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EVAWI > Resources > Best Practices > FAQs > Evidence-Based Prosecution
Q Should evidence-based prosecution be used in sexual assault cases?
A Should evidence-based prosecution be used in sexual assault cases?

Evidence-based prosecution is a strategy typically only seen in domestic violence cases where the victim has recanted. In these situations, the prosecution sometimes moves forward with a case based only on the physical evidence and testimony of witnesses – but without the cooperation or testimony of the victim.

For most of us working in this field, we would agree that this strategy has been extremely successful in many domestic violence cases. Victims of domestic violence are often very relieved to know that they are not the ones who are responsible for deciding whether or not criminal charges will be filed. The goal for evidence-based prosecution is therefore to hold more offenders accountable for their crimes and also to decrease the risk of additional harm to the victim because the offender knows that the victim is not the one in control of decision making.

Based on the success of evidence-based prosecution with domestic violence cases, we sometimes hear discussion about the possibility of extending its use to sexual assault. We discuss this topic in an article entitled, Best Practice or Buzzword: Sorting out Fact From Fiction in the Community Response to Violence Against Women by Joanne Archambault and Kim Lonsway. It originally appeared in the e-news for Sexual Assault Training & Investigations (SATI) on January 29, 2007.
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