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This session will explore the factors that contribute to the arrest and prosecution of survivors of domestic violence for their perceived criminal actions against their abuser.We will explore persisting myths that contribute to survivors being mistakenly identified as the offender in their relationship when they act in self-defense.Following the film, attendees will participate in a discussion of the ongoing efforts to continue the Start by Believing conversation, including sharing experiences on building a culture of believing that in turn improves responses that survivors receive when disclosing.Presenters will share promising practices they believe will help foster similar projects that champion the survivor centered approach and elevate survivor voices.In this session, attendees will learn critical lessons about how to do better: How to avoid biases that might harm investigations; why maintaining rape kits for the length of the statute of limitations is critical to solving your case and getting it to a successful prosecution; why a checks and balances system in law enforcement is essential to quality work, and why the latest trauma-informed training is not a luxury, but a necessity.

In this presentation, participants will view the 30-minute documentary that uses Brie’s journey from victim, to survivor, to aspiring social worker to illustrate how OUPD works to empower survivors throughout their sexual assault investigations.Moreover, most of these girls come from marginalized, under-resourced communities and are primarily low-income, which in Washington DC, a city of haves and have-nots, exposes a part of the capital the rest of America may rarely see.A deeper, more nuanced problem, that includes at-risk Black girls, whose lives and struggles sometimes involve sex trafficking, that is often ignored.As a result of this session, participants will be better able to: The rate of women in prison has skyrocketed in recent years, outpacing the growth of the male prison population.It is estimated that upwards of 50% of those in women’s prisons are survivors of gender-based violence, particularly sexual, and domestic abuse – moreover, their convictions are often the direct result of survival strategies and trauma.

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