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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

May-24-99

Justice Dept. Tackles Drug-Facilitated Rapes

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


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