Increasing Reports: Collaboration Building and Outreach
Cases in which adults are having sex with underage teens have been seriously
underreported. Encouraging reporting often involves changing attitudes about
the seriousness of these cases. Unless these cases are reported, teens may
be left alone to cope with problems associated with these cases and the
adults may operate with impunity.
Historically, statutory rape cases have been underreported.
Encouraging increased reporting involves changing attitudes about the
seriousness of these cases. Increased reporting would serve two goals.
First, it would help identify young teens in need of services to deal
with damage done by the relationship with the adult. The teen may desperately
need protection from the abusive actions of the adult. Second, increased
reporting begins the process through which justice professionals can
assess whether criminal prosecution is appropriate in the case. Unless
statutory rape cases come to light, teens may be left alone to cope
with problems, and adults may operate with impunity.
In this chapter, we present specific, concrete examples
from communities we visited or officials interviewed about promising
approaches to increase the reporting of statutory rape cases. We have
identified two phases in the process to increase reporting. First, inter-
and intra-agency communication structures should be assessed and then
strengthened. Second, outreach plans should be developed for several
Assessing and Strengthening Communications
The first step in increasing reports of statutory rape
is to assess what is currently happening. A task force or other authorized
individual or body should conduct a historical study (past year or past
5 years) of case files and records from a variety of sources, such as
local law enforcement agencies, courts (misdemeanor, felony, family,
and domestic relations), prosecutors offices, probation departments,
rape crisis centers, and hospital emergency rooms. This should coincide
with interviews of professionals currently in these departments. The
assessing body can then begin the task of bringing agency representatives
together to develop a collaborative philosophy that will hopefully result
in a consistent approach to reports of statutory rape.
|Through a grant from a local foundation,
the Child Advocacy Network in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted an analysis
of statutory rape prosecutions. The researchers looked at birth certificate
data to discern births to young teens to determine the number of situations
that may have been charged as rape or statutory rape, depending on
the age of the father. They also collected data from investigations
and prosecutions of cases referred through the city police department
and the Child Advocacy Network, including the length of investigations
and court proceedings. They analyzed data from three different court
venues in which statutory rape cases could be handled, including outcomes.
Researchers also conducted interviews with police and hospital offcials
on protocols and reporting issues.
Once the assessment of communication and consistency
has been completed, the task of pulling together begins.
In communities studied to develop this Training Guide, there
was often one person in a position of authority, usually the prosecutor
in charge of the child abuse unit or the statutory rape unit. This person
was able, by sheer force of personality, to generate consensus among
disparate agencies with varying philosophies and mandates. This charismatic
leader had three identifiable characteristics: commitment, availability,
|The Assistant States
Attorney for Onondaga County (Syracuse), New York, is the Chief of
the Special Victims Bureau (SVB) and a good example of a charismatic
leader. This prosecutor has demonstrated a strong commitment
to addressing challenging statutory rape cases by stating,
We dont ignore a crime because its
too tough to prove. We accept the difficulty of prosecuting these
types of cases. His availability and leadership is evidenced
by his observed work style, arriving at 7:00 a.m., leaving at 7:00
p.m., answering his own phone, and returning calls immediately. Accolades
from colleagues describe him as providing the enthusiasm and impetus
for opening lines of communication. Officials from the Department
of Social Services, the Probation Department, and the Abused Persons
Unit (a combined city and county police sexual assault unit) described
the SVB Chief as the catalyst for improving coordination between agencies
and the prosecutors office in handling statutory rape
disclosures. Evidence of his flexible leadership includes developing
a pilot reporting program with the Child Welfare division of the Department
of Social Services; hammering together the agreement that combined
the city and county sexual assault units into the Abused Persons Unit;
and encouraging the Probation Department to refer situations involving
adolescent charges who are sexually active with adults for prosecution.
Most important, this person is committed to giving statutory
rape disclosures the same attention that child sexual abuse and domestic
violence cases have recently begun to receive. This leader has a vision
of how that can be accomplished. His or her commitment imparts confidence
to collaborative professionals that, when an allegation is referred,
it will be taken seriously. This, in turn, increases the likelihood
that referrals will be made.
In addition, this person is available to assist prosecutors
and law enforcement and prosecutorial investigators. This availability
is essential because it provides law enforcement officers someone to
consult for assistance with arrests, charging decisions, and evidence-gathering
strategies, including interviewing victims and offenders, obtaining
affidavits, and requesting search warrants for diaries or DNA tests.
The third element of leadership is flexibilitya
useful tool for working with agencies that may not share the same vision
or that express concern about the efficacy of doing so. Flexibility
allows agency leaders to decide together how and under what circumstances
they will report allegations of unlawful sexual activity involving adults
and teens (of course, this presupposes that statutory rape does not
fall under the State law of mandatory reporting). For example, hospital
staff, welfare intake officers, and juvenile probation officers may
be reluctant to officially agree to report all cases of teenagers who
have an adult as a sexual partner or who fathered their child, citing
confidentiality or other concerns. The prosecutor could request that
officials report only those relationships that meet certain criteria,
such as cases involving age differences of 5 or more years, cases involving
teens and preteens 12 to 13 years old, and those relationships characterized
by violence or exploitation.
|The Chief of the Dade County States
Attorneys Office Sexual Battery Unit (SBU) began in 1995
to call monthly meetings, attended by representatives of the 27 county
police agencies, the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services
(HRS), the rape treatment center, child protective services, guardians
ad litem, Family Services, and others. Her goals were to advise everyone
on new laws passed by the legislature on statutory rape and other
sexual crimes and to have consistency among agencies on enforcement
of the laws. The thrust of the meetings was, This is how to
use the law, and how it will help you. At the meetings on statutory
rape laws, the goals were to explain: What is a crime? What is the
message to our young people when we go to a high school to give a
talk? What does the legislature want from us? The response has been
gratifying. Everyone at the participating agencies knows the laws
and can educate the staff. The Chief of the SBU has shown shes
a willing-to-listen prosecutor who will work with others to get results.
She sent a list of all participants to each member of the group so
they can contact each other to discuss common concerns, such as a
serial rapist. Sometimes a local police agency will report a crime
to the group, asking if there have been any similar crimes in other
|The prosecutor in Marion County, Indiana,
has launched a media campaign to inform the public about the illegality
of statutory rape incidents. In the first year following the campaign,
reports of such cases doubled, and the reports doubled again after
the second year.
Outreach to the Public, Teens, and Their Families
The first step to ending the silence that allows adults
to engage in sexual activity with young teens is to inform the public
that these relationships are unlawful and destructive. Unless the public
realizes these activities are both criminal and harmful, underreporting
will likely remain high. Further, if members of the public do not understand
that statutory rape is not consensual sex and that it is not a victimless
crime, persons called to jury duty are not likely to convict. Even if
the prosecutor proves a statutory rape case beyond reasonable doubt,
an uninformed jury may engage in jury nullification (basically, ignore
the law and fail to convict). Clearly, public education about statutory
rape is critical to the successful prosecution of these cases.
Through media outreach and presentations at public forums,
some communities have made great strides in educating the public about
the illegality of these relationships and in encouraging the public
to report such cases to authorities. Innovations include the following:
- Placing Public Service Announcements/Advertisements.
Public service announcements and media campaigns can address multiple goals
in reaching various segments of the public about the inappropriateness of
statutory rape cases.
Community leaders (prosecutors, police, mental health
agencies, and others) may place advertisements or public service announcements
on public buses, billboards, and radio and television broadcasts and
through other media. These ads and announcements may be targeted at
teens, their parents and families, their friends, and/or adults involved
with young teens.
|In Santa Clara County, California,
the prosecutor in charge of statutory rape cases has cultivated an
excellent working relationship with the local print, radio, and television
media. As a consequence, she has been successful in obtaining considerable
positive coverage of statutory rape cases.
The goals of these ads and announcements include
the following: (1) to prevent teens and adults from becoming involved
in this illegal sexual activity; (2) to change the erroneous attitude
that this activity is a private matter outside the criminal justice
system; (3) to provide counseling to young teens, their parents, and
friends to help them understand the possible consequences of this
activity and to make referrals for services; (4) to explain why this
activity is illegal and to encourage reporting to the police; and
(5) to explain why prosecution is important.
|Monroe County, New York, used a billboard
campaign entitled Not Me, Not Now to reach young teens
to convince them that older men having sex with them was wrong and
that they were crime victims. The prosecutor perceives that these
billboards were effective in delivering that message.
- Developing Reporting Hotlines.
Special hotline numbers may encourage young teens and their friends
and families to reach out for help anonymously in cases in which they
would otherwise be afraid to call authorities.
|In Santa Clara County, California,
the prosecutor started a media effort that resulted in ads being placed
on city buses encouraging the public (including teens and their parents)
to report statutory rape cases via a special hotline number. This
generated a large number of calls, some of which the prosecutor believes
would never have been received had the anonymous hotline number not
been advertised widely to the public.
- Working With Local Journalists.
Strategically placed articles in local newspapers could highlight
programs aimed at prosecuting adults involved in statutory rape cases;
the consequences to teenagers of sexual activity with adults; how
the sexual activity can impact the local economy through unintended
pregnancies; the complexities involved in reporting and prosecuting
these cases; and other topics germane to the problem in particular
Outreach to Schools About Reporting
Young teens involved in sexual activity with adults
and the teens families need to be identified and encouraged to
seek help. Police and prosecutors need to talk with, not at,
the teenagers and their families about the importance of reporting these
cases to the criminal justice system. Middle school personnel are in
a unique position to identify young teens who are involved in sexual
activity with adults. The collaboration of middle school personnel is
vital in preventing and prosecuting adult males engaging in this activity.
Below are examples of how police and/or prosecutors have engaged schools
in their efforts to increase reporting.
- Training for School Personnel on Identifying and
Reporting Options. Prosecutors and other
criminal justice professionals can provide training to teachers, school
nurses, school counselors, and administrators. Such training could
include educating school staff about the illegality of adult sexual
activity with minors and a discussion of the legal obligations and
actions of police and prosecutors once they receive a report of statutory
|The prosecutor in Maricopa County,
Arizona, trained school personnel on their requirements to report
statutory rape cases. The prosecutor concludes that these efforts
have been worthwhile in achieving a greater understanding among school
officials of their obligations and have increased the number of incidents
Training should include the message that the criminal
justice system will take allegations of statutory rape seriously.
This could help win the cooperation of school officials in reporting
cases. It is equally important to explain how the criminal justice
system can serve as a source for referrals for needed counseling.
Further, the criminal justice system is in the best position to supervise
adult offenders, usually through probation. The criminal justice system
helps ensure that the youth is no longer victimized and that the adult
does not replace this victim with another young teen.
|In Alameda County, California, the
prosecutor in charge of statutory rape cases works with school officials
to explain the seriousness of statutory rape cases. The prosecutor
also explains how his or her office responds to help teens and hold
adults accountable for their criminal acts.
- Training for School Personnel on Identifying Predatory
Adults. Teachers and administrators may
also be trained to identify adults preying on young teens. Police
and prosecutors can encourage school officials to report suspicious
activity, such as an adult picking up a student at the end of the
day or hanging around school property.
- Training in Teacher Health
School officials can play a pivotal role in reporting suspicious activities
such as adults picking up young teens at school. This can help prevent statutory
rape if caught early enough or stop further incidents of statutory rape
Certification Courses. Teacher
health certification courses provide an opportunity to educate teachers
about statutory rape. In many States, teachers are required to take
a health education class to obtain certification or renewed certification.
The State Board of Education may wish to mandate that the required
health education class include training about the health and mental
health risks experienced by young teens involved in sexual activity
with adults. The curriculum might include tips on how to identify
young teens at risk and how to help them obtain counseling and services.
- Parent, Teacher, Student Association Presentations.
PTA or PTSA meetings may present opportunities to reach out to students,
parents, and family members. Police and prosecutors may find that
presenting information in these meetings encourages reporting, moves
young teens into counseling and services, and helps build rapport
and trust between parents, young teens, and criminal justice officials.
Involving the medical and therapeutic communities in a joint presentation
with police and prosecutors at PTA/PTSA meetings may prove very effective.
These meetings can serve as a forum to help those attending identify
young teens who are sexually involved with adults, communicate the
message that this activity is illegal and harmful, provide information
about community resources available to help the young teens, and explain
how the criminal justice system responds to such cases.
|PTA or PTSA meetings afford opportunities
to discuss with teens and their parents the illegality of statutory
rape incidents and encourage reporting. In Santa Cruz County, California,
the prosecutor who handles statutory rape cases has found this venue
- Student Assembly Presentations.
Presentations aimed at students can help young teens understand that
they are being victimized by adults who are having sex with them.
Especially powerful are presentations by peers who realized they were
being abused by adults. Also persuasive are frank discussions with
young teen moms who tell how their freedom was taken away by adults
who impregnated them and failed to support the child financially.
|A victim advocate in Alameda County,
California, noted that peer presentations focused on why it is wrong
for adults to have sex with young teens. Peer victims can deliver
powerful messages to teens. She explained that teens are much more
likely to listen to "one of their own" than to an adult authority
Outreach to the Medical, Mental Health, Therapeutic, and Service
Communities About Reporting
In a previous ABA research study, the medical, mental health, therapeutic,
and service communities reported three barriers to reporting cases in which
adults are having sex with young teens: the need to maintain confidentiality
between client and provider, a concern that the teens will lose trust in
the provider and drop out of services, and a fatalistic attitude that police
and prosecutors will do nothing even if they report.
Prior ABA research uncovered the following strong, recurring
themes in the medical, mental health, therapeutic, and service communities
about why they do not report cases of adults having sex with young teens:
confidentiality between client and provider prohibits reporting these
cases to authorities; reporting would have a chilling effect,
resulting in young teens dropping out of or going without needed services;
and a fatalistic attitude that reporting would do no good, based on
the belief that the police, prosecutors, and the criminal justice system
would do nothing with such reports.
Police and prosecutors need to communicate with service
providers about what will happen when a report is received. Later, when
information on individual cases can be released because it is part of
the public record, the police and prosecutors must follow up with the
providers by giving feedback on the outcome of the reported cases, such
as arrest or no arrest, prosecuted or not prosecuted, sentence imposed,
etc. Providing feedback to service providers who reported may encourage
more cooperation in the future.
Feedback to service providers on the results of their report of a statutory
rape case can help build rapport between criminal justice practitioners
and service providers.
Training, rapport building, and communication between
police, prosecutors, and service providers can occur in many different
arenas. Some suggestions for reaching out to providers include the following:
- Make Conference Presentations.
Professional conferences attended by the medical, mental health, therapeutic,
and service communities afford wonderful opportunities for criminal justice
officials to communicate with other professionals about the importance of
reporting statutory rape cases.
Criminal justice professionals can ask to be included
on the agenda of conferences attended by medical care providers, allied
health professionals, mental health providers, and service providers.
In this setting, criminal justice professionals can explain the importance
of reporting cases, how to report cases, and how the criminal justice
system typically responds to such cases. Presenters may take this
opportunity to encourage open, frank discussions about why providers
are reluctant to report cases and why they should.
- Offer Continuing Education Credits. Most States
require health provider professionals to obtain continuing education
credits each year. Offering continuing education credits to those
attending a statutory rape presentation at the conferences encourages
conference organizers to include the topic on the agenda and encourages
participants to attend the presentation.
- Provide Training at Local Hospitals and Health
|In San Diego County, California, the
prosecutor in charge of the statutory rape unit provides training
at the local children's hospital on how to identify such cases and
their reporting requirements.
Criminal justice practitioners can conduct training and
make presentations at the local childrens hospital, county and
private hospitals, mental health clinics, school-based health clinics,
and other places where youth who are involved in sexual activity with
adults may go for help. Practitioners should educate staff and volunteers
about identifying and reporting requirements and use this training to
alert providers that police and prosecutors will take their reports
- Provide Training at Youth Centers.
|In Oakland County, California, specialized
prosecutors, investigators, and victim advocates assigned to statutory
rape cases work together with YMCA staff to identify teens involved
in sexual activities with adults and encourage the teens to prosecute
the adults. They also work together to make sure each teen gets the
Police and prosecutors may also conduct trainings
and make presentations with staff and volunteers at local YMCAs and
YWCAs, runaway and drop-in shelters, and other places where young
teens frequent. Practitioners should educate the staff and volunteers
about identifying and reporting these cases and alert them that the
criminal justice system will respond to their reports.
Outreach to Law Enforcement and Allied Agencies Reporting to Prosecutors
Police play a crucial gatekeeper role in deciding which cases to investigate
and send to the prosecutor for filing consideration.
The public (including parents and teens), the schools,
and the medical and service communities may report statutory rape cases
to either the police or the prosecutor. If they report to the prosecutor,
that office may investigate the report directly. Most prosecutor offices,
however, do not have the personnel to conduct independent investigations,
so they refer the case to the police for investigation. The police have
several options. They may immediately open an investigation or they
may place the case in a pending file awaiting resources for an investigation.
Ultimately, the police may do any of the following: leave the investigation
open pending new evidence, close the case due to insufficient evidence
to proceed, arrest the suspect and send the case to the prosecutor,
or decide not to make an arrest until the prosecutor makes a decision
about filing the case. Whatever the outcome, the police play the crucial
role of gatekeeper.
|Many prosecutors report that they
provide training to law enforcement officers to encourage them to
bring cases to the prosecutor. Prosecutors assure police that these
cases will be taken seriously by the prosecutor. This outreach was
described by prosecutors in Maricopa County, Arizona; Alameda and
San Diego Counties, California; Dade County, Florida; Marion County,
Indiana; Jefferson County, Kentucky; Oakland County, Michigan; St.
Louis, Missouri; and Onondaga County, New York.
During research for this Training Guide, police
said that an inhibitor to arresting a suspect or sending a case to the
prosecutor is the why bother attitude. The police may think,
Why bother to spend limited police resources on these cases when
the prosecutor seldom files them? This means that prosecutors
need to work with police, encouraging them to investigate and refer
cases to prosecutors. After making outreach efforts, prosecutors active
in working with police on this issue have reported considerable success
and substantial increases in police reports of this crime. The following
are innovative suggestions to increase reporting by police:
|A prosecutor in charge of statutory
rape cases in Onondaga County, New York, explained that police need
continual reminding that prosecutors will actively pursue these cases
to keep the message alive.
A high turnover rate and competing demands on police
officers make it necessary for prosecutors to regularly train officers
on the importance of investigating and referring statutory rape cases.
Police may give these cases a low priority. Prosecutors can bring
effective change by explaining why these cases should be handled in
the criminal justice system. By making it clear that they will aggressively
prosecute appropriate statutory rape cases, prosecutors can send a
strong message to police.
Training should be targeted at law enforcement officers at many different
levels in the police department.
The chief prosecutor can communicate with the chief
of police to set policy about enforcing the law in statutory rape
cases. The chief of police can then send the message from senior
staff to the officers on the street. Prosecutors can train patrol
sergeants, lieutenants, and commanders who will, in turn, train
their officers about the evidence prosecutors need to successfully
prosecute statutory rape cases.
In each training episode, reinforce the importance
of pursuing these cases and referring them to prosecutors. Patrol
officers, especially in community-oriented policing sites, are likely
to know their neighborhood residents best and are in a good position
to encourage the public to report statutory rape cases.
Targeting a specialized unit within the police department
for training is another option. Clearly, training the sexual assault
unit and the juvenile unit responsible for investigating statutory
rape cases is a priority. Other good candidates for training are
those specialized units that come in contact with the men involved
in statutory rape cases. For example, it is a good idea to target
the gang unit for training. Gang members often equate having multiple
sexual relationships as conferring status. When a gang officer makes
a bust, he or she should be trained to observe if young teens are
on the scene and ask questions about who they are and why they are
there. Also, consider training specialized drug units to identify
young teens involved in sexual activity with adults. Drug dealers
often recruit young people to sell drugs. Some of these young people
may be teens who are forced, or persuaded, to sell drugs for their
|Be creative in targeting which specialized
units in the police department to train on statutory rape cases. Sexual
assault or juvenile units are obvious choices, but other units may
be fruitful as well. For example, the prosecutor in Santa Cruz County,
California, who handles statutory rape cases provides training to
the specialized gang unit in the police department. Gang members may
be involved with young teens, and officers should investigate to determine
that in individual cases. The prosecutor points out to officers that
they may not have enough evidence to arrest a gang member on a driveby
shooting but they may be able to arrest him for having sex with an
underage teen. He notes officers then become very enthusiastic
about investigating statutory rape cases.
- Which media to use.The
prosecutor should conduct the initial training in person at the
police academy. Scheduled indepth, face-to-face, inservice training
sessions can be designed to accomplish several goals: motivate officers
to take cases seriously; inform officers about how to conduct good
investigations; and encourage bringing strong cases to the prosecutor.
Consider other available means for followup inservice
training. For example, roll call provides an opportunity for short
training reminders. Use any number of means to make
your training point, including in writing, in person, by videotape,
by conference call, and so on. Prosecutors may wish to work with
their local police to develop a comprehensive training program that
fits the needs of the police department.
|Different media should be used to
train officers on statutory rape cases. For example, in Maricopa County,
Arizona, the prosecutor conducts in-person bimonthly trainings with
law enforcement personnel; roll call trainings (via videotape or in
person) are used in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Riverside and Santa
Cruz Counties, California. The prosecutor in Riverside County also
uses the newsletter that is distributed to law enforcement officers
every month as a vehicle to inform officers about the importance of
investigating and referring statutory rape cases to the prosecutor.
- How to maintain momentum.
Nothing works like success! The best way for prosecutors to sustain
the interest of the police officers is to provide them feedback
about the outcomes of cases they referred for prosecution. Include
an explanation of why the case turned out as it did. Once officers
see that their efforts lead to successful results, they will be
motivated to investigate and refer more cases to prosecutors.
|Once officers see that their efforts
lead to successful prosecutions, they will be more motivated to investigate
and refer cases to prosecutors. This refrain was heard from prosecutors
in Onondaga County, New York, and Alameda, Santa Clara, and Santa
Cruz Counties, California.
- Working With Child Support Enforcement and Welfare
Agencies. Strategically placing brochures
at agencies where young mothers apply for public support and child
welfare support may be an effective way to encourage them to report
men who are failing to support their children financially. Child welfare
agencies may even be willing to distribute brochures to teen mothers
about ways to obtain child support from the father.
|Child support enforcement agencies
may provide a valuable source of referrals of cases to prosecutors
when young teens seek child support. We learned this from prosecutors
in three California jurisdictions: Alameda County, San Diego County,
and Santa Clara County.
Public assistance intake workers may also make referrals
to prosecutors. In fact, when a woman comes in and applies for welfare,
some State laws require that she provide the name and sometimes the
age of the father of her children. A memorandum of understanding between
the welfare office and the prosecutor may require the intake workers
to refer cases that meet the State legal definition of statutory rape
or cases in which there is a large age discrepancy between the victim
and the offender.
|The Onondaga County, New York, prosecutor
in charge of the Special Victims Bureau developed a pilot program
with the Department of Social Services (DSS). Referrals are made by
income maintenance (intake) workers taking applications
for assistance. A common scenario is that a young woman comes in and
fills out an application for public assistance (welfare). The law
requires that she name the father of any children. A memorandum of
understanding between DSS and the district attorneys
office states that DSS will refer cases involving girls younger than
a certain age if there is an age difference of a certain number of
years between the girl and the male and if the relationship is exploitative
or she is at risk. A reporting form was developed that requests information
on the names and ages of the mother, the father, and the child.
- Working With Juvenile Probation Departments.
By working closely with the juvenile probation department, prosecutors
can identify young teens who are having sex with adults. During the
assessment for supervision and services, probation officers usually
get to know their clients, their families, and school counselors.
Disclosures about an adult partner or sexual activity with an adult
may be made to the probation officer. Part of the motivation for referring
the case to prosecutors is that the relationship between the probation
department and the client will probably be long term. The probation
officer ultimately wants to keep the teenaged client from being further
victimized. The probation officer wants to help the client gain power
and avoid making poor choices.
|In Onondaga County, New York, the
juvenile probation department works in collaboration with the prosecutor
by referring cases when they learn that young teens (who are their
clients) are involved in sexual activities with adults. Probation
department staff started noticing that the juveniles they were working
with were pregnant by or dating adults. The prosecutor in charge of
the Special Victims Bureau said that, if probation refers the cases,
the district attorney will prosecute them.
- Working With Multiple Agencies.
Another approach is to create a liaison position within the district
attorneys office, perhaps a paralegal, who can monitor and coordinate
a case if it is being handled in more than one court. For example,
a case may be filed in a civil court (family, domestic relations)
because the minor (victim) is being adjudicated as a Person in Need
of Supervision or because the minor's (victim's) parents are being
charged with neglect. These cases may be concurrent with the criminal
case involving the perpetrator charged with statutory rape. By monitoring
all the cases, the liaison can provide each attorney information about
the cases in other courts, keeping everyone informed.
|In Dade County, Florida, the prosecutor
has created a liaison position to coordinate the work of the district
attorney and the dependency court (civil family court) in child sexual
abuse cases. This persons tasks are to provide case tracking
and management. The assistant district attorney involved will plan
his or her case with the Department of Family Services (DFS) case
in mind. The liaison will review all cases by checking the family
court's computers; contacting the DFS attorney about each case; gathering
information on upcoming hearings (which may be attended by the assistant
district attorney); contacting the guardian ad litem; checking whether
the defendant gets supervised visitation in the DFS case (because
that often leads to recantation in the criminal case); letting DFS
know the status of the criminal case; and keeping all parties informed
on both cases.