Oakland, California Police To Stop Asking Recruits Whether They've Been Sexually Assaulted

Bobby Thompson, Esq. California Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Bobby Thompson, Esq. - CA Abuse Guardian

Hi - I'm Bobby. I am an attorney that practices law in California. I represent survivors of sexual abuse and help people find justice against abuse caused by the negligence of others. My team and I are ready to help you.

Click Here To Get Started

Oakland, California Mayor Libby Schaaf has put an end to a controversial policy that forced police department applicants to disclose whether or not they had been sexually assaulted in the past.

Oakland Police Department Shuts Down Controversial Sexual Assault Question

The Mayor’s order comes in the wake of a San Francisco Chronicle story detailing the police department’s hiring practices, including a waiver form in which potential police hires authorize background investigators to access “local criminal history information […] including if I have been a victim of sexual assault.”

See what our Police sexual assault attorneys have to share on other related cases. 

"Our alliance has over 15 sexual abuse lawyers nationwide dedicated to helping survivors get justice" 
- Bobby Thompson, Esq.

The San Francisco Chronicle suggests that the waiver form has been in use by Oakland’s police department since at least 2012. The waiver form also allowed investigators access to an applicant’s school transcripts and credit history.

In a statement, Oakland Mayor Schaaf said, “sexual assault survivors have persevered through trauma, and their resilience is a character quality we respect, honor and welcome in Oakland.” She has called on the police department to work with the Oakland Police Commission in conducting a “top-to-bottom review” on the department’s recruiting practices “to ensure no other barriers discourage the hiring of women and minority applicants.”

See related reading: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Resigns In Wake Of Assault Allegations

Begin Your Path To Healing & Justice
Click Here To Get Started

Oakland Struggles To Recruit Women Police Officers

Like all police forces, the Oakland force has struggled to recruit women. Women currently make up about 12% of the national police force. In recent years, Oakland’s department has had between 11% and 14% women, in line with the national average.

Interviewed by the New York Times, Johnna Watson, a public information officer for the Oakland Police Department, said that being the victim of an Oakland sexual assault would not disqualify an applicant from being hired. Rather, the department was simply interested in looking up police reports in which the recruit might appear, she said. Odd, then, that the application does not ask whether or not applicants are victims of other crimes, like robbery or assault and battery. The form only mentions one crime: sexual assault.

Experts Say Question Filters Women From Police Force

The police department’s former policy of asking about sexual assault has been called odd, problematic and potentially illegal by law enforcement experts. It is not common. The San Francisco Chronicle polled 10 of the largest police forces in California and could find no other department that asked applicants to disclose whether or not they were sexual assault survivors.

“I was shocked they had that policy,” says Catherine Sanz, executive director of Women in Federal Law Enforcement. “There is no reason for it. Where does it stop? Do they ask about domestic violence? Do they ask if you were abused as a child? These are all artificial barriers to get people from joining.” Sanz believes that requiring a disclosure of sexual assault could have a “chilling” effect on survivors who pursue careers in law enforcement.

Proud Members Of The Following Trusted Organizations
Members of National Crime Victim Bar AssociationMembers Of American Bar AssociationMembers Of American Association For Justice
Get Your Free Consultation
Schedule A Call Now
© 2023 All rights reserved.

The content on this specific page is approved content by Abuse Guardian is an alliance of attorneys across the United States who dedicate their professional careers to representing survivors of sexual abuse and helping them get justice. This website is to be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. Abuse Guardian is not a law firm. Abuse Guardian has a team of survivor advocates who can help connect sexual abuse survivors to members of the Abuse Guardian alliance for free legal consultations. By submitting a form on this page your information will be sent to  and his staff for evaluation. By submitting a form, you give permission for  and his law firm to communicate with you regarding your submission. Your information is strictly confidential and will not be sold to third parties. See our Terms of service for more information.

SitemapDisclaimers & Terms Of ServicePrivacy Policy