NJ has new police guidelines for sexual assault victims
, Katie Brennan via Facebook
New Jersey's attorney general has unveiled new guidelines for how law enforcement should deal with sexual assault victims.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the 14 new protocols on Tuesday.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy says he ordered the review resulting in the new guidelines after a top staffer at the state's housing agency came forward last month as sexual assault victim.
Katie Brennan has said too little was done about her complaints, which she reported to law enforcement.
Her story led to the creation of a legislative committee investigating how Murphy handled the complaints.
Murphy ordered an internal review, which is still pending.
Among the new protocols is a requirement that prosecutors offer victims a meeting to discuss their reasons for not pursuing charges in cases that don't result in them.
The Standards are available at nj.gov/oag/end-sexualassault and summarized by the office:
1. Confidential Sexual Assault Advocacy. Victims of sexual assault shall be provided the opportunity to have the support of a confidential sexual violence advocate (CSVA) prior to and during all medical and legal proceedings, as well as through the entire healing process.
2. Law Enforcement. Victims of sexual assault shall be provided with thorough, compassionate, and objective assistance from all law enforcement officers responding to and investigating an incident of sexual assault.
3. Standardized Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Exam & Treatment. Healthcare professionals shall provide every victim of sexual assault a thorough, compassionate, and timely examination, as well as related services.
4. SAFE Kits. All victims of sexual assault shall be advised of the time sensitive nature of a medical forensic exam and the importance of a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) Kit and a Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault/Toxicology Kit.
5. Examination Facilities. All victims of sexual assault shall be provided with a medical forensic exam and treatment in a timely, compassionate, and respectful manner.
6. Specialized Services for Child & Adolescent Victims. Healthcare personnel, law enforcement officers, and CSVAs shall ensure that all child and adolescent victims of sexual assault and their families are treated with compassion and respect. All services shall be provided in a manner that is specific to the physical, emotional, and developmental needs of the child or adolescent.
7. Special Considerations for Vulnerable Populations. The special needs of vulnerable victims shall be recognized and addressed by law enforcement officers, healthcare providers, and CSVAs.
8. Discharge & Referral Information. Every victim of sexual assault shall have the benefit of a discharge plan that addresses medical follow-up and provides additional resources.
9. Assessment of SART Services by Victims & Service Providers. Victims of sexual assault who choose to use the SART’s services shall be afforded an opportunity to assess the services provided through a victim survey. Participating members of the SART shall also assess the SART response provided and recommend systems improvements through a SART member survey.
10. Prosecution. Recognizing the profound impact that crimes of sexual assault have on both child and adult victims and their families, prosecutors shall use a victim-centered approach when working with victims of sexual assault and in handling their cases.
11. SART Team Training. Every county shall provide standardized SART training to all personnel assigned to respond as members of the County SART.
12. County SART Advisory Boards. Each county shall have a SART Advisory Board, which shall review SART programs, policies, and best practices.
13. Statewide SART Advisory Board. A Statewide SART Advisory Board shall monitor the operation of the 21 County SART programs.
14. SART Complaint Procedures. Procedures shall be implemented to address any complaints, issues, or unusual occurrences concerning a County SART.