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New ways to report sexual assault

An Oregon police department is experimenting with a new way to respond to sexual assault investigations. Sexual assaults remain highly stigmatized have exceedingly low reporting rates. Modern police departments continue to struggle with addressing and investigating sexual assault allegations. Moreover, when the police do investigate, the process is inconsistent and can have varying results.

The new approach gives victims of sexual assault multiple ways of reporting what happened to them. The goal is to reduce the number of barriers to sexual assault reporting and empower more victims to come forward.

The process gives victims three choices. First, they can choose to report the event. This is an information only endeavor and does not lead to further investigations; the police conduct an interview, and that is it. The second option is a partial investigation which includes interviews with witnesses and evidence collection. The final option is a full investigation in which the police undertake procedures to determine if probable cause exists to charge and arrest someone for a criminal offense.

If you were arrested on sexual assault charges, then you may want to speak with an experienced defense lawyer. Sexual assault charges carry steep penalties including being added to the sex offender registry. These punishments carry significant consequences for your personal life and reputation long down the road. A lawyer can help you prepare a defense and limit the damage to your personal life.

Source: Vice News, "The Cop Pioneering a New Approach to Reporting and Investigating Sexual Assault," Sirin Kale, September 29, 2016

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