Central Virginia Leaders Meet for Protocols on Sexual Assault

By Patrick McKee - Anchor
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NBC 29 News Staff - ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Community leaders from all over central Virginia are gathering to sign off on some new protocols for dealing with sexual assault.

The protocols center around getting law enforcement involved faster in the aftermath of reported sexual assaults.

Several groups will be signing off on a memorandum of understanding Thursday afternoon at the Sexual Assault Resource Agency.

The document will encompass the city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia among others. The procedures will require UVA to notify police within 24 hours of a reported assault, the hope is for trained police investigators to handle these cases.

Prosecutors also hope to more effectively hold the guilty parties accountable.

UVA President Teresa Sullivan and the chiefs of police and commonwealth's attorneys from Albemarle County and Charlottesville are expected to be on hand for the signing.

The hope is to get more sexual assault cases to trained police investigators to preserve evidence and hold guilty parties accountable. The six-page document lays out some guiding principles to follow in the wake of sexual assault.

"With criminal accountability comes deterrence, and with deterrence comes a safer community for everyone. and that is the ultimate goal here: to make sure there's public awareness, criminal prosecution, and the deterrence that comes with both," said Robert Tracci, the Albemarle County commonwealths attorney.

These new procedures do not require sexual assault victims to come forward, but they do ensure victims are presented as soon as possible with the option of pursuing a criminal case.

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