- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Tuesday that she has created a panel to recommend ways to improve prosecution rates of sexual assault cases, including by encouraging victims to report the crimes.

Madigan said the Sexual Assault Working Group was formed to address studies that show only 5 percent to 20 percent of all rapes are reported.

“The system is broken, and too often we fail the victims of sexual assault,” Madigan said, according to the Belleville News-Democrat (https://bit.ly/1MumaVL ). “We have a legal and moral obligation to fix this system.”

The newspaper published a series last month that said 70 percent of rape cases reported to police in southern Illinois don’t make it to court.

The new working group will include law enforcement, criminal justice and health care agencies. The goal, officials said, is to identify what is discouraging sexual-assault victims from reporting the crimes and to improve the response to sexual assault cases that are reported. That includes increasing the number of sexual assault nurse examiners statewide.

Madigan made the announcement at a Chicago news conference with Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly.

“The quality of sex-assault investigations is very inconsistent from department to department. Justice for sex-assault victims shouldn’t be different for those who live in a suburban jurisdiction versus an urban or rural jurisdiction struggling for resources,” Kelly said.


Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, https://www.bnd.com

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