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Forensic Compliance Resources

Note:  The information on this website is designed to:  (a) communicate the requirements of the Violence Against Women Act (as reauthorized in 2005 and 2013), and (b) offer recommended practices for implementation.  The goal is to highlight examples of communities striving to achieve a higher standard of the “spirit of the law,” rather than simply meeting the “letter of the law” for VAWA forensic compliance.  It is critically important that readers consult state laws and regulations, as well as local policies and protocols, because they may have additional requirements beyond those included in VAWA 2005 and VAWA 2013.  For more information specific to your state or territory, contact the STOP Grant Administrator or coalition of advocacy organizations providing services for sexual assault victims.  A listing is available from the website for the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. 
Start by Believing: Participation of Criminal Justice Professionals

This training bulletin addresses the question of whether participation of criminal justice professionals compromises the ability of police and prosecutors to remain objective, potentially opening them up to attacks by defense counsel and/or losing cases at trial.

Start by Believing to Improve Response to Sexual Assault & Prevent Gender Bias

In this training bulletin, prosecution expert Herb Tanner delves into questions that have been raised with the philosophy of Start by Believing, and other victim-centered and trauma-informed approaches. In particular, he addresses one specific manner of attack: Defense cross-examination aimed at exposing the law enforcement investigation of a sexual assault as biased.

Evaluating the Impact of a Public Awareness Campaign Designed to Change the Community Response to Sexual Assault

This article in Sexual Assault Report explores the impact of positive social support after a disclosure of sexual assault. Authors Dr. Kim Lonsway and Sgt. (Ret.) Joanne Archambault then provide an overview of EVAWI’s Start by Believing Campaign, by highlighting local campaigns and their impact.

Changing Attitudes Toward Sexual Assault

This article in Police Chief Magazine provides a detailed overview of the Start by Believing campaign, includes the history, community examples, and the potential impact of the campaign.

This project is supported by Grant No. 2013-TA-AX-K045 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
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