Update on FBI’s re-definition of rape


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Washington D.C. 15  October (AVFM News) As reported last week by AVFM News a subcommittee of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Service will convene in Baltimore Maryland to discuss an update of the definition of Rape for reporting purposes. Since that time AVFM News has tried, with limited success, to gather more information about the meeting and its participants.

Subcommittee meetings of the CJIS are made up of individuals that participate in what are called “working groups,” made up of state and local law enforcement officials and those working in quasi-governmental organizations. The CJIS periodically holds these meetings in order to update definitions of criminal activity and reporting mechanisms so resources can be more efficiently distributed to fight crime.

These subcommittees write reports that are submitted to the FBI Advisory Board, who in turn report directly to the Director of the FBI – who enacts policy changes. Essentially, they are meetings in which technocrats get together to make collecting data on criminal activity more effective. They are typically not used as secret tribunals in which definitions of serious crimes like rape are updated without public vetting.

However, the meeting in Baltimore on Tuesday the 18th will be closed to the public and organizations whose members make up the subcommittee are all but completely undisclosed. The reasons for this are not clear and despite many attempts to contact the FBI, AVFM news was not able to gain pertinent information about the meeting.

One thing is clear: the meeting comes on the heels of an expansive campaign led by the Maryland Coalition Against Domestic Violence which was heavily covered by Justin Fenton, a reporter at the Baltimore Sun who has taken a particular interest in sexual assault issues.

Last year it was noted by the Sun that the Baltimore Police Department had highest percentage of “unfounded” rape cases than any other city in the U.S. This, it was interpreted by Fenton, meant that when women who had reported being raped but were found to be not credible by investigators were being re-victimized by the police.

Fenton’s reporting set off a frenzy of activity amongst local Sexual Grievance Industry organizations, the most energetic and well funded of which was the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. This organization has been very insistent on the inclusion of consensual sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the definition of Rape.

Fenton wrote a series of articles chronicling the activities or the MCASA and the reforms it addressed in the Baltimore Police Department. This included specific policy changes in the way sexual assault was reported when it came to alcohol consumption. The Baltimore Police Department has, in the past year, made it a point to publicize it’s reforms, which include “additional questions” asked those reporting sexual assault who have been drinking, or who had men “try to get them drunk.” Personnel changes were also made according to sources at the BPD.

AVFM News contacted the MCASA and asked if they were to have a presence at the upcoming meeting. They told AFVM News that they were not going to have any access to the meeting. However, they did indicate that the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), an organization dedicated to statistical research on crime, was open to input from activists interested in sexual assault issues. AVFM News tried repeatedly to contact PERF but was unable to get an audience with their Public Relations official.

AFVM will cover the event and it’s outcome in the coming weeks.

Sources:

http://www.policeforum.org/

http://www.mcasa.org/

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/advisory-policy-board

http://www.baltimoresun.com/search/dispatcher.front?Query=Justin+Fenton+Sexual+Assault&target=adv_article

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