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Balanced and truthful investigations serve as the linchpin of our criminal justice system. But in the name of “Start by Believing,” that principle has come under assault, threatening the integrity of judicial determinations and making wrongful convictions far more likely.
Since 2008 the U.S. Department of Justice has awarded 19 grants totalling millions of dollars to a group called “End Violence Against Women International” (EVAWI). The stated purpose of the organization is to “educate those who respond to gender-based violence, equipping them with the knowledge and tools they need to support victims.”
Assault - Complainants - EVAWI - Proposals - Process
While it is vital to support sexual assault complainants, EVAWI’s proposals undermine due process, bias the investigative process, and make it nearly impossible for a falsely accused individual to defend himself from a criminal charge of sexual assault.
In a manual titled “Effective Report Writing: Using the Language of Non-Consensual Sex,” EVAWI instructs law enforcement professionals how to investigate sexual assault cases with the specific goal of a achieving a “successful prosecution.”
Investigator - Job - Suspect - Guilt - Investigators
But, an investigator’s job is not to determine a suspect’s guilt. Investigators must remain objective to seek the truth, not simply proof of the suspect’s guilt.
The “Effective Report Writing” document contradicts this notion and focuses on methods by which a suspect’s defenses may be undermined. The manual even suggests “making sure” the incident does “not look like a consensual sexual experience,” by making the complainant “appear more innocent.”
Report - Writing - Report - Concepts
The “Effective Report Writing” report promotes five problematic concepts:
1. The investigator is an agent of the prosecutor, not an independent fact-finder. Encouraging investigators to move beyond the traditional role of neutral fact finder, EVAWI’s manual urged that investigative reports be written to “successfully overcome” sexual assault defense strategies.
Allegations - Word - Victim - Hundreds - Times
2. All allegations are true and a complainant always should be the manual. The word “victim” appears literally hundreds of times in the 34-page manual. In...
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