3.1-A. Review All Reports in a Timely Manner
Jurisdictions may differ in how sexual assault cases are investigated and charged. In some jurisdictions, virtually all investigative activities are conducted by local police agencies; other prosecutor’s offices have investigators within the office who conduct significant follow-up investigation after the initial police response. In some jurisdictions, local police may file the initial charges; in others, prosecutors make the initial charging decisions. Regardless of the division of investigative and charging responsibilities, prosecutors should be accessible at all stages of the investigation for consultation and review to ensure important evidence is collected and documented and investigations proceed without unreasonable delay.134
Delay can cause irreparable harm in sex crime cases. Crucial evidence may be lost. Victims may become less willing to participate in the prosecution — as they lose faith in the system, offenders have more opportunities to engage in intimidation and manipulation. Communities remain vulnerable to continued attacks by perpetrators.