Contact: Rebecca Stewart

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CPI Calls on Attorney General Barr to Cease Promotion of ‘Trauma-Informed’ and ‘Start By Believing’ Methods

WASHINGTON / August 1, 2019 – Today the Center for Prosecutor Integrity is sending a letter to Attorney General Barr regarding the Department of Justice’s support of investigative methods that openly bias the investigative process. The letter was occasioned by the recent complaint of former Virginia governor Douglas Wilder, who claimed a sexual misconduct investigation launched by Virginia Commonwealth University against him was “unsound, biased and violates due process.”

The CPI letter charges the DOJ has “aggressively” promoted such “victim-centered” investigative methods in recent years.

On May 29, 2019 the DOJ Office for Victims of Crime sponsored a webinar titled, “Law Enforcement Response: Approaching Your Work with a Trauma–Informed Lens.” The program instructed attendees to take a “conviction-oriented approach,” which is at odds with the dictum that investigations need to be impartial, fair, and free of bias.  The presenter insisted that the main focus of courtroom testimony should be on eliciting the feelings of the “victim” – not to elucidate the evidence and facts pertaining to the incident.

Likewise, the DOJ has awarded millions of dollars in grants to a group known as End Violence Against Women International, which has trained thousands of criminal justice detectives and campus investigators in guilt-presuming Start By Believing ideology.

The CPI letter highlights an investigative report issued by FACE titled, “Trauma-Informed Theories Disguised as Evidence,” and a letter signed by members of Congress calling on AG Barr to “stop funding organizations that don’t recognize the presumption of innocence.”

The letter to AG Barr is available online:

The mission of the Center for Prosecutor Integrity is to strengthen prosecutorial ethics, restore the presumption of innocence, and end wrongful convictions.