“At Least They’re Workin’ on My Case?” Victim Notification in Sexual Assault “Cold” Cases

dc.creatorSulley, Caitlin
dc.creatorWood, Leila
dc.creatorCook Heffron, Laurie
dc.creatorWestbrook, Lynn
dc.creatorLevy, Nicole
dc.creatorDonde, Sapana D.
dc.creatorBusch-Armendariz, Noël
dc.date.accessioned2020-09-25T22:01:19Z
dc.date.available2020-09-25T22:01:19Z
dc.date.issued2018
dc.description.abstractSexual assault is a significantly under-reported, -investigated, and -prosecuted crime in the United States, which criminal justice and advocacy actors across the country are working to address. Law enforcement procedures often involve providing crime victims, including sexual assault victims, with written notification by mail about the status of their case, but little is known about the best practices for victim notification in sexual assault "cold" cases. This qualitative research explored whether this standard law enforcement practice was appropriate for sexual assault victims in “cold cases” particularly when there had been no contact from law enforcement, despite forensic evidence having been tested. The research questions were what do sexual assault victims in cold cases have to say about victim notification protocols and practices? and What do sexual assault victims in cold cases have to say about hypothetical written victim notification protocols? Twenty-three sexual assault victims were asked in focus groups and individual interviews to respond to hypothetical written notification letters for content and the sending authority and to give input on alternative modes of communication. The data were analyzed using grounded theory. Themes related to trust, personal agency, and decision making from notification examples emerged. Recommendations on notification included respecting privacy, including specifics, identifying next steps, normalizing, translating, and providing resources. Implications for developing notification protocols include use of emerging evidence about neurobiology of trauma, use of victim input, and patience for the varying reactions and needs of sexual assault victims.en_US
dc.description.departmentInstitute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA)en_US
dc.identifier.citationSulley, C., Wood, L., Cook Heffron, L., Westbrook, L., Levy, N., Donde, S., & Busch-Armendariz, N. (Online First, 2018). “At least they’re workin’ on my case?” Victim notification in sexual assault “cold” cases. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260518789905en_US
dc.identifier.doihttps://doi.org/10.1177/0886260518789905
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/2152/83020
dc.identifier.urihttp://dx.doi.org/10.26153/tsw/10021
dc.language.isoengen_US
dc.publisherJournal of Interpersonal Violenceen_US
dc.relation.ispartofIDVSA Journal Articlesen_US
dc.rights.restrictionOpenen_US
dc.subjectsexual assaulten_US
dc.subjectcrime victimen_US
dc.subjectvictim notificationen_US
dc.subjectlaw enforcement proceduresen_US
dc.title“At Least They’re Workin’ on My Case?” Victim Notification in Sexual Assault “Cold” Casesen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US

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