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1981 NOVA Newsl. 1 (1981)

handle is hein.journals/novan1981 and id is 1 raw text is: VOLUME 4, NO.


__  N\A TIONAL ORGANIZA TION
         FOR  VICTIM  ASSISTANCE


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   Off~c~ Of TI'~e P~e
   8565 S W Sahsh
W~Isonv e OR 9707(


    SPECIAL ISSUES IN SEXUAL ASSAULT
               PROSECUTION

          illiam  Heiman, Esq.
      Assistant  District Attorney
            Chief, Rape Unit
            Philadelphia, PA

    At   the  recent   mid-winter   con-
ference   of   the   National   District
Attorney's  Association  in  Las  Vegas,
Nevada, I  addressed the group of  pros-
ecutors  and discussed  special problems
in  the  prosecution of  sexual  assault
cases.   The  three themes  which  high-
lighted my  presentation were  first, as
prosecutors, maintaining personal
attitudes   and   employing   procedures
which  result in  a high  level of  sen-
sitivity  in  dealing with  the  victiml
and  her  family  throughout  the  court
procedures;  second,  thinking   of  the
trial  as an  interconnected weave of  a
fabric,  consisting of different  colors
and  threads  all  woven  together  into
one complete package;  and third,  util-
izing   certain   pretrial   and   trial
strategies and  tactics which will  make
the   prosecutor's   presentation   more
effective  and  hopefully, result  in  a
higher   conviction  rate.   I   present
here a  summary of my  remarks, focusing
on  the issues  directly related to  the
victim.

I.  POLICY CONSIDERATIONS

    A.   The proper  role of the  prose-
cutor.   Without  question,  the  office
of the  District  Attorney,  the  public
prosecutor,  is one of  the most  power-
ful  in  all of  government.   The  Dis-
trict Attorney  is authorized by  law to
exercise  discretion in  determining who
shall  be prosecuted  and what  criminal
laws  will  be enforced.   The  District
Attorney must exercise his or her
        (continued on next page)


  RAPE TRAUMA SYNDROME
DEVELOPMENTAL VARIATIONS


             E. Amanat, M.D.
             Medical Director
     Child Center, Our Lady of Grace
              St. Louis, MO

    Abstract:   Three   distinctly  dif-
ferent  patterns  of response  to  Rape
Trauma  have been  observed  in a  pop-
ulation of  54 victims.   These patterns
relate  to  the  victim's  psychological
development  and  certain  temperamental
characteristics.

    Review  of Literature:  Ann  Burgess
and   Linda   Holmstrom in a paper
entitled  Rape Trauma Syndrome  (Amer-
ican  Journal of Psychiatry,  September,
1974)   interviewed  and  followed   146
pat ients admitted  during   a  one-year
period to  the emergency ward of  a city
hospital  with the presenting  complaint
of  having  been  raped.  Analysis  of
the  reactions of  92  adult women  rape
victims  in this  group pointed  to  the
existence  of a  rape trauma  syndrome
as  a clinical  entity.  The  syndrome's
symptomatology  as  well as  two  varia-
tions   (compounded  and   silent  reac-
tions)  were   reported.   The   authors
alerted  climicians to  the  possibility
of  rape  even when  the  patient  never
mentioned  such  an  attack.   Later  on
the same  authors  (American Journal  of
Nursing,  August,   1975)  described   a
system  of  diagnosis   and  classifica-
tion,  using intensive  analysis of  the
interview  materials,  medical  records,
and    follow-up     sessions.     Their
description  of  rape trauma  syndrome
had  an acute  phase  with many  phys-
ical and  emotional symptoms and  a long
term    reorganization  process    which
included  changes  in life  style,  etc.
Correlation of diagnosis and symptoms,
          (continued on page 5)


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