|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||VAWO||TUESDAY, MAY 18, 1999||202/307-0703|
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DEVELOPS NEW TOOLS TO FIGHT
DRUG-FACILITATED SEXUAL ASSAULT
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new training video and manual have been released to help local police officers and prosecutors investigate and prosecute sexual assaults that involve "date rape" drugs. The video, "The Prosecution of Rohypnol and GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) Related Sexual Assaults," and its companion manual, which were developed with Justice Department funding, advocate a victim-centered, team approach to combat these serious crimes.
"Victims of drug-facilitated sexual assaults are helpless against their attackers because they're incapacitated by drugs like Rohypnol and GHB," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "These types of crimes are very difficult for police officers and prosecutors to investigate and bring to trial. Collaboration among prosecutors, law enforcement officers, health care professionals and advocates is key to successfully investigating and prosecuting these cases."
The video, which has an introduction by Attorney General Reno, emphasizes the general effects of "date rape" drugs on victims. The tape and accompanying booklet also provide investigation and prosecution strategies, including methods to charge these sexual assaults without a urine sample or positive toxicology result.
"Sexual assaults involving rape drugs can be doubly devastating to victims," said Bonnie Campbell, Director of the Justice Department's Violence Against Women Office (VAWO). "Not only do these women live with the physical effects of these drugs, they must also face the daily mental torment of not knowing what happened to them while they were drugged."
The video and manual were produced, at the Attorney General's request, by the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI) under a grant from VAWO following her 1997 visit to the UCLA Rape Treatment Center in Santa Monica, California. Reno initiated Justice Department action after listening to accounts from survivors who had been drugged and raped. The materials also respond to an increasing concern among the law enforcement community about the rising numbers of drug-facilitated sexual assaults.
The video and manual, which are endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, were developed with the assistance of a panel of experts including prosecutors, police officers, toxicologists and victim advocates. The manual serves as a quick reference for law enforcement officers and prosecutors and includes information on state and federal statutes, drug-facilitated sexual assault case studies and common reactions of these sexual assault survivors.
In addition to law enforcement officers and prosecutors, sexual assault coalitions, rape crisis centers and individuals that train criminal justice professionals on handling drug-facilitated sexual assault cases are encouraged to order the video. A small fee will be charged by APRI, part of the National District Attorneys Association, to fund the continued reproduction of the products.
For a copy of the video and manual, contact APRI on 703/549-4253, or call the National Criminal Justice Reference Service toll-free on 1/800-851-3420. More information about sexual assault and other violence against women efforts is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/VAWGO or OJP's Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov, or by calling the National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs on 202/307-0703.
After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534 or page on 202/516-6843