Cultural and Systemic Effects on Sexual Assault Reporting and Investigations: Exploring High Profile Cases

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
May 26, 2022

Sexual assaults are among the most underreported crimes, for a variety of reasons. This includes internal factors, such as personal shame and embarrassment, as well as external peer pressure exerted by others. We typically think of peer pressure as coming from friends and family members, but it can also come from organizations and institutions. It can even be enshrined in the confines or “rules” (whether written or unwritten) for such organizations or institutions. So, what happens when the peer pressure comes from an organization like USA Gymnastics or Boys Scouts of America? What can investigators do to help overcome barriers to reporting sexual assault, and address challenges to the investigation and prosecution within this type of organization? Please join us for this webinar, to explore these topics and identity tips for effectively investigating sexual assault crimes either committed or protected within an organization or institution.

Catherine Garcia
Catherine Garcia
Supervising Investigator, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office (Ret.)

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Identify organizational or institutional norms, and explore how these norms may define and confine members, including those who are sexually assaulted.
  • Create a backstory from background information provided by the victim, to help bring organizational culture to life during an investigation and in the courtroom.
  • Determine communication styles ‒ for yourself and others ‒ and apply the information to create an environment that facilitates disclosure of key information.
  • List 3 challenges in using photodocumentation with ALS technology
  • Recognize your own bias, organizational bias, and individual victim bias, to better investigate sexual assault cases and explain the complex dynamics in court.


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