This article explains the problems that have arisen as a result of overreliance on conviction rates in cases of sexual violence. It identifies the core principles that should inform a model response to these crimes to further the goals of justice — i.e., offender accountability, victim well-being, and community safety. Finally, it discusses how prosecutors can broaden definitions of “success” in the prosecution of sexual violence, and how they can measure their current response as well as efforts toward improvement.
This project was supported by Grant No. 15JOVW-21-GK-02220-MUMU awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice.
Seeking Justice Through Sexual Violence Prosecutions
The history of racial discrimination against Black Americans in the United States created structural barriers and inequalities that Black women continue to face as victims of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, and human trafficking.. The article offers examples of how racial bias has shaped the criminal justice response to these crimes and provides prosecutors with tangible tools for eradicating biases against Black victims. Confronting-Racial-Bias-Against-Black-and-African-American-Victims
This annotated bibliography compiles legal research, social science research, assessment, and best practices and policies for addressing witness intimidation. The first section reviews legal literature that analyzes the legal foundations of witness intimidation, including Supreme Court decisions, statutes, and relevant case law. The second section contains social science research on victims’ experiences of intimidation, as well as implementation of laws and policies to address the problem. The third section summarizes evaluative reports on witness intimidation dynamics in particular communities. The final section, contains best practices and policies to be implemented based on the assessment and research foundations described above.
The pervasive problem of victim/witness intimidation in the criminal justice system requires a strategy for change and firm commitments from leaders and practitioners alike. This resource includes tools for practitioners to use collaboratively within their communities. These tools provide criminal justice leaders with concrete guidance to implement best practices in preventing and responding to witness intimidation. The resource defines the problem, identifies concrete solutions, and outlines a process for assessing and improving witness safety.
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 Strategies Newsletter discusses promising sexual assault prosecution strategies as well as ways of measuring effectiveness in ways that do not rely solely upon conviction rates. The article also offers other, more meaningful performance measures, and describes how they can be used to more accurately measure and sustain effective prosecution practices.
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.