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Department of Justice Releases Report on Gender Bias in Police Response

March 24 2016

Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
Read the DOJ publication.
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division (CRT) and Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to develop guidance on gender bias in response to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. In December 2015, the DOJ released the guidance document, Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (PDF), with the support and input of state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies; advocates and experts in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault; and public service agencies and stakeholders. The guidance aims to reflect and further the partnership between the DOJ and law enforcement executives, line officers, and supervisors who work to uphold the civil and human rights of the communities they serve.

In August 2015, the COPS Office and Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) held a roundtable discussion, at which CRT and OVW also participated, to review and discuss a draft of the guidance with law enforcement executives and officers, victim advocates, academia, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders. On March 23, 2016, the DOJ released a new publication, Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: A Roundtable Discussion (PDF), that shares the insights and recommendations of these stakeholders, highlighting issues around agency culture, the need for a survivor-centered approach, officer training, agency policy, officer accountability, and resources and partnerships.

Throughout this report, policies and practices shared by participants are cited as potential strategies to improve the law enforcement response to sexual assault and domestic violence. These practices have produced favorable outcomes in many jurisdictions, but they are not a comprehensive or definitive list of recommendations. A great deal of work must be done in the coming years; this publication describes a number of high-priority areas in which to start.


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