Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

Dec 17, 2015

The Justice Department’s gender bias policing guidance announced December 15, 2015, by Attorney General Loretta Lynch and was a joint effort by the following offices in the Department of Justice: the Office on Violence Against Women, the Civil Rights Division, and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

In partnership with law enforcement leaders and advocates for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, DOJ issued the guidance to explain how gender bias can undermine police response to sexual assault and domestic violence and provide a set of principles that, when integrated into police policies, trainings, and practices, will help ensure that police efforts to keep victims safe and perpetrators accountable are not undermined by gender bias.

The DOJ guidance presents eight principles that prevent police discrimination against domestic violence and sexual assault survivors and that police departments should integrate into policies, trainings, and supervision protocols:

  • Recognize and address biases, assumptions and stereotypes about victims;
  • Treat all victims with respect and employ interviewing tactics that encourage a victim to participate and provide facts about the incident;
  • Investigate sexual assault or domestic violence complaints thoroughly and effectively;
  • Appropriately classify reports of sexual assault or domestic violence;
  • Refer victims to appropriate services;
  • Properly identify the assailant in domestic violence incidents;
  • Hold officers who commit sexual assault or domestic violence accountable; and
  • Maintain, review, and act upon data regarding sexual assault and domestic violence.

Click the link below to access the complete guidance.