Alcohol is the most common weapon used to facilitate sexual assault. Offenders use alcohol because it renders victims vulnerable, affects memory, and impairs judgment and physical ability. Its unique toxicological effects, widespread use, and ease of consumption make it ideal for offenders who commit sexual assaults. Of course, some of the same factors that make alcohol such a perfect weapon also present unique challenges for investigators, prosecutors, and other allied professionals in alcohol-facilitated sexual assault (AFSA) cases.
This two-part presentation will explore common issues and challenges related to the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases where alcohol is present. More specifically, it will focus on identifying corroborating evidence, interviewing victims, basic toxicology, the effect of societal attitudes about alcohol on determinations of victim credibility, and trial strategies. In addition, this presentation will promote a victim-centered response that incorporates offender-focused strategies for an effective trauma-informed investigation and prosecution. Throughout the discussion, the presenters will discuss how strategies may be implicated and altered by social distancing measures currently in place in response to COVID-19.
At the conclusion of this Part I, participants will be better able to:
• Analyze sexual assault statutes, including key definitions related to consent.
• Analyze cases with a better understanding of basic toxicology.
• Identify evidence of sexual assault where alcohol is present.
• Recognize offender behaviors that facilitate the perpetration of alcohol-facilitated sexual assault.