Womens Justice Center




















News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias


 

  

(March 6, 2014) -- The federal government should push colleges to improve the criminal justice response to rape, de-emphasize internal judicial boards, put in place bystander intervention and risk reduction programs, and ensure comprehensive care for victims, RAINN advised a new White House task force charged with creating a plan to reduce rape on college campuses.

In 16 pages of recommendations, RAINN urged the task focus to remain focused on the true cause of the problem. “In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming “rape culture” for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campuses. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important to not lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime,” said the letter to the task force from RAINN’s president, Scott Berkowitz, and vice president for public policy, Rebecca O’Connor.

President Obama appointed the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault in January, giving it 90 days to recommend improvements colleges should make. The task force includes representatives from the White House, Justice Department, Education Department, Health and Human Services and other federal agencies.

RAINN’s recommendations pointed to research that suggests that more than 90% of college rapes are committed by about 3% of college men (reliable research about female perpetrators is harder to come by). Based on that pattern of assaults by repeat offenders, RAINN stressed the importance of treating sexual assaults on campuses as the serious crimes that they are, and ensuring that there are meaningful consequences.

RAINN also stressed the need to de-emphasize colleges’ internal judicial boards. “The FBI, for purposes of its Uniform Crime Reports, has a hierarchy of crimes — a ranking of violent crimes in order of seriousness. Murder, of course, ranks first. Second is rape. It would never occur to anyone to leave the adjudication of a murder in the hands of a school’s internal judicial process. Why, then, is it not only common, but expected, for them to do so when it comes to sexual assault,” the letter asked. “The simple fact is that these internal boards were designed to adjudicate charges like plagiarism, not violent felonies. The crime of rape just does not fit the capabilities of such boards.”

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Donna Greco, Training and Technical Assistance Director

(717) 909-0710, Ext. 131; email

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ENOLA, Pa. – In response to President’s Barack Obama’s goal to prevent campus sexual assault, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), along with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), have released their recommendations for addressing sexual violence on campus. The recommendations, which were submitted to the White House Task Force to Protect Students in March, are being released publicly in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

According to the White House report, Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, one in five women have been sexually assaulted while in college, and 63 percent of men who admitted to committing rape/attempting rape said that they had committed an average of six rapes each (White House Council on Women and Girls, 2014). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in 71 men have been raped at some time in their lives  and one in 21 men have been forced to penetrate someone else during their lifetime (Black et al., 2011).

Sexual violence can undermine a student’s academic career, creating an economic and social ripple effect over the course of their lifespan. While the individuals, who commit these crimes, need to be held accountable, the NSVRC and PCAR know that they do not commit sexual violence in a vacuum. In fact, sexual violence is preventable; it is a learned behavior that is shaped by individual, relationship, community, and societal factors (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014). Therefore, NSVRC and PCAR believe that in order to prevent these crimes, universities need a culturally-relevant, comprehensive strategy that engages the entire campus community on multiple levels — from recruitment to graduation.

“Effective prevention and response efforts hinge on meaningful collaborations among campuses and local, state, and national sexual assault organizations,” said Karen Baker, NSVRC Director.

To read the in-depth recommendations, visit http://tinyurl.com/motbm5b.

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Overcoming the Consent Defense: 
Identifying, Investigating & Prosecuting 
the Non-Stranger Rapist
Webinar | April 18, 2014 | 2:00PM-3:30PM EDT
Presented by Christopher Mallios, Attorney Advisor, AEquitas

Research shows the vast majority of sex offenders are non-stranger rapists and serial offenders. Non-stranger rapists are adept at creating, identifying, and manipulating perceived vulnerabilities in their victims and ultimately rendering them more vulnerable to attack through the use of premeditated tactics and non-traditional weapons. These offenders also benefit from common misconceptions and false expectations of offenders (e.g., appearance, behavior, use of weapons, etc.) that can result in failure to identify non-stranger rapists who do not meet these expectations. To more effectively identify, investigate, and prosecute non-stranger rapists, prosecutors must overcome their own myths and misconceptions about sexual violence as well as those believed by judges and juries.

This presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of sex offenders with an emphasis on non-stranger rapists (e.g., motivations and characteristics, myths and misconceptions, serial and crossover offending, etc.) and focus on strategies for overcoming the unique challenges these offenders present.

Click here to register.

 

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INMINENTE FALLO POR LA JOVEN TUCUMANA, A DOCE AÑOS DE SU DESAPARICION

En Tucumán y Buenos Aires habrá actos para conmemorar el aniversario de la última vez que su familia la vio. En ese marco, se anunció que la semana próxima el tribunal dictará las nuevas sentencias. La Corte provincial había anulado las absoluciones anteriores.

En conmemoración de los doce años del secuestro de Marita Verón, en Tucumán y Buenos Aires habrá actividades y un acto para concientizar acerca de la trata de personas en la Argentina, una seguidilla de eventos que comenzará hoy, aniversario de la última vez que su familia vio a Verón con vida, y continuará mañana. En tanto, entre lunes y martes de la semana próxima dictará sentencias el tribunal tucumano encargado de asignar penas a los condenados en el caso Verón, luego de que la Suprema Corte provincial revisara el fallo de la Cámara Penal y revirtiera 10 de las 13 absoluciones dictadas en diciembre de 2012.

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EWL’s general contribution will focus on the following aspects: 
 
1. The issue of prostitution in international human rights instruments 
2. Assessment of 10 years of Swedish and Dutch policies on prostitution 
3. Recent developments in other countries over the last two years 
4. EWL’s principles and recommendations on prostitution 
5. EWL’s work on prostitution and trafficking in women for prostitution 
 
 
The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the 
European Union (EU), working to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men. EWL 
membership extends to organisations in all 28 EU member states and three candidate countries, as well as to 21 
European-wide bodies, representing a total of more than 2000 organisations. 
 

 

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An anonymous Harvard sexual assault victim exposes a culture of exceptionalism that may lead to violence – but little change     

harvard university library
An anonymous student wrote in the Harvard Crimson this week that 'the school's limited response amounted to the equivalent of a slap on the hand for my assailant.' Photograph: Alamy

You've heard this story before: A young woman is sexually assaulted on her college campus. She reports it to campus authorities. They take the accusations as a "he said, she said". They do nothing. She goes to therapy, maybe goes on medication, maybe drops out of school. He goes on with his life. The university stays silent in the face of criticism, or perhaps pledges to take "a new look" at its sexual assault policies.

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GODZILLA EN MADRID - UNA VEZ MÁS: MUJERES, EJÉRCITOS, GUERRA Y VIOLENCIA SEXISTA.

Las mujeres, sometidas a la violencia patriarcal, sufren de manera más descarnada el efecto de las guerras. Las violaciones son comunes en todos los conflictos y no se producen de manera espontánea, sino que son usadas sistemáticamente como parte de la estrategia militar.

La masculinidad es el valor central de lo militar, masculinidad que es entendida como la construcción social basada en la superioridad del sexo masculino. Esto produce un rechazo de lo femenino que se traduce en un día a día plagado de abusos en el seno de los ejércitos y en un brutal maltrato a la mujer en las zonas de conflicto. La violencia sexista es utilizada con diversos fines tanto en las batallas como en los cuarteles, lo que la convierte en una herramienta estructurada y con unos fines definidos.

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CON VIDEO 

Anabel Arévalo, representante del Centro de Atención Para la Mujer (Cepam), manifestó, en los Desayunos de 24 Horas, que la implementación de unidades judiciales especializadas es un paso adelante para el sistema judicial, aunque en relación al número de denuncias que presenta la ciudadanía en estas unidades, el número de jueces no es lo suficientemente grande como para abarcar la demanda de servicios por parte de la Unidad, pues en Guayaquil son muchas las personas que se acercan a buscar ayuda para sus problemas de violencia intrafamiliar.

Es un gran progreso para los derechos de la mujer que haya unidades judiciales específicas para atender sus problemas, señaló Arévalo, y que estén adscritas a la Función Judicial directamente, y no al Ministerio del Interior, como históricamente lo han estado, señaló, más allá de que acusa ciertos desajustes que, dice, deben pulir para el mejor funcionamiento del organismo.

Además indicó que la relación intrafamiliar entre los agresores y las mujeres agredidas es bastante compleja a nivel emocional, y muchas desean únicamente que la violencia contra su persona pare, pero no una separación, e hizo una alerta sobre la posibilidad de que estos comportamientos se repitan en los niños que crecen en medio de estas condiciones, pues ellos son especialmente susceptibles a adquirir y repetir este comportamiento en etapas posteriores de su vida, acotó. (Teleamazonas)

VIDEO AL FONDO DE LA PAGINA VINCULADA

 

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When indigenous women disappear, their cases often get little coverage -- and their identities can be erased

On July 5, 2013, Hanna Harris, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, was reported missing by her family in Lame Deer, Mont. After search efforts by community members and law enforcement, she was found dead five days later. While there was some coverage of the disappearance and death of Harris, the media initially took the opportunity to focus on her use of peyote for ceremonial practices or to suggest her death was the result of drug use.

The Lame Deer tribal authorities were initially responsible for taking the missing persons complaint and assisting with the search, and according to the family were not quick to act (the authorities have not responded to Salon’s request for comment). The FBI, which has federal authority over reservations in cases of murder, has said it needs more information and testimonies from others before being able to move forward with the Hanna Harris case. So Harris’ family developed a reward fund in an attempt to entice witnesses and those with information to come forward. The efforts of the family have allowed the investigation to remain open and ongoing.

Hanna Harris matters and deserves respect, as do the hundreds (possibly thousands) of indigenous women who have also gone missing and murdered. Unfortunately, Harris’ story — a death so far uninvestigated by government authorities — is ubiquitous among indigenous people. A year ago my co-worker Laura M. Madison and I launched the Save Wiyabi Map, a project to keep track of missing and murdered sisters. In that time, we have tracked 1,050 violent incidents involving indigenous women — women who have disappeared, or who have been found dead.

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Special Focus: CSW 58

CSW58

CSW58 took place in New York from 10 - 21 March, 2014. Check out ourSpecial Focus Section for official and CSO statements, news, analysis and resources from the meeting.

Special Focus: Post 2015 Development Agenda

Gender-and-MGDs

This special focus section on the Post 2015 Development Agenda aims to shed light on the process underway to shape a new development agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they expire in 2015. The section includes critical feminist analysis on the process and key resources including news, publications, statements, campaigns and events.

Visit the special focus section...

 

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Análisis especial: CSW 58

CSW58

La CSW58 tuvo lugar en Nueva York del 10 al 21 marzo del 2014. Echa un vistazo a nuestra sección de Análisis especial para leer las declaraciones oficiales y de las OSC, noticias, análisis y recursos sobre la reunion.

Análisis especial: Agenda de Desarrollo Post 2015

Gender-and-MGDs

Esta sección de análisis especial sobre la agenda de desarrollo post-2015 pretende facilitar el acceso a este proceso para elaborar una nueva agenda de desarrollo una vez que los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio (ODM) expiren en 2015. La sección proporciona un análisis crítico feminista y el acceso a los recursos clave, incluyendo noticias, publicaciones, declaraciones, campañas y eventos.

Visite la sección de análisis especial...

 

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La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) señaló hoy el apoyo a las defensoras de los derechos de las mujeres como un "deber" de los Estados de las Américas y una prioridad para lograr la igualdad de sexos.

 La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) señaló hoy el apoyo a las defensoras de los derechos de las mujeres como un "deber" de los Estados de las Américas y una prioridad para lograr la igualdad de sexos.

Así lo indicó la comisionada Tracy Robinson en una audiencia de la CIDH, organismo autónomo de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), sobre los desafíos en la protección de las mujeres frente a la violencia cuando se va a cumplir el 20 aniversario de la Convención de Belém do Pará (Brasil).

"Destacar la protección de las defensoras de los derechos humanos mujeres es una excelente forma de llamar la atención sobre el deber de los Estados" en material de igualdad, afirmó Robinson.

"Es una forma excelente de enfatizar el resultado de nuestros esfuerzos en relación a la violencia contra las mujeres. A veces, poner el foco solamente en la violencia doméstica genera en realidad el análisis contrario sobre la situación de las mujeres", añadió.

En la sesión intervinieron ocho activistas por los derechos de la mujer que analizaron los retos para la igualdad en el marco del vigésimo aniversario de la Convención Interamericana para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Violencia contra la Mujer, firmada en Belém do Pará, que se celebrará en junio.

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VEA TAMBIEN: Belém Do Pará Es Insuficiente Para Proteger A Defensoras

 

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ABOUT THE WOMEN OF THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY

The Nuestro Texas campaign shines the spotlight on lack of access to reproductive health care in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. One of the poorest regions in the U.S. and home to a large population of immigrants and Latinos, the Valley has some of the most profound barriers to health care in the entire country. It also has a highly organized network of women fighting for their human right to reproductive health care. Nuestro Texas supports the women of the Valley as they demand policies from the federal government and Texas legislature that promote their reproductive health and build stronger families and communities.

NUESTRO TEXAS WEBSITE

ARTICLE: 

Seeking Global Justice for a Local Reproductive Injustice

READ THEIR STORIES

Esmeralda’s Story

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In Swat Valley, a former stronghold of the Taliban in Pakistan, a group of women are taking certain legal matters into their own hands. In this fiercly patriarchal society, disputes are traditionally resolved by a meeting of elders, and that means men. This parallel justice system is known as the jirga. Until now, it was always a male-only domain, and in some cases such as honour killings, women's rights were ignored. Now a group of women has decided to speak up and create their own female jirga
 

 

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About
 
Stop Telling Women to Smile is an art series by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. The work attempts to address gender based street harassment by placing drawn portraits of women, composed with captions that speak directly to offenders, outside in public spaces. 
 
Tatyan Falalizadeh is an illustrator/painter based in Brooklyn, mostly known for her oil paintings. Having recently branched out into public art as a muralist, STWTS was born out of the idea that street art can be an impactful tool for tackling street harassment. 
 
STWTS started in Brooklyn in the fall of 2012. It is an on-going, travelling series and will gradually include many cities and many women participants. 
 

Street harassment is a serious issue that affects women world wide. This project takes women’s voices, and faces, and puts them in the street - creating a bold presence for women in an environment where they are so often made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe. 

SEE MORE

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March 2014, the Center, along with the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and its Task Force on Violence Against Women, the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center (NIWRC), and Clan Star, Inc. participated in the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to raise awareness about violence against indigenous women in the United States, with particular attention to Alaska Native women. Chris Foley, ILRC attorney, presented the joint statement.

SEE ALSO:

Indian Law Resource Center Campaign to End Violence Against Native Women

 

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Co-Editor Sital Kalantry addresses the difficulties that domestic violence survivors encounter when attemtpting to fit into a classification under which they might find relief through the Board of Immigration Appeals Process.

 The Jury is Out:  Do the new Board of Immigration Appeals’ Decisions Give Victims of Domestic Violence a Stronger Basis to Claim Asylum?

 by Sital Kalantry

The Board of Immigration Appeals on February 7, 2014 released a twin set of decisions—Matter of M-E-V-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 227 (BIA 2014) and -,  Matter of W-G-Rec. 20 26 I&N Dec.20 (BIA 2014)— in which it repackaged what constitutes a “particular social group.”  In order for someone to obtain asylum, she must prove that she has a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, nationality, race, political opinion, and particular social group.   Survivors of domestic violence must fashion themselves into a “particular social group” to be considered for asylum since gender is not included as a separate category.  Prior to these decisions, a group such as “married Guatemalan women unable to leave their relationships” would be considered a “particular social group,” if it can be shown that (1) is composed of members who share a common immutable characteristic, (2) is defined with particularity, and (3) has “social visibility.”  The Board’s recent decisions changed the requirement of “social visibility” to “social distinction.”

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Corey Rayburn Yung, University of Kansas School of Law

Abstract:      

During the last two decades, many police departments substantially undercounted reported rapes creating "paper" reductions in crime. Media investigations in Baltimore, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and St. Louis found that police eliminated rape complaints from official counts because of cultural hostility to rape complaints and to create the illusion of success in fighting violent crime. The undercounting cities used three difficult-to-detect methods to remove rape complaints from official records: designating a complaint as "unfounded" with little or no investigation; classifying an incident as a lesser offense; and, failing to create a written report that a victim made a rape complaint. 

This study addresses how widespread the practice of undercounting rape is in police departments across the country. Because identifying fraudulent and incorrect data is essentially the task of distinguishing highly unusual data patterns, I apply a statistical outlier detection technique to determine which jurisdictions have substantial anomalies in their data. Using this novel method to determine if other municipalities likely failed to report the true number of rape complaints made, I find significant undercounting of rape incidents by police departments across the country. The results indicate that approximately 22% of the 210 studied police departments responsible for populations of at least 100,000 persons have substantial statistical irregularities in their rape data indicating considerable undercounting from 1995 to 2012. Notably, the number of undercounting jurisdictions has increased by over 61% during the eighteen years studied. 

Correcting the data to remove police undercounting by imputing data from highly correlated murder rates, the study conservatively estimates that 796,213 to 1,145,309 complaints of forcible vaginal rapes of female victims nationwide disappeared from the official records from 1995 to 2012. Further, the corrected data reveal that the study period includes fifteen to eighteen of the highest rates of rape since tracking of the data began in 1930. Instead of experiencing the widely reported "great decline" in rape, America is in the midst of a hidden rape crisis. Further, the techniques that conceal rape complaints deprioritize those cases so that police conduct little or no investigation. Consequently, police leave serial rapists, who constitute the overwhelming majority of rapists, free to attack more victims. Based upon the findings of this study, governments at all levels must revitalize efforts to combat the cloaked rise in sexual violence and the federal government must exercise greater oversight of the crime reporting process to ensure accuracy of the data provided.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 60

SEE ALSO:

Police Investigation of Rape-Roadblocks and Solutions,

National Institute of Justice Study (Has link to free complete pdf)

Annotation: This study involved interviews with detectives who have specialized in the investigation of sexual assaults as well as frontline patrol officers in order to determine their attitudes toward such cases.

 
 Abstract:One conclusion from the findings is that most police officers, whether detectives or first responders, are aware of the basic, well-known “rape myths,” and the “politically correct” answers that challenge those myths; for example, they know that women who dress revealingly can be raped, that women can be raped by men with whom they have previously had consensual sex, and that it is wrong to assume that women share some blame for being raped. Still, the findings from administering the rape scale to the officers indicate that despite many years of training, a large number of police officers still hold attitudes and opinions that undermine their ability to treat rape victims well. The officers were almost unanimously opposed to changing to a system of investigation and case processing that gives priority to protecting victims. Although this study had the objective of identifying “best practices” in police investigations of rape, the study concludes that there are no “best practices” worthy of replication or widespread use. Among the police officers in this study, there was virtually no interest in and some strong resistance to examining innovative and improved ways of investigating and managing rape cases. The dominant theme in current investigative techniques is the presumption that victims are lying and the initial job of the investigators is to expose it. The study recommends that police training in rape investigations be based in solid research and be related to the types of cases most often encountered, i.e. acquaintance rapes rather than stranger rapes. Interviews were conducted with 49 detectives who specialized in sexual assault. Samples of campus and municipal police officers were included in interviews with first responders. Tables, figures, 65 references, and appended interview instrument

SEE ALSO:

Advocating for Victms of Sex Crimes During the Police Investigation

 

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 Lawmakers and civil society leaders from over 30 countries are calling for universal access to safe, legal abortion.

The declaration, released in Washington on Wednesday, comes in the context of a 20-year review by the United Nations of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. That landmark conference called for safe access to abortions in countries where the procedure was legal, while Wednesday’s declaration calls for the decriminalisation of abortion in all countries.

The declaration also anticipates the post-2015 development agenda. Advocates are calling to expand the discussion on women’s health to include abortion rights when determining the next round of global development goals, following the expiration of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

“True gender equality cannot be achieved without access to safe, legal abortion,” it says. “In the last two decades, roughly 1 million women and girls have died and more than 100 million have suffered injuries – many of them lifelong – due to complications from unsafe abortion.”

One of the MDGs, number five, does aim to reduce by three-quarters the maternal mortality ratio and to achieve universal access to reproductive health. However, it does not include access to safe abortions in its definition of access to reproductive health.

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Mission

Most trafficking victims in the United States do not have access to justice. In 2003, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which gave trafficking victims the right to sue their traffickers for damages. But in the 10 years since the law was passed, fewer than 100 civil cases have been filed under the civil human trafficking statute. Trafficked persons have significant rights under U.S. law, but they cannot exercise these rights without competent legal counsel. Pro bono attorneys can assist trafficking victims in participating fully in criminal cases against traffickers, and in launching civil suits against the perpetrators.

The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center serves as a clearinghouse for victims and law firms, bringing trafficking victims together with highly-competent, well-trained pro bono attorneys. The Center offers training and mentoring to attorneys handling pro bono trafficking cases, ensuring that strategic litigation in this area has maximum systemic impact.

Since its inception, the Center has provided training to hundreds of pro bono attorneys. In addition, the Center’s staff has placed 20 trafficking cases with pro bono attorneys from high-profile law firms. By leveraging the resources and talents of private sector firms, The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center seeks to completely change the playing field for human traffickers.

MORE INFO HERE

A Project of Tahirih Justice Center

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Witness intimidation is "behavior which strikes at the heart of the justice system itself." United States v. Mastrangelo, 693 F.2d 269, 273 (2d Cir. 1982). When intimidation is permitted to occur, and when it is not effectively addressed by the justice system, victims and witnesses suffer additional harm, defendants escape accountability for their actions, and the general public becomes cynical and loses confidence in law enforcement. Effectively addressing the problem of witness intimidation requires the participation of law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, advocates, health care, social services, corrections professionals, and probation or parole officers-all of whom may come into contact with victims or witnesses who are vulnerable to intimidation or with defendants who intimidate.

Initiative on Witness Intimidation (IWI)

Commenced in September of 2010, the Initiative on Witness Intimidation (IWI) is a field-initiated project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. IWI's mission is to improve the quality of justice and safety of victims and witnesses susceptible to witness intimidation by developing, evaluating, and refining justice system practices that raise community awareness and increase victim safety and offender accountability. Three pilot sites were selected for the project: Duluth, MinnesotaKnoxville, Tennessee; and San Diego, California. AEquitas staff, in partnership with the Battered Women's Justice Project and local practitioners in Duluth, Knoxville, and San Diego used the Praxis Safety and Accountability Audit Tool Kit to observe court proceedings, courthouse activity, and offender groups; interviewed victims and justice system practitioners; and reviewed prosecution files and sentencing reports. They reported their findings, identified gaps in witness safety and offender accountability, and made recommendations to address those gaps. Links to the findings and recommendations from each site, and additional resources produced as a result of the project, are below.

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Resources

Webinar Recordings

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March 24, 2014
 
Jocelyn Samuels
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division, US Dept. of Justice
Washington, D.C.
 
Michael W. Cotter
United States Attorney
Missoula, Montana
 
Open Letter Re: District Attorney Obligations and Accountability to Victims of Violence Against Women
 
Dear Ms. Jocelyn Samuels and Mr. Michael W. Cotter,
 
     Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
 
We have read and re-read your February 2014 U.S. Department of Justice Letter of Findings regarding the Missoula District Attorney’s mishandling of rape cases, and we’ve passed it on to others in hopes it will be widely used as the groundbreaking legal tool it is.
 
You’ve done an extraordinarily valuable service to women by trail blazing a solid legal path to district attorney obligations and accountability to victims of violence against women, where before there was only the seemingly impassible thicket of anti-women court decisions dating back decades and right up to present day.
 
Like the Missoula district attorney, there are still way too many district attorneys around the country who believe their official powers of discretion give them carte blanch to ignore, disregard, ditch, discriminate against, and deny justice to women, as they wish, and with impunity. Indeed, until your findings, a district attorney’s systematic denial of justice to women has been deemed untouchable, and has stood as a key and intractable obstacle in the struggle to end violence against women.
 
The legal foundation you establish in your findings is so commonsense, rigorous, and thoroughly constructed that women anywhere can stand securely on your argument to demand equal justice from their local district attorneys. Its great strength is that you have forged this foundation squarely within the framework of women’s fundamental constitutional rights. And it’s especially helpful that you’ve accompanied your legal citations with brief, plain-language summaries that can be understood by all.
 
In addition to cementing a district attorney’s prosecutorial obligations to victims of violence against women, your coverage of related obligations is also extremely helpful, such as your construct and foundation for a district attorney responsibility to investigate these cases, as well as prosecute, when police have failed to properly do so.
 
Your Letter of Findings was also immensely gratifying personally for your use of the year 2000 9th Circuit Court decision in the case of Macias v. Sheriff Ihde as a pillar in your findings. Myself and colleague Tanya Brannan were the advocates on that case, and we have always pondered why it lay dormant for so long. As you can imagine, we are ever so pleased you have built on Macias and other cases to greatly and so solidly advance the cause of justice for women.
 
Thank you again.
 
Sincerely,
 
Marie De Santis, Director
Santa Rosa, CA

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Date: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Time: 2:00pm - 3:30pm (Central Time)

Registration Ends 4/29/2014 or when filled.

Presenters: Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D., Senior Consultant for Child and Adolescent Trauma at Sheppard Pratt Health System in Baltimore Maryland and the Executive Vice-President of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence and Stephanie Dallam, Research Associate, Leadership Council; former Pediatric Surgery and Trauma Nurse Practitioner, University of Missouri Health Sciences Center.

Description: In this presentation, new information will be presented about the results of a case analysis of 27 custody cases involving the abuse of children. In these cases, a judge initially ordered the children into unsupervised contact with an abusive parent and then a later judicial decision protected the children from abuse. This sample is illustrative of failures common in family court where signs of child abuse are ignored and theories which blame the mother, such as accusations of parental alienation are relied upon. The case analysis shows that it is often the court-ordered custody evaluators who recommend access to the unsafe parent and experts in child abuse and domestic violence who correct the information for the court. This presentation will present recommendations derived from this case analysis about how to approach allegations of abuse in contested custody cases so that children are more consistently protected.



Registration Details: This webinar is open to OVW Grantees and the general public.
  • GTEAP (Arrest) GRANTEES: you are REQUIRED to enter your OVW-issued grant number when registering for this training. 
  • If you are not an Arrest Grantee, no grant number is required. 
A webinar is an on-line seminar and requires access to the internet to connect.

Audio options are: 
1) Teleconference (Your standard long distance charges will apply); 
2) VoIP (free audio through the internet, speakers are required, a headset is recommended).

    Do you require closed captioning? BWJP requires 5 business days notice and you MUST request it upon registration.  

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    Figures show nearly 4,000 patients treated in capital since 2009 after suffering female genital mutilation

    EXCERPT:

    Last year, health experts warned that the health and social care system was failing young girls who were at risk of FGM – which is classed as torture by the UN.

    They said more needed to be done in the UK to safeguard young girls and babies at risk of the brutal procedure.

    A report by experts from the Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the human rights organisation Equality Now and the trade union Unite said there were "gaps in responsiveness" to addressing FGM in the health and social care system.

    Officials did not know whom to turn to if they suspected it had been carried out, and if a girl suspected to be at risk was referred to social services the issue may be dropped because some care workers did not feel that FGM lay within their remit, the report said.

    There was no accountability in performance of health and social care workers and a lack of consistent data about the issue, the report found. There have been no prosecutions for FGM, even though it has been banned in the UK since 1985.

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    Friends, 
     
    There has been no end of tricks and slights of hand in Santa Rosa's efforts to bypass community involvement in the selection of the city's next police chief, and ultimately install ex-chief Tom Schwedhelm's hand picked choice. The latest maneuver has been to put the whole process on hold until at least next September.  
     
    These closed door ploys couldn't be coming at a worse time. Santa Rosa desperately needs a new can-do chief right now who can reform a department that is plagued by years of misconduct, million dollar lawsuit payouts, and discriminatory practices. (see here) The public needs to step in and take the reigns.
     
    With public support we were able to stop the anti-democratic, insider succession planned for last December, and it can be done again. But first, some background.
     
    Background:
     
    Last October, when then Chief Tom Schwedhelm announced his upcoming December 2013 retirement, unofficial word was that he had hand picked his successor from the white male cadre of ranking officers, the same officers who have presided over the years of problems. 
     
    Official word was just as bad. City manager Kathy Millison would be naming the new chief, without community involvement, or even involvement of elected city council members. No one doubted that she would merely be a rubber stamp for Schwedhelm's choice.
     
    Following community outcry, in December Millison was constrained to naming an acting chief only, Santa Rosa's now acting Chief Hank Schreeder. In mid January, the city contracted executive search firm Ralph Anderson and Associates, ostensibly to find candidates for the position of chief.  But the text of that contract, however, put city manager Millison right back at the helm of steering the search.
     
    Then in February, during her performance evaluation, and in the wake of her autocratic rule, city manager Millison tendered her retirement, effective next September.
     
    The contract, along with the search for a new chief, was suspended. The plan now is that the new chief will be selected by the new city manager, but not until that person is hired and in place, at earliest next September.
     
    Manifest Perfidy
     
    This is a terrible plan. Not only are we back to square one with the new chief set to be selected by a city manager, without input from the community or from elected council members , but the long time lag serves to slide the current acting chief into permanent position by no other virtue than habituation of time.
     
    Then comes this disturbing news..former SRPD chief Tom Schwedhelm, - the chief who applauded his officers  putting real assault weapons in the hands of children, who never promoted a female officer, who presided over disastrous violence against women statistics, and other misconduct of the last four years, - former chief Schwedhelm  is currently running for a seat on Santa Rosa City Council and is expected to win. There he will join ex-SRPD Lt., now council member, Ernesto Oliveras in consolidating ever more police power over the city .
     
    What the Public Can Do:  
     
    This railroad back to yesterday needs to be stopped. The public can insist that Santa Rosa City Council install a democratic process now to select a new chief. At minimum, there should be a representative citizen's committee - with veto power - to oversee the selection process from start to finish.
     
    Women's Justice Center
     

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