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(Carthage) - According to a study released this week by Carolina Public Press, Moore County ranks high in its sexual assault conviction rate. Court data from across the state was analyzed covering court cases filed and disposed from 2014 2018. The study found that the statewide conviction rate for sexual assault was 24.4%. Moore County is in the top tier of District Attorney’s Offices with conviction rates at 42.8%.

“Taking a stand for survivors of sexual assault is important to all of us in this office”, states District Attorney Maureen Krueger, “we have actively been involved in finding ways to improve the investigation of sexual assault cases and to promote the cooperation between the various entities that a sexual assault survivor encounters as a case works its way through the system.”

Krueger’s office provides training to law enforcement, social workers and other allied professionals on various issues relating to the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault. “It has been crucial to change the mindset of investigators to understand the impact of trauma on survivors. Trauma plays a key role in how survivors relate their story to investigators and how the react to the process of the investigation and prosecution.” A particular challenge in sexual assault cases is the perceived reluctance of survivors to come forward. “We encourage survivors to participate in the court process to the fullest extent they are able. I have met many survivors who did not want to testify, but I have not met any who regretted testifying.”

Moore County has some unique resources. The District Attorney’s Office advocated for the development of a Child Advocacy Center. Recently opened, the Moore County Child Advocacy Center specializes in providing a “one‐stop shop” for child victims. This prevents children from being re‐traumatized from being asked to tell what happened to them repeatedly. First Health Moore Regional Hospital is currently training nurses as specialized sexual assault nurses known as SANE nurses. Survivors have long been provided a variety of services by Friend to Friend.

Studies such as this one demonstrate that there are further opportunities to continue to improve outcomes for the survivors of sexual assault. The Moore County District Attorney’s Office is committed to fighting on behalf of all survivors of sexual assault.

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