Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Tuesday created of a working group tasked with improving prosecution rates of sexual assault cases in the state.
Madigan said the Sexual Assault Working Group was formed to address statistics that show survivors of sexual assault aren't reporting the crimes to Illinois authorities. Her office cited studies that show between 5 and 20 percent of all rapes are reported.
"The system is broken, and too often we fail the victims of sexual assault," Madigan said. "We have a legal and moral obligation to fix this system."
The Belleville News-Democrat last month published a series that said 70 percent of rape cases reported to police in southern Illinois don't make it to court.
The new working group will include law enforcement, criminal justice and health care agencies. The goal, officials said, is to identify what is discouraging sexual assault victims from reporting the crimes and improve the response to sexual assault cases that are reported. That includes increasing the number of sexual assault nurse examiners statewide.
Madigan made the announcement at a Chicago news conference with Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly.
"The quality of sex assault investigations is very inconsistent from department to department. Justice for sex assault victims shouldn't be different for those who live in a suburban jurisdiction versus an urban or rural jurisdiction struggling for resources," Kelly said.