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New Jersey Attorney General Issues New Guidelines to Protect Victims of Sexual Assault

criminal defense lawyer voorhees njWhile the “Me Too Movement” has certainly spawned lawsuits and/or settlements addressing a victim’s right to civil redress, the “Me Too Movement” has also resulted in changes being made to the old procedures utilized by police officers when addressing allegations of sexual assault.

Specifically, on November 26, 2018, our New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewel issued Enforcement Directive 2018-5 placing new reporting requirements and providing for new procedures applicable to police officers when they’re investigating sexual assault matters. Enforcement Directive 2018-5 seeks to provide New Jersey victims of sexual assault with additional protections and services including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The requirement that all law enforcement agencies report alleged incidents of sexual assault within 24 hours of notice of the incident or receipt of the complaint to County prosecutors;
  • Requiring that the alleged victim of sexual assault have the opportunity to consult with the prosecuting authority prior to the conclusion of any plea negotiations;
  • Requiring that the prosecutor meet with and discuss the reasons for not pursuing sexual assault charges with the alleged victim before declining to bring charges;
  • Requiring that the investigating agency advise the alleged victim of additional resources and options, including the availability of Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act Orders; and
  • Requiring that all final dispositions of sexual assault investigations be reviewed and approved by a supervisor within the “special victim’s unit” and/or “juvenile unit” of the Office of the County prosecutor before completion of the case.

On November 26, 2018, our New Jersey Attorney General also issued the Third Edition of the Attorney General Standard for Providing Services to Victims of Sexual Assault (hereinafter “Third Edition”) which will now require that all police officers in New Jersey take a three-hour course entitled “Police Response: Sexual Assault Investigations.” This Third Edition utilizes a victim-centered approach while providing updated standards to 1) ensure that the victim’s safety is the top priority, 2) respect the integrity, choices, and autonomy of each victim. 3) protect the victim’s privacy and confidential information; 4) identify and respond to obstacles victims may face when seeking help, and 5) recognize the importance of victim feedback in improving responses to sexual assault.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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