As students head back to school, many receive consent and sexual assault training from their universities.
Last week, university officials went to school on the subject themselves. Law enforcement and campus safety officials met at George Washington University. They were there to learn “best practices with the goal of helping students.” This marked the National Center for Campus Public Safety's first conference, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported Monday.
Representatives of organizations seeking to prevent rape also attended. These groups, like RAINN and Title IX [ASAP], both advised and learned alongside officials. Investigations should seek to cut further trauma for victims and the accused, attendees learned. The conference followed a new NCCPS curriculum focused on “trauma-centered” investigations. Classes reviewed studies of past cases. They practiced what they had learned by deciding how they would handle similar cases. Investigators should appear calm and nonjudgmental in sexual assault cases, they learned. This yields better evidence and avoids causing further harm to victims and alleged perpetrators.
Investigating in the information age was another major focus of the conference. “These are little miracles for corroboration,” police detective Carrie Hull said of smartphones. Phones and computers often harbor digital evidence like text messages.
The conference came after a wave of controversies over campus sexual assault. The recent Brock Turner case was a particularly hot topic. Many conference workshops used the case as a specific example. Police chief Michael L. Milnor addressed the Stanford student's six month jail sentence for rape. "Is everyone equally disturbed by this?" he asked his audience. He was met with nods from a group committed to better addressing sexual assault.
Good on all of the colleges and administrators who make their students' safety their number one priority.
Lead image credit: Bianca Bueno on Flickr.