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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nebraska Commends the Release of Framework for Prosecutors to Strengthen National Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska

United States Attorney Susan Lehr commends the announcement of the Department of Justice’s new resource for prosecutors, “Framework for Prosecutors to Strengthen Our National Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Involving Adult Victims,”

The announcement was made today in Dallas, TX at the Conference on Crimes Against Women by Rosemarie Hidalgo, Director of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).  The guide, written by prosecutors for prosecutors, sets out five principles that, if implemented, will lead to better outcomes for victims, safer communities, and greater accountability for perpetrators of sexual assault and domestic violence.

“The framework announced today reaffirms our commitment to expanding access to justice for all survivors, who deserve respect and the right to be heard,” said the Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Director Rosie Hidalgo. “Enhancing the prosecution response to sexual assault and domestic violence in a trauma-informed manner is a key piece in ending gender-based violence, as part of a broader coordinated community response that includes services and support for survivors, and can have a real, immediate impact on the safety of survivors and entire communities.”

The District of Nebraska routinely prosecutes sexual assault and domestic violence offenses occurring on the Omaha Nation, Winnebago, and Santee Sioux Nation Reservations in the District of Nebraska. “We are committed and dedicated to pursuing justice in those cases, partnering with law enforcement, victim specialists, and the Tribes to ensure a trauma-informed approach is used in that pursuit,” said U.S. Attorney Lehr.

Declinations of meritorious allegations may result from misconceptions about how crimes involving sexual assault and domestic violence are committed and reported, how victims give their accounts, and the evidence required to prove their accounts. This guide equips prosecutors to build provable cases by: (1) relying on the evidentiary value of the victim’s account to frame the investigation; (2) meeting with victims and working with investigators and victim specialists to do so; (3) using the law and evidentiary rules effectively; (4) being thoughtful about what justice and accountability look like; and (5) sustaining a productive, healthy, and committed workforce by redefining success– all of which are rooted in a prosecutor’s primary obligation to seek the truth and uphold the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law.

“The District of Nebraska will continue to prioritize public safety on the Reservations and this guide is a great step in helping all of the stakeholders recognize the unique challenges in prosecuting such cases and that those challenges should not be a barrier to ensuring offenders are held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Lehr. She went on to say, “The victims in those cases are some of the District’s most vulnerable, underserved people and we welcome this step in continuing to secure their safety and well-being.”

More than 120 state, Tribal, military, and federal prosecutors, as well as advocates, academics, and investigators from an array of jurisdictions were consulted in developing this guide. This guide is designed to encourage prosecutors with all levels of experience to implement its principles when evaluating, investigating, and prosecuting allegations involving sexual assault and domestic violence. In conjunction with this guide, OVW launched a new webpage with resources designed to assist prosecutors in implementing the guide and its principles. This guide further serves as a complement to the Justice Department’s 2022 updated guidance on Improving Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence by Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias.


Lecia Wright - Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney (402) 661-3700

Updated May 28, 2024