Three professors from the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department have been awarded a major grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) of the U.S. Department of Justice to better understand what factors influence the sexual violence case attrition (drop-out) rate. The $1.2 million, three-year grant to UMass Lowell was the only award NIJ made in a nationwide, competitive proposal process to investigate this issue.
“Our team offers a combination of expertise in policing and courts with victim knowledge and research,” says Prof. Linda Williams, co-principal investigator on the project. “The NIJ’s award is a mark of confidence and the grant provides a wonderful opportunity to advance our knowledge and work to find justice for victims of sexual violence.”
The researchers will establish partnerships with up to eight communities — urban, suburban and rural — to explore the various and diverse elements that may be contributing to successful completion or attrition in sexual violence cases. They will study the case records from the first report through lodging of criminal charges, arrest, prosecution and sentencing. They will collect quantitative and qualitative data and interview those involved in the decision making, including patrol officers, detectives, prosecutors, victims and victim advocates.