Monday, November 30, 2015

ACLU Report Examines Domestic Violence and Police Practices

Advocates, service providers, attorneys, and people working in membership-based organizations were invited to share stories and recommendations regarding policing and domestic violence and sexual assault in response to a nationwide survey that was open for a one-month period in April to May 2015.  More than 900 people responded.  The report, Responses from the Field: Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Policing, captures their responses.  The authors report that 

[w]hile respondents told us about promising practices, most of which included significant collaborations between law enforcement and advocates, overall, we heard very discouraging stories.   Respondents reported significant police racial and ethnic bias, as well as bias on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity, poverty, immigration status, language, and against victims who have a criminal history including sex workers.  They described how contact with the police has negative collateral consequences for victims including in immigration, child protective services involvement, and economic consequences.  Respondents also reported that a significant number of victims have goals that do not align with those of the criminal justice system including the desire to seek a non-punitive intervention, the need to “move on” coupled with the expectation that criminal justice involvement will be lengthy and (re)traumatizing, and the fear that they would lose control of the process.

For more, see the report, at the link above, and the blogpost at Move to End Violence, written by co-authors Sandra Park, ACLU, Donna Coker, University of Miami School of Law, and Julie Goldscheid.  The authors welcome your feedback, comments, and suggestions for re-thinking the role of the criminal justice system within efforts to end gender-based violence.

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