A Human Rights Watch (HRW) study released Thursday found that sexual assault cases were poorly managed and documented by DC police, and that victims often felt traumatized by interactions with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
"Sexual assault cases are too often not properly documented or investigated and victims may face callous, traumatizing treatment, despite official departmental policy to the contrary," according to a press release from HRW.
“We want to find a way to reassure people that have been victimized through sexual abuse that they have a government that will effectively respond to what they need,” Wells told the Post.
MPD Police Chief Cathy Lanier took issue with the HRW report, stating its methodology was flawed and that it made unfounded sweeping allegations.
"MPD has conducted significant outreach to improve reporting over the past few years and we fear that this report based largely on a few case examples from years ago will undo the progress that we have made," Lanier said in a press release.
Lanier added that the report's allegations "undo all the progress" MPD has made in recent years.
“Sexual assault is the most underreported violent crime in the US, largely because many victims fear that their cases will not be taken seriously and that police will not believe them,” said Sara Darehshori, senior counsel in the US Program at Human Rights Watch and the author of the report in a press release. “Unfortunately, for some victims in DC who bravely came forward and reported their assaults, those fears were realized.”
Lanier said she feared the report would discourage sexual assault victims from reporting their assaults.