This special collection is a product of the COURAGE in Policing Project, jointly supported by the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law and Casa de Esperanza National Latin@ Network. The purpose of this special collection is to compile resources focused on improving the law enforcement responses to domestic violence and sexual assault. It is well understood that many survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault choose not to engage with the criminal legal system for a variety of reasons, and therefore it is important to ensure and broaden multiple pathways to safety and support for all survivors. Nonetheless, for many victims who do interact with the criminal legal system, the focus of this initiative is to continue to advance efforts to improve the law enforcement response in a manner that is more trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and accountable.
Through eight sections (A-G), this collection offers resources for identifying and preventing gender bias and other forms of bias in policing, and improving law enforcement responses to gender-based violence, especially when interacting with underserved or marginalized populations who often have fraught relationships with the criminal legal system. The 2015 U.S. Department of Justice Guidance on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence provides a foundation for improving responses to survivors, increasing effectiveness in policing, and building stronger ties with communities.
We hope that this special collection will provide various perspectives and resources for advocates, law enforcement leaders, and others who are considering ways to improve law enforcement responses to gender-based violence, particularly in underserved or marginalized communities. Our hope is to expand and improve pathways to safety for survivors.
In the future, the COURAGE project plans to develop a collection of resources highlighting the importance of different pathways to safety, particularly for survivors who want alternatives to the criminal legal system, such as “violence interruption” programs, restorative and transformative justice, collective healing, economic justice, and health and housing justice. We welcome your feedback and ideas.