U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

How Collaboration Between Researchers and Police Chiefs Can Improve the Quality of Sexual Assault Investigations: A Look at Los Angeles - Panel discussion at the 2011 NIJ Conference

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2011
12 pages
This is the video and transcript of presentations of a panel at the 2011 NIJ Conference that addressed the strategy and features of a collaboration between personnel of the Los Angeles law enforcement agencies and academic institutions in improving the quality of sexual assault investigations.
Cassia Spohn, Professor, Arizona State University, discusses the collection and description of quantitative and qualitative data on sexual assaults from six different agencies in Los Angeles County. . She reviews what was learned about the processing of sexual assault reports. Katherine Tellis - Assistant Professor, California State University (Los Angeles) - identified one factor in the failure to process sexual assault cases appropriately. The prosecutor offices had a policy of not filing charges in non-stranger cases unless an interview with the alleged victim was accompanied by corroborative evidence. The failure was not so much in this policy, but rather in the failure of investigators to conduct proper investigations to corroborate victim accounts. Robert Casey - Chief, Federal Bureau of Investigation - encourages law enforcement agencies to transition from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system of crime reporting to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which is attempting to resolve the debate about the definition of rape, which is currently not sufficiently expansive to include the variety of coerced/unwanted sexual acts. Michel Moore - Director, Office of Special Operations, Los Angeles Police Deprtment - discusses this issue from a law enforcement agency's perspective. Joanne Archibald - Executive Director, End Violence Against Women - discusses limitations in rape definitions that do not encompass cases in which victims are drugged and unable to resist a planned sexual assault.

Date Published: June 1, 2011