Why Are Sex Crimes So Difficult to Solve?
Why are sex crimes so difficult to solve? Researchers from the Wellesley Centers for Women sought to answer this question. They studied police records and interviewed prosecutors and investigators to examine why fewer than seven percent of reported rapes result in a conviction. In some cases, prosecutors declined to file charges or closed investigations after finding insufficient evidence. In other cases, prosecutors simply did not pursue a case because it took too long.
The majority of prosecutors and judges fail to understand the complexities of sexual violence, which makes the process of investigating and prosecuting such cases so traumatic. In addition, prosecutors are unable to effectively utilize survivor-centered evidence when assessing sentencing. This means that survivors are often ignored, ridiculed, and dismissed. But, with a survivor-centred approach, investigations and the criminal justice system can be made less traumatic and ultimately lead to a successful outcome.
Unfortunately, the number of rapes reported to police has been rising for several years, while the number of rapes prosecuted has declined. This fact reflects the difficulties of preventing rapes from becoming widespread crimes. The Justice Department’s National Criminal Victimization Survey reports that only one in three sexual assaults results in a conviction. Similarly, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting database, fewer than one in ten rapes are reported to police. While this is a staggering number, the vast majority of victims do not report rapes to police, resulting in a misconception about the extent of the crime.
Victims may also have trouble speaking about the crime. The process of reporting a crime is traumatic, and the police often conduct an invasive SANE exam on the victim. This examination involves taking photographs and collecting evidence. Many victims are embarrassed and blame themselves for the crime. Consequently, it can be difficult to discuss the incident with someone who has been the victim of a sexual assault. However, victims should talk about it.
Prosecutors must consider survivors’ wishes. They should be heard to determine their needs and demands. They must also have access to legal counsel. Survivors should be allowed to retain separate legal representation during trial. This can help increase their satisfaction with the process. Additionally, the support of an advocate may help reduce the negative treatment victims receive from the police or medical services. These victims deserve to receive justice. So, if you’re one of them, make sure to contact your local attorney today to get the justice you deserve.
Prosecutors often exercise discretion and choose not to prosecute a rape case when they’re in their office. But that doesn’t mean they don’t pursue a case. The majority of prosecutors are good at pursuing these cases. The city of Austin, for example, has a case in which they accepted 77 sexual assault cases between 2016 and 2017, but only one went to trial.