Justice News

Department of Justice
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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Department of Justice Releases Report on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

The Department of Justice today announced a new publication, Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: A Roundtable Discussion.  The report was released at the International Conference on Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Engaging Men & Boys and is published by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).

This publication serves as a companion to the guidance on this topic issued by the department on Dec. 15, 2015, and summarizes a roundtable discussion hosted on Aug. 4, 2015.  The roundtable was hosted by the COPS Office and the Police Executive Research Forum, in partnership with the department’s Office on Violence Against Women and Civil Rights Division.  The roundtable provided an opportunity for stakeholders to share feedback on the department’s guidance.  The final guidance, which includes that feedback, has been embraced by multiple law enforcement and advocacy organizations.  

“As a retired police chief with close to 30 years in the field, I believe the lessons learned from this publication serve as a stark reminder of the need to ensure victims of sexual assault and domestic violence are not further victimized by gender bias – whether intentional or implicit,” said COPS Office Director Ronald Davis.  “I recommend that every law enforcement executive read this report.”

The publication provides recommendations from law enforcement officers and executives, victim advocates, academics, and subject matter experts who attended the August roundtable, and shared insights on improving law enforcement response to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, particularly amongst vulnerable populations such as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community; racial, cultural and religious minorities; and immigrants. 

The publication recommends:

  • Addressing gender bias in agency culture through officer training and accountability;

  • Developing clear policies, resources, and partnerships; and

  • Applying a survivor-centered approach.

The COPS Office, headed by Director Ronald Davis, is the federal component of the Department of Justice responsible for advancing community policing nationwide.  Since 1995, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 127,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training and technical assistance.  For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov.

Press Release Number: 
Updated March 23, 2016