By NBC NewsWASHINGTON — A sweeping new set of federal guidelines issued Thursday aims to improve the ability of the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute crimes against women and girls, and it will be implemented across the agency.
The new guidance says federal prosecutors should consider whether the evidence presented to a grand jury could be used in court.
It also calls for the FBI to develop a new policy on the use of grand jury evidence.
The federal guidelines will apply to all federal prosecutors, but they will be aimed at the federal government’s top prosecutors and prosecutors of the Department of Justice.
They will be issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has jurisdiction over domestic violence and sexual assault cases.
They also come on the heels of a series of FBI raids and probes that targeted women’s shelters, schools and churches.
They will apply retroactively to cases that occurred after the end of May, and are being published in a new, expanded form that will apply immediately to all investigations into domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
They also apply retroactive to cases where an accused is charged, and will be published in the revised form, which applies to cases charged on or after June 18.
The new guidance comes as the Trump administration is looking to change the rules that govern how it prosecutes crimes against men.
That means that federal prosecutors are required to take into account the victim’s age, the nature of the crime and whether the accused is in the process of seeking a new trial.
The Trump administration has long argued that prosecuting men is a priority, and the department has taken steps to bolster that.
The FBI and the Justice Dept. are reviewing their role in the criminal justice system and have been making progress in finding ways to reduce the number of sex-based homicides, including using new forensic technology to identify victims.
The revised guidelines are a direct response to the recent FBI raids, which targeted churches, schools, women’s facilities and shelters, and several high-profile cases involving accused rapists.
In addition, the Justice department said it would be expanding its criminal investigations into sex-related crimes, including domestic violence.