UAA seeks sexual assault victims for new study
A new study looks to see how sexual assault victims are treated by law enforcement in Alaska and whether the process could be improved so that victims feel they have received justice.
University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center Professor Dr. Ingrid Johnson is conducting the study which is funded by a federal Bureau of Justice Assistance grant.
Johnson will specifically study practices related to sexual assault investigation, prosecution and how victims are engaged and supported during the process.
She'll personally interview victims who are willing to talk about their experiences and says she plans to travel statewide. She wants to hear firsthand if there are better ways to help victims feel heard, believed and respected.
"What we know is that there's improvements that can be made to the reporting process more generally, so to not only encourage people to report in the first place, but also to make sure those who do report have a positive experience," said Johnson.
The study is specific about who is eligible to participate. Johnson said she will look at sexual assaults that occurred in Alaska between 2006 and 2016. Victims must have been at least 18 years old at the time of the assault, and they must have reported it to Alaska State Troopers.
Both men and women are encouraged to participate.
Johnson said all participants will remain anonymous and will be paid for their time.
When the study is completed some time next year, the results will be sent to the Alaska Department of Public Safety.
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