Engaging Adult Victims of Non-Stranger Sexual Assault: A Law Enforcement Toolkit




Busch-Armendariz, Noël Bridget
Cook Heffron, Laurie
Kalergis, Karen
Sulley, Caitlin
Wachter, Karin

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This toolkit was developed by The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) in partnership with law enforcement professionals, in response to research findings that highlight how a large number of victims of non‑stranger sexual assault do not stay engaged in the investigation process. Victims of sexual assault may become disengaged from the criminal justice process after making an initial report for a variety of reasons. Law enforcement can make small but pivotal changes to what they are doing to engage with victims of sexual assault to increase their motivation to participate in the criminal justice process. These changes can have a reverberating impact on a victim’s post‑assault experience and contribute to holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes. From the point in time of an assault onwards, there are many opportunities for improvement if victims are to be well served by the criminal justice, medical, and victim services systems and if perpetrators are to be held accountable. In order to improve the broader community response to sexual assault, action on the part of many other partners and professionals is necessary and goes beyond the scope of this toolkit

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