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Police are approaching sexual assaults in a new way

A police department in Oregon is experimenting with a new method to report sexual assault incidents. Survivors of sexual assault continue to face extreme barriers to reporting these crimes including cultural stigma, victim shaming and becoming re-traumatized as they report the crime. Moreover, even when the police do take the report seriously, they often fail to investigate properly or are too vigorous in their assumptions and damage the lives of innocent bystanders. A detective in Oregon is looking to change that approach.

The new approach gives victims multiple avenues to report the crime. The purpose is to ensure that the victim controls the process and it never goes further than the victim can handle. For instance, there are three reporting avenues which give the victim full control over how far the police will delve into the matter.

First, the victim can opt to report information only. The police simply conduct an interview and take no further investigatory steps. Second, the victim can choose to report it as a partial investigation. The partial investigation allows the police to interview potential witnesses and gather some evidence but goes no further regarding the imposition of charges.

The third avenue is the full investigation which entails the police judging their ability to find probable cause for an arrest and charging with crimes.

If you were arrested on sexual assault charges, then you may want to contact a defense attorney as soon as possible. Sexual assault crimes carry steep penalties and are aggressively pursued by prosecutors and treated harshly by judges. Don't bank on being the exception to the rule; a defense attorney can ensure that you present a robust defense.

Source: Vice News, "The Cop Pioneering a New Approach to Reporting and Investigating Sexual Assault," Sirin Kale, September 29, 2016

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