Anonymous Reporting in Sexual Assault Cases

This one-pager is a concise summary of anonymous reporting, also known as “Jane Doe” reporting, which refers to cases in which a forensic medical examination is conducted, evidence is collected, and medical treatment is provided for a sexual assault victim who does not report the crime to law enforcement. The resource outlines how anonymous reporting works, what happens to rape kits in those case, and where to go for more information on DNA testing and anonymous reporting.

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Restitution and Asset Forfeiture: A Focus on Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is tantamount to modern slavery and is a crime with devastating consequences. This resource summarizes the restitution and asset forfeiture laws related to human trafficking in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and federal jurisdictions. An analysis of the laws was conducted, and summaries of the restitution and asset forfeiture laws are included within. The full text of these statutes is included, as well as the citation for the relevant human trafficking statute(s) for each jurisdiction.

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To Record or Not To Record: Use of Body-Worn Cameras During Police Response to Crimes of Violence Against Women

For a variety of reasons—officer safety, public accountability, evidence collection, and departmental transparency—an increasing number of police departments have adopted, or are considering adopting, the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs). While BWCs can provide helpful evidence in cases involving gender-based violence (GBV), their use may also adversely impact victim safety and privacy. This article discusses many of the issues law enforcement, prosecutors, and allied professionals must consider when BWCs are used in GBV investigations. The article 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 article also addresses issues such as deactivation of a BWC at appropriate points during the investigation; privacy and safety considerations; discovery, redaction, protective orders limiting dissemination; and requests under freedom of information or open records statutes.

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Presence of Victim Advocate During Sexual Assault Exam Summary of State Laws

Following a sexual assault report, victims are propelled into the criminal justice system and faced with an array of strangers, each with his or her own role in the response, investigation, or prosecution of the crime. Victims are often interviewed by multiple people, including police officers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and prosecutors. To help victims cope with these challenges, some state legislatures have passed laws providing them with the right to have a victim advocate or personal representative present during such interviews to offer support. This article focuses specifically on the victim’s right to have an advocate present during a medical forensic exam.

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Assisting Human Trafficking Victims with Return of Property and Restitution

Investigating and prosecuting cases of human trafficking and violence against sexually exploited women is rife with challenges, including balancing victims’ property interests with the need to hold traffickers and exploiters accountable. Criminal justice professionals can meet these challenges by pursuing the return of victims’ property and seeking restitution where appropriate. This Strategies in Brief identifies issues that often arise when trying to return property to victims in human trafficking cases and will provide collaborative strategies for prosecutors and allied criminal justice professionals seeking to balance victim and criminal justice interests. It also presents an overview of restitution as another means of relief for victims of human trafficking to be considered by prosecutors.

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Safeguarding Victim Privacy: A Plan of Action 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? Filing motions for protective orders and vigorously opposing defense demands for irrelevant private information is an important part of trial practice for any prosecutor responsible for these sensitive cases. This webinar identifies categories of confidential and/or privileged victim information and records, discusses threshold requirements for defense attempts to obtain such information or for in camera review of records, and suggests pretrial and trial strategies that support the protection of victim privacy, including collaboration with allied professionals to safeguard private information.

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.

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.