The YOU HAVE OPTIONS Program
Providing victims of sexual assault with options for reporting to law enforcement.
Providing law enforcement with information to hold sexual offdenders accountable.
All YOU HAVE OPTIONS Program Law Enforcement Agencies believe in providing victims of sexual assault with as much control over their report and any subsequent criminal investigation as the law allows. Scroll down to learn more about the 20 Elements of a Victim-Centered and Offender-Focused response every YOU HAVE OPTIONS Law Enforcement Agency provides to victims of sexual assault.
All YOU HAVE OPTIONS Program Law Enforcement Agencies offer three options for reporting sexual assault; to include Information Only, Partial Investigation and Complete Investigation. No matter what type of reporting option is chosen a victim’s access to advocacy and medical care is given priority, even when the victim does not initially choose to pursue a criminal investigation. Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to report even if they never intend to pursue criminal charges against the person who assaulted them.
INFORMATION ONLY REPORT
Choose this option if you would like to speak with law enforcement, tell them what happened and then have nothing else done.
All information provided will be documented in a police report. Any identifying information on a reported perpetrator is listed within the police report.
Law enforcement does not interview any person other than the reporting party and/or the victim.
No investigative steps are conducted by law enforcement outside of attempts to determine if the reported perpetrator has been investigated for a sexual assault before.
After providing their report and requesting no further action be taken, a victim can request to be contacted by law enforcement if it is believed their information will assist in another investigation.
A sexual assault victim may change from an Information Only report to a Partial or Complete Investigation at any time.
A Partial Investigation includes some, but not all, of the steps needed to complete a sexual assault investigation. This option can be customized to the unique circumstances and needs of the person who was victimized and may include witness interviews, suspect interviews, investigative steps and evidence collection among other processes used to corroborate a victim's statement.
A Complete Investigation includes any report where all investigative procedures necessary to determine if probable cause exists for a criminal sexual assault offense have been initiated and completed.
A sexual assault victim may initially request a Complete Investigation and change to a Partial Investigation at any time prior to the conclusion of all investigative processes. Only Complete Investigations may result in the arrest or referral to an office of prosecution.
Only Complete Investigations list a reported perpetrator as a suspect of a criminal sexual assault offense. The You Have Options Program upholds every individual’s right to due process and shall not list a person as a suspect unless all investigative processes have been completed, or in the case of a Partial Investigation the investigative processes completed have shown probable cause to believe the crime reported occurred.
20 Elements of a Victim-Centered and Offender-Focused Response
Unless legally mandated or in other rare circumstances, the following victim-centered and offender-focused options are offered during every sexual assault report and/or investigation at all YOU HAVE OPTIONS Program Law Enforcement Agencies:
1. A victim of sexual assault is offered three options for reporting; to include Information Only, Partial Investigation and Complete Investigation.
2. A victim or other reporting party may remain anonymous and still have the information they provide documented by a law enforcement agency.
3. A victim or other reporting party may have questions answered regarding their options for reporting and/or a criminal investigation prior to providing any identifying or incident information to law enforcement.
4. A clear explanation of the reporting process and/or investigative procedures will be provided by a law enforcement officer if requested by the victim.
5. When making a report there is no requirement to meet in person with a law enforcement officer. For example, a victim or other reporting party may report using an online form or a victim may choose to have a sexual assault advocate report on their behalf.
6. Reasonable efforts will be made to allow the victim or other reporting party control over the location, time and date where their initial report is made to law enforcement.
7. A victim or other reporting party may provide as much, or as little, information as they choose with no time limitations or restrictions on when the information is given to law enforcement. For example, information obtained on an incident outside the current statute of limitations will be documented and used as the law allows to assist in other investigations.
8. Law enforcement officers will offer every person reporting assistance in locating sexual assault advocacy services.
9. A victim may be accompanied by a sexual assault advocate or other appropriate support person during all phases of the reporting process and criminal investigation.
10. A victim, or other reporting party, may end an interview with law enforcement at any time without having to provide a reason.
11. After making a report, a victim or other reporting party will not be pressured to participate in a criminal investigation.
12. Reasonable efforts will be made to meet the needs of the victim and address any barriers the victim faces in providing information to law enforcement during the interview process.
13. Law enforcement officers will conduct victim interviews in a trauma-informed manner.
14. Reasonable efforts will be made to meet the needs of the victim and address any barriers the victim faces in providing information to law enforcement during the investigation.
15. A victim’s right to keep their assault confidential will be respected. If legally permissible, no person (outside of a law enforcement agency) will be notified the victim has reported without the victim’s consent. This includes the interviewing of identified witnesses and perpetrators.
16. Investigators will utilize strategies to identify and document serial sexual perpetration, such as the Inquiry into Serial Sexual Assault (ISSA).
17. Investigators will collaborate with victims during the investigative process and respect a victim’s right to request certain investigative steps not be conducted. Criminal investigations will be conducted at a pace set by the victim, not the law enforcement officer. Victims will be informed that no case can proceed to arrest or referral to an office of prosecution until the investigative process is complete.
18. A victim may disengage from a criminal investigation at any time prior to an arrest being made or the case being referred to an office of prosecution. There is no requirement that an explanation be given by the victim to law enforcement.
19. If legally permissible and probable cause exists for a crime, no arrest or referral to an office of prosecution will occur without the consent of the victim. All You Have Options Law Enforcement Agencies respect the choice of every victim who reports a sexual assault and understand that justice is not the same for every person who is victimized.
20. Criminal investigations that do not result in arrest or referral to an office of prosecution will be classified as “inactive” unless found baseless or false, allowing for the investigation to be re-opened in the future at a victim’s request and/or if additional information is discovered.
In some circumstances YOU HAVE OPTIONS Program Law Enforcement Agencies may be legally mandated to continue an investigation even when a victim does not want to participate. Examples include investigations involving domestic violence, child abuse or where the reported victim is still in physical danger. If you are unsure how law enforcement would respond to your situation, you can call and speak anonymously with an officer at a You Have Options Law Enforcement Agency. You will never be pressured to provide information in order to hear about your options.