Attorney General Announces Sexual Assault Task Force

Posted on in Sex Crimes

rape, task force, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyAccording to numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, about 80,000 forcible rapes were reported nationwide in 2013, including roughly 4,000 in the state of Illinois. However, in that same year, nearly 18,000 adults and children sought help at the state’s rape crisis and child advocacy centers. What the statistics seem to show is that most rape victims never officially report the crime, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan believes this to be a sign that the system is not working properly.

“When sexual assault goes unreported,” said Madigan, “we don’t just have a survivor whose life is damaged. We also have a situation that means that rapists will continue to be in our communities.” The Attorney General, along with Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, announced the formation of a statewide task force aimed at improving sexual assault reporting and investigation. Improvements were needed, according the Attorney General, due to “critical failings” and “a systemic structural breakdown” in the way such cases are currently handled.

Among the task force’s main priorities is reducing the time required to obtain results of DNA analysis, which currently may take up to 12 months. Executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault Polly Poskin said that waiting so long “can be demoralizing to the investigator,” and make it difficult for victims to remain invested in the prosecution of the case.

Poskin also pointed out that nearly 80 percent of rape victims who consent to a rape kit are billed for the services, with many eventually sent to collections. This presents a serious obstacle to the proper investigation of sexual assault cases, as many rape victims often feel “revictimized” by such procedures, she said.

Attorney General Madigan is convinced, however, that change will be effected by the introduction of the task force. She emphasized that training for police and prosecutors will be a central goal of the project, including addressing medical procedures, advocacy, investigative techniques, and training relating the prosecution of rape and sexual assault. “We are going to find a way to solve this problem,” she said.

If you or someone you love has been charged with rape or sexual assault, a qualified lawyer can help you understand your options under the law. Contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney today for a free consultation. With nearly 20 years of legal experience, Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel understands how difficult facing criminal charges can be and is prepared to work with you every step of the way.

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