Safeguarding Victim Privacy in a Digital World: Ethical Considerations for Prosecutors

Prosecutors have an obligation to provide to the defense all evidence in the government’s possession or control that is material to a defendant’s guilt or punishment. How can we fulfill that obligation, while at the same time safeguarding victim privacy against unnecessary disclosure? In the digital age, these cases present unique ethical challenges related to privacy and confidentiality, prosecutorial discretion, recantation, and disclosure of evidence. This presentation uses hypothetical case scenarios to: address ethical considerations in the context of the investigative function of prosecutors, digital evidence, discovery obligations, and immunity; identify confidential, privileged, non-material, and/or irrelevant victim information and records; discuss threshold requirements for defense attempts to obtain information or for in camera review; introduce pretrial and trial strategies that support the protection of victim privacy, including collaboration with allied professionals.

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1 hour of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

Overview of Stalking and Technology: Prosecution Strategies

Stalking affects 6.6 million people in the United States each year and every day, in courtrooms throughout the country, stalking victims recount the fear and distress they have experienced as a result of this crime. Stalkers create and exploit vulnerabilities in their victims, relying on technology and manipulation of the justice system to conceal their crimes and cast doubt on their victim’s credibility. This webinar gives an overview of stalking and the modern technology stalkers use. It discusses investigation and prosecution strategies as well as interviewing techniques designed to maximize victim participation and safety. It also addresses the correlation between stalking and other forms of violence and examines the role of stalking in assessing lethality. The presentation emphasizes the importance of using a collaborative approach between law enforcement, victim advocates and prosecutors to assist victims and hold offenders accountable.

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

Investigating and Prosecuting Labor Trafficking: Exploitation for the Sake of the Bottom Line

Trafficking manifests in many areas of the labor market – including but not limited to – manufacturing, agriculture, construction, entertainment, service industries and domestic labor, often overlapping with sexual violence. It is critical to connect victims of labor trafficking, involuntary servitude, and debt bondage with critical and comprehensive services while also focusing on holding offenders and business entities accountable. This webinar highlights the importance of collaboration with allied professionals to support a victim-centered response and an offender-focused approach. It also explores a variety of best practices and provides law enforcement and prosecutors with the tools to refine their own strategies

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

Interviewing Victims of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation: Techniques and Tactics

Trafficking victims are difficult to interview for the same reasons they are difficult to identify. Traffickers manipulate, coerce, threaten, and commit acts of violence against victims, which may result in their inability or unwillingness to self-identify, report to law enforcement, or participate in the criminal justice process. Therefore, the ability to expediently and appropriately identify a victim of trafficking or exploitation is crucial, and often can be accomplished only through effective interviewing. This webinar highlights the importance of preparing for an interview by collaborating with community-based service providers and also explores a variety of interview techniques. The presenters discuss tools for law enforcement officers and prosecutors to use when developing their own questions and protocols for interviewing trafficking victims.

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

Integrating a Trauma-Informed Response

Short- and long-term reactions to trauma manifest in a variety of behaviors that may have an impact on a victim’s ability to participate in the criminal justice process. In order to keep victims safe and engaged throughout the process, allied professionals must ensure that their interaction with victims and their decision-making take into account the wide-ranging effects of trauma. This webinar addresses how to recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma following a crime of violence. The presenters discuss strategies for conducting thoughtful and effective victim interviews, collaborating with allied professionals to achieve a fully integrated trauma-informed approach, and explaining victim behavior at trial.

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

Criminal Meets Civil: Coordinating Our Response

Prosecutors know that a coordinated response to intimate partner violence provides maximum support to victims. Prosecutors and attorneys representing victims in civil proceedings are equally dedicated to victim safety, but may not always fully appreciate the value and limitations of each other’s role in the process. This presentation highlights the importance of coordination between prosecutors and victims’ civil attorneys and suggests ways they can work together to identify helpful evidence that will be admissible in the criminal case. The presenter also explores ways in which civil proceedings in family or other civil courts can support the victim while the criminal case is pending.

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1 hour of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

Body-Worn Cameras and Gender-Based Violence: Practical Considerations from the Prosecution Perspective

Over the past decade, law enforcement’s use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) has significantly increased. While BWCs can provide helpful evidence in cases involving gender-based violence (GBV), their use may also adversely impact victim safety and privacy. This webinar discusses many of the issues law enforcement, prosecutors, forensic examiners, and other allied professionals must consider when BWCs are used in GBV investigations. The presenter describes the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration – at the local, state, and federal levels – in order to develop effective BWC policies that address victim safety, privacy, and autonomy. The presenter also addresses issues such as deactivation of a BWC at appropriate points during the investigation; privacy and safety considerations; discovery, redaction, and protective orders limiting dissemination; and requests under freedom of information or open records statutes.

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1 hour of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

Please note: The audio recording had a few technical glitches. There are a few brief gaps where the training paused in order to reconnect. Please excuse these disruptions.

Beyond Conviction Rates: Measuring Success in Sexual Assault Prosecutions

Prosecutorial effectiveness is commonly measured by conviction rates, largely because they are readily available. But, are conviction rates an accurate measure of success? Experienced prosecutors know they won’t win every case. In fact, some would argue that if you aren’t losing any cases, you aren’t trying the right ones. This presentation discusses promising sexual assault prosecution strategies as well as measuring effectiveness in a way that does not rely solely upon conviction rates. The presenters discuss other, more meaningful performance measures, and describe how they can be used to more accurately measure and sustain effective prosecution practices.

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

Betraying the Badge: Officer-Involved Domestic Violence

Batterers who wear a badge can misuse their professional training and authority as weapons against their victims. Officers who are victims of intimate partner violence may be reluctant to identify as victims and may face negative professional consequences for reporting, or failing to report, the abuse. This webinar addresses: the complex dynamics of violence when one or both parties are in law enforcement; effective management of simultaneous administrative and criminal proceedings; provision of appropriate services for victims; and the mitigation of consequences for victim-officers who recant, fail to appear, or otherwise decline to participate.

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.

The Prosecutors’ Resource on Sexual Abuse in Confinement

Sexual abuse in confinement has persistently presented tremendous challenges to investigators and prosecutors because of internal and external barriers to reporting, including the behaviors, actions, and decision-making power of first responders that may result in the failure to make an official report to law enforcement. Additional challenges include issues related to evidence collection and retention, identification of witnesses, and multi-level biases against inmates. This resource provides an overview of the Prison Rape Elimination Act and national standards related to a victim-centered, offender-focused investigation and prosecution of a sexual abuse in confinement. The issue discusses detailed strategy for prosecuting these cases, including investigation, pretrial, jury selection, trial testimony and sentencing.

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