This subchapter suggests procedures for obtaining the number and percentage of cases that were referred to the prosecutor’s office but declined for prosecution (Measure 6) and the number of these cases categorized by reason for not reporting (Measure 6a). To help provide assessments that are more reliable and accurate, Exhibit 3-3 provides a starter list of such reasons. This list of factors is supported by research examining the reasons prosecutors do not charge cases.54
Note that more than one percentage point can be useful. The numerator for each percentage would be the number of cases declined by the office of the prosecutor. Useful denominators include: (a) number of cases referred to the prosecutor’s office (for each reporting period); (b) number of cases reported to the police; and (c) the sum of the number of cases reported to police and the number provided by other victim support organizations.
The reasons for declining individual cases should likely be kept for internal use only. For reporting purposes, it is sufficient to tabulate only the total number of cases declined for each reason.
An analysis of case attrition at the prosecution stage can also take place as part of a larger, systematic case review examining the prosecutor’s office handling of sexual assault using a randomly-selected sample of cases. A sample case review protocol, data tracking spreadsheet, and sample timeline are included in the Appendices.