QUICK ESCAPE FROM SITE

Extending protective and supportive practices beyond the trial

  • Allowing pretrial intervention, treatment, or diversion programmes ONLY IF operators of such programmes work with survivor services to enable feedback from the survivor on recurrence of violence, and ONLY IF justice officials provide continuous monitoring of compliance with regular, formal reviews, and immediate reports to probation officers and police if violence reoccurs. Pretrial programmes are alternatives to prosecution and seek to divert offenders, especially juveniles, with no prior offenses from traditional criminal justice processing into a programme of supervision and services.
  • Requesting conditional release if the defendant's release will be a risk to public safety or to the victim, or if the defendant may not appear for the next court proceeding. Those conditions may include placing the defendant in the care and supervision of a designated person; placing restrictions on travel, association, or place of abode during the period of release; imposing curfew; restrictions on alcohol or drug use; requiring the deposit of other security to ensure return, or imposing any other condition deemed reasonably necessary to assure victim safety and the defendant’s appearance for the next court proceeding.
  • Ensuring that orders for protection are entered into country-wide registries and that violations of orders for protection are prosecuted. Most protection order registries are confidential; for example, see the information on the protection order registry of British Columbia, Canada. See a video on the importance of protective order registries in promoting victim safety (Protection Order Registry: Protecting Indiana’s Residents, The Indiana Supreme Court).

  • Utilizing new technologies such as electronic monitoring bracelets or automated check-ins to monitor the location of the perpetrator and improve compliance with orders for protection. For example, a 2009 report on the use of such devices in Madrid, Spain, indicated that courts used them increasingly and that gender-based homicides decreased at a higher rate in Madrid than in the rest of Spain during the 3 years since usage began (ElmoTech Ltd and Comunidad de Madrid, 2009).
  • Encouraging prosecutors to participate in community outreach and education in order to increase public confidence.
  • Engaging with women’s NGOs to obtain information on the willingness of women to report crimes of violence, and why women do not report these crimes, so that the barriers can be addressed.
  • Forming teams from all sectors to work together on cases of violence against women. In addition to the prosecutor, teams should include:
    • Police
    • Victim/Witness Team within prosecutor offices
    • Victim/Witness Advocate
    • Probation and parole officers
    • Support service providers
    • Child welfare service professionals

USA – Electronic Monitoring Increases Victim Safety, Offender Accountability

Lane County, Oregon, United States has instituted a pretrial release programme conditioned upon the wearing of an electronic ankle bracelet. The programme, court officials say, has improved victim safety and the rate of defendants who appear in court. Officers meet weekly with the monitored defendants and use surprise home visits to ensure compliance. Officials note that only 7 of 332 monitored defendants failed to appear in court during a two-year period. Defendants are able to return to work, and the monitoring makes victims feel safe.

The ankle bracelets are part of a Victim Safety Program that includes an 8-page danger assessment form with information on past convictions, past failures to appear, and violations of protection orders. Pretrial release officers use the assessments in making decisions about conditional release, and defendants can appeal the decision to a court. The programme has been particularly useful in this part of Oregon, which lacks funding to provide enough cells for all defendants prior to trial.

 

Source: McGowan. 2010. Pretrial Program Scrutinized.

Tools:

Prosecuting Alcohol-Facilitated Sexual Assault (American Prosecutors Research Institute of the National District Attorneys Association, 2007). Available in English.

Working with Immigrant & Refugee Victims: A Guide for Prosecutors, Law Enforcement, and Advocates (Minnesota County Attorneys Association and Minnesota Center for Crime Victim Services, 2000). Discusses barriers faced by immigrant and refugee victims of crime, ways to help victims overcome these barriers, and methods to improve investigation and prosecution of domestic abuse and sexual assault cases with immigrant and refugee victims. Book available in libraries.