The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced updated guidance to help law enforcement agencies recognize, mitigate, and prevent bias in their response to and investigation of sexual assault, domestic violence, and other forms of gender-based violence.
By eliminating both intentional and unintentional gender bias, law enforcement agencies can foster an environment where victims are encouraged to report crime and participate in the criminal justice process. A practice that can ultimately lead to improved investigations and community safety.
Based on input from national experts and other stakeholders, the 2022 Improving Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence by Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias guidance—
- more thoroughly addresses the need for trauma-informed law enforcement responses to sexual and domestic violence,
- provides additional examples of how law enforcement can incorporate the guidance principles into their policies and practices,
- discusses the ways that gender bias can intersect with other forms of bias to disproportionately affect survivors from marginalized communities, and
- expands the discussion of the need to address and prevent officer-committed domestic violence and sexual misconduct to hold offenders accountable and enhance community trust.
The guidance provides real-world examples and offers practical tips both for individual officers at all ranks to respond more effectively to survivors and for agencies that are revising their policies and developing training materials.