Earlier this month, over 200 criminal justice professionals in Washington state attended a Sexual Assault Investigations Summit, hosted by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC). In addition to training presented by national experts, information about how to incorporate the Start by Believing philosophy into participants’ daily practices was provided.
Beginning the Journey
The journey toward endorsing a Start by Believing philosophy began after Washington passed legislation in 2017 mandating training for “persons investigating adult sexual assault.” This legislation states that the WSCJTC:
Shall provide ongoing specialized, intensive, and integrative training for persons responsible for investigating sexual assault cases involving adult victims. The training must be based on a victim-centered, trauma-informed approach to responding to sexual assault. Among other subjects, the training must include content on the neurobiology of trauma and trauma-informed interviewing, counseling, and investigative techniques.
After providing training to officers on trauma-informed, victim-centered responses for several years, the WSCJTC Sexual Assault Investigations program decided to officially endorse the Start by Believing philosophy in 2022. They were motivated to adopt the philosophy after viewing this training video from the Denver Police Department.