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This eighth episode in the season focusing on Research and Considerations for Sexual Assault Cases as part of the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Patricia Powers, who discusses from a prosecutor’s perspective considerations for sexual assault cases that involve older victims.
During her professional career as a prosecuting attorney, Patricia Powers specialized in cases that involved sexual violence, domestic violence, and child and adult abuse. Currently, she is an attorney advisor at AEquitas developing and refining best practices for prosecuting sexual assault cases, including those with victims from marginalized and vulnerable populations. In the current interview, she discusses considerations for the effective prosecution of sexual assault cases that involve older victims. She notes that older people may be at risk of sexual assault due to their physical inability to resist or escape a physical attack. Issues discussed relative to older victims of sexual assault are age-related physical or mental impairments that inhibit or prevent reporting the crime to police. Age-related factors can also increase the trauma and physical impairments that often accompany sexual assault. Being aware of potentially aggravating circumstances for older victims of sexual assault should influence the provision of victim services before, during, and after the criminal justice processing of reported cases. The interview includes comments on what criminal justice personnel can do to facilitate the involvement and protection of older survivors of sexual assault during their involvement in the criminal justice processing of their cases.