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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77279 Find in a Library
Title: Survey of Procedures for Investigating and Prosecuting Sexual Assault Crimes
Corporate Author: California Assembly
Office of Research
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: California Assembly
Sacramento, CA 95814
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A survey of police and sheriffs' departments and of prosecutors' offices in California was conducted to identify procedures used to investigate and prosecute sexual assault complaints.
Abstract: This 1979 survey was conducted in response to concern about the increased incidence of sexual assault crimes. Telephone interviews were conducted with 32 police departments (22 were in the State's largest cities) and 16 sheriffs' department (10 from the largest counties). Almost all of the agencies reported that the most readily available patrol officer or deputy was the most likely person to make the initial response to a complaint. For investigations, the two most frequent approaches were the assignment of a specially designated person or a member of a special unit. Most of the departments with special investigative units employed at least one female officer, and others indicated that qualified women officers were not available. Although the specially designated officers who were not members of units had received some training in handling sexual assault cases, this training was generally not provided in a systematic fashion, such as part of a formal in-service training program. Furthermore, most departments did not maintain special, written guidelines for handling complaints. Despite this deficiency, most officers routinely referred victims to assistance programs or crisis centers. Of the 22 district attorneys' offices contacted (16 in the largest counties), 15 did not employ special complaint prosecutors to review all sexual assault cases. Furthermore, 16 did not have deputies specially designated to prosecute these cases. Only three of the six respondents whose offices had special prosecutorial units also had at least one female assigned to the unit because qualified women were not generally available. In addition, few offices had detailed, written procedures for handling sexual assault cases. Finally, only seven offices maintained at least one special investigator for these cases. For both police agencies and prosecutors' offices, cost considerations were most important in decisions concerning the maintenance of special units. Data tables and individual descriptions of police and prosecutors' offices.
Index Term(s): California; Police organizational structure; Prosecution; Prosecutors; Rape investigations; Sexual assault; Specialized police operations; Surveys
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=77279

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