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follow Patrick 2018 Jun 19, 5:47pm
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In contrast, victim-centered investigations employ procedures that emphasize the collection of corroborative evidence supportive of the complainant and discourage the collection of exculpatory evidence, thereby increasing the likelihood of a finding of responsibility. Victim-centered investigations represent a departure from ethical standards of investigative impartiality, neutrality, and objectivity, thus removing the presumption of innocence from the accused. These are two of many examples:The University of Texas School of Social Work published a “Blueprint for Campus Police” based on the victim-centered model. The Blueprint is brazen in its recommendations that investigators should seek to anticipate and counter defense strategies (Table 7.4) and presume the truthfulness of the accuser:“The victim’s trauma response may make them appear less credible due to fragmented or lost memories and their attempts to make sense of what happened. Whereas, the alleged perpetrator knows what happened and therefore, appears to make more sense, which can be mistaken for credibility.” (p. 97)“Victims often self-blame and feel bad about what happened, while alleged perpetrators often don’t feel badly about it, except for being caught.” (p. 97)“Studies have consistently shown that detecting deception is difficult, so officers may not realize when a perpetrator is lying.” (p. 97)A training program by the consulting firm Margolis Healy & Associates instructs college investigators to:“Always approach a case believing that ‘something’ occurred” (slide 26)Obtain “Documentation of sensory and peripheral details from the victim’s perspective” (slide 27), and“Focus on offender behavior – not victim behavior” (slide 28)Harvard Law School professor Jeannie Suk describes the believe-the-victim mantra as a “near-religious teaching” that is certain to harm rape victims: “When the core belief is that accusers never lie, if any one accuser has lied, it brings into question the stability of the entire thought system, rendering uncertain all allegations of sexual assault.”Victim-centered investigations are giving rise to due process lawsuits by students against universities. In many cases, the accused students are prevailing.