A survivor may choose to disclose a sexual assault to various people. Each person plays a different role in helping the survivor find their path to healing and justice.
Advocates: Work to support survivors and their families. Every city and town in Massachusetts is served by a rape crisis center. Free and confidential services available for survivors, family and friends include 24-hour hotlines, counseling, legal and medical advocacy, and support groups.
Police First Responder: The first officer a survivor speaks to after calling 911 or deciding to report from a hospital ER. This officer:
Certified Sexual Assault Investigator: Every city and town in Massachusetts is required to have a specially trained certified sexual assault investigator on their police force. This officer:
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE): These nurses are specially trained to take care of sexual assault survivors at the emergency room. SANEs:
Crime Lab: The crime lab analyzes and reports on evidence collected in the hospital emergency room during the sexual assault exam as well as evidence found at the scene of the crime.
District Attorney: The district attorney or “D.A.” is an elected official who serves as the chief prosecutor for a county or region. As the lawyer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, they work closely with law enforcement and the victim in the prosecution of a case.
Victim/Witness Advocate: Each district attorney’s office has a team of victim/witness advocates who provide information and support to victims of crime as they move through the court process.
Attorney General: The office of the attorney general enforces and interprets the law on the state level. The attorney general’s office manages Victim Compensation, a fund that can reimburse victims of crime for certain expenses they incur directly as a result of the crime.
This project was supported by Grant #2009-WF-AX-0014 awarded by the Violence Against Women Grants Office, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security Office of Grants & Research and subgranted to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Points of view in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety Programs Division.