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37 resources.

EVAWI Model Policy Resource: Law Enforcement Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Accountability

Training Bulletins | February 1, 2020
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This document was created to help law enforcement agencies work collaboratively with agency personnel, community partners, and legal counsel to develop their own agency-specific policy to address sexual misconduct committed by sworn and civilian personnel. It is provided in an accessible format that can be easily adapted by law enforcement agencies to create a new policy or build on an existing policy.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin Series: Advocates and Law Enforcement: Oil and Water?

Training Bulletins | March 1, 2017
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Adapted from an article originally appearing in Sexual Assault Report, Volume 11, Number 6, 2008, published by Civic Research Institiute. All rights reserved.

While traveling and training for law enforcement, we are often questioned – and even challenged – about the role of victim advocates when responding to crimes of sexual violence. For example, Joanne once provided training in a state where the county prosecutor stood up and stated quite strongly that his office did not want advocates participating in any part of the law enforcement interview. This was particularly disappointing because we were talking at the time about best practices for the multidisciplinary response. Rather than discussing the current policy and its underlying rationale, the prosecutor simply declared that their policy was not to include advocates. Not surprisingly, this shut down any further discussion of the issue.

On another occasion, Joanne talked to a group of officers who attended a conference workshop she presented earlier in the day. They asked if they could talk to her about “those advocates.” They went on to say that the advocates and officers in their community were like “oil and water.” Apparently, there had been a feud many years ago and – although no one could remember what the feud was about – they still couldn’t seem to get along. To help both groups understand some of the source of the tension, Joanne asked them to think about their organizational histories. Although there are more women in law enforcement today than when Joanne first joined the San Diego Police Department in April 1980, police departments are still generally male-dominated paramilitary organizations; as of 2013, only 13% of police officers were female (US Department of Justice, 2013), and only 219 women could be found in top leadership positions among 14,000 police agencies (Moraff, 2015). In contrast, most sexual assault coalitions and community-based rape crisis centers were created as a result of the feminist movement, when women gathered together to demand better treatment for rape victims. It’s easy to see that these two perspectives might clash at times. In order to understand each other, it is important for both groups to appreciate the unique history, experiences, roles, and responsibilities of each.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin Series: Crime Victims’ Rights

Training Bulletins | April 1, 2015
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As we so often highlight in our training materials, there are many barriers that prevent the vast majority of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking victims from reporting the crime and participating in the process of a criminal prosecution. Not only does this deny victims their right to pursue justice, but it creates a situation where most offenders are given a “free pass” to continue re-perpetrating in our communities. Any steps we can take to reduce these barriers can therefore help victims to engage in the process – and remain engaged – so we can hold more offenders accountable. One strategy for achieving this goal is ensuring that crime victims’ rights are protected.

The goal for this training bulletin series is to help community professionals answer the “bottom line,” which is: Are crime victims’ rights real in your community? Are there protocols in place that translate victims’ rights from theory to practice? Are there procedures to ensure that victims are informed of their rights? Are there policies and protocols designating how a victim’s rights will be protected? Is there a process to follow when victims believe their rights have been violated? We hope this training bulletin provides you with the inspiration for collective action, as well as the information and resources needed to help your community answer “yes” to all of these questions.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin Series: Gender Bias in Sexual Assault Response and Investigation

Training Bulletins | November 1, 2017
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We introduce the concept of implicit bias and briefly review the decades of neurobiological and social scientific research that document its existence and impact. We begin by reviewing the concept of gender, and then defining gender bias, both implicit and explicit. In subsequent bulletins, we will explore strategies that can be used to identify the presence of implicit gender bias and mitigate its influence. We will also address key questions about how implicit gender bias can disadvantage (or advantage) either the victim and/or suspect.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Becoming Trauma-Informed: Learning and Appropriately Applying the Neurobiology of Trauma to Victim Interviews

Training Bulletins | December 1, 2019
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This training bulletin is designed to help agencies conduct an assessment and make improvements in their interviewing practices with victims of sexual assault, as well as victims and witnesses of other types of violence. Many of these same principles also apply to other types of investigative interviews, such as those conducted by prosecutors, civil attorneys, campus Title IX investigators, and others.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Clearance Methods for Sexual Assault: Recommendations for Best Practice

Training Bulletins | July 1, 2013
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This training bulletin summarizes the best practices recommendations provided in the Online Training Institute (OLTI) module entitled: Clearance Methods for Sexual Assault Cases. In the OLTI version, we provide detailed information for law enforcement officers, investigators, and supervisors who make decisions regarding how to clear or otherwise close sexual assault cases. These determinations can be extremely difficult, yet many law enforcement personnel are provided little or no guidance in how to make them appropriately. In the module, we walk through the various ways in which a sexual assault case can be cleared or otherwise closed, and how some are not really closed at all but simply suspended or inactivated.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Forensic Exams for the Sexual Assault Suspect

Training Bulletins | October 1, 2013
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The purpose of this Promising Practices article is to make the case for the importance of suspect examinations, to explore some of the reasons why they often are not done, and to provide concrete recommendations for overcoming these barriers and using suspect examinations effectively in your community.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: How to Provide Expert Training for Law Enforcement in Sexual Assault Response and Investigation

Training Bulletins | September 1, 2019
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Nearly every week, we receive a request for assistance identifying expert speakers to present at a local training event for law enforcement. Often, we are asked if EVAWI can provide this type of training, or we are asked to provide recommendations for experts in the field.

Unfortunately, EVAWI is unable to provide this type of in–person training on a local level. However, in this training bulletin, we will provide you with the resources you need to host a successful training event, including suggestions on how to find experts in the field to enhance your training.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Impression Management for Investigating Officers

Training Bulletins | March 1, 2018
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Prosecution expert Dr. Wendy Patrick highlights the importance of impression management for investigating officers (IO’s) and provides detailed guidance on how to achieve that goal when testifying in a sexual assault trial.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Improving Responses to Sexual Assault Disclosures: Both Informal and Formal Support Providers

Training Bulletins | June 1, 2019
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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.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Incomplete, Inconsistent, and Untrue Statements Made by Victims: Understanding the Causes and Overcoming the Challenges

Training Bulletins | August 1, 2008
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One of the fundamental challenges to the credibility of sexual assault victims is that many – if not most – make statements to the law enforcement investigator or others that are incomplete, inconsistent, or just plain untrue. There are a number of reasons for this. In this Promising Practices article, we explore the causes of such problems with victim statements and identify ways to overcome the challenges that they pose for a sexual assault investigation.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Interviews with Victims vs. Suspects: Start by Believing and the Question of Bias

Training Bulletins | October 1, 2018
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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.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Investigating Sexual Assault Against People with Disabilities: How to Develop an Investigative Strategy

Training Bulletins | December 1, 2015
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In this training bulletin, we offer an introduction to this topic by explaining how to develop an investigative strategy in a sexual assault case where the victim has a disability. We will begin by describing the legal elements that must be met in various types of sexual assault cases, regardless of whether or not the victim has a disability.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: More on Advocates, Routine Notification, and HIPAA

Training Bulletins | February 1, 2013
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Previously, we sent out a training bulletin addressing the question of whether notifying an advocate violates the federal law known as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Because the issues surrounding this question are critical, yet complex, we are sending out this follow-up bulletin to address some common questions and concerns we have heard over the years. Our goal is to extend the discussion and spark further conversation in communities across the country. (Originally distributed 1/2013)

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Notification of Advocates and HIPAA Protections

Training Bulletins | January 1, 2013
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Health care professionals and others have asked whether routine notification of advocates violates the privacy protections outlined in HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). Although the name of the patient might not be revealed when an advocate is called out to respond, some have interpreted the face to face contact that may be made as violating HIPPA. Many programs continue to struggle with this issue, and have a real desire to assure meaningful access to advocacy services. (Originally distributed 1/2013)

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Raped, Then Jailed: Risks of Prosecution for Falsely Reporting Sexual Assault

Training Bulletins | May 1, 2019
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In this article, we focus on the scenario where victims summon the courage to report a sexual assault, only to be disbelieved, mistreated, and later charged (often erroneously) with false reporting or associated crimes such as obstruction of justice, interfering with law enforcement, or providing false statements. Some have even been charged with a felony crime of evidence tampering, for obtaining a medical forensic examination. In other words, the evidence they are accused of tampering with is their very own body.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Recording Victim Interviews

Training Bulletins | December 1, 2012
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While preparing for an interview with a sexual assault victim, one of the critical decisions to make is whether or not to tape it (either audio or video). This can be a controversial issue in some communities (although this is becoming less true), and both police and prosecutors must weigh the advantages and disadvantages before implementing any policy. However, it is worth noting that interviews with child victims have been taped for years, and law enforcement professionals and others typically recognize the important advantages of this practice. Many of the same advantages exist for adult and adolescent victims. (Originally distributed 12/2012)

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Responding to Victims Reporting from Another Jurisdiction

Training Bulletins | September 1, 2013
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Tragically, many victims are assaulted while they are away from home. This could include a sexual assault, an attack by an intimate partner, or any other crime. What can become complicated for law enforcement is the fact that many of these victims will wait to report the crime until they return home. This makes sense, because they have the support of family and friends at home, as well as other service providers they may feel more comfortable contacting. However, it means that the law enforcement agency receiving the report is not the one with jurisdiction. We developed this training bulletin to provide guidance in this area – not only for law enforcement professionals – but also to inform other community professionals about the options that are available for the law enforcement response in this type of situation. (Originally distributed 9/2013)

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault: Understanding the Distinctions and Intersections

Training Bulletins | June 1, 2018
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In the #MeToo and #TimesUp era of accountability, victims who have been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted in the past have been empowered to come forward and reveal their victimization. Yet there is confusion on the part of the public, and even within law enforcement, about how to differentiate between sexual harassment and sexual assault. This uncertainty is complicated by the fact that in some cases, the offending behavior can fall into both camps, prompting the question as to whether to proceed civilly, criminally, or both.

In this Training Bulletin, we provide a brief summary of the distinctions and intersections between sexual harassment and sexual assault. We then provide some detailed information on each topic, but primarily refer interested readers to other resources. For example, EVAWI offers thousands of pages of training material on criminal sexual assault, particularly related to the law enforcement response and investigation. Other resources are available for detailed information on sexual harassment and responses in educational or employment settings.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Sexual Violence on Campus: Reporting and Collaborative Response

Training Bulletins | July 1, 2015
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This Q&A document explains what schools must do, describes appropriate prevention efforts, explains how Title IX relates to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Clery Act with regard to keeping a complainant informed, and gives examples of how schools and the Office for Civil Rights can respond to sexual violence. It also tells which school employees are required to report possible sexual violence to school officials, and describes the process for addressing the confidentiality issues involved when a student does not want to be identified or does not want an investigation to move forward. The document describes what a school should do if there is also an ongoing criminal investigation – the school is obliged to proceed with its own investigation, although it may have to delay fact-finding while law enforcement gathers evidence. However, the school should still take action to protect the complainant while this is going on, and should not wait for the criminal case to conclude prior to making its own findings.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Should Sexual Assault Victims Be Interviewed by Female Detectives?

Training Bulletins | February 1, 2015
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We are frequently asked whether law enforcement agencies should have a policy of assigning female detectives to interview sexual assault victims, whenever possible. This question is certainly a legitimate one, because the vast majority of sexual assaults are committed by men, and some people believe that the presence of a male officer (especially one that is uniformed and armed) may be upsetting for some victims.

In this training bulletin, we explore some of the issues related to sexual assault and officer gender. We then conclude with some additional resources to assist in this area.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Should We Test “Anonymous Kits?”

Training Bulletins | October 1, 2013
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We are frequently asked whether communities should be “testing anonymous kits,” and this training bulletin is dedicated to answering this question. However, before we can do that, we need to take the question apart and examine several problems with the way it is framed. we first explore problems with the terminology and concepts surrounding both “anonymous” and “testing kits.” (Originally distributed 10/2013)

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Start by Believing to Improve Responses to Sexual Assault and Prevent Gender Bias

Training Bulletins | August 1, 2017
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Prosecution expert Herb Tanner delves into the challenges that have been raised with the philosophy of Start by Believing (SBB), 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.

In his discussion, Mr. Tanner draws specific examples from a mock trial demonstration conducted at our 2017 International Conference on Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Systems Change. He explains how to respond to this type of cross-examination, “rehabilitate” a witness, and turn the defense’s own cross-examination to the prosecutor’s advantage, by describing how SBB works to reduce gender bias in the law enforcement investigation of sexual assault.

Yet, there is also a broader point to keep in mind: Any attack on SBB is really an argument against the larger principle of victim-centered and trauma-informed practices. It is a condemnation of our efforts to prevent gender bias, by changing our response from one that is grounded in stereotypical assumptions and judgments about survivors, to one that is based on the neuroscience of trauma, and the realistic dynamics of sexual assault. Moreover, the arguments marshalled here, for responding to cross-examination, can be as powerful and persuasive outside the courtroom, as in it.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Start by Believing: Participation of Criminal Justice Professionals

Training Bulletins | September 1, 2016
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While the Start by Believing campaign has now been adopted by hundreds of communities, across the country and around the world, questions have been raised regarding its appropriateness for criminal justice agencies. Some have questioned whether participation in the campaign might compromise the ability of police and prosecutors to remain objective, potentially opening them up to attacks by defense counsel and/or losing cases at trial.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Suggested Guidelines on Language Use for Sexual Assault

Training Bulletins | June 1, 2013
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We all know that words matter, and this can be especially true when we are talking about sexual assault. In this training bulletin, we are sending out a document that was originally developed to provide guidance on language use for the authors and editors of Sexual Assault Report1, a publication that we co–edited for five years. (We are currently in the process of editing our last issue and passing the torch of leadership to others.)

Because this document is likely to be helpful to just about anyone working in this field, we have adapted it for this purpose. We believe these recommendations for language use can improve our verbal and written communications as professionals in the field, helping us to provide information in ways that maximize our accuracy and clarity – and to avoid common tendencies that can create confusion, perpetuate misinformation, and contribute to a climate of doubt and victim blame.

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EVAWI Training Bulletin: Sworn Statements

Training Bulletins | December 1, 2012
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One of many questions addressed in our new Frequently Asked Questions section of the website is the following: Do I need to get a sworn statement from the victim at the conclusion of the interview? This question is asked from the perspective of a law enforcement investigator. We would like to take the opportunity to address this question in this Training Bulletin. (Originally distributed 12/2012)

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