The Chicago P.D. has been given the dubious distinction of getting a grade of F when it comes to clearing sexual assault cases, according to a new study released by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE). According to the report, between 80% and 90% of reported sexual assaults have not resulted in an arrest.
While the report highlighted the fact that clearance rates remain a major problem for CPD, the report also focused on the effects that unresolved sexual trauma has on victims. Many who are too afraid or traumatized to speak up do not see the value when there is only a 10% chance of the perpetrator’s case making it so far as the district attorney. This has created a situation where the majority of women who are sexually assaulted, never see the value in reporting the crime.
What is CAASE?
CAASE is a female-centered service that is focused on protecting survivors of sexual assault during legal proceedings. They often offer representation to survivors during court cases, generally free of charge, and help them understand the legal issues at play in their case. These services include discussing whether or not it is worthwhile to make a police report. If the victim does, which is what everyone hopes for, then the attorneys at CAASE will stand beside them as they give their account of what happened. The attorney stays beside the survivor when they are discussing the matter with police, prosecutors, and investigators.
CAASE will also attend the legal proceedings for cases involving their clients, keep the clients updated about where the case stands, and meet with the prosecutor when the situation calls for it. If the prosecutor is in the midst of organizing a plea deal, then the CAASE attorney can discuss the matter with their client who will have some say in whether or not the deal is allowed to go through.
Lastly, CAASE lawyers protect the privacy of their clients and ensure that the defense is not violating rape shield laws, and, when the case is finally finished, they help the survivor with their victim impact statement.
CAASE is using the findings to advocate for a better response to sexual assault. While this may not be the case in Chicago, investigations have revealed that rape kits end up gathering dust in evidence lockers while predators walk free. CAASE has been highly critical of Chicago law enforcement when it comes to handling cases that involve sexual violence.
The question then becomes: How does this mesh with initiatives to “defund” the police? CAASE has recommended that Chicago officers do more to follow up on cases involving sexual violence and has also recommended a more robust response to victim services.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney