Reducing Gender Bias in Sexual Assault Response and Investigation

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September 18, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Systematic, through, and impartial law enforcement investigations must seek to avoid drawing on gender-based stereotypes and attitudes at every step of the process. This is why the US Department of Justice (DOJ) published groundbreaking guidance for law enforcement in 2015, entitled, Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.

In this webinar, we will explore the phenomenon of gender bias, both explicit (conscious) and implicit (unconscious), and the resulting stereotypes and attitudes that can influence the professional response to, and investigation of, sexual assault. Many of the same principles apply to cases of intimate partner violence and other gender-based violence.

We will begin by introducing the concept of implicit bias, and then address key questions about how gender bias can disadvantage (or advantage) either the victim or suspect. For example, we will examine the relationship between gender bias and victim selection at the time of the sexual assault, as well as victim blaming afterward. We will also evaluate how gender bias plays a critical role in the designation of false reports in cases of sexual assault, and consider the intersection of gender bias and victim recantations. Parallels will be drawn to other types of gender-based violence.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Define the concept of implicit bias, and explore how gender bias can influence law enforcement responses and investigations of sexual assault.
  • Examine the relationship between gender bias and victim selection, victim blaming, false reports, and victim recantations in sexual assault cases.
  • Describe policies and practices that can help to avoid gender bias and increase our opportunities to identify, arrest, and prosecute perpetrators of sexual assault.
  • Explore parallels with intimate partner violence and other gender-based crimes.