Womens Justice Center

News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias



Everyone wants to live in a safe neighborhood. In many parts of the world, however, that's a luxury some people just don't have.

A new report released by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime on Thursday serves as a stark reminder of how drastically murder rates vary from country to country. TheGlobal Study on Homicide 2013 found that nearly half a million people were intentionally murdered in 2012, and killings were largely concentrated in two regions: the Americas and Africa.

UNODC defines homicide as " an unlawful death purposefully inflicted on a person by another person," not directly related to an armed conflict. The data is collected from each country's law enforcement or health authorities, or where this is not available, from World Health Organization estimates.

According to the study, almost half of the 437,000 murders took place in countries with just 11 per cent of the global population. In 2012, the Americas overtook Africaas the region with the highest rate of killings.

Sadly, the concentration of deadly violence in specific parts of the globe is nothing new. Murder rates in the Americas have remained high for decades, around five to eight times higher than Europe and Asia since the 1950s, according to the report.

Tellingly, the U.N. notes that the Americas have a vastly lower conviction rate for murder, at 24 per cent, compared to 48 per cent in Asia and 81 per cent in Europe.


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from intlawgrrls

The Wisconsin International Law Journal 20014 Symposium addressed the Creation of International Law: Exploring the International Components of Peace. The Conference commenced with a keynote speech by Penny Andrews, Dean of Albany Law School, on “Justice, Reconciliation and the Masculinist Way: What Role for Women in Truth Commissions?” She discussed the tendency of truth commissions to focus on male victims, rendering women secondary status as the mothers, wives, and sisters of men, and thus unrecognized as their engagement is not characterized as public resistance of oppression. She also criticized the phenomenon of truth commissions to belittle the process of receiving testimony from women describing the violations they endure, describing themselves as becoming “Kleenex Commissions” because of having to witness so many tears. She concluded that truth commissions have not been very transformative and there remains a challenge to reform them so that they can promote cultural changes to ensure that women will experience freedom from violence, fair access to economic resources, and freedom from subordination in order to enjoy true citizenship.


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about the controversy:

CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) is at it again. This time they have succeeded in shutting down a screening of the film, "Honor Diaries," at the University of Michigan, Dearborn last Thursday night, claiming that the film is ‘Islamophobic.’
"Honor Diaries" is a recently-released documentary profiling nine Muslim women and their horrific experiences in Islamic societies living with practices such as female genital mutilation, honor violence, honor killings and forced marriage at young ages.
CAIR started a Twitter campaign a few days ago against the film, calling it ‘Islamophobic,’ the term groups such as CAIR use not to mean prejudice or fear against the religion, but a fabricated term used to denote anything unflattering to Islam.
It’s a tactic used by CAIR and others to successfully and often indefinitely quiet any criticism of Islam, even when it’s shining light upon the practice of honor violence and depriving young women of education, two central themes in the film.


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México: Trabajadoras domésticas, una asignatura pendiente

No existe conciencia de que trabajan en labores del hogar 2,2 millones de personas, mayoritariamente mujeres, que aportan un valor equivalente al 27% del Producto Interno Bruto


México, 02 abr. 14. AmecoPress/SEMlac.- México se ha negado a firmar el convenio 189 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo, que reconoce derechos laborales a quienes realizan tareas de cuidado y limpieza en las casas particulares. Tampoco ha definido el salario mínimo profesional para estas personas, según lo establece la nueva Ley Federal del Trabajo.



Según el reciente informe de Human Rights Watch “Ocultados: Abusos contra trabajadores domésticos migrantes en el Reino Unido” Viven en esclavitud las trabajadoras domésticas emigrantes en Reino Unido




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Young witnesses suffer fear, anxiety while perpetrators rarely face jail time, according to study

WASHINGTON — A nationwide study of children who have witnessed domestic violence found that parents or caregivers were physically injured in more than a third of the cases, yet only a small fraction of offenders went to jail and just 1 in 4 incidents resulted in police reports, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. 

“One of the most shocking findings is that less than 2 percent of the cases resulted in jail time for the perpetrator,” said lead researcher Sherry Hamby, PhD, a psychology research professor at Sewanee, The University of the South.  

Children were physically hurt in 1 in 75 cases, but they experienced fear and anxiety much more often. More than half of the children said they were afraid someone would be hurt badly, and almost 2 in 5 said the violence was one of their scariest experiences ever, according to the study, published April 7 in the APA journal Psychology of Violence®

Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, nightmares, teen dating violence and disruptions with school work, Hamby said. The trauma can be very similar to when children experience abuse themselves, she added. 

“Family violence definitely cuts across all segments of society and has a serious impact on children,” Hamby said. “Parents are such big figures in a child’s life. If a parent is endangered, that can threaten a child’s well-being. They get worried that if their parent is in danger, then who is going to protect them?”

The nationwide study included 517 children who had witnessed domestic violence, including beating, hitting or kicking of a parent or caregiver. Three in 4 children saw the violence, 21 percent heard it and 3 percent saw the injuries later. 




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Exploring Reasonable Efforts in Child Welfare Cases that Include Domestic Violence (Site A)

 NCJ Number:  244701
 Author:  Lorie Sicafuse ; Steve Wood M.S. ; Alicia Summers Ph.D.
 Publication Date:  11/2013
 Abstract   PDF   Find in a Library
 Exploring Reasonable Efforts in Child Welfare Cases that Include Domestic Violence in Portland, Oregon
 NCJ Number:  244702
 Author:  Lorie Sicafuse ; Steve Wood M.S. ; Alicia Summers Ph.D.
 Publication Date:  10/2013
 Abstract   PDF   Find in a Library
 Exploring Reasonable Efforts in Child Welfare Cases that Include Domestic Violence in Princeton, West Virginia
 NCJ Number:  244703
 Author:  Lorie Sicafuse ; Steve Wood M.S. ; Alicia Summers Ph.D.
 Publication Date:  10/2013
 Abstract   PDF   Find in a Library


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(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


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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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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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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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)



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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 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


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


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


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.


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


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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.



Seeking Global Justice for a Local Reproductive Injustice


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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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. 


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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.


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


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


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


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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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.


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.



Webinar Recordings

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