assistance
Includes victim and witness assistance programs and practitioners, criminal justice agencies and professionals, mental health professionals, researchers, former victims and survivors, and others committed to recognizing and implementing victims' rights and services.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Includes information, statistics, and resources related to sexual violence and serves as a resource for state, territory, and tribal anti-sexual assault coalitions, rape crisis centers, allied organizations, community projects, policymakers, government entities, media, educators, health care providers, and others working to address and eliminate sexual assault.

Security on Campus, Inc.
Works to reduce crime on school campuses. Its Web site includes sections on news, outreach, and public policy.

Vera Institute of Justice
Works closely with leaders in government and civil society to improve the services people rely on for safety and justice.

Victim Rights Law Center, Inc.
Offers training and technical assistance to Legal Assistance for Victims grantees and develops civil legal strategies to safeguard the civil rights of sexual assault victims in the areas of privacy, safety, housing, education, employment, criminal justice, immigration, and financial compensation.

Women's Justice Center
Provides advocacy at no cost for victims of rape, domestic violence, and child abuse, particularly in the Latina and other underserved communities of Sonoma County, California. It also provides advocacy training and community education.

Law Enforcement Officials

The way victims are treated by dispatchers, responding officers who arrive at the scene and detectives investigating cases shape victim expectations about how they will be treated throughout the criminal justice process.56

When interacting with victims of sexual assault, law enforcement officers should57

This section covers the roles of various types of law enforcement personnel when working with victims:


When victims call 911, that first contact with the dispatcher is critical to gaining victims' trust—only with this trust established are victims willing to continue to work with criminal justice service providers. In this respect, when dispatchers are invited to participate on SARTs, the cross-disciplinary communication and training can help ensure that victims' needs are addressed immediately and procedures to safeguard the integrity of the evidence are followed. For example, while dispatchers are determining initial facts about the assault, they can explain that their questions will not delay an officer's response to the scene and then assess victims' medical and safety concerns and tell victims about the importance of not bathing, brushing teeth, eating, drinking, combing hair, changing clothes, or urinating prior to medical forensic exams.

In addition, dispatchers58

Responding Officers

Officers who respond to sexual assault reports assess whether victims need immediate medical attention and take brief statements to determine that a sexual assault occurred. Officers also determine whether there are multiple crime scenes, take steps to secure and collect evidence, and submit written reports to investigators.

In addition, responding officers may59

Investigating Officers

The continuing investigation of sexual assault begins after the immediate emergency needs of the victim have been met and preliminary information has been gathered to identify the offense and the offender.60

In some jurisdictions, responding officers are also responsible for followup investigations. In other jurisdictions, responding officers' reports are assigned to a detective division for followup.

Subsequent investigations normally include scheduling indepth victim interviews, apprehending and interrogating offenders, and exploring strategies for corroborating victims' statements, such as those that support victims' recollections of sounds, smells, and so forth.61

Other investigator responsibilities may include the following:

U.S. Border Patrol Officers

SARTs that border Mexico or Canada have unique issues to consider to meet victims' medical and emotional needs and to address international legal issues. For example, the Arizona Attorney General's SART Protocol proactively addresses border patrol responses as follows:63

When Border Patrol agents, in the course of their duties, become aware that a sexual assault has occurred, they should determine who has primary jurisdiction and refer the case to the appropriate law enforcement agency. When Border Patrol agents come upon the scene of a sexual assault in progress, they should respond and then refer the case to the appropriate local law enforcement agency.

In Texas, the Harlingen Family Crisis Center developed a strong relationship with the Bayview Border Patrol in response to a critical need to offer services to undocumented females who cross into the United States. The collaboration received a community empowerment award in 2002 from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, which stated that "the collaboration is so strong that at times, border patrol agents personally transport victims to the Family Crisis Center offices to receive counseling and crisis intervention. This type of collaboration is a shining example of two agencies working together to assist sexual assault survivors who may otherwise go without sexual assault services."

Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) becomes involved in cases that occur in international waters and national parks and on American Indian reservations and military installations. The FBI also has jurisdiction regarding sexual assault cases across state lines and in those cases involving prostituted adolescent victims or victims of human trafficking.

The Right Tool

Victim Assistance Includes links to local FBI offices and information on the rights of federal crime victims and national resources.

Having both state and federal law enforcement agencies participate on SARTs can promote interagency understanding of complex interjurisdictional responses and proactively address issues that may otherwise go unnoticed. For example, the FBI victim specialist on the Cuyahoga County SART educates advocates, local law enforcement, and medical forensic examiners on ways to screen sexual assault victims who may be prostituted teenagers or human trafficking victims. According to the FBI victim specialist, "Every SART that is close to an interstate highway truck stop needs to know that there is a potential for teenagers to be solicited into prostitution there or women to be trafficked. Without proper screening and assessment, service providers could unknowingly interview victims in the presence of their offenders or release victims back to pimps or traffickers who abuse them."64

Park Rangers

Individuals who are sexually assaulted in the almost 400 national parks in the U.S. National Park Service often include tourists—individuals who are in unfamiliar and often remote areas. Park rangers carry out law enforcement duties in national parks; the U.S. Park Police perform concurrent duties with rangers in some urban park sites such as the National Mall (Washington, D.C.), Statue of Liberty (New York), and Golden Gate (San Francisco).65 The FBI also has jurisdiction regarding sexual assault cases in national parks.

By including park rangers on SARTs, teams can increase victim safety, enhance investigations, and facilitate referrals among other law enforcement jurisdictions and community-based service providers. For example, the Cuyahoga County SART invited the Cleveland Metro Rangers to join them. Cleveland's city parks had had a large number of sexual assaults by offenders known to victims and same-sex sexual assaults by offenders not known to victims.66 Their participation on the SART has linked the park rangers with more resources that they may tap to promote public safety and has helped rangers refer victims for needed services.

Campus Law Enforcement

Because of the prevalence of sexual violence at institutions of higher education, it is essential that colleges and universities establish comprehensive law enforcement and security responses for victims of sexual assault. For example, the California Campus Sexual Assault Task Force encourages every institution of higher education in the state to create first responder and investigation protocols for responding to reported sexual assaults and to establish ongoing training to reinforce the protocols. Some of the task force's protocol recommendations follow:67

Some SARTs have concerns about documenting protocols because there could be criminal justice implications if the protocols are not followed. To offset this concern, a Georgia statute addresses the issue proactively. The statute, which could be adapted for use by other jurisdictions, reads in part: "A failure by an agency to follow the protocol shall not constitute an affirmative or other defense to prosecution of a sexual assault, nor shall a failure by an agency to follow the protocol give rise to a civil cause of action."68

Tribal Law Enforcement

According to the National Congress of American Indians69

To address criminal justice issues and victim-centered responses in Indian Country, it is vital that SARTs work to promote productive relationships between Indian Nations, the Federal Government, and state governments.

Read More

In This Toolkit: American Indian Victims

Improving the Relationship Between Indian Nations, the Federal Government, and State Governments  Defines the unique sovereign status of Indian Nations and examines contemporary problems between Indian Nations and state and federal governments. It also includes information on developing, implementing, and using written cooperative agreements.

National Tribal Judicial Center Address the specific needs of Native American and Alaska Native tribal law judiciaries.

Tribal Law Enforcement 2000 Reviews tribal law enforcement agencies.

Indian Tribal Sovereignty Reviews the major federal legislation affecting criminal jurisdiction on tribal land and discusses the impact of the federal Constitution on the tribes.

Maze of Injustice: The Failure To Protect Indigenous Women From Violence Provides information on and recommendations for overcoming law enforcement policing issues, providing forensic medical examinations, overcoming barriers to prosecution, and providing accessible support services for survivors.

Resource Guide for the Development of a SART in Tribal Communities Assist communities in developing policies and procedures for the investigation, prosecution, and provision of services in sexual assault cases involving American Indian victims.

Military Law Enforcement

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office is the U.S. Department of Defense's single point of accountability on sexual assault policy. Its primary mission is to develop and implement a comprehensive department-wide sexual assault policy.

The office's Web site provides information for victims of sexual assault, unit commanders, first responders, and those who want to prevent or respond to this crime. Sections cover laws and policies, research, resources, and training materials.


Model Policies and Protocols

California Campus Blueprint to Address Sexual Assault
Provides recommendations regarding prevention activities on campuses; Clery Act policies and compliance; faculty and staff training; and campus law enforcement, security, and judicial protocols, policies, and training. Although specific to California, the document can be used as a checklist for other states.

Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: ADA Guide for Law Enforcement Officers
Includes information on the requirements for effective communication, communications aids, and situations that require interpreters.

Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedures
Outlines U.S. Department of Defense policy regarding sexual assault.

Guidelines for Sexual Assault Investigation
Provides information on general sexual assault investigative procedures, initial receipt and evaluation of information, preliminary investigative procedures, followup investigations, interview and interrogation techniques, and witness interviews.

Model Policy on Investigating Sexual Assaults
Includes guidelines for responding to sexual assault. An accompanying document on investigating sexual assaults also is available.

Recommended Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexual Assault Response and Prevention on Campus
Provides college and university campuses with an outline of recommendations and strategies for developing a multidisciplinary sexual assault response policy and protocol.

Sample MOU Between Military Installations, Law Enforcement Offices, and Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies (Word)
Serves as a sample memorandum of understanding between a county prosecutor's office, county SANE program, county rape care program, and military installation.

San Diego SART: Standards of Practice
Outlines specific law enforcement roles and responsibilities.

Successfully Investigating Acquaintance Sexual Assault: A National Training Manual for Law Enforcement
Addresses false accusations and unfounded cases of sexual assault.

Texas Evidence Collection Protocol
Provides information on crisis intervention, victims' rights, emergency medical services, primary responsibilities of responding officers, forensic interviewing and prosecution procedures, consent, responding to victims with disabilities, DNA examination of sexual assault evidence, toxicology screening, law enforcement investigative interviews, and miscellaneous forms and diagrams.

Texas Model Protocol for Responding to Sexual Assault
Presents basic guidelines for providing multidisciplinary victim-centered responses among SART agencies.

West Virginia Protocol for Responding to Victims of Sexual Assault
Provides information on the response by advocates, law enforcement, hospitals, medical personnel, and prosecutors.


California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Provides training and technical assistance to grantees of the Grants to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking on Campus Program, which is funded through the Office on Violence Against Women.

National Center for Rural Law Enforcement
Offers sexual assault investigation and management training for rural law enforcement.

National Sheriffs' Association
Works to raise the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of criminal justice and public safety so that they may perform their jobs in the best possible manner.

National Tribal Judicial Center
Address the specific needs of Native American and Alaska Native tribal law judiciaries.

Praxis International
Works to end violence against women. Serves rural grantees under the Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Enforcement Grant Program.

Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Office
Serves as the U.S. Department of Defense's single point of accountability on sexual assault policy. Its Web site provides information for victims of sexual assault, unit commanders, first responders, and those who want to prevent or respond to this crime.

Sexual Assault Training and Investigations
Trains criminal justice professionals and provides consulting services to them that are geared toward improving community responses to sexual assault. Its Web site links to publications, training materials, sexual assault organizations by state, and other resources.

Publications and Tools

Advocates and Law Enforcement: Oil and Water?
Describes the role of advocates in the criminal justice system and explains the similarities and differences between community- and systems-based advocacy. It also discusses advocates roles and primary responsibilities during conflict and interagency strategies to work through conflict.

Condom Trace Evidence: A New Factor in Sexual Assault Investigations
Reviews types of condom evidence, the value of condom trace evidence, guidelines for evidence collection, and legal considerations.

The Crime of Human Trafficking: A Law Enforcement Guide to Identification and Investigation
Provides information on the dynamics of human trafficking and its effects on victims, strategies for victim identification and assistance, investigative methods, avenues for legal assistance, and visa provisions under federal law. Includes links to training videos and a survey.

DOD Dictionary of Military Terms
Links to military definitions and acronyms.

First Response to Victims of Crime
Describes how to respond to victims; includes a section on sexual violence.

Form for Evaluating the Police Response to Rape
Helps evaluate police response to individual cases of sexual assault.

A Guide to Domestic Violence: Risk Assessment, Risk Reduction, and Safety Plan
Focuses on intimate partner violence, including intervention, risk assessment, safety planning, and crisis response.

Incomplete, Inconsistent, and Untrue Statements Made by Victims: Understanding the Causes and Overcoming the Challenges
Addresses why victims may make incomplete, inconsistent, or untrue statements to law enforcement and discusses how law enforcement can overcome the challenges such statements pose to an investigation.

Law Enforcement Training Database
Links to federally funded and supported training available to state and local law enforcement officials. Each listing includes the training provider, a course description, eligibility criteria, and contact information.

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Information
Provides general information, statutes, regulations, and resources on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

National Summit on Campus Public Safety
Documents recommendations from a National Summit on Campus Public Safety, including priority concerns, issues, and needs that challenge safety and security on college and university campuses. It also identifies notable successes in campus safety and security and how they may be replicated.

The Official Directory of State Patrol & State Police
Includes links for state trooper associations, Homeland Security offices, sex offender registries, and other law enforcement-related resources.

Overcoming Language Barriers: Solutions for Law Enforcement
Provides strategies for developing language access plans for populations that have limited English language skills and describes how to address language barriers when encountered.

Police Response to Crimes of Sexual Assault: A Training Curriculum, Second Edition
Reviews sexual assault, penal codes and definitions, investigations, report writing, victim interviews, suspect interrogations, evidence gathering, and tailoring the response to sexual violence. Although created for Connecticut law enforcement, the manual can serve as a guide for other states.

The Preliminary Sexual Assault Investigation (Word)
Covers collaboration, use of search warrants, types of evidence, victim interview questions, victims who do not report immediately, and delaying suspect arrests.

Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence: A Law Enforcement Officer's Guide to Enforcing Orders of Protection Nationwide
Includes information on protection orders, full faith and credit, liability, and intervention strategies.

Reporting Sexual Assault to the Police in Hawaii
Discusses research findings on immediate and delayed treatment seekers.

Researching a Problem
Assists law enforcement in researching issues and evaluating information.

Rural Crime and Rural Policing
Reviews research literature and analyzes rural crime and rural policing issues and how the distinctive elements of the rural environment affect them.

SEARCH: National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics
Provides information on interagency information sharing, criminal record privacy, sex offender registries, technology guides, and issue briefs.

Successfully Investigating and Prosecuting Sexual Assault
Allows interested professionals to expand their knowledge of cutting-edge developments in the criminal justice and community response to sexual assault.

Tribal Resources, Tribal Law Journal
Provides tribal government information and links to other indigenous resources.

What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence
Briefly reviews DNA typing, evidence collection, evidence preservation, evidence transportation, and CODIS.

Forensic Scientists

Forensic science is based in the theory of transfer; that is, when two objects meet, some evidence of that connection generally can be established and verified at a later time.70

Forensic scientists, also known as criminalists, help prove or disprove links between victims and suspects, clarify case facts, and provide toxicological analysis—especially for suspected drug-facilitated assaults.

Generally, forensic scientists analyze evidence collected in sexual assault forensic examination evidence kits. This might include bite marks, fingernail scrapings, body fluids, trace materials such as grass or dirt, and evidence found on victims' clothing or bedding. In addition, forensic scientists may—

Forensic scientists' roles and responsibilities vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Procedures depend on laws within the jurisdiction, SART agency protocols, and case facts.71


Automated DNA Typing: Method of the Future?
Describes the basics of DNA typing and the PCR/STR procedure, which makes it easier to work with the limited DNA samples found at crime scenes.

Development of a High-Throughput Method to Isolate Sperm DNA in Sexual Assault Cases
Evaluates a filtration method for isolating sperm for DNA analysis.

DNA, National Conference of State Legislatures
Briefly describes state policies for taking DNA samples from arrestees.

DNA Technology: A Policy Statement by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
Recommends the use of specific guidelines to ensure the appropriate and fair collection of victims' and offenders' DNA.

FBI Laboratory Services
Provides forensic and technical services at no charge to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Laboratory examiners can provide expert witness testimony regarding the results of forensic examinations and provide technical assistance for drug-facilitated sexual assault.

Forensic Applications of Y Chromosome STRs and SNPs
Discusses DNA markers on the Y chromosome for the purpose of forensic applications.

Forensic Laboratories: Handbook for Facility Planning, Design, Construction, and Moving
Serves as a resource for designing, constructing, and moving crime laboratories.

Forensic Sciences: Review of Status and Needs
Reviews forensic science-related issues and makes recommendations for forensic analysis, training, and quality assurance.

Forensic Sciences Laboratory Service Manual
Includes information on case documentation, return of evidence and test reports, serology, DNA, sexual assault evidence collection kits, CODIS, evidence collection guidelines, packaging guidelines, toxicology, and substance abuse testing.

Forensic Sciences Resources on the Internet
Links to various forensics-related Web sites.

Forensic Toxicology Laboratories
Lists forensic toxicology laboratories in Europe and the United States.

The Future of Forensic DNA Testing: Predictions of the Research and Development Working Group
Discusses DNA typing methodology and statistical methods.

Handbook of Forensic Services
Provides guidance and procedures for safe and efficient methods of collecting and preserving evidence.

How DNA Evidence Works
Discusses how to prove that a suspect's DNA matches a sample left at the scene of a crime, create a DNA profile, and calculate a DNA profile frequency.

Postconviction DNA Testing: Recommendations for Handling Requests
Provides information on post-conviction DNA evidence, including legal issues and biological issues. It includes recommendations for prosecutors, defense counsel, the judiciary, victim assistance, and laboratory personnel.

Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories
Discusses standards for promoting quality assurance and covers areas such as personnel, facilities, evidence control, analytical procedures, equipment, audits, and safety.

Report to the Attorney General on Delays in Forensic DNA Analysis
Assesses the existing delays of crime scene DNA evidence analysis and suggests specific ways to eliminate those delays. For example, speedier analysis might be realized with different laboratory equipment, resource training, or more laboratory personnel.

San Diego Police Department: Sex Crime Toxicology Request Form
Serves as a sample toxicology request form.

Status and Needs of Forensic Science Service Providers: A Report to Congress
Presents the opinions of representative forensic organizations on the needs of forensic service providers beyond the DNA Initiative.

Survey of DNA Crime Laboratories
Contains findings from a survey on publicly operated forensic crime laboratory budgets, personnel, workloads, and procedures.

Understanding DNA Evidence: A Guide for Victim Service Providers
Explains the potential significance of DNA evidence in criminal justice proceedings.

What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence
Briefly reviews DNA typing, evidence collection, evidence preservation, evidence transportation, and CODIS.


One of the things I am most proud of about my work as a sex crimes prosecutor is that I allowed victims to make a decision at each step through the criminal courts rather than require a huge "do-you-want-to-prosecute" decision at the outset.72

Essentially, prosecutors are obligated to protect the innocent as well as to convict the guilty, to guard the rights of the accused as well as to enforce the rights of the public.73

Generally, prosecutors—

This section reviews—

Charging Decisions

After law enforcement officers investigate sexual assaults and arrest suspects, cases are referred to prosecutors for criminal charging decisions. Rules of ethics require prosecutors to refrain from prosecuting cases that are not supported by probable cause.74 Some prosecutors may exercise prosecutorial discretion and use a higher standard in making their charging decisions.75

Factors to consider in making charging decisions include the following:76

Victim-Centered Prosecution

Although prosecutors are not victims' attorneys, they can advocate for victims' rights and proactively address victims' concerns. For example, many victims are unfamiliar with the criminal justice process. Most have not been to court before. They may be highly apprehensive about seeing offenders in close proximity, fear testifying about the details of their assaults, and worry about an adversarial cross-examination process. To overcome these concerns, prosecutors can help victims by orienting them to the criminal justice system, providing waiting areas that are separate from offenders, and working with advocates to help meet victims' emotional needs.

Prosecutors may also—

Vertical Prosecution

Vertical prosecution means that one prosecutor is responsible for and stays with sexual assault cases from the time charges are filed through sentencing. Vertical prosecution fosters an ongoing working relationship between prosecutors and victims that promotes case continuity and may minimize attrition.

Counterintuitive Behavior

At the scene of the crime and shortly thereafter, victims may be unable to recall critical facts related to their victimization. In addition, victims' initial statements sometimes create significant problems for prosecutors. These two dilemmas occur because different coping mechanisms can create seemingly counterintuitive behavior in victims. For more information on victim trauma and coping mechanisms, see the following resources:

Defense Strategies

Typical defenses to sexual assault include the following: (1) the act was consensual, (2) there was a mistaken identity of the suspect, or (3) the crime never occurred. Another approach, infrequently used, is that the defendant lacks the physical or mental capacity to engage in the alleged act.77

Read More

Overcoming a Consent Defense to Sexual Assault (Word) Describes how SARTs can support and protect victims when the defense attempts to unfairly undermine victims' credibility.

Prosecuting Alcohol-Facilitated Sexual Assault   Addresses the prosecution of cases when victims are voluntarily intoxicated. Covers toxicology, assessing consent, credibility and corroboration, and recommended trial strategies.

Understanding the Non-Stranger Rapist Provides recommendations and techniques for prosecutors with limited experience handling cases in which offenders are known to victims. Covers offender's motivation, target selection, and mode of operation.


National Organizations and Agencies

International Network on Therapeutic Jurisprudence
Serves as a clearinghouse of information about therapeutic jurisprudence (i.e., how law affects emotional life and psychological well-being). Its Web site includes articles, a bibliography, conferences, listservs, and links to criminology, criminal justice, and national therapeutic jurisprudence organization sites.

It Happened to Alexa Foundation
Assists rape victims' families with travel expenses during the litigation process.

Legal Momentum
Works to promote the rights of women and girls, covering issues such as employment, housing, immigrant women, teen dating abuse, and intimate partner violence. Its Web site links to the national judicial education project, among other programs and resources.

National American Indian Court Judges Association
Supports American Indian and Alaska Native justice systems through education, information sharing, and advocacy. Its membership is primarily judges, justices, and peacemakers serving in tribal justice systems.

National Association of Attorneys General
Facilitates interaction among attorneys to respond effectively to emerging state and federal legal issues.

National Center for State Courts
Offers solutions for enhancing court operations, collects and interprets the latest data on court operations nationwide, and provides information on proven best practices for improving court operations.

National Conference of State Legislatures
Provides research, technical assistance, and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on pressing state issues. Its Web site includes topical pages such as DNA in Criminal Justice and State Crime Legislation in 2006, a report on the numerous sexual assault issues addressed in legislation that year.

National Crime Victim Law Institute
Helps victims of sexual assault through legal advocacy, training and educational programs, and public policy work. Its Web site provides links for attorneys, advocates, and victims.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service
Serves as a clearinghouse in support of research, policy, and program development worldwide. Its Web site links to publications covering corrections, courts, crime, crime prevention, criminal and juvenile justice systems, prosecution, law enforcement, and victims.

National District Attorneys Association
Supports prosecutors in protecting victims. Its programs include the DNA Forensics Program and the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women.

National Tribal Judicial Center
Address the specific needs of Native American and Alaska Native tribal law judiciaries.

Office of Tribal Justice
Facilitates the coordination of a broad range of American Indian issues to help unify the federal response. Its Web site provides information about grant and funding opportunities, public safety and law enforcement, publications, and statistical studies.

Security on Campus, Inc.
Prevents violence, substance abuse, and other crimes in college and university campus communities throughout the United States and assists the victims of these crimes.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office
Serves as the U.S. Department of Defense's single point of accountability on sexual assault policy. Its Web site links to the military's directives and procedures related to sexual assault.

Tribal Law and Policy Institute
Provides access to research, training, and technical assistance programs that promote the enhancement of justice in Indian Country and the health, well-being, and culture of Native peoples.

U.S. Department of Defense Victim and Witness Assistance Council
Provides victim and witness assistance training materials; an introduction to Defense Department programs, guidance, and policy; victim and witness assistance forms; and links and points of contact for each branch of the military.

Vera Institute of Justice
Works closely with leaders in government and civil society to improve the services people rely on for safety and justice.

Victim Rights Law Center
Provides sexual assault victims with free legal help and provides national technical assistance to service providers.

Overview of the Criminal Justice System

Handbook of Legal Terms
Covers a wide range of legal definitions in plain English.

Manual for Courts-Martial United States
Covers jurisdictional issues; initiation of charges; pre-trial, trial, and post-trial proceedings; and rules of evidence.

National Victim Assistance Academy Textbook, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3
Explains the differences among federal, criminal, and juvenile justice systems; specific roles of prosecutors regarding victims; and the challenges of providing and enforcing victims' rights within the criminal justice system.

Superior Court of California Legal Glossary
Provides legal definitions in English, Arabic, Armenian (Western), Hmong, Mien, Mong, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese.


Oregon SART Handbook
Assists SARTs in varying degrees of development. Copies are available upon e-mail request.

The Response to Sexual Assault: Removing Barriers to Services and Justice
Includes best practices for prosecution and the courts.

San Diego SART: Standards of Practice
Outlines standards of practice, including roles and responsibilities, for members of an interdisciplinary SART team.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Directive and Instruction
Links to directives, policies, and procedures from the U.S. Department of Defense.

West Virginia Protocol for Responding to Victims of Sexual Assault
Presents a multidisciplinary, victim-centered approach for victim advocates, law enforcement, hospitals and medical personnel, and prosecution. Its primary purpose is to assist hospitals in minimizing physical and psychological trauma to victims of sexual assault and to maximize the probability of collecting and preserving physical evidence for potential use in the legal system.

Publications and Tools

Assessing Justice System Response to Violence Against Women: A Tool for Law Enforcement, Prosecution and the Courts to Use in Developing Effective Responses
Contains an assessment tool for jurisdictions to use in developing effective responses by law enforcement, prosecution, and the courts. The prosecutorial chapter includes information on advocate support, victim and witness response, supervisor response, data collection, and building organizational capacity.

Attorney General Standards for Providing Services to Victims of Sexual Assault
Includes a section on victim-centered prosecutorial approaches.

Can Jury Trial Innovations Improve Juror Understanding of DNA Evidence?
Addresses the impact of juror note taking, juror questioning, and checklists on jurors' understanding of DNA evidence.

The Crime Victim's Right to Attend Trial: The Reascendant National Consensus
Offers a national overview of victims' rights to attend trial.

A Criminal Justice Guide: Legal Remedies for Adult Victims of Sexual Violence
Provides comprehensive information about survivors' rights in the context of a criminal prosecution and how to enforce those rights.

Defense Access to Victims' Homes
Details the state of the law nationally regarding defense attorneys' rights to access victims' homes when the sexual assault occurred there.

Discovery Versus Production: There Is a Difference
Discusses the basic differences between discovery and production when a defendant seeks access to a victim's records. Understanding the fundamentals of this difference is critical to protecting a crime victim's privacy.

DNA: A Prosecutor's Practice Notebook
Assists state and local prosecutors in preparing DNA-related cases for prosecution. Lessons cover investigating, preparing, and presenting cases involving DNA; special case circumstances; and lab report analysis.

DNA Evidence Policy Considerations for the Prosecutor
Identifies critical issues to consider for DNA evidence and offers options for developing policy. Sections include early case evaluation by a multidisciplinary team, discovery in DNA cases, unsolved cases, cold hit, collaterally attacked closed cases, and resource allocation and management.

Explaining Counterintuitive Victim Behavior in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Cases
Discusses the relevance and admissibility of expert testimony on jurors' perceptions of counterintuitive victim behavior and considerations for choosing experts to testify.

Forensic DNA Fundamentals for the Prosecutor: Be Not Afraid
Serves as a primer for prosecutors on the basics of DNA.

A Gap or a Chasm? Attrition in Reported Rape Cases
Studies the reasons for victims' early withdrawal from criminal justice proceedings. Three comparison areas were selected to reflect a combination of metropolitan, inner-city, and rural areas.

Guidelines for Fair Treatment of Victims and Witnesses
Provides information on compensation and restitution, the roles of victim witness assistants, intimidation protections, employer and creditor intercession, victim notifications, victim statements at sentencing, and property return.

Introducing Expert Testimony to Explain Victim Behavior in Sexual and Domestic Violence Prosecutions
Sets forth recommended practices for addressing victim behavior in sexual or domestic violence prosecutions. It includes information on the prevalence of myths about sexual violence and their impact on jury verdicts, the need for expert testimony to dispel myths and prove contexts for victim behaviors, and recommended practices for introducing expert testimony.

The Judicial Education Reference, Information and Technical Transfer
Serves as the national clearinghouse for information on continuing education for judges and other key court personnel employed in local, state, and federal courts.

Justice in Indian Country: A Process Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Justice Indian Country Justice Initiative, Final Evaluation Report
Investigates ways to improve coordination among the federal and American Indian nations' justice systems.

Maze of Injustice: The Failure To Protect Indigenous Women From Violence
Provides information and recommendations for overcoming law enforcement policing issues, overcoming barriers to prosecution, and providing accessible support services for survivors.

National Prosecution Standards
Describes the national prosecution standards. Sections include information on prosecutorial functions, pre-trial, trial, post-trial, and juvenile justice. Visit the National District Attorneys Association's (NDAA) Publications page, where NDAA members can download the standards for free.

Overcoming the Consent Defense
Provides information on how SARTs can support and protect victims when the defense attempts to unfairly undermine their credibility.

Pennsylvania Sexual Violence Benchbook
Includes sections on understanding sexual violence, the process of a sex offense case, life after Megan's Law, and resources.

Prosecuting Alcohol-Facilitated Sexual Assault
Addresses the prosecution of cases when victims are voluntarily intoxicated and reviews toxicology, assessing consent, credibility and corroboration, and recommended trial strategies.

Prosecuting Sexual Assault: A Comparison of Charging Decisions in Sexual Assault Cases Involving Strangers, Acquaintances, and Intimate Partners
Examines the effect of victim, suspect, and case characteristics on prosecutors' charging decisions in three types of sexual assault cases: those that involved strangers, acquaintances, and intimate partners.

The Prosecutor's Guide to Mental Health Disorders
Reviews common mental health disorders and their impact on victim competence and credibility.

Prosecutors' Offices Statistics
Provides statistics on staff, budgets, and caseloads of prosecutor offices in the United States.

Responding to Non-Stranger Sexual Assault (Word)
Discusses differences between stranger and non-stranger sexual assaults, the types of relationships between victims and suspects prior to the assaults, victims' responses, community responses to victims, important evidence in establishing the crime, the likelihood of consent defenses in non-stranger sexual assault, and responses of judges and juries to sexual assaults by offenders known to victims.

Rural Victim Assistance: A Victim/Witness Guide for Rural Prosecutors
Helps prosecutors, victim advocates, and policymakers understand the state of victim and witness assistance in rural communities, including staffing limitations, the roles and responsibilities of advocates, and the challenges that rural prosecutors' offices face.

Sexual Assault Benchbook
Provides information on Michigan's criminal sexual conduct offenses; research findings and statistics on sexual assault; community agencies and resources that assist victims of sexual assault; special courtroom procedures that protect the rights of victims, witnesses, and defendants; evidentiary matters, including Michigan's rape shield law, sexual assault evidence collection kits, privileges, polygraph tests, selected hearsay rules, and DNA testing and admissibility; communicable disease testing and post-conviction requests for DNA testing; identification and profiling systems for sex offenders; and civil remedies for sexual assault victims.

Standards on Prosecutorial Investigations
Serves as the prosecutorial standards of the American Bar Association.

Successfully Investigating and Prosecuting Sexual Assault
Allows interested professionals to expand their knowledge of cutting-edge developments in the criminal justice and community response to sexual assault.

Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons
Increases awareness and helps policymakers, criminal justice systems, law enforcement agencies, and nongovernmental organizations understand and respond effectively to trafficking in persons.

Tribal Resources, Tribal Law Journal
Provides tribal government information and links to other indigenous resources.

Understanding Crawford v. Washington
Discusses Crawford v. Washington’s impact on sexual assault cases.

Understanding Sexual Violence: Prosecuting Adult Rape and Sexual Assault Cases
Provides sections on victims' issues, relationships between prosecutors and advocates, medical forensic examiners, trial preparation and practice, expert witnesses, voir dire, DNA, and drug-facilitated sexual assault.

Understanding the Non-Stranger Rapist
Describes offenders' motivation and modes of operation and concludes with recommendations for prosecutors.

The Victim in the Criminal Justice System
Describes the American Bar Association's positions on charging and case dispositions, the role of the victim in trial proceedings, and providing victim protections and reparations.

Victim Input Into Plea Agreements
Provides information on the status of the law regarding victims' input into plea agreements, victim impact testimony, informing courts of victims' views, enforcing victims' rights, and innovative practices.

Victim Responses to Sexual Assault: Counterintuitive or Simply Adaptive?
Describes variances and influences in victims' physical, emotional, and mental coping reactions in the aftermath of sexual violence.

Victims and Witnesses with Developmental Disabilities and the Prosecution of Sexual Assault
Reviews developmental disabilities and practical trial preparation strategies.


Americans with Disabilities Act
Offers information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Civil Protection Orders
Covers civil protection order statutes by state pertaining to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking/harassment.

Complying With The Jeanne Clery Act
Provides the text for the statute, Clery Act crime definitions, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Criminal Code, by State
Includes information on criminal codes and procedures by state.

The Justice for All Act
Seeks to protect crime victims' rights, eliminate the substantial backlog of DNA samples collected from crime scenes and convicted offenders, and improve and expand the DNA testing capacity of crime laboratories.

Statutes Allowing Fleeing Survivors Access to Protective Orders
Covers state statutes pertaining to victims fleeing domestic violence.

Statutory Summary Charts
Summarizes statutes from all 50 states regarding domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and trafficking.

Summary of DV/SA Advocate Confidentiality Laws
Covers state confidentiality laws pertaining to sexual and domestic violence.

Uniform Code of Military Justice
Serves as a Congressional Code of Military Criminal Law that applies to all military members worldwide.

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000
Focuses on combating trafficking in persons, particularly involving the sex trade, slavery, and involuntary servitude.

Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005
Seeks to improve the community and criminal justice system response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Probation, Corrections, and Parole

For many sexual assault victims, the thought of living in the same community as the person who caused them such terrible harm and deep psychological trauma is foreboding. SARTs that partner with probation, corrections, and parole officials can expand communication channels to help ensure that victims' rights and needs are considered when offenders are released to the community.

This section reviews the roles and responsibilities of—


Probation is a sentence imposed by the courts that allows offenders to serve their time in the community. During probation, offenders must abide by certain directives set forth by the court. These orders can include maintaining employment, abiding by a curfew, living where directed, abstaining from unlawful behavior, refraining from contacting victims, refraining from the use of alcohol or other drugs (with an agreement to submit to random testing), and following the probation officer's orders.78

Read on for information about—

What Probation Officers Do

Probation officers supervise offenders through personal contact and by communicating with their families. Frequently, officers meet with offenders in their homes, workplaces, or possibly a location where offenders receive mental health treatment. Some probationers wear electronic devices so probation officers can monitor their whereabouts 24 hours a day.

Probation officers also work for the courts before sentencing. They investigate the backgrounds of the accused, write pre-sentence investigation reports, and recommend sentences. Probation officers may be required to testify in court about their reports and sentencing recommendations or they may attend court hearings to update the judges on offenders' efforts at rehabilitation and compliance with the terms of their sentences.79

Pre-Sentence Investigation Reports

The process of collecting background data on an offender is called a pre-sentence investigation. Generally, the background information includes a description of the offense, harm suffered by the victim, and sentencing recommendations. Sentencing recommendations usually take into consideration the defendant's—

  • Criminal convictions.
  • Time spent in the community.
  • Work, medical, substance abuse, and psychological or psychiatric histories.
  • Educational background.
  • Marital status.

They may also consider victim impact statements.

Read More
Presentence Investigation

How They Help Victims

Probation agents are primarily responsible for assessing the risk that offenders may pose to victims and the community and for recommending how that risk should be contained. To help victims, probation officers can—

Ramsey County Community Corrections Protocol

Upon a probationary disposition of criminal sexual conduct, Ramsey County Community Corrections (Minnesota) will provide the following victim services:

  • Ascertain the identity and location of victims—if victims are not available, request Ramsey County Attorney's Office Victim-Witness Advocates to forward information to victims.
  • Provide victims with the probation agent's contact information.
  • Notify victims of any relevant conditions of the offender's probation.
  • Determine if victims want to be notified of an offender's release or relocation.
  • Monitor no-contact orders.
  • If restitution is ordered, incorporate the payment schedule into the probation agreement and continue the offender's obligation to pay restitution to the victim through the term of the probation.

Source: Ramsey County Sexual Assault Protocol Team, Ramsey County Adult Sexual Assault Response Protocol, Version 2, 2004, 13.


When sex offenders are sentenced to prison, the state's department of corrections (DOC) or the Federal Bureau of Prisons assumes responsibility for their supervision.80

Read on for information about—

What Corrections Does

To place offenders in the most appropriate facility (minimum, medium, or maximum security), DOC reviews court cases and sentences, pre-sentence investigation reports, victim impact statements, and recommendations for treatment and services during incarceration. DOC (or the Federal Bureau of Prisons) houses offenders, implements and monitors their work responsibilities, makes educational and treatment activities available to them, and coordinates their release into the community with paroling authorities.81

Correctional treatment agents work in jails, prisons, or parole or probation agencies. In jails and prisons, they evaluate the progress of inmates. They also work with inmates, probation officers, and other agencies to develop parole and release plans. When offenders are eligible for release, agents provide case reports to parole boards.82

How Corrections Helps Victims

Victim service programs are found in state corrections' departments and the federal correctional system. Generally, these programs83

VINE—Victim Information and Notification Everyday

Victims of crime can use the VINE service to get information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders 24 hours a day. How?

  • Find offender information online through VINELink.
  • Register to be notified of changes in offender status by phone, e-mail, text message (SMS) or TTY device.
  • Register through a state or county toll-free number.


Parole is the early release of prisoners from prison with specific conditions that are designed to protect the safety of victims and the public. Despite these conditions, the parole system remains controversial. In 1982, The President's Task Force on Victims of Crime Final Report recommended that parole systems be eliminated; since then, the federal prison system and some state systems have eliminated parole.84 In Minnesota, for example, parole was replaced with sentencing guidelines.

Similar to probation, successful candidates for parole must agree to abide by certain rules, which commonly include the following:

Read on for information about—

What the Parole Board Does

The early release of inmates is determined by a parole board after offenders serve at least a minimum portion of their sentences as ordered by the sentencing judge. Parole boards consider factors such as the nature of the offense, prior criminal history, behavior during incarceration, and community support for and opposition to release.85

How It Helps Victims

Approximately half of the states have victim service programs located in state parole agencies. These programs help to inform victims about the parole process, their rights, and the status of parolees.

Victims may not realize that parole was available to their assailants; they want their attackers to serve the full sentence. Most importantly, victims frequently have legitimate fears of revictimization once their attackers are released. To this end, parole officials86


An Analysis of Risk Factors Contributing to the Recidivism of Sex Offenders on Probation
Identifies static and dynamic factors that predicted success or failure among adult sex offenders while on probation between 1997 and 1999.

Beyond the Prison Gates: The State of Parole in America
Presents a straightforward statistical depiction of the current state of three critical parole functions: the decision to release, the decision to supervise, and the decision to revoke. Using national- and state-level data, the paper describes changes in those functions over time.

Community Corrections Directions
Describes three new technologies to help probation and parole agents better manage their caseloads and detect and deter problem behaviors.

Global Positioning System (GPS) Technology for Community Supervision: Lessons Learned
Identifies the current practices of agencies that have been using GPS in their community supervision programs for various client types and purposes.

Managing Adult Sex Offenders in the Community—A Containment Approach
Presents the results of a national telephone survey that identified how probation and parole agencies manage adult sex offenders and describes a model management process for containing sex offenders who are serving community sentences.

Motivating Offenders to Change: A Guide for Probation and Parole
Instructs probation and parole officers and other correctional professionals in the principles of motivational interviewing and describes how to apply these principles in their professional interactions with offenders.

National Institute of Corrections
Provides training, technical assistance, information services, and policy and program development assistance to federal, state, and local corrections agencies. Its Web site includes a comprehensive selection of training materials and an online library search engine.

Parole System Anomie—Conflicting Models of Casework and Surveillance
Reviews the parole system, including prisoner reentry, casework, surveillance, public safety, and parole officer attitudes.

Probation Conditions Versus Probation Officer Directives—Where the Twain Shall Meet
Examines recent trends in case law that address the extent to which probation, parole, and other community-supervision personnel may impose additional or modified conditions of supervision.

Promising Victim-Related Practices and Strategies in Probation and Parole
Addresses ways probation and parole officers can balance the needs of offenders and victims.

Promoting Public Safety Using Effective Interventions With Offenders
Looks at principles of effective intervention and how these principles can be applied to controlling and changing offenders’ behavior.

Resources for Indian Country Jails: Selected Bibliography from the NIC Information Center Collection
Compiles information to assist Indian Country jails in their management of incarcerated offenders and those who will return to either a tribal or non-tribal community.

Training for Tracking
Describes a course offered through the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center that provides probation and parole officers with the tools and skills necessary to manage and monitor offenders' behavior on the Internet.

The Victim's Role in Offender Reentry: A Community Response Manual
Covers promising practices and strategies that address victims' rights, needs, and concerns when their attackers are released into the community. The handbook begins by addressing strategies for involving community members and victims in reentry partnerships.

Sex Offender Management Professionals

The purpose of sex offender management is to detect and deter offenders who fail to comply with the conditions of community supervision and, when necessary, revoke their probation, parole, or community supervision before they commit new assaults.87

This section reviews the following tasks:

Create Team Guidelines

To be effective, any management approach must include interagency and interdisciplinary teamwork and guidelines. For example—

You may want to consider incorporating some of the following goals and strategies from the Kansas coalition into your SART. Specifically, they include89

In addition to establishing interagency MOUs, developing sex offender protocols or guidelines will help you institutionalize sex offender management.

Assess Risk

Before your SART can manage specific sex offenders in your community, team members need to know the offenders' likelihood of committing subsequent sex crimes, circumstances in which offenders are least likely to reoffend, and ways to reduce the likelihood of subsequent offenses.90 Risk assessment can help you get there.

Risk assessments are used to meet a wide range of legal, forensic, and clinical purposes. "Treatment professionals use them to develop treatment plans or evaluate progress. Probation and parole personnel use them to establish suitability for community supervision, case management and intervention. The courts apply them for purposes of civil commitment or criminal sentencing. Law enforcement has adopted them for profiling, investigation or designation of sex offender risk levels for sex offender registration and community notification."91

This section briefly reviews categories of risk factors and just a few of the many uses of risk assessment:

Risk Factor Categories

Risk factors may be grouped into two general categories:92

Sex Offender Registration

Some jurisdictions use risk assessment to determine how convicted sex abusers will register as sex offenders in the system. In New York, for example, convicted sex offenders are assigned a risk level and must register as a sex offender, among other requirements (e.g., annual address verification, provision of updated photographs).93

The sentencing court generally determines an offender's risk level: low, moderate, or high. If the offender is incarcerated, the court determines risk level just before the offender is released from custody. The risk level governs the amount and type of community notification authorized for a particular sex offender. The sentencing court also may assign one of three designations to sex offenders: sexual predator, sexually violent offender, or predicate sex offender. These designations, along with the risk level, govern how long the offender must register as a sex offender, from 20 years to life.


Clinical assessments are used to diagnose psychological or psychiatric problems and provide comprehensive treatment plans for sex offenders.94 Before treatment providers create treatment plans, they may want to assess the following risk factors:95

Treatment providers may also be interested in assessing risk factors that change quickly. These factors could include offenders' moods, substance abuse, anger, and lack of cooperation with community supervision. "Although negative mood does not predict long-term recidivism, an acute worsening of mood is associated with increased recidivism risk. An offender who is chronically upset is at no greater risk than an offender who is generally happy, but both of these types of offenders become at increased risk when their mood deteriorates."96

Treatment and Recidivism

Although there is a debate about the extent to which treatment is effective in reducing recidivism risk, it is clear that those offenders who fail to complete treatment are higher risk than offenders who complete treatment programs.

Source: R. Karl Hanson, 2000, Risk Assessment Booklet, Beaverton, OR: Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.

Consider Polygraphs

Polygraph examination is used after conviction to motivate sex offenders to be truthful about their histories of sexual deviancy and to take responsibility for their offenses. Polygraphs also provide information on offenders' recent relapses and high-risk conduct.

The most common of these examinations follow:97

Jurisdictions that conduct post-conviction polygraph testing of sex offenders report that it is effective when used along with treatment and supervision.98


Community Notification and Collaboration

The Collaborative Approach to Sex Offender Management
Explores why collaboration is essential to the effective management of sex offenders and discusses the benefits and challenges of a collaborative approach. It also describes how jurisdictions can promote shared responsibility among key policymakers and practitioners for decisionmaking on offender management issues.

Community Notification and Education
Examines the differences in state laws regarding community notification and explores some innovative approaches to notification and education.

Engaging Advocates and Other Victim Service Providers in the Community Management of Sex Offenders
Encourages agencies managing sex offenders in the community to consider the benefits and feasibility of involving victim advocates and other victim service providers in their work.

Electronic Monitoring and Polygraphs

Electronic Monitoring of Sex Offenders: 2006 Report to the Legislature
Describes the advantages and disadvantages of global positioning systems, types of sex offenders subject to monitoring, when offenders are subject to monitoring, and costs of monitoring.

GPS Monitoring of High-Risk Sex Offenders: Description of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's San Diego County Pilot Program
Reviews a California pilot program that electronically monitors sex offenders.

How Is the Post-Conviction Polygraph Examination Used in Adult Sex Offender Management Activities?
Addresses the use of polygraph examinations in the management of adult sex offenders.


Case Studies on the Center for Sex Offender Management's National Resource Sites
Highlights unique strategies that have been implemented to effectively manage sex offenders under community supervision.

Community Supervision of Sex Offenders
Recommends improvements in supervision and treatment of and housing for sex offenders living in Minnesota.

Community Supervision of the Sex Offender: An Overview of Current and Promising Practices
Discusses practices and lessons learned in communities throughout the country.

Enhancing the Management of Adult and Juvenile Sex Offenders—A Handbook for Policymakers and Practitioners
Reviews sex offender management, the framework and steps for multidisciplinary responses, and recommendations for collecting and monitoring data.

Glossary of Terms Used in the Management and Treatment of Sexual Offenders
Offers definitions that reflect conventionally accepted language in the field of sex offender management.

Identifying Resources for Managing Sex Offenders
Lists resources related to sex offender management.

The Impact of Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders and Correctional Management Practices: A Literature Review
Reviews the impact offender residency restrictions on criminal justice management practices and sex offender treatment programs.

The Importance of Assessment in Sex Offender Management: An Overview of Key Principles and Practices
Discusses the role that assessments play in ensuring informed and effective management of sex offenders.

Managing Adult Sex Offenders in the Community—A Containment Approach
Details how probation and parole agencies manage adult sex offenders.

Managing Sex Offenders: Citizens Supporting Law Enforcement
Explores legislation related to tracking and monitoring sex offenders, identifies the challenges faced by law enforcement, and examines the role that citizens play in assisting law enforcement in these efforts.

Managing Sex Offenders in the Community: A Handbook to Guide Policymakers and Practitioners through a Planning and Implementation Process
Helps policymakers and practitioners assess and strengthen their approaches to managing adult and juvenile sex offenders.

An Overview of Sex Offender Management
Describes the characteristics of adult and juvenile sex offenders and their offenses, the impact of sexual assault on victims, and the key components to the effective management of sex offenders under community supervision.

Public Opinion and the Criminal Justice System: Building Support for Sex Offender Management Programs
Addresses the importance of the public as a partner in the criminal justice system's response to sex offenders.

Time to Work: Managing the Employment of Sex Offenders Under Community Supervision
Discusses sex offender employment, including assessing potential job placements, approaches to job searches, making sound job placement decisions, developing relationships with employers, and monitoring sex offenders' job-related activities.

Training Curricula, Center for Sex Offender Management
Includes modules on understanding sex offenders, supervision of sex offenders, overview of sex offender treatment, management of juvenile sex offenders, role of victim and victim advocates in managing sex offenders, community education about sex offender management, and secondary trauma in the management of sex offenders.


Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children And Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act
Reviews the Jacob Wetterling Act and provides background information on the Act and its amendments, frequently asked questions, a checklist, final guidelines for the Act, and proposed guidelines for the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act.

No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the US
Serves as the first comprehensive study of U.S. sex offender policies, their public safety impact, and their effect on former offenders and their families.

State Crime Legislation in 2005, 2006
Summarizes state crime legislation for the years specified; includes information related to sex offenders.

Sex Offender Community Notification: Assessing the Impact in Wisconsin
Describes the effects of Wisconsin's community notification statute that authorizes officials to alert residents about sex offenders released into their communities.


Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers
Promotes evidence-based practice, public policy, and community strategies to help assess, treat, and manage sexual abusers. Its Web site provides public policy information, publications on standards of treatment, and a code of ethics.

California Coalition on Sexual Offending
Represents professionals who work with sexual abusers (e.g., law enforcement, community services). Its Web site links to conference information, research, public policy, guidelines, and other resources.

Center for Sex Offender Management
Acts as an information exchange and provides training and technical assistance to those who work in sex offender management. Its Web site provides a comprehensive selection of sex offender documents, including curricula.

Colorado Sex Offender Management Board
Develops standards and guidelines for managing adult and juvenile sex offenders. Its Web site includes links to reports, research and training materials, reference guides, sample safety plans and forms, protocols, and a list of additional links.

The National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth
Covers guidelines, research, and clinical articles on adolescent sex offenders.

Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking
Offers states guidance regarding the implementation of the Adam Walsh Act, provides technical assistance, tracks legislative and legal developments related to sex offenders, and administers grant programs.

The Safer Society Foundation
Supports the Safer Society Press, which publishes books on all aspects of sex offending. Also supports the Nationwide Sex Offender Treatment Referral Service, which provides treatment referrals for juvenile and adult sex offenders throughout the United States.

San Diego County Sex Offender Management Council
Includes a coalition of professionals in the criminal justice system that developed standards to improve the evaluation, treatment, and supervision of sex offenders and now meets regularly to discuss emerging issues. Its Web site links to treatment and education information and training events.

Protocols and Protocol Development

Arizona Standards and Guidelines for the Effective Management of Adult Sex Offenders on Probation
Describes standards and guidelines related to pre-sentence investigations. treatment providers, offenders on probation, polygraphs, and other issues.

Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers Professional Code of Ethics
Includes ethical principles and rules and procedures.

Community Management of Convicted Sex Offenders: Registration, Electronic Monitoring, Civil Commitment, Mandatory Minimums, and Residency Restrictions (Word)
Serves as a policy statement on the management of sex offenders.

The Comprehensive Assessment Protocol: A Systemwide Review of Adult and Juvenile Sex Offender Management Strategies
Assists jurisdictions with understanding and assessing sex offender policies and practices.

Effective Management of Sex Offenders Residing in Open Communities
Includes components of sex offender containment approaches, collaborative partnerships, treatment standards, surveillance, and public policy perspectives.

New York State Sex Offender Registry and the Sex Offender Registration Act
Describes sex offender risk levels, which govern the amount and type of community notification authorized for sex offenders.  

San Diego Sex Offender Treatment Standards
Provides standards of practice for treatment providers and information on establishing interagency community supervision teams.

Standards and Guidelines for the Assessment, Evaluation, Treatment and Behavioral Monitoring of Adult Sex Offenders
Establishes a basis for systematic management and treatment of adult sex offenders.

Standards and Guidelines for the Evaluation, Assessment, Treatment, and Supervision of Juveniles Who Have Committed Sexual Offenses
Provides information on victims, standards of practice for treatment providers, qualifications of providers, multidisciplinary teams, conditions of community supervision, and polygraph examinations.


An Analysis of Risk Factors Contributing to the Recidivism of Sex Offenders on Probation
Seeks to identify static and dynamic factors that predict success or failure among adult sex offenders while on probation.

Recidivism of Sex Offenders
Examines critical issues in measuring the rate of recidivism, factors associated with recidivism, and the impact of interventions on reoffending rates.

Sex Offender Recidivism: A Simple Question
Examines research on sex offender recidivism.


Managing the Challenges of Sex Offender Reentry
Describes a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to managing sex offenders who are released from prison into the community.

Provides information, technical assistance, and resources on prisoner reentry.

The Victim's Role in Offender Reentry: A Community Response Model
Addresses strategies for involving community members and victims in reentry partnerships. Chapters include setting the stage for addressing victim needs and issues in offender reentry, strategies for involving community members and victims in reentry partnerships, and promising collaborative reentry practices.


50 State Survey On Sex Offender Registry
Provides sexual assault statute citations, the types of sex offenses requiring registrations, and the agencies responsible for maintaining sex offender registries.

Crimes Against Children: Sex Offender Registries, by State
Lists online sex offender registries by state.

Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website
Allows users to submit a single national query to obtain information about sex offenders throughout the Nation.

Sex Offender Registration: Policy Overview and Comprehensive Practices
Describes policy issues related to sex offender registration.

Sex Offender Registries as a Tool for Public Safety: Views from Registered Offenders
Explores the use and effectiveness of sex offender registries.

Summary of Procedures and Practices Regarding Sex Offender Registration
Lists sex offender registration practices in San Diego County.

Summary of State Sex Offender Registries
Summarizes information on the status of sex offender registries in the 50 states and the District of Columbia as they operated in February 2001.


Sex Offender Treatment Programs
Examines the implementation and effectiveness of treatment programs for sex offenders in state and private facilities.

Understanding Treatment for Adults and Juveniles Who Have Committed Sex Offenses
Reviews research, professional literature, and practice trends relative to treatment for sexually abusive individuals.


Key Terms

Advocates: Community-based advocates may have privileged communications with victims governed by state statute. Government-based advocates (e.g., court, prosecutor, law enforcement) generally do not have privileged communications with victims. Both community- and government-based advocates support victims by promoting their rights and assisting with their emotional, physical, psychological, economic, and spiritual needs.

Alternative/Traditional Healers (Folk Healers): "An individual recognized by a cultural group or tradition with the authority and power to perform rituals, ceremonies, or utilize medicinal substances for physical and spiritual healing."99

Anonymous Report: Anonymous reports (also known as blind reports or Jane Doe reports) allow victims to report sexual assaults without sacrificing confidentiality or filing complaints, and they enable investigators to learn about crimes that would otherwise go unreported.100 Some law enforcement departments and state laws mandate the use a pseudonym such as Jane Doe; other states collect evidence and make an anonymous report via tracking numbers.

Chain of Custody: The handling of evidence to ensure its integrity. Chain of custody must be maintained for the evidence to be admissible in court.

Combined DNA Index System (CODIS): The Federal Bureau of Investigation's CODIS blends forensic science and computer technology into a tool for solving violent crimes. It enables federal, state, and local crime laboratories to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking crimes to each other and to convicted offenders.

Colposcope: An instrument with a light source and magnifying lens for direct observations and study of tissues. It may have a camera or other recording devices attached.

Crisis Hotline: A telephone line that has been dedicated (either local or toll free) for the purpose of providing 24-hour support and assistance to sexual assault victims and their friends and families.

Dispatcher: Public safety dispatchers (also known as emergency dispatchers and 911 operators) receive calls from individuals who need law enforcement, firefighter, or emergency medical assistance. Depending on the jurisdiction, dispatchers can be civilians or law enforcement officers.

Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault: Generally used to define situations in which victims are subject to nonconsensual sexual acts while they are incapacitated or unconscious due to the effects of alcohol and other drugs and are therefore unable to give consent.

Emergency Medical Technician: An emergency responder trained to provide emergency medical services to the critically ill and injured. (See also Paramedic.)

Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act: This act requires hospital emergency departments to provide any individual coming to their premises with a medical screening exam to determine if an emergency condition or active pregnancy labor is present. If so, the hospital must supply either stabilization prior to transferring the patient or a certification (signed by the physician) that the transfer is appropriate.

Evidence Integrity: "Properly collecting, preserving, and maintaining the chain of custody of evidence" for use in criminal justice proceedings.101

Exam Facility: The site at which the forensic medical exam is performed, which, in most cases, is an emergency care facility (e.g., hospital). Other possibilities include clinics, community-based agencies, mobile units, law enforcement agencies, health clinics, local health departments, military hospitals/clinics, and college/university health service centers.102

Expert Witness: A witness with a specialized knowledge of a subject who is allowed to discuss an event and render an opinion in court even though he or she was not present during the sexual assault.

First Responder: A service provider who initially responds to a disclosure of a sexual assault. A wide range of potential responders may be involved, such as emergency medical technicians, law enforcement, community-based advocates, protective service workers, prosecutors, victim/witness staff, private physicians, staff from local health care facilities, mental health providers, social service workers, spiritual counselors or advisors, school personnel, employers, certified interpreters, and staff from community-based, culturally specific organizations.

Forensic Laboratory: City, county, state, federal, or private entities that analyze evidence collected during sexual assault investigations and report their findings to local, state, tribal, or federal governmental agencies.

Forensic Scientist: For purposes of the toolkit, "a forensic scientist is responsible for analyzing evidence in sexual assault cases. This evidence typically includes DNA and other biological evidence, toxicology samples, latent prints, and trace evidence. Some forensic scientists specialize in the analysis of specific types of evidence. . . . Scientists working in jurisdictional forensic laboratories are often referred to as [forensic laboratory personnel.] Forensic scientists analyzing drug and alcohol samples are also referred to as ‘toxicologists.'"103

Health Care Providers: These providers assess patients for acute medical needs; provide stabilization, treatment, and/or consultation; and may perform sexual assault forensic medical exams. In addition to sexual assault nurse examiners, other health care providers may help victims of sexual assault, including emergency medical technicians, hospital staff, gynecologists, surgeons, private physicians, and  local, tribal, campus, or military health services personnel.104

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA protects the security and privacy of patients' health information.

Indian Health Service: The federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that is responsible for providing health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives in accord with the federal trust responsibility.

Intervention: Advocacy or support services following victimization.

Juvenile Sex Offender: Any person under the age of consent who has sexually abused or molested another person (adult or juvenile).

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations: In 1992, this commission required health care facilities to have protocols on rape as well as other violent trauma. The initial standards were revised in 1997 to reflect the requirement that health care facilities develop criteria and teach staff how to recognize and respond to violent trauma, including sexual assault.

Judge Advocate: Judge advocates are military personnel who work in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps and deal with legal issues in the military.

Jurisdiction: "A community that has power to govern or legislate for itself" (e.g., locality, state,  territory, tribal land, campus, military installation, national/state park).105

Law Enforcement: Many SART jurisdictions have more than one law enforcement authority that can respond to sexual assault, including city or county police, sheriff offices, highway patrol, park rangers, state police, tribal police, criminal investigators from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, military police, campus police or security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Legal Advocacy: Advocacy support and assistance through the criminal and civil justice process.

Medical Advocacy: Medical advocates support sexual assault victims through the evidence collection process, treatment of physical injuries, filing of compensation paperwork, and followup health care services (e.g., HIV/AIDS testing).

Mental Health: An individual's emotional and psychological well-being. According to the World Health Organization, there is not an official definition of mental health. In general, most experts agree that mental health and mental illness are not opposites. In other words, the absence of a recognized mental disorder is not necessarily an indicator of mental health.

Military Victim Advocate: Military personnel, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees, DoD contractors, or volunteers who facilitate care for victims of sexual assault under the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, and who, on behalf of the sexual assault victim, refer victims to other organizations and agencies on victim care matters. Military victim advocates report directly to the sexual assault response coordinator when performing victim advocacy duties.

Paramedic: A highly trained  medical professional who responds to medical and trauma emergencies in the pre-hospital setting, and stabilizes a patient's condition before and during transportation to an appropriate medical facility, usually by ambulance. Paramedics most often will transport patients to an emergency department but a treat-and-release practice can occur. (See also Emergency Medical Technician.)

Parole: The release of a prisoner whose term has not expired on condition of sustained lawful behavior that is subject to regular monitoring by an officer of the law for a set period.

Probation: A court-ordered disposition through which an adjudicated offender is placed under the control, supervision, and care of the Department of Corrections for a specified period.

Prosecutor: A governmental trial lawyer who investigates and tries criminal cases. Prosecutors are typically known as a district attorney, state's attorney, or United States attorney.

Pseudonym: In general, a pseudonym is an artificial name. Some jurisdictions have enacted laws allowing victims to use pseudonyms on all legal and medical documents to protect their anonymity.

Public Health: Public health addresses the physical, mental, and environmental health concerns of communities and populations at risk for disease and injury. Literally, public health officials analyze, monitor, treat, educate, research, manage, and enforce health policies for the public.

Rape Crisis Center: A center that provides crisis intervention services that typically include hotlines, counseling, advocacy, referrals to community services, support for secondary victims, and educational programs.

Restricted Reporting: A process used by military members to report sexual assaults to specified officials on a confidential basis.

Restitution: Repayment of damages by offenders, as ordered by the court.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE): A registered nurse or nurse practitioner who has completed advanced, specialized training and provides comprehensive care, timely collection of forensic evidence, and testimony to support legal proceedings of sexual assault cases. Other terms used by states include sexual assault forensic examiner, sexual assault examiner, sexual assault nurse clinician, and forensic nurse examiner.

SANE Program: A sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) program reflects the concepts of sustained and coordinated response. A SANE program should have more than two nurses to maintain 24-hour coverage and usually has a lead person or coordinator to oversee policies and operations, participate in community efforts, and further develop the program. A SANE program actively participates in a multidisciplinary approach with co-responding agencies.

Sexual Assault Response Team (SART): A multidisciplinary team of individuals working collaboratively to provide a coordinated community response to sexual assault victims. Members usually include rape crisis and/or victim advocates, health care professionals, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and crime lab personnel. Teams may have additional members to reflect the unique needs of a community. SARTs provide a competent response to sexual assault victims and increase reporting and conviction of sexual assault within the community. Some states use the SART model to respond to each sexual assault patient; in others, members meet periodically (e.g., monthly, quarterly) to review and discuss logistics, training, and personnel issues.

Secondary Victims: Parents, intimate partners, children, friends, and colleagues of sexual assault victims who are directly affected by the assault and who may need services.

Sexual Assault: Sexual contact without the other person's consent, committed by one or more persons. (See also What Is Sexual Assault in this toolkit.)

Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examiners: Health care providers who examine victims of sexual assault and collect evidence of the assault.

Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examination: During these exams, a victim's medical history is gathered, the victim is examined and treated, results are documented, and evidence is collected. Examiners also treat for sexually transmitted infections, assess pregnancy risk, discuss treatment options (e.g., reproductive health services), and provide instructions and referrals for followup care.106

Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit: These kits are used in collecting evidence from victims of sexual assault and can be created from scratch or purchased already made. At a minimum, they should contain the "kit container, instruction sheet and/or checklist, forms, and materials for collecting and preserving all evidence required by the applicable crime laboratory."107

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC): SARCs serve as the central point of contact at a military installation or within a geographic area to ensure that appropriate care is coordinated and provided to victims of sexual assault.

Sex Offender Management: A psycho-educational and management program that includes mandatory participation by offenders. Sex offender management includes risk assessment, modus operandi documentation, relapse prevention plans, post-incarceration planning, and community containment. Parole and treatment agencies usually collaborate to track and monitor sex offenders.

Support Group: A therapeutic or educational setting that brings together victims in a group setting for the purpose of learning from each other and growing through the healing process/recovery.

Telemedicine: The delivery of medicine at a distance (e.g., via telephone, video-conferencing equipment).

Toxicologist: A scientifically trained individual who analyzes drugs and alcohol in the system.

Triage and Intake: Triage is the process of sorting people by their level of need for medical care. During triage and intake, health care providers should consider sexual assault victims a priority, provide sensitive and timely medical care before collecting evidence, contact victim advocates, assess victim safety, and assess further medical needs.108

Unrestricted Reporting: The U.S. Department of Defense defines unrestricted reporting as a process through which a sexual assault victim's disclosure is reported to law enforcement to initiate an official investigation.

Victim-Witness Assistant: A government-based advocate who assists victims in the criminal justice process and provides referrals to community-based services.

Victim Compensation: With VOCA funding (administered through OVC), U.S. state agencies and territories have established victim compensation programs to reimburse crime victims. (See State Compensation Web Sites and Directory of International Crime Victim Compensation Programs for more information.)

Underserved Populations: Individuals who do not receive adequate information, services, education, or support following sexual assault. These individuals may include but are not limited to populations underserved because of geographic location, racial and ethnic background, or individuals with specific needs (e.g., language barriers, disabilities, immigration status, age).

Uniform Code of Military Justice: The foundation of military law in the United States.

Organizations and Programs

ADA Technical Assistance Program
Provides free information and technical assistance directly to businesses, nonprofit service providers, state and local governments, people with disabilities, and the public.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Works to prevent and control disease, injury, and disability. Its Web site provides an index for information on various health issues, including information and resources on disabilities. Also offers a free e-mail subscription service.

The DNA Initiative
Provides funding, training, and assistance to ensure that forensic DNA reaches its full potential for solving crimes, protecting the innocent, and identifying missing persons. The initiative's Web site provides information and resources for laboratory personnel, advocates, law enforcement, and prosecutors and online training for law enforcement, officers of the court, and prosecutors handling cases involving DNA.

Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse
Supports research, education, and access to information related to violence. Its Web site provides a comprehensive selection of sexual violence publications and training resources.

National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women
Provides expert training on the prosecution of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Its Web site links to a prosecution toolkit, state statutes, an overview of national reporting requirements, newsletters and publications, and a subscription service.

National Center for Victims of Crime
Advocates for passage of laws and public policies that create resources and secure rights and protections for crime victims, delivers training and technical assistance to victim service providers, and provides resource centers on stalking, resilience, teen violence, and dating violence.

National Conference of State Legislators
Conducts research and provides technical assistance to policymakers. 

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Serves as the Nation's principle information and resource center regarding all aspects of sexual violence. The center provides national leadership, consultation, and technical assistance by generating and facilitating the development and flow of information on sexual violence intervention and prevention strategies. Its Web site links to events, publications, and special projects and operates the National SART Listserv.

Office for Victims of Crime
Enhances the Nation's capacity to assist crime victims and provides leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims. Its Web site links to publications, grants and funding, Web forums, training and technical assistance information, research and statistics, and information for international victims.

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)
Leads the national effort in combating rape, abuse, and incest and operates a national hotline at 800–656–HOPE and an online hotline.

Security on Campus, Inc.
Works to prevent crime on campus. Its Web site provides a forum for sharing information about college and university campus crime safety and security issues.

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Technical Assistance
Provides technical assistance related to sexual assault medical forensic examinations.

Victim Rights Law Center
Advocates for sexual assault victims' legal rights within the civil, academic, and criminal justice systems. Free legal services are available to help victims with physical safety, housing, education, immigration, financial compensation, and victims' rights.

Witness Justice
Assists victims of crime and their families and friends and provides training and information to service providers, Its Web site provides information on survivor resources, advocacy, justice systems, accessing experts, and resources for service providers. Witness Justice also hosts a National Service Provider Listserv.


Advocating for Women in the Criminal Justice System in Cases of Rape, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
Provides information for advocates working on behalf of female victims of rape, domestic violence, and child abuse as they navigate through the criminal justice system.

Evidence Collection and Care of the Sexual Assault Survivor: The SANE-SART Response
Reviews sexual assault nurse examiner/sexual assault forensic examiner programs and their collaboration within SARTs.

Handbook on Justice for Victims
Outlines the basic steps in developing comprehensive assistance services for victims of crime.

National Victim Assistance Academy Textbook, Chapter 10: Sexual Assault
Defines sexual assault and describes key characteristics of sexual assault cases, the mental and physical health consequences of sexual violence and how these consequences affect the need for reporting, roles and responsibilities of criminal or juvenile justice system professionals, management of sex offenders in the community, and promising practices that address victims' needs.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Programs: Improving the Community Response to Sexual Assault Victims
Reviews the need for and impact of SANE programs.


Elder Abuse Listserve
Provides a free forum for raising questions, discussing issues, and sharing information and best practices.

HELP for Victim Service Providers
Enables victim service providers and allied professionals to share ideas, suggestions, and recommendations concerning promising practices, best practices, and victim issues.

National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women
Provides an easily accessible and comprehensive collection of full-text, searchable electronic resources on domestic violence, sexual violence, and related issues.

OVC Directory of Crime Victim Services
Helps service providers and individuals locate non-emergency crime victim services in the United States and abroad. Providers can search by location, type of victimization, service needed, or agency type.
Serves as an online discussion group where local, state, national, and tribal agencies and organizations discuss how to develop, implement, and evaluate effective violence against women prevention initiatives.

The Sexual Assault Program Coordinators Listserv
Serves as a listserv for university/college staff or faculty who are primarily responsible for handling issues of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Sexual Violence Legal News Online
Alerts service providers to the latest changes in relevant law because of court decisions.
Law students involved in this project summarize new cases; the summaries are then sent to subscribers throughout the country as e-mail alerts and are kept online in a searchable database.

Sexual Violence Research Initiative Listserv
Announces sexual violence related research and resources.

Provides searchable databases for victims' rights laws nationally. Searches are available by topic, citation, and keyword terms. The Web site also provides an overview of victims' rights, a legal glossary, and an overview of the justice system.

VINELink (Victim Information and Notification Everyday)
Allows victims of crime to search for information regarding their attackers' custody status and to register to receive telephone and e-mail notification when custody status changes.

Weekly Accessions List, National Criminal Justice Reference Service
Lets service providers know about new materials added to the NCJRS Abstracts Database.


1 International Association of Chiefs of Police, 2000, What Do Victims Want? Effective Strategies to Achieve Justice for Victims of Crime, Alexandria, VA: International Association of Chiefs of Police.

2 Communication with Karla Vierthaler, MPA Outreach Coordinator, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, nd.

3 Center for Sex Offender Management, nd, "Section 3: Working With Sexual Assault Victim Advocates," The Role of the Victim and Victim Advocate in Managing Sex Offenders, Training Curriculum, Silver Spring, MD: Center for Sex Offender Management.

4 Winona County Protocol.

5 Florida Network of Victim Witness Services, Code of Professional Ethics for Florida Victim Witness Service Providers. Accessed May 28, 2010.

6 Center for Sex Offender Management, nd, "Section 3: Working With Sexual Assault Victim Advocates."

7 San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team, 2001, San Diego County Sexual Assault Response Team: Standards of Practice, San Diego, CA: Division of Emergency Medical Services, San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team.

8 Oregon Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force, 2006, The Oregon SART Handbook, Version II, Salem, OR: Oregon Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force.

9 Adapted from Arizona Attorney General's Office, 2001, Recommended Guidelines For A Coordinated Community Response To Sexual Assault, Phoenix, AZ: Arizona Attorney General's Office; and Terry Mutchler and Lyn Schollett, nd, "From Trauma To Trial: Advocating Effectively In The Criminal Justice System," Chicago, IL and Springfield, IL: Office of the Illinois Attorney General and the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

10 California Penal Code, Part I, Title 17: 679.04.

11 OVC web forum discussion regarding victims of sexual assault, April 27, 2005. (Search for "Rights of Sexual Assault Victims" in topic field.)

12 Communication with Martha Wescott, Director, Kitsap Sexual Assault Center, nd.

13 Oregon Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force, 2002, SART Handbook, Version 1, Salem, OR: Oregon Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force.

14 UCLA Medical Center, 2000, Who May Give An Informed Consent, Policy 1001, Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Medical Center.

15 Office on Violence Against Women, 2004, A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

16 Ibid.

17 Ibid.

18 Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2002, Draft of the Massachusetts's SANE Program Protocols, Boston, MA: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Department of Public Health, Bureau of Family and Community Health.

19 Massachusetts SANE Protocol, Section 1.3.

20 San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team, San Diego County Sexual Assault Response Team: Standards of Practice.

21 Rebecca Campbell, 2004, The Effectiveness of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Programs, Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet.

22 See the Crime Victims Treatment Center Web site for more information.

23 New York State Department of Health, 2004, Protocol for the Acute Care of the Adult Patient Reporting Sexual Assault, Albany, NY: New York State Department of Health.

24 California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 2000, California Sexual Assault Response Team Manual, Sacramento, CA: California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

25 North Dakota Office of the Attorney General, North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services/Coalition Against Sexual Assault in North Dakota, and Otto Bremer Foundation, 2005, North Dakota Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Protocol, 4th edition, Bismark, ND: North Dakota Office of the Attorney General, North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services/Coalition Against Sexual Assault in North Dakota; St. Paul, MN: Otto Bremer Foundation, 30.

26 Office on Violence Against Women, 2004, "Section C, Chapter 10: Discharge and Followup," A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

27 American College Health Association, 2007, ACHA Guidelines: Position Statement on Preventing Sexual Violence on College and University Campuses, Linthicum, MD: American College Health Association, 2.

28 John W. Gillis, former OVC Director, and Sarah V. Hart, former Director of the National Institute of Justice, as quoted in Dean G. Kilpatrick, 2003, "April's Journal of Traumatic Stress Collaborates with OVC and NIJ to Focus on Violent Crime Research," Traumatic Stress Points 17(2).

29 Rebecca Campbell, 1998, "The Community Response to Rape: Victims’ Experiences with the Legal, Medical, and Mental Health Systems," American Journal of Community Psychology 26(3): 355–379.

30 Adapted from Centre for International Crime Prevention, 1999, Handbook on Justice for Victims, New York, NY: United Nations for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, 108.

31 Adapted from Office for Victims of Crime, 2002, "Chapter 6, Section 1: Trauma Assessment and Intervention," National Victim Assistance Academy Textbook, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime.

32 Office on Violence Against Women, nd, "What the Health and Mental Health Care Systems Can Do To Make a Difference," Toolkit to End Violence Against Women, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

33 Arizona Attorney General's Office, Recommended Guidelines For A Coordinated Community Response To Sexual Assault, 17–18.

34 Patrick Speck, 2006, "Sexual Assault Response Teams," Help for Victim Service Providers (OVC Web Forum).

35 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nd, Local Public Health System Performance Standards, Washington, DC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.

36 More than half of all rape prosecutions are either dismissed before trial or result in an acquittal. Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1993, Violence Against Women— The Response to Rape: Detours on the Road to Equal Justice, Washington, DC: Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to data gleaned from the 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey, less than 10 percent of all perpetrators of rape and sexual assault will be convicted of a felony offense.

37 Such needs are generally placed at the periphery of the legal response to rape or are conceptualized as personal rather than legal problems. This difference between what victims seek and what the criminal justice system offers likely accounts for some of the failures of rape law reform during the past 30 years. Because the criminal justice system offers remedies consistent with higher level needs and fails to offer solutions for more basic needs, it makes sense that many victims don't make criminal complaints immediately after being assaulted. See generally Pearl Goldman and Leslie Larkin Cooney, 1999, "Beyond Core Skills and Values: Integrating Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Preventative Law into Law School Curriculum," Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 5(4): 1123–1146.

38 Leslye Orloff, Deeana Jang, and Catherine F. Klein, 1995, "With No Place to Turn: Improving Legal Advocacy for Battered Immigrant Women," Family Law Quarterly 29(2): 313, 315. See also Orloff et al., Empowering survivors: Legal rights of immigrant victims of sexual assault (anticipated publication, Legal Momentum).

39 Ibid.

40 See Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182 (2003).

41 Office for Victims of Crime, 2009, 2009 OVC Report to the Nation, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, 26.

42 See, e.g., Frizado v. Frizado, 651 N.E.2d 1206, 1211 (Mass. 1995) (describing legislative purpose in creating lay-friendly procedures).

43 Bonnie S. Fisher, Francis T. Cullen, and Michael G. Turner, 2000, The Sexual Victimization of College Women, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Institute of Justice, 11.

44 T.C. Davis, G.Q. Peck, and J.M. Storment, 1993, "Acquaintance Rape and the High School Student," Journal of Adolescent Health 14: 220–224.

45 See, e.g., 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f) (2002) (codifying Clery Act campus security policy and campus crime statistics disclosure requirement).

46 See Mullins v. Pine Manor Coll., 449 N.E.2d 331, 337 (Mass. 1983) (colleges must act to use reasonable care to prevent injury to their students by third persons, whether their acts were accidental, negligent, or intentional).

47 See generally Robin R. Runge, Rebecca Smith, and Richard W. McHugh, 2002, "Unemployment Insurance and Domestic Violence: Learning From Our Experiences," Seattle Journal for Social Justice 1(2): 503.

48 See 29 C.F.R. § 825.114 (2004); Robin R. Runge, Marcellene E. Hearn, and Spenta R. Cama, 2001, "Domestic Violence as a Barrier to Employment," Clearinghouse Review 34: 552, 554.

49 See, e.g., Ind. Code § 22–4–15–1(1)(C)(8) (an individual who voluntarily leaves employment or who is discharged "due to circumstances directly caused by domestic or family violence [including stalking or a sex offense]" will not be disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance); Or. Rev. Stat. § 657.176 (an individual who is a victim, or a parent or guardian of a minor child who is a victim, of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking may not be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if the individual leaves the workplace or avoids an available workplace to protect the individual or minor child from further domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking at the workplace or elsewhere).

50 151A Mass. Gen. Laws § 25(e) (2004).

51 See Ellen M. Bublick, 1999, "Citizen No-Duty Rules: Rape Victims and Comparative Fault," Columbia Law Review 99(6): 1428 (describing comparative apportionment approach to assigning fault in civil rape actions).

52 John W. Gillis and Douglas Beloof, 2002, "The Next Step for a Maturing Victim Rights Movement: Enforcing Crime Victims Rights in the Courts," McGeorge Law Review 33: 690 (summarizing trends supporting crime victims' rights).

53 See generally Douglas Beloof, 1999, "The Third Model of Criminal Process: The Victim Participation Model," Utah Law Review 1999: 289.

54 See Gillis and Beloof, "The Next Step for a Maturing Victim Rights Movement: Enforcing Crime Victims Rights in the Courts," 695 (discussing adequacy of prosecutorial enforcement). Because conflicts between victims and prosecutors are commonplace, prosecutorial enforcement alone is inadequate. See also Commonwealth v. Oliviera, 780 N.E.2d 453, 457 (Mass. 2002); Commonwealth v. Neumyer, 731 N.E.2d 1053, 1058 (Mass. 2000).

55 See generally Lois Kanter, 2005, "Invisible Clients: Exploring Our Failure to Provide Civil Legal Services to Rape Victims," 38 Suffolk University Law Review 38(2): 253.

56 Office for Victims of Crime, 1998, New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime.

57 San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team, 2001, San Diego County Sexual Assault Response Team: Standard of Practice, San Diego, CA: San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team, Division of Emergency Medical Services, 13.

58 Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, and, Police Response to Crimes of Sexual Violence, Enola, PA: Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

59 San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team, San Diego County Sexual Assault Response Team: Standard of Practice, 10–12.

60 Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, 1996, Model Guidelines and Sex Crimes Investigations Manual for Illinois Law Enforcement, Springfield, IL: Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board.

61 Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, Police Response to Crimes of Sexual Violence.

62 Ibid.

63 Arizona Attorney General's Office, Recommended Guidelines For A Coordinated Community Response To Sexual Assault, 17.

64 Telephone call with Jennifer Myers, Cleveland FBI, November 15, 2007.

65 See the National Park Service Web site for more information about park rangers and U.S. park police.

66 Communication with Detective Oergle, Cleveland Metro Park Rangers, February 7, 2007.

67 California Campus Sexual Assault Task Force, 2004, California Campus Blueprint to Address Sexual Assault, Rancho Cordova, CA: Governor's Office of Emergency Services, 26–30.

68 Georgia Statute 15–24–2(e).

69 National Congress of American Indians, nd, Law Enforcement and Tribal Courts, Washington, DC: National Congress of American Indians.

70 Lois Pilant, 1993, Forensic Science: Bringing New Technology Into the Crime Lab, Alexandria, VA: International Association of Chiefs of Police.

71 Ibid, 6.

72 Electronic correspondence with Alice Vachss, November 2007.

73 American Bar Association, "Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor," rule 3.8(a), Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

74 Ibid.

75 See, for example, National District Attorneys Association, 1991, National Prosecution Standards, Alexandria, VA: National District Attorneys Association. (Available as a free download to NDAA members; see the Publications page.)

76 Dawn Beichner and Cassia Spohn, 2005, "Prosecutorial Charging Decisions in Sexual Assault Cases: Examining the Impact of a Specialized Prosecution Unit," Criminal Justice Policy Review 16(4): 496.

77 California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, California Sexual Assault Response Team Manual, 72.

78 Office for Victims of Crime, 2002, "Chapter 2, Section 2: Dynamics of the Criminal Justice System," National Victim Assistance Academy Textbook, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime.

79 Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009, "Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists," Occupational Outlook Handbook, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

80 Office for Victims of Crime, "Chapter 2, Section 2: Dynamics of the Criminal Justice System."

81 Ibid.

82 Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists."

83 Office for Victims of Crime, "Chapter 2, Section 2: Dynamics of the Criminal Justice System."

84 Janet E. Fine, 2000, Victim Issues for Parole Boards, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, 1.

85 Fine, Victim Issues for Parole Boards, 6.

86 Office for Victims of Crime, "Chapter 2, Section 2: Dynamics of the Criminal Justice System."

87 California Coalition On Sexual Offending, 2001, Effective Management Of Sex Offenders Residing In Open Communities, Orange, CA: California Coalition On Sexual Offending.

88 County of Santa Clara Office of the Sheriff, 2007, "Accept Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team Program Grant," San Jose, CA: County of Santa Clara Office of the Sheriff; Office of the Governor, 2005, Governor Doyle Announces Sex Offender Apprehension and Felony Enforcement Initiative, Madison, WI: Office of the Governor.

89 Stacey Mann, 2005, "KCSDV: Our Experience in the Collaboration of Sex Offender Management," Reshape Newsletter, the Newsletter of the Sexual Assault Coalition Resource Sharing Project 16.

90 Center for Sex Offender Management, 2001, Recidivism of Sex Offenders, Silver Spring, MD: Center for Sex Offender Management.

91 Andrew J. Harris, 2006, "Risk Assessment and Sex Offender Community Supervision: A Context-Specific Framework," Federal Probation 70(2).

92 Center for Sex Offender Management, Recidivism of Sex Offenders.

93 See New York State's Division of Criminal Justice Services' Sex Offender Management Web page for more information.

94 Center for Sex Offender Management, 2002, An Overview of Sex Offender Management, Silver Spring, MD: Center for Sex Offender Management, 1.

95 R. Karl Hanson, 2000, Risk Assessment, Beaverton, OR: Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, 3.

96 Ibid.

97 Center for Sex Offender Management, An Overview of Sex Offender Management, 7.

98 Ibid.

99 Center for Mental Health Services, 2001, "Appendix A: Glossary," Cultural Competence Standards in Managed Care Mental Health Services: Four Underserved/Underrepresented Racial /Ethnic Groups, Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Mental Health Services.

100 Office on Violence Against Women, A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, 47.

101 Ibid, 8.

102 Ibid, 17.

103 Ibid, 17.

104 Ibid, 2.

105 Ibid, 17.

106 Ibid, 18.

107 Ibid, 7.

108 Office on Violence Against Women, A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, 77.

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