Making a Difference:
Challenging the Legal Process to Effectively
Prosecute Sex Offender

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The three-day conference will take place on October 12-15, 2004 in Ottawa Canada, and on October 26-29 in San Diego, California. The conference will consist of three full day sessions, Wednesday through Friday, 8:30-5:30 PM. The conference will begin with pre-registration on Tuesday afternoon and an opening banquet and opening address that evening. 


The Making a Difference conference will redefine the central issues for responding to sexual violence, with particular emphasis on assaults that do not fit the stereotype of a stranger rape (e.g., those committed by a non-stranger, with a credible social standing, who does not use a weapon or cause physical injury).

Participants will acquire a new frame of reference that will facilitate more effective collaboration between police, forensic examiners, victim advocates, and prosecutors. The outcome will be a unified strategy among the community-participants, in which their combined effort brings the team approach to new levels of effectiveness for:

Recognizing and effectively responding to typical sexual assaults

q       Realistic Characteristics of Sexual Assault.  Understanding the importance of cultural myths and misconceptions regarding sexual assault.

q       Challenges. Identifying the unique challenges faced when investigating and prosecuting crimes of sexual assault.

q       Barriers. Recognizing and removing barriers to the criminal justice system and victim services.

q       Skills.  Developing skills to overcome challenges to a victim’s credibility and corroborating every possible aspect of her story while facilitating rapport and cooperation.

q       Collaboration.  Promoting a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach.

q       Developing a New Success Measure.   Arrest is often used as a tool to measure the outcome of a crime report.  Sexual Assault Response Teams must reevaluate these mechanisms and question the final outcome of every case. 

Implementing collaborative strategies for “Making a Difference”

q       Victim Support. Providing supports for victims that take the  trauma out of reporting and going to trial by combating re-victimization.

q       Public Awareness. Documenting the myths and stereotypes that make effective prosecution of sexual assaults difficult, and challenging these biases.

q       Challenging the Legal Process. Raising objections and appealing cases that in the past have fallen outside the effective jurisdiction of the criminal justice process.  

Becoming “Partners for Change”

q       Power of Local Collaboration. Promoting a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach  that helps each organization do a better job,  increasing the effectiveness of the total process.

q       National Social Action. Working with seven other participant-communities to accomplish a larger goal of stimulating national social change.

q       Learning Organizations. Acquiring the capacity to stimulate structural and organizational developments in ones own agency and community.

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