By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – Police departments in New Jersey have new marching orders when it comes to handling evidence gathered from sexual assault victims who opt not to press charges.

A directive from acting state Attorney General John Hoffman extends the minimum hold time — which had been 90 days.

While many police departments exceeded that, this new policy sets a uniform standard across New Jersey.

“Let’s hold that evidence for at least five years to give the victim the opportunity to recover from that crisis and to make a reasoned decision as to whether they do or do not want to go forward with a potential prosecution,” Hoffman says.

He concedes there may not be many women who might change their minds, but it’s best to give them an extended option.

And if the policy change helps even one victim, he says, it’s worth it.

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