What You Focus On Grows: Stop Justifying Victims’ Behavior and Focus on Offenders’ Predatory Conduct

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 21, 2022

Annie Harrison
Annie M Harrison
Joseph E. Merritt
Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Investigator
Aylysh Gallagher
Aylysh B. Gallagher, JD
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
David Lisak
David Lisak, PhD
Forensic Consultant

All too often investigators and prosecutors seek to justify a victim’s behavior, instead of focusing on the offender’s conduct. This session re-imagines offender focused investigations in a meaningful way and gives participants concrete ideas to create system changes within their own community. In this session, Dr. David Lisak, who has spent his career interviewing ‘undetected rapists’ will highlight some of his findings and help participants better understand the predatory nature of sexual violence. 

Participants will learn common characteristics of the modus operandi of sex offenders and gain a better understanding of predatory sex offenders and their adeptness at identifying ‘likely’ victims and testing prospective boundaries. The session will help professionals better understand why being offender focused is crucial to holding sexual predators accountable. The presenters will use real case examples to demonstrate an offender focused approach to sexual assault investigations. Participants will learn techniques to focus on what matters – the offender’s actions. Shifting away from a ‘victim focused’ approach, this experienced panel will share best practice strategies that investigators and prosecutors can implement moving forward.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Describe the predatory nature of sexual violence and dispel common misconceptions. 
  • Identify the common characteristics of the modus operandi for the undetected rapist. 
  • Recognize the benefits and values of applying an offender focused approach in their investigations.
  • Apply practical investigative techniques and prosecution strategies that are offender focused through real case examples.

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