SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) has formalized an agreement to participate in a project to develop and implement comprehensive policies, procedures, practices, and services that will improve the overall handling of sexual assault cases nationwide.
“This is a warts-and-all process to evaluate what we’ve been doing and make systemic changes based on critical analysis and best evidence,” said Chief Chris Burbank, who announced SLCPD’s participation in the project in August during SLUTWALK SLC, an annual event that raises awareness about sexual assaults and inappropriate treatment of victims. “I expect changes as a result of the initiative, not only for this police department but all law enforcement.”
“Defining Success in Responding to Sexual Violence: Establishing Performance Measures and Quality Assurance Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies to Improve the Reporting and Investigation of Sexual Assault” is a multi-year project, and work in Salt Lake City will begin in late 2014. SLCPD will work with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and the Women’s Law Project to:
PERF will work with SLCPD to review its current policies and practices in responding to sexual assault and develop recommendations for improvement, and document the collaboration and implementation process, including obstacles encountered, required changes to policies or practice, improvements in police responses to sexual assault, lessons learned, and overall outcomes.
The project, which will include work in three additional locations, will culminate in a national summit, which in turn will yield a national comprehensive guidebook outlining the issues, outcomes and promising practices identified.
“Defining Success in Responding to Sexual Violence: Establishing Performance Measures and Quality Assurance Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies to Improve the Reporting and Investigation of Sexual Assault” is a partnership of the Police Executive Research Forum and the Women’s Law Project, with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
PERF is a research organization that develops policies and best practices on the critical issues in law enforcement agencies. In recent years these issues have included strategies for minimizing police use of force, legitimacy and procedural justice in policing, the role of police in preventing cybercrime, the current epidemic of heroin overdoses in many communities, new technologies such as body-worn cameras, and improving the police response to sexual assaults.
The Women’s Law Project (WLP) is a public interest law center which seeks to advance the rights and status of women and girls through high-impact litigation, advocacy, and education. With offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, WLP has for more than a decade played a key role in improving the Philadelphia Police Department’s handling of sexual assaults by conducting reviews of case files and recommending reforms.