April is fast approaching! Next month is Sexual Assault Awareness month, a time that can be used to raise awareness for officers in your department and promote support for survivors of sexual violence in your community. As highlighted on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website, this year’s slogan is “It’s time … to talk about it. Talk early, talk often. Prevent sexual violence.”
When violence against women crimes are not fully addressed, there is a substantial impact on victims, perpetrators, department members, and the community at large. Most notably, the cycle of violence that keeps victims isolated allows offenders to continue to perpetrate crimes. It also keeps victims disconnected from law enforcement departments and their communities, creating opportunities for further violence to occur. By shifting blame off of the victim and placing accountability strictly on the offender, your community becomes a safer place for survivors of violence not only to report crimes, but to live in.
The IACP, in collaboration with Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) of the U.S. Department of Justice, has created numerous resources on sexual violence and other violence against women crimes, including a DVD roll-call training video on bringing sexual assault offenders to justice, a sexual assault investigative strategy guidebook, and an executive guide to addressing sexual offenses and misconduct by law enforcement. If you would like copies of these or other resources for your agency or organization, please contact Michael Rizzo (Rizzo@theiacp.org) for more information, or visit our Violence Against Women Project website.