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Back to Archives | Back to November 2004 Contents 

Integrity, Action, Justice: Leadership Committed to Ending Violence Against Women

By Carolyn Schleuter and Vinita Jethwani, IACP Research Center

Integrity Action Justice
The National Violence Against Women Advisory Group is composed of law enforcement executives, judges, prosecutors, and advocates, all of whom came together for the two-day meeting in Minneapolis. The event was opened with remarks by Chief Joseph Carter, third vice president of the IACP and chief of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police Department, and Catherine Pierce, deputy director of the Office on Violence Against Women. Deputy Chief Don Harris from the Minneapolis Police Department welcomed the advisors on behalf of Chief William McManus and expressed the department’s support for this IACP initiative. Together the group discussed proactive strategies for law enforcement to create a sea change in the response to and prevention of crimes against women including domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. The advisory group, established earlier this year, provides guidance for two IACP projects in the Research Center Directorate: Police Response to Violence Against Women and the National Law Enforcement Leadership Initiative. Advisors serve on working committees where their expertise can be used in the development of materials such as protocols and guidebooks.

When the National Violence Against Women Advisory Group met for the first time in February 2004, members worked on the general framework for the new leadership initiative project. The August meeting continued this effort but took it several steps further. The group affirmed the benefits of proper law enforcement initial response to violence against women crimes (such as reducing felony crime rates, improving department time and resource allocation, and enhancing officer safety) and the idea that law enforcement has unique abilities, skills, and obligations to effectively respond to and prevent these crimes. Advisors developed specific curriculum components for the Leadership Initiative and reviewed various Police Response to Violence Against Women products under development.

The Advisory Group meeting highlighted the innovative new IACP project — the National Law Enforcement Leadership Initiative. This initiative has been funded over three years by OVW and reflects a commitment by both IACP and OVW to prioritize law enforcement efforts to prevent and eliminate crimes of violence against women. The three main components of the leadership initiative are (1) a national law enforcement leadership institute series, (2) a national law enforcement trainer certification program, and (3) a national policy summit on human trafficking.

Beginning in 2005, a series of national law enforcement leadership institutes will be offered to law enforcement executives who are interested in building a proactive approach to address violent crimes against women. Law enforcement leaders who have demonstrated experience and interest in violence-against-women issues can apply for enrollment in the institutes. The series of institutes will engage chiefs in dialogue to strategize about effective ways to reduce and eliminate crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking. During the three-day institute, law enforcement executives from across the country will network with colleagues to share challenges and solutions in addressing these crimes and also learn to effectively allocate and use resources to hold perpetrators accountable and assist victims.

In addition to the leadership institute series, there are two other components of the National Law Enforcement Leadership Initiative. The national law enforcement trainer certification program will train the trainers who are currently instructing law enforcement officers on violence against women crimes. The goal of the certification program is for law enforcement trainers across the country to learn how to strengthen their training skills, effectively incorporate experiential learning into their curriculum, skillfully manage group dynamics, and troubleshoot problems in the classroom environment. The program will also evaluate trainer competency on crimes of violence against women.

The final component of the leadership initiative is the national policy summit on human trafficking. IACP is leading an effort to promote effective strategies for officers to investigate human trafficking crimes, assist victims, and apprehend traffickers. The policy summit scheduled for early 2006 will assemble experts in the field of trafficking to examine efforts to date and issue recommendations to the criminal justice field on needed improvements.

VAW Act Celebrating 10 Years
The Police Response to Violence Against Women (PRVAW) project, an ongoing IACP project, is currently in its third phase of funding from OVW. Most notably, the project has distributed a model policy and continues to provide technical assistance on the topic of police officer perpetrated domestic violence. The project is currently creating policy guidelines on the forfeiture, seizure, storage, and return or destruction of firearms in domestic violence incidents. During the Minneapolis meeting, advisors focused on two additional facets of PRVAW currently under development. They contributed to the development of guidelines on the use of voice and video imaging in response to and investigation of domestic violence and stalking crimes. Advisory group members also discussed the structure and content of a guidebook for law enforcement officers to aid in the identification and investigation of human trafficking. Work on these and other products will continue through the various committees of the advisory group. Updates can be found on IACP’s Web site, (

Since the advisory group meeting, the IACP joined with the OVW to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (see box). At the 111th Annual IACP Conference in Los Angeles, the law enforcement leadership institute series for 2005 was announced through the distribution of informational brochures and lapel pins featuring the new leadership design.

To apply to attend a law enforcement leadership institute or to learn more about any materials or services mentioned in this article, please call Nancy Turner at 800-THE-IACP, extension 807, or write to her at ( Some publications are available online (at

Violence Against Women Act
Celebrating 10 Years

In September, national leaders in the movement to end violence against women met in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, the symposium’s focus was “learning from the past, shaping the future.” The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) sponsored a panel on law enforcement’s leadership role in responding to and preventing violence against women, featuring Sergeant Joanne Archambault, San Diego Police Department (retired); Sergeant Thomas Glover, Dallas Police Department; Deputy Superintendent Margot Hill, Boston Police Department; and Chief Randall Carroll, Bellingham, Washington, Police Department. John Firman, the IACP’s director of research, facilitated the panel.
Each of the panelists reflected on their department’s accomplishments and proposed future priorities in addressing crimes of violence against women. Highlights of the panel discussion included a description of the Bellingham Police Department’s safety and accountability audit in determining its effectiveness in responding to domestic violence cases and identifying areas of needed reform.
“Law enforcement, from line officers to midlevel supervisors to leaders, need to be convinced that crimes of violence against women are solvable,” said Dept. Superintendent Hill. “In these cases, police know who the victim is, know who the offender is, and have evidence to support the findings of the investigation…. We need to stop considering these crimes unsolvable when these are the offenses we can do the most about.”


From The Police Chief, vol. 71, no. 11, November 2004. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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