• Search Using:


EVAWI HOME > Resources > Training Bulletins


Investigating Sexual Assault Against People with Disabilities Series

This training bulletin is a series developed from the law enforcement perspective, to improve the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults perpetrated against people with disabilities. This information is designed to be helpful for any professional whose work intersects with the criminal justice system, to ensure that people with disabilities who are victimized have equal access to information, programs, and services – and that they are treated with fairness, compassion, and respect. Everyone involved in the criminal justice and community response system plays a critical role in providing that access and fair treatment.

The material provided in this training bulletin series is drawn from the OnLine Training Institute (OLTI) module entitled: Successfully Investigating Sexual Assault Against People with Disabilities. The OLTI module offers more extensive, detailed information, beginning with an overview of the prevalence and impact of sexual assault committed against people with disabilities. Various stages of the investigation are described next, including the initial response and preliminary investigation, the detailed follow-up interview(s) with the victim, and other steps taken to identify additional evidence and witnesses. We then offer a section focusing exclusively on the sexual assault of victims who have cognitive disabilities, with particular emphasis on intellectual disabilities. The module concludes with a section on victims who have physical, sensory, or communication disabilities, as well as victims who have mental illnesses or other disability issues.

1: Investigating Sexual Assault Against People with Disabilities

In this first training bulletin in the series, we draw from this module by offering information on how to develop an investigative strategy in this type of case. However, we begin by explaining the legal elements that must be met in various types of sexual assault cases, regardless of whether or not the victim has a disability. (Originally distributed 12/2015)

Sexual Violence on Campus: Reporting and Collaborative Response

This Q&A document explains what schools must do, describes appropriate prevention efforts, explains how Title IX relates to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Clery Act with regard to keeping a complainant informed, and gives examples of how schools and the Office for Civil Rights can respond to sexual violence. It also tells which school employees are required to report possible sexual violence to school officials, and describes the process for addressing the confidentiality issues involved when a student does not want to be identified or does not want an investigation to move forward. The document describes what a school should do if there is also an ongoing criminal investigation – the school is obliged to proceed with its own investigation, although it may have to delay fact-finding while law enforcement gathers evidence. However, the school should still take action to protect the complainant while this is going on, and should not wait for the criminal case to conclude prior to making its own findings. (Originally distributed 7/2015)

Protecting Victims' Rights Series

As we so often highlight in our training materials, there are many barriers that prevent the vast majority of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking victims from reporting the crime and participating in the process of a criminal prosecution. Not only does this deny victims their right to pursue justice, but it creates a situation where most offenders are given a “free pass” to continue re-perpetrating in our communities. Any steps we can take to reduce these barriers can therefore help victims to engage in the process – and remain engaged – so we can hold more offenders accountable. One strategy for achieving this goal is ensuring that crime victims’ rights are protected.

The goal for this training bulletin series is to help community professionals answer the “bottom line,” which is: Are crime victims’ rights real in your community? Are there protocols in place that translate victims’ rights from theory to practice? Are there procedures to ensure that victims are informed of their rights? Are there policies and protocols designating how a victim’s rights will be protected? Is there a process to follow when victims believe their rights have been violated? We hope this training bulletin provides you with the inspiration for collective action, as well as the information and resources needed to help your community answer “yes” to all of these questions.

1: Protecting Victims' Rights

This first installment is designed to provide you with a basic understanding of what these rights are, as well as outlining the requirements for informing victims about their rights, explaining the process for asserting those rights, and exploring the procedures to follow when victims feel their rights have been violated during a criminal or civil proceeding. A number of resources are then provided to assist with practical application. However, this general information must be supplemented with more information specific to the jurisdiction where you work. (Originally distributed 3/2015)

2: Protecting Victims' Rights

In this installment, we explore the issues of implementation and enforcement. Once crime victims’ rights are enacted into law, the question remains whether the appropriate mechanisms are in place to translate these rights into practice. The answer to this question varies not only by jurisdiction, but also by the particular right in question. (Originally distributed 3/2015)

3: Protecting Victims' Rights

In this installment, we offer some examples and innovations in the field, including “the Colorado example” and the Special Victims’ Counsel now available in the U.S. military. (Originally distributed 3/2015)

Should Sexual Assault Victims Be Interviewed By Female Detectives?

We are frequently asked whether law enforcement agencies should have a policy of assigning female detectives to interview sexual assault victims, whenever possible. This question is certainly a legitimate one, because the vast majority of sexual assaults are committed by men, and some people believe that the presence of a male officer (especially one that is uniformed and armed) may be upsetting for some victims. In this training bulletin, we explore some of the issues related to sexual assault and officer gender. We then conclude with some additional resources to assist in this area. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

 Alternative Reporting Methods Series

This training bulletin series was designed to explore the key issues related to VAWA forensic compliance and alternative reporting methods for sexual assault victims. In the first installment, we begin by introducing the key terms, and concepts associated with alternative reporting methods and VAWA forensic compliance. In subsequent bulletins, we will highlight two communities that have developed excellent alternative reporting methods options for victims of sexual assault: Cambria County, Pennsylvania and Ashland, Oregon. We will also review critical components that must be considered when implementing alternative reporting options for victims, such as developing procedures for victims to convert to a standard reporting process, determining how long evidence will be stored in connection with alternative reporting methods, and creating a multidisciplinary protocol for all of the professionals who will be involved. Finally, we will conclude this series of training bulletins with recommendations for best practices.

1: Essential Concepts and Components

In this first installment, we begin by introducing the key terms, and concepts associated with alternative reporting methods and VAWA forensic compliance. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

2: Non-Investigative Reporting to Law Enforcement

In this bulletin, we continue to introduce key concepts and components with a focus on non-investigative reporting. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

3: Third Party Reporting Procedures for Victims

In this installment, we continue to introduce key concepts and components with a focus on third party reporting procedures for victims. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

4: Community Spotlight

This is the fourth installment in our series of training bulletins exploring alternative reporting methods for victims of sexual assault. In previous installments, we provided an overview of the key terms and concepts of alternative reporting. In this bulletin, we introduce you to two communities that have done an excellent job of developing and implementing alternative reporting options for victims of sexual assault: Cambria County, Pennsylvania and Ashland, Oregon. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

5: Developing a Multidisciplinary Protocol

This training bulletin is the fifth in a series designed to explore alternative reporting methods. Previously, we have introduced the essential terms and concepts, as well as two communities that have successfully implemented alternative reporting methods. Now we begin examining key components associated with implementation. In this bulletin, we highlight the importance of developing a multidisciplinary response protocol. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

6: Use of Release Waivers

This training bulletin is the sixth in a series designed to explore alternative reporting methods. In earlier installments we introduced the key terms and concepts, as well as two communities who have successfully implemented alternative reporting methods. We also examined the importance of developing a multidisciplinary response protocol. Now we discuss the practice of requiring victims to sign a release waiver when they are unable or unwilling to participate in the process of a law enforcement investigation. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

7: Evidence Storage and Retention

This training bulletin is the seventh in a series designed to explore alternative reporting methods. So far, we have provided an introduction to the essential concepts and explored some key components for implementation. In this installment, we discuss the issue of evidence storage and retention. We are frequently asked questions about this topic, so we begin by discussing how long evidence should be stored in connection with any alternative reporting procedures that are offered for sexual assault victims. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

8: Converting to a Standard Reporting Procedure

This training bulletin is the eighth in a series designed to explore alternative reporting methods. Now that we have provided you with the essential terms, concepts and components of implementation, it is time to discuss what to do when a victim elects to convert to a standard reporting procedure. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

9: Best Practice Recommendations Part 1

We are nearing the end of series of training bulletins designed to explore alternative reporting methods. In these last two installments, we conclude by exploring a number of recommendations for best practice when implementing such options in your community. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

10: Best Practice Recommendations Part 2

This is the final training bulletin in our series exploring alternative reporting methods. In this last installment, we conclude by providing additional recommendations for best practices when implementing such options in your community. (Originally distributed 1/2015)

Prosecution for Filing a False Report of Sexual Assault

One of the most challenging issues in the field of sexual assault is false reporting. As professionals, we are often asked to respond to a variety of questions in this area. There are many different aspects of this complicated issue, as covered in a variety of our training resources. However, we recently developed some new guidance in one particular area that we decided to send out as a training bulletin. This bulletin focuses on the often hotly contested question of whether or not it is appropriate to prosecute someone for filing a false report. (Originally distributed 12/2014)

Frequently Asked Questions on VAWA 2013

In recent months, we have received questions on the updated forensic compliance provisions in the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (often referred to as VAWA 2013). First, professionals have inquired about whether private insurance can be billed for the cost of a medical forensic exam. Second, professionals are unsure what "regional health center providers" are under the public education provision. This training bulletin is dedicated to examining these two questions. (Originally distributed 10/2014)

Questions about Medical Mandated Reporting

Many professionals have questions about the laws in their state pertaining to medical mandated reporting for sexual assault. In this training bulletin, we provide some background information on medical mandated reporting requirements, to help you determine whether or not they apply to health care providers in your jurisdiction. We also direct you to a number of resources you might find helpful. (Originally distributed 10/2014)

Understanding the Role of DNA Evidence in a Sexual Assault Investigation Series

This training bulletin series was developed to explain the role of DNA evidence in a sexual assault investigation. In the first installment, we unpack some assumptions that influence both discussions and policy initiatives in this area. In subsequent bulletins, we explore alternative sources of DNA evidence and their potential significance or impact on a sexual assault investigation. We also provide a case example illustrating many of our points, and offer a brief historical perspective on the use of DNA evidence within the criminal justice system. Finally, we conclude by charting a course for reform and offering best practice recommendations. Download the entire series or download individually below.

1: Unpacking Common Assumptions

In this first installment, we unpack some assumptions that influence both discussions and policy initiatives in this area. (Originally distributed 10/2013)

2: Case Example: Connecting a Series and identifying a Suspect with DNA

Using a case example, we seek to illustrate a number of points and place them within a historical context. This will hopefully lay groundwork for the best practice recommendations and future directions for reform to be outlined in the final installment of this series of training bulletins. (Originally distributed 11/2013)

3: Understanding DNA Evidence: A Little Bit of History

As illustrated with the case example presented in the prior training bulletin, it is important to remember how recent the developments in DNA technology actually are. This will help us to appreciate just how far we’ve come, in such a short time, and to better understand why we currently face the challenges that we do. In this installment, we provide some historical perspective on the use of DNA for law enforcement purposes, based primarily on information provided by Smith Alling Lane, a Professional Services Corporation in Governmental Affairs and Attorneys at Law. (Originally distributed 11/2013)

4: Alternative Sources and Potential Purposes

In this installment, we describe alternative sources of DNA evidence and explore their potential purposes during a sexual assault investigation. (Originally distributed 11/2013)

5: Policy Responses, Assessment, and Recommendations for Practice

In this installment we explore current policy responses and examine available data regarding their impact, using a “SARA” model drawn from the field of Problem Oriented Policing (POP). We then offer a number of recommendations for practice with the hope of advancing discussion and charting a course for future reform. These recommendations will be continued in the final installment in this series. (Originally distributed 1/2014)

6: Policy Responses, Assessment, and Recommendations for Practice

This training bulletin is the final installment in our series dedicated to explaining the role of DNA evidence in a sexual assault investigation. In it, we continue our exploration of current policy responses and available data to offer recommendations for practice. Our goal is to advance discussion of these complex issues and help chart a course for future reforms. (Originally distributed 1/2014)

Clearance Methods Series

This training bulletin series was developed to explain the various methods that law enforcement agencies use for clearing crime reports. In the first installment, we outline the definition and criteria for clearance by arrest. In subsequent bulletins, we explore the other two primary methods: exceptional clearance and unfounding. Finally, we discuss some of the problems and challenges with the way clearance methods are used by various law enforcement agencies across the country.

1: Clearance Methods for Law Enforcement

In this first installment, we outline the definition and criteria for clearance by arrest. (Originally distributed 7/2013)

2: Exceptional Clearance

This training bulletin is the second in our series explaining the methods that law enforcement personnel use for clearing crime reports. In this second bulletin, we explore “clearance by exception” (also referred to as “exceptional clearance”). (Originally distributed 8/2013)

3: Unfounding: False vs. Baseless Reports

This training bulletin is the third in our series explaining the methods that law enforcement personnel use for clearing crime reports. In this third installment, we discuss unfounding. (Originally distributed 8/2013)

4: Problems with Unfounding

In each of the previous installments, we defined one of the three primary methods: clearance by arrest, exceptional clearance, and unfounding. In this fourth bulletin, we discuss some of the problems with unfounding. (Originally distributed 1/2014)

5: Recent Updates to UCR Handbook

As a result of this series, we recently learned that on June 20, 2013, the FBI's Crime Statistics and Management Unit published an updated version of their guidelines - with a variety of changes as well as a new name. This training bulletin was developed to help you understand some of the changes with direct implications for the law enforcement response to sexual assault. (Originally distributed 8/2013)

6: Quiz on Police Clearance Methods

In this installment, we offer you a quiz to evaluate what you've learned so far. The quiz is not truly interactive, so your responses will not be recorded or scored. However, we provide you with a series of scenarios and ask you to select the proper clearance method. Please make your selection before reading the commentary, to provide a realistic sense of your own knowledge in this area. Then for more information, feel free to refer to the prior training bulletins or other resource materials. (Originally distributed 8/2013)

7: Best Practice Recommendations

This is the final installment in this series of training bulletins. In the six previous bulletins, we identified the three primary methods: clearance by arrest, exceptional clearance, and unfounding. We then explored some of the challenges with various clearance methods, particularly unfounding –and quizzed you on what you had learned so far. In this final bulletin, we focus on recommendations for best practices in this area. (Originally distributed 9/2013)

Should We "Test Anonymous Kits?"

We are frequently asked whether communities should be "testing anonymous kits," and this training bulletin is dedicated to answering this question. However, before we can do that, we need to take the question apart and examine several problems with the way it is framed. we first explore problems with the terminology and concepts surrounding both "anonymous" and "testing kits." (Originally distributed 10/2013)

Forensic Exams for the Sexual Assault Suspect

One source of evidence that is critically important but all too often overlooked in a sexual assault investigation is the suspect examination. In our experience, we have found that most law enforcement agencies have failed to establish appropriate policies and procedures for obtaining comprehensive forensic examinations for sexual assault suspects which is unfortunate, given the potential for recovering probative evidence from the body as well as the clothing of suspects. (Originally distributed 10/2013)

Responding to Victims Reporting from Another Jurisdiction

Tragically, many victims are assaulted while they are away from home. This could include a sexual assault, an attack by an intimate partner, or any other crime. What can become complicated for law enforcement is the fact that many of these victims will wait to report the crime until they return home. This makes sense, because they have the support of family and friends at home, as well as other service providers they may feel more comfortable contacting. However, it means that the law enforcement agency receiving the report is not the one with jurisdiction. We developed this training bulletin to provide guidance in this area – not only for law enforcement professionals – but also to inform other community professionals about the options that are available for the law enforcement response in this type of situation. (Originally distributed 9/2013)

Suggested Guidelines for Language Use on Sexual Assault

We all know that words matter, and this can be especially true when we are talking about sexual assault. In this training bulletin, we are sending out a document that was originally developed to provide guidance on language use for the authors and editors of Sexual Assault Report, a publication that we co-edited for five years. Because this document is likely to be helpful to just about anyone working in this field, we have adapted it for this purpose. We believe these recommendations for language use can improve our verbal and written communications as professionals in the field, helping us to provide information in ways that maximize our accuracy and clarity - and to avoid common tendencies that can create confusion, perpetuate misinformation, and contribute to a climate of doubt and victim blame. (Originally distributed 6/2013)

When to Conduct an Exam or Interview

Often questions about timing center around the victim’s need for sleep following the sexual assault and preliminary investigation. In general, we believe that our communities could go a long way toward improving our response to sexual assault if we simply operated from the premise that we want victims to be involved in our response systems, so we should do whatever we reasonably can to help them do so. Sometimes we get so focused on our own policies and procedures that we forget to make accommodations that would encourage victims to participate, even if they entail some compromises that are less than ideal. (Originally distributed 6/2013)

New Option Available for GHB Testing

Testing issues related to the drug gamma hydroxy-butyrate (GHB) are complex and a frequent source of questions. GHB has been a perplexing drug to detect in biological samples due to rapid dissipation from blood (four hours) and urine (12 hours). Thus any delay in reporting is an initial factor in the inability to identify GHB. (Originally distributed 5/2013)

Notification of Advocates and HIPAA Protections

Health care professionals and others have asked whether routine notification of advocates violates the privacy protections outlined in HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). Although the name of the patient might not be revealed when an advocate is called out to respond, some have interpreted the face to face contact that may be made as violating HIPPA. Many programs continue to struggle with this issue, and have a real desire to assure meaningful access to advocacy services. (Originally distributed 1/2013)

More on Advocates, Routine Notification, and HIPAA

Previously, we sent out a training bulletin addressing the question of whether notifying an advocate violates the federal law known as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Because the issues surrounding this question are critical, yet complex, we are sending out this follow-up bulletin to address some common questions and concerns we have heard over the years. Our goal is to extend the discussion and spark further conversation in communities across the country. (Originally distributed 1/2013)

Sworn Statements

One of many questions addressed in our new Frequently Asked Questions section of the website is the following: Do I need to get a sworn statement from the victim at the conclusion of the interview? This question is asked from the perspective of a law enforcement investigator. We would like to take the opportunity to address this question in this Training Bulletin. (Originally distributed 12/2012)

Recording Victim Interviews

While preparing for an interview with a sexual assault victim, one of the critical decisions to make is whether or not to tape it (either audio or video). This can be a controversial issue in some communities (although this is becoming less true), and both police and prosecutors must weigh the advantages and disadvantages before implementing any policy. However, it is worth noting that interviews with child victims have been taped for years, and law enforcement professionals and others typically recognize the important advantages of this practice. Many of the same advantages exist for adult and adolescent victims. (Originally distributed 12/2012)

Investigating Intimate Partner Sexual Assault

One of the most misunderstood areas of sexual assault response involves sexual assault in the context of marriage or other intimate relationship. Many people seem to believe that if a person has had consensual sex with their partner or spouse in the past - often numerous times - then that person must have consented on the occasion that is being reported as a sexual assault. Yet as many as 9% of women who are sexually assaulted are victimized by their husbands (National Victim Center, 1992). Clearly, sexual assault committed by an intimate partner is more common than many people think. (Originally distributed 10/2012)

Documenting Prior Victimization

When victims of sexual assault are interviewed by law enforcement -- or when they are providing an assault history during a medical forensic exam – they will often mention experiences of prior victimization. Professionals then question whether the investigator or health care provider should document this disclosure of prior victimization, and if so, how this information should be documented. (Originally distributed 10/2012)

 
© Copyright 2018 End Violence Against Women International. Site created by Threegate Media Group