MADIGAN ANNOUNCES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE GRANT TO IMPROVE RESPONSE TO SEXUAL ASSAULT CRIMES IN ILLINOIS
DOJ Grant Stems from Madigan’s Landmark Legislation Aimed at Increasing Successful Prosecution of Sexual Assault Crimes in Illinois
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced her office has received a $750,000, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to train Illinois law enforcement officers to better respond to survivors of sexual assault crimes. The grant provides resources to implement a training program and new procedures required under a new landmark law. The law will make Illinois one of the first states in the country to require specialized sexual assault response training for all 911 operators, new and current police officers and investigators in the state.
The law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, was initiated by Madigan and a Joint Sexual Assault Working Group that she created to address the fact that most survivors of sexual assault do not report their crimes to Illinois authorities. The Joint Sexual Assault Working Group is led by Madigan, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly and Illinois Coalition for Sexual Assault (ICASA) Executive Director Polly Poskin.
The new law will make Illinois among a handful of states in the country that require members of law enforcement to undergo training on trauma-informed and victim-centered responses to sexual assault survivors. Trauma-informed responses to sexual assault survivors have been proven to not only help the survivor but also elicit more cooperation and information critical to apprehending predators. Under the new law, law enforcement agencies must also establish an agency policy that outlines procedures to be followed by their officer in response to sexual assault crimes.
“The horrific crimes that survivors of sexual assault experience require an appropriate response from first responders, police officers and investigators," Madigan said. “The DOJ grant will help us implement our new law to ensure our criminal justice system better responds, investigates and supports survivors and ultimately encourages more survivors to come forward. I am grateful to the U.S. Department of Justice for providing this grant to help more survivors receive justice in Illinois."
Madigan, ICASA, the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, the Illinois Office of the State’s Attorney Appellate Prosecutor and End Violence Against Women International, will use the Improving Criminal Justice Responses Program grant to:
Madigan’s legislation was sponsored by Sen. Scott Bennett and Rep. Emily McAsey. The new law also extends the time for survivors to consent to the testing of their forensic evidence from 14 days to five years.
Attorney General Madigan has worked for more than a decade to protect survivors of sexual violence and strengthen their rights. Last year, Madigan drafted and successfully worked to pass the Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus Act to set standards for all Illinois colleges and universities to prevent and respond to sexual violence. She also successfully advocated for enhanced crime victims’ rights under the state’s Constitution to ensure they have a voice in the criminal justice system.
In addition, Madigan worked to make Illinois the first state in the country to mandate the testing of sexual assault evidence kits. She also leads a continuing effort to increase the number of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in hospitals throughout Illinois. These nurses are trained to collect physical evidence following a sexual assault, respond to the psychological needs of a survivor, and testify in court. Madigan’s office also funds dozens of Illinois organizations that provide critical victim services to survivors.
Attorney General Madigan’s Crime Victim Services Division manages programs that provide assistance to crime victims and service providers. For more information about the Crime Victims Services Division or the rights afforded to survivors of crime, please visit Madigan’s website or call her office’s toll-free Crime Victims’ Assistance Line: 1-800-228-3368 or 1-877-398-1130 (TTY).