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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Will Thompson 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, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Will Thompson 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 on Monday, May 20, 2024, in Dallas, Texas, 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,” Hidalgo said. “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.”

“This guide is a welcome resource for prosecutors at all levels of government, and goes to the heart of our primary obligation to the Constitution, to the rule of law, and to see that justice is done,” Thompson said. “In clear language informed by decades of expertise, insight and experience, it offers a blueprint for a stronger, consistent, and more effective response to these crimes.”

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.

“As the state sexual assault coalition, the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (WVFRIS) applauds the efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice to assist prosecutors in holding offenders accountable in cases of sexual assault and domestic violence,” said WVFRIS Executive Director Nancy Hoffman. “This is particularly timely in West Virginia, as our state Sexual Assault Kit Initiative has completed the processing of thousands of sex crime kits that had not been submitted for testing. With DNA results and hundreds of matches in CODIS, this project is now in the process of supporting local law enforcement officers in investigating and prosecuting those cases. Strengthening prosecution efforts will be the final step in providing justice for the victims each case represents.”

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.

OVW provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence through the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act and subsequent legislation. Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies, and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In addition to overseeing federal grant programs, OVW funds national training and technical assistance and undertakes initiatives in response to special needs identified by communities facing acute challenges. Learn more at

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.





Updated May 22, 2024

Community Outreach
Violent Crime