12.2 New Tools

This volume suggests a number of new – or at least vastly underused – tools that provide important information in understanding and improving outcomes of sexual violence cases. Data collection procedures are suggested for each tool, including:

  1. A starter list of performance and outcome measures for tracking sexual violence case handling and outcomes — the latter covering key processes of interest to all partners involved with responding to sexual violence, including law enforcement and victim service agencies. (Chapter 2).
  2. A process for tracking cases which never reach the charging stage, due to victims’ decisions not to report, law enforcements’ decision not to refer cases to prosecutors, and prosecutors’ decision not to charge; and the reasons for case attrition at each of these stages. (Chapter 3).
  3. A process for exploring issues of equal access to justice by categorizing outcomes by victim or suspect characteristics (e.g., race/ethnicity, age, disability status). (Chapter 4).
  4. A process for assessing and tracking case complexity so that comparisons of success can be more meaningful and fair. A list of case complexity factors has been provided which offices can adapt as they see fit. Examining case outcomes by complexity level can reduce prosecutors’ concerns of being unfairly criticized when overall convictions rates may be low or reduced due to a larger proportion of complex cases. (Chapter 5).
  5. A procedure for distinguishing levels of case success, recognizing that there are many definitions of success beyond conviction rates. (Chapter 6).
  6. A simple, organized procedure for data entry that does not rely on expensive or sophisticated computer programs. (Chapter 8).
  7. Procedures for obtaining feedback from victims on the quality of treatment they experienced throughout the sexual violence response system. Victim input is integral to fully implementing performance management in these systems and identifying areas needing improvement. (Chapter 9).
  8. A set of options for analyses and guidelines to summarize and report information in a way that is effective, efficient, and accessible. (Chapter 10).
  9. A proposed list of concrete actions to be taken after performance management data has been collected and analyzed according to the steps above. This last, critical step enables prosecutors and their allied partners to channel their efforts into actions that increase community safety, improve justice for victims, and enhance offender accountability. All other steps in the performance management process are a means to this end. (Chapter 11).