About 50% of sexual assault victims rate their experience with the criminal justice system as unhelpful or hurtful. When victims don’t report, or when they’re unable to engage with law enforcement, this creates more harm. Victims are then left with unresolved trauma, and perpetrators continue to abuse others because law enforcement was unable to thoroughly investigate the crime or refer the case for prosecution. On the other hand, victims who receive positive responses experience a wide range of benefits to their well-being. It isn’t complicated. It can be as simple as acknowledging the victim’s experience: “I’m sorry this happened to you.” Research supports the critical need for Start by Believing – to ensure survivors receive supportive responses that can set them on a path toward holistic healing AND help provide the strength they need to participate in an investigation. Attendees will learn how this approach helps law enforcement conduct more thorough, evidence-based investigations and prosecutions. They will also share research, and their decades of experience, clearly demonstrating the positive impact of treating every victim with compassion and respect.
As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:
- Explain the rationale behind the Start by Believing philosophy, and its impact on survivors.
- Describe what the Start by Believing Philosophy does – and does not – say about how to approach sexual assault cases, including interviews with victims, suspects, and witnesses.
- Examine case scenarios to assess the impact of Start by Believing on case outcomes.