Baton Rouge One of Three Sites Nationally Selected for Combatting Witness Intimidation; Training grant aims to improve victim and witness cooperation

10/11/17

Baton Rouge, LA – Baton Rouge will be a pilot site for the Combatting Witness Intimidation (CWI) Initiative, a training grant that extends through July 2019. Granted from AE Quitas, The Prosecutor’s Resource on Violence Against Women, the project is a collaboration amongst the Office of the District Attorney, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Baton Rouge Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s office, LA National Guard, and LSU Office of Social Service Research & Development (OSSRD). Baton Rouge’s participation will benefit not only our local citizens, but those around the country that will learn from the team’s experiences. The transformative grant provides training and technical assistance to improve witness and community safety by preventing witness intimidation.

“This grant will enable us to examine best practices from around the nation to improve our response to victims and witnesses being coerced to not testify,” said District Attorney Hillar Moore.

The goal of the training is to improve the level and quality of victim and witness participation; to increase the safety and security of victims and witnesses; and to improve law enforcement investigation of intimidation. Participation affords jurisdictions the opportunity to help promote awareness nationally about effective strategies to combat the pernicious effects of witness intimidation.

OSSRD will work with sites to collect data about intimidation across the community and within the local criminal justice system, assist in implementing comprehensive responses, and evaluate the effectiveness of those responses over time. As a pilot site, the data from Baton Rouge will be used to develop tools to combat witness intimidation for real-world application by jurisdictions throughout the country.

“We hope this grant will create a bridge to allow victims and witnesses to feel secure in working with law enforcement,” said Director of the LSU Office of Social Service Research & Development Cecile Guin. “Our offices has collaborated with these agencies for many years, and I see this grant as yet another opportunity for us to transform relationships between our citizen and law enforcement communities.” 

Through this initiative, Baton Rouge citizens and law enforcement will work together to create safer neighborhoods and improve quality of life across the region.

About LSU Office of Social Service Research and Development (OSSRD)
The LSU Office of Social Service Research & Development is a unit within the College of Human Sciences & Education that fosters healthy social systems by facilitating the development, implementation and evaluation of social programs; conducting research; and providing consultation and expertise to the university, community, policy makers, and partners. Since its inception, OSSRD has obtained over $100 million in funding for research, program development, and community partners.

About AEQuitas and the Initiative on Witness Intimidation (IWI)
Commenced in September of 2010, the Initiative on Witness Intimidation (IWI) is a field-initiated project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. IWI’s mission is to improve the quality of justice and safety of victims and witnesses susceptible to witness intimidation by developing, evaluating, and refining justice system practices that raise community awareness and increase victim safety and offender accountability.