• Search Using:

EVAWI > Resources > Best Practices > Start by Believing
Interviews with Victims vs. Suspects: Start by Believing and the Question of Bias

Sexual assault victims have long faced unwarranted skepticism from friends and family members, as well as responding professionals. In this Training Bulletin, we document examples of this historical bias and examine a few measures that have been taken to help ameliorate it. In particular, we focus on the Start by Believing philosophy and examine its relevance for victim and suspect interviews. Our goal is to inform criminal justice professionals and others about what this philosophy does – and does not – say about how to approach sexual assault cases, including interviews with victims, suspects, and witnesses. Ultimately, we emphasize that Start by Believing is an approach to conducting thorough, professional, and unbiased investigations.

Improving Responses to Sexual Assault Disclosures

In this Training Bulletin, we review the research literature on sexual assault disclosures and the responses survivors receive from both informal and formal support providers. We also examine public awareness campaigns designed to prevent sexual assault and improve responses to survivors. This includes outlining the rationale for our Start by Believing campaign and describing preliminary evidence for its positive impact. The ultimate goal is to improve responses to sexual assault victims around the world.

The Investigating Officer’s Direct Exam

In this Training Bulletin, Prosecution Expert Herb Tanner begins with the basics of direct examination, examining the function of the basic direct in a sexual assault trial. Following that, he goes beyond the basic direct to explore how the investigating officer’s trauma-informed investigation lends weight to the victim’s testimony. Building on the first two parts, he the discusses the strategy of offering the investigating officer’s testimony as an expert witness. Finally, he explore the possibility of how robust an investigation can be when it is free, root and branch, from gender bias.

Start by Believing: Participation of Criminal Justice Professionals

This training bulletin addresses the question of whether participation of criminal justice professionals compromises the ability of police and prosecutors to remain objective, potentially opening them up to attacks by defense counsel and/or losing cases at trial.

Start by Believing to Improve Response to Sexual Assault & Prevent Gender Bias

In this training bulletin, prosecution expert Herb Tanner delves into questions that have been raised with the philosophy of Start by Believing, and other victim-centered and trauma-informed approaches. In particular, he addresses one specific manner of attack: Defense cross-examination aimed at exposing the law enforcement investigation of a sexual assault as biased.

Evaluating the Impact of a Public Awareness Campaign Designed to Change the Community Response to Sexual Assault

This article in Sexual Assault Report explores the impact of positive social support after a disclosure of sexual assault. Authors Dr. Kim Lonsway and Sgt. (Ret.) Joanne Archambault then provide an overview of EVAWI’s Start by Believing Campaign, by highlighting local campaigns and their impact.

Changing Attitudes Toward Sexual Assault

This article in Police Chief Magazine provides a detailed overview of the Start by Believing campaign, includes the history, community examples, and the potential impact of the campaign.

© Copyright 2020 End Violence Against Women International. Site created by Threegate Media Group