“I watched Ms. Brennan’s opening statement today, and I commend the courage, bravery, and leadership she showed in telling her story. She is right: no one should have to go through an ordeal to have their voices heard. We must stand with survivors of sexual assault, and we must start from a place of believing the accuser.
“On October 15th, I called for two separate internal investigations into exactly how this hire took place, and how we can best update our current policies and procedures. I then tasked Attorney General Gurbir Grewal with looking at making New Jersey’s criminal justice system the most victim-centered in the country, to help ensure that no one has to go through what Ms. Brennan has gone through. The policies and procedures that he issued last week will make meaningful changes to how sexual assault victims are treated and how prosecutions are handled in our state.
“Specifically, these policies will expand the role of confidential sexual assault advocates for victims, require data reporting and evaluation on sexual assault prosecutions, mandate that law enforcement report sexual assault incidents to county prosecutors within 24 hours, and, if charges are not pursued, require a supervisor’s signoff and provide victims with an opportunity to meet with prosecutors to discuss the decision. This is real change to the criminal justice system, change that makes our states among the most victim-centered in the country.
“By embracing this approach, our law enforcement agencies can encourage more victims to come forward with their stories and seek justice, just as Ms. Brennan is so bravely doing. I am committed to working with Attorney General Grewal and the whole of state government to ensure that New Jersey is a place where justice is the right of every person, and every person is treated with dignity and respect while seeking it.”