The United States Department of Justice announced this Thursday that it is investigating the New York Police (NYPD) for alleged mismanagement of cases in which a sexual crime is investigated, after receiving allegations about “humiliation and abuse” of victims.
Specifically, the Government has opened a civil investigation into the Special Victims Division (DVE) of the New York police to assess whether it is responsible for “gender-biased” discrimination, and plans to listen to the “experiences” of organizations and citizens.
According to a statement, Justice has received information about “deficiencies” that have persisted for more than a decade in the DVE and that indicate that “basic steps” have been omitted in these delicate investigations and instead “even more traumatized” many victims.
The Government plans to review the policies, processes and training established in that division of the NYPD to conduct investigations, including how agents interact with “survivors and witnesses”, how they collect evidence and how they close cases.
The deputy attorney general, Kristen Clarke, said that the allegations are “sufficient justification” to clarify whether the DVE “has followed a pattern or exercised discrimination with gender bias”, and demanded an “effective treatment, informed about the trauma and focused on the victim”.
According to local media, some victims of sexual crimes have accused the local police of not properly investigating their cases, while in 2018 the Administration concluded that cases of rape by strangers were given priority over those carried out by acquaintances.
The city pointed out the lack of personnel, a problem that has been going on since 2010, and the inexperience of the agents in this area as factors that have harmed the work of the DVE and, therefore, the victims.
Earlier this month, the Manhattan district attorney’s office established a new unit dedicated to crimes of sexual violence to pay more attention to the “dignity and well-being” of victims, after years of allegations of permissiveness with high-profile aggressors and rejection of numerous cases.