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Partners in Research: Lessons Learned in Los Angeles

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 272 Dated: September 2013 Pages: 47-52
Date Published
May 2013
6 pages
Publication Series
This report reviews lessons learned from a partnership of academic researchers and criminal justice practitioners in Los Angles that focused on the processing and prosecutorial outcomes of sexual assault cases.
The research focused on case attrition, unfounded cases (those cases that investigations determined to be false or baseless), and cases cleared by exceptional means. At the conclusion of the study the researchers and practitioners were surveyed about their experiences in the partnership. They agreed that although working together was not always easy, it was helpful in obtaining information on sexual assault reporting, investigation, and case processing. The format of this presentation of the lessons learned presents the questions asked researchers and practitioners by the NIJ interviewer about their experiences in the partnership. One of the questions was "What is the most important thing you learned from the process?" A practitioner responded that the study reinforced the value of independent research and critical reviews of the department's practices. The researcher responding to this question indicated that the person who has oversight of such a large and lengthy project requires the knowledge and background needed to deal effectively with issues or concerns during the process. This is important because the process necessarily had many components that must be understood by the overseer in order to avoid premature or faulty conclusions. In addition, the study must be evaluated objectively so as to recognize its strengths and weaknesses, as well as to determine whether the study measures up to established scientific standards of excellence. This respondent also advised that it is important for agencies to know as much as possible about the study, including associated costs, before committing to it. In addition, researchers should have a thorough knowledge of the criminal justice agency or agencies that will be involved.

Date Published: May 1, 2013