The Justice Department released a new guide Tuesday aimed at discouraging gender-based police responses to women who are victims of sexual assault or domestic violence.
The new guidelines come less than a week after an ex-Oklahoma City police department was found guilty of rape and other crimes against eight of the 13 women who accused him. Prosecutors say he deliberately preyed on these women because they were lower-class, black and had likely had a criminal record.
"Sexual and domestic violence is a heinous crime, inflicting physical and emotional trauma that can linger for years, with grave consequences for survivors and their loved ones, for neighborhoods and communities and for our country as a whole," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a Tuesday press conference. "While the brunt of sexual and domestic violence is borne disproportionately by women and LGBT individuals, make no mistake: It is an affront to us all."
In the eight guidelines, the department recommends that police officers receive more training to combat biases, assumptions and stereotypes about sexual assault and domestic violence victims. This training should include ways to ensure interviews are done in a way that helps victims provide the facts in the case, and ensuring that sexual assault reports are classified properly.