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Senate Judiciary Committee Releases Report and Recommendations on Reducing Sexual Assault in Alaska

Oct. 16, 2009

(Anchorage) – The Senate Judiciary Committee today released a series of recommendations to reduce sexual assault in Alaska, citing concrete actions the legislature and executive branch can take which have a measurable impact on the successful prosecution and conviction of offenders

During the past year, the committee consulted experts from the University of Alaska, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Law, the Anchorage Police Department, and Village Public Safety program, among others.  It found that between 2003 and 2007, Alaska’s reported rate of forcible rape was over two and a half times the national average.  Anchorage reports were almost three times the national rate, and Fairbanks reports were over five times the national rate. In 2003 and 2004, State troopers received 1,184 reports of contact sexual violence cases involving forcible rape, sexual assault, or sexual abuse of a minor. In three out of four cases, the incident was verified and a suspect identified. The troopers then turned over 449 cases, or about half, to the Department of Law for their screening. Of these, 271 were accepted for prosecution, and some 217 convictions resulted.

“This report reflects the recommendations of a variety of experts, and gives the legislature and executive branch concrete actions to increase convictions and reduce sexual assault in Alaska,” said Senator Hollis French, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Among the recommendations discussed in the new report are:

- Increase the presence of VPSOs in rural communities: In State Trooper cases where a VPSO was available, the likelihood of the case being accepted for prosecution went up by three and a half times. 

- Expand the availability of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners: When a victim received a medical-forensic exam, it more than doubled the likelihood that the case was accepted for prosecution.

- Continue efforts by the Internet Task Force on Crimes Against Children.  In a 1988 study of offenders who participated and who admitted to child molestations and rapes, 97% were never arrested for these crimes. The Internet Task Force has successfully located, arrested and obtained convictions of previously unknown child sexual offenders.

Report and Recommendations: Reducing Sexual Assault in Alaska” is available online at http://www.aksenate.org/french/101609_Senate_Judiciary_report_on_sexual_assault.pdf

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