Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to focus on serving victims and bringing offenders to justice. Throughout the year, OJP’s bureaus and program offices work to provide assistance for sexual assault victims and the professionals who serve them and to advance a research agenda that will enhance understanding of this crime and of the techniques to address it.
In the area of sexual assault response, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) recently released an online toolkit for communities that want to develop or improve Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART). On May 25–27, 2011, OVC is hosting a National SART Training Conference that will focus on expanding the capacity of SARTs. Registration is now open.
Since passage of the Violence Against Women Act 16 years ago, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has conducted research that is helping policymakers and practitioners more effectively prevent and prosecute crimes of violence against women, including sexual assault. During ceremonies to launch National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the two winners of competitive awards for researcher-practitioner teams to study why too many sexual assault kits in their jurisdictions are not sent to laboratories for testing and use in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults, and to develop strategies to increase the number of kits tested. In the next phase of the project, NIJ will provide additional funds to help the two jurisdictions implement their strategies and evaluate their effectiveness. NIJ anticipates that these projects will result in findings that can be useful to other jurisdictions experiencing similar problems.
More information about the Administration’s efforts during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and throughout the year is available online.
The Office of Justice Programs, in honor of April's Sexual Assault Awareness Month, compiled a list of resources, and training aids to help practitioners, victim's advocates, law enforcement, crime labs, courts, and criminal justice researchers in their work on the complicated issue of sexual assault.