Woman looking scaredThe Expert Testimony Resources Project: Promoting a Victim-Centered Response

The Sexual Violence Justice Institute (SVJI), a special program of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, received a grant from the State of Minnesota’s Office of Justice Programs to increase the use and effectiveness of expert testimony in criminal sexual conduct cases and increase the collaboration between healthcare professionals, prosecutors and victim advocates.

A victim-centered response sees the goals of vigorous prosecution and effective victim-involvement as mutually supportive. In order for prosecutors to identify, understand and explain to juries the full range of victims’ responses to sexual violence, all responders must effectively coordinate and communicate with victims throughout the life of a case. Too often, responders have learned to categorize cases according to whether they think a jury will believe a victim, and have let this affect the course of an interview or investigation.

By providing prosecutors with another set of tools to address juror misperceptions about victim behavior, SVJI believes community and criminal justice responders have new reasons to collaborate to strengthen their response to sexual violence.

To learn more about SVJI’s work to promote a victim-centered response, read “7 Rules for Becoming Victim-centered.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2011-VAWA-00221 awarded by the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs with funding from the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this project are those of the MNCASA and do not necessarily represent the views of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety or the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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