Justice Department Issues Guidance to Combat Gender Bias in Policing

On December 15, the U.S. Department of Justice released new guidance for combatting gender bias in law enforcement response to sexual and domestic violence.

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward in ensuring justice for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference. “We applaud Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice for working to ensure that state and local law enforcement have the resources and training they need to handle cases of sexual assault and domestic abuse fairly and effectively.”

The guidance, which contains eight principles to prevent gender bias in policing, addresses the significant role that law enforcement plays as first responder to complaints of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“Gender bias, whether explicit or implicit, can severely undermine law enforcement’s ability to protect survivors of sexual and domestic violence and hold offenders accountable,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “This guidance – developed in collaboration with law enforcement leaders and advocates from across the country – is designed to help state, local, and tribal authorities more fairly and effectively address allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault. In the days and months ahead, the Department of Justice will continue to work with our law enforcement partners nationwide to ensure that they have the tools and resources they need to prevent, investigate, and prosecute these horrendous crimes.”

One in four women and one in seven men in the United States have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner, and 44 percent of lesbian women and 26 percent of gay men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. It’s important that women and LGBT people, and women and LGBT people of color in particular, have confidence that their reporting will lead to a serious and bias-free investigation.

Click here to read more about the guidance.

Click here to read the guidance.