2.2-A. Within the Office
Sex crimes prosecutions, like other gender-based violent crimes, have long relied upon individual champions within an office, including chief prosecutors, unit supervisors, or individual prosecutors. Some ways these champions influence positive case outcomes include:
- Prioritizing crimes of sexual violence, as one would other serious crimes like homicide, by allocating or advocating for appropriate resources, including specialized training for staff.
- Assigning appropriately trained, proactive, ethical leaders to supervise specialized units.
- Specially recruiting, training, and mentoring prosecutors to handle these cases.
- Providing opportunities to participate in or present at trainings and community outreach events that advance the office’s mission.
- Specially assigning prosecutors to serve on one or more coordinated multidisciplinary working groups or sexual assault response teams (SARTs) and/or providing a mechanism for information sharing related to these groups or teams.
- Recognizing crimes that commonly co-occur with adult sexual violence, including human trafficking, intimate partner violence, gangs, commercial-sexual-exploitation-related offenses, and child abuse or neglect, and ensuring information is shared among those handling these types of cases.
- Personally committing to trying complex cases.
- Encouraging the development of promising practices and mentoring colleagues.
Champions share certain philosophies that can be sustained at the office level in the ways discussed below.
2.2-A-1. Develop and Instill Core Principles52
The Core Principles identified in Exhibit 2-1, below, are integral to a model prosecution response to sexual violence.
2.2-A-2. Develop Specialized Units and Prosecutors53
Offices can become specialized by implementing targeted hiring, assignment, and training processes that identify and develop prosecutors with the skills necessary to successfully litigate sexual violence cases. In offices with fewer staff or resources, only one prosecutor need be designated as the primary prosecutor on these and related cases54 and provided with specialized training. This prosecutor can serve as the point person for all sexual assault cases, ensure appropriate follow-up investigations and case preparations are conducted, and mentor subsequent prosecutors working on these cases. Prosecutors who have performed well in litigating general crimes, crimes against persons, or violent crimes, and who have the desire and disposition to develop and apply the necessary expertise and attention to these cases, are good candidates for specialization. They bring with them a wealth of perspective and knowledge gleaned from other cases involving substantial victim contact.