In an effort to help local police officers and prosecutors crack down on rapes committed using "date rape" drugs, the Justice Department has issued an instruction video and book entitled "The Prosecution of Rohypnol and GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) Related Sexual Assaults."
Attorney General Janet Reno explained that drug-facilitated rapes are "very difficult for police officers and prosecutors to investigate and bring to trials," mostly due to the fact that victims, incapacitated by drugs, cannot give details about their rape. Given these difficulties, Reno commented "Collaboration among prosecutors, law enforcement officers, health care professionals and advocates is key to successfully investigating and prosecuting these cases."
The video and accompanying manual were produced by the American Prosecutors Research Institute and have been endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The video and manual explain the effects of "date rape" drugs on victims, and offer strategies for prosecutors who face especially difficult circumstances. The manual is also intended to serve as a basic reference for law enforcement officers and prosecutors. It includes information on state and federal statutes concerning drug-facilitated sexual assault, several case studies, and information on how sexual assault survivors commonly respond during an investigation.
The Department of Justice encourages law enforcement officers, prosecutors, sexual assault coalitions, rape crisis centers, and criminal justice educators to order the video and manual, which are available for a small fee from the American Prosecutors Research Institute. Call the National Criminal Justice Reference Service toll-free at 1-800-851-3420 or call APRI directly at 703-549-4253.
Media Resources: Department of Justice's Violence Against Women Office - May 18, 1999
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .