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Cops Get New Guidance On Responding To Sexual Assault And Domestic Violence

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced new guidance Tuesday designed to help law enforcement prevent gender bias when responding to sexual assault and domestic violence incidents.

"We know that sometimes this bias, whether implicit or explicit, can stand in the way of effective law enforcement and can severely undermine law enforcement’s ability to hold the offenders accountable," Lynch said. "We have seen situations where false assumptions about things like alcohol use, or the physical strength of the victim’s partner, or a victim’s sexual orientation, can lead police officers to make judgments about the truthfulness or credibility of a survivor’s account, or the severity of the assault."

In a document outlining the new guidance, the Department of Justice acknowledged that gender bias can result in police underreporting domestic violence and sexual assault cases, failing to test sexual assault kits, treating domestic violence as a family matter and not enforcing protection orders, among other issues.

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