Question of Bias

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While Start by Believing has been adopted by hundreds of communities around the world, some questions have been raised regarding its appropriateness for criminal justice professionals. The following resources are available to help communities explain why it is appropriate for criminal justice professionals to Start by Believing and respond to questions of bias.

Start by Believing: Participation of Criminal Justice Professionals

This training bulletin debunks the notion that criminal justice professionals’ participation in Start by Believing compromises their ability to remain objective. While questions of bias are sometimes raised, arguments are offered to help explain the purpose of the campaign and defend the rationale for criminal justice participation.

Start by Believing to Improve Response to Sexual Assault and Prevent Gender Bias

This training bulletin examines questions that have been asked about the philosophy of Start by Believing, and other victim-centered and trauma-informed approaches. It then prepares criminal justice professionals to respond to any defense cross-examination by explaining how a law enforcement investigation of sexual assault can remain unbiased.

Interviews with Victims vs. Suspects: Start by Believing and the Question of Bias

This training bulletin examines the Start by Believing philosophy and its implications for victim and suspect interviews. The purpose is to explain what this philosophy does – and does not – say about how to approach sexual assault investigations.

Mock Trial Demonstration

EVAWI staged a mock trial demonstration at the 2017 International Conference, illustrating how to respond to questions of bias resulting from criminal justice participation in Start by Believing. While this demonstration was based on a real case, participants did not focus on questions of facts or evidence. Rather, the exchanges centered on the detective’s participation in Start by Believing.