New guidelines hope to protect victims of sexual assault cases during investigation

Currently 54% of sexual assaults not reported

BRIGHTON, Colo. - A statewide pilot program known as the Colorado Sexual Assault Response Project announced a new plan Monday on how to handle sexual assault cases.

The pilot program known as SART formally introduced its team and program to the Adams County Board of Commissioners Monday to kick off sexual assault awareness month. The group started in 2010 and has been reviewing how victims are treated during the entire investigative, medical and judicial process.

"The goal is to keep victims' rights in mind and prevent victims of sexual assault from being re-traumatized by the legal process," said 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young.

Young said the group asked victims to take surveys on how they were treated so advocates could see where to improve the process. They also gathered all the police officers, medical examiners, judges and prosecutors to make sure everyone agreed on the sensitive nature of handling cases like these.

According to the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault 54% of sexual assaults are never reported to police, and only 3% of perpetrators serve a day in jail. Young said he wants that number to change.

The pilot program is funded through grants from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice and the Office on Violence Against Women.