COURAGE in Policing Project - Human Rights Clinic

Community Oriented and United Responses to Address Gender Violence and Equality

The COURAGE in Policing Project works to enhance the law enforcement response to domestic violence and sexual assault, in partnership with community-based organizations, police departments, and national leaders.

COURAGE, is based out of Miami Law’s Human Rights Clinic and supported by the Roddenberry Foundation. It is founded and directed by Professor Caroline Bettinger-López, who co-leads COURAGE projects with Professor Tamar Ezer

 

 

Project Overview

Caroline and Students

Staffed by law students at the Miami Law Human Rights Clinic, the COURAGE in Policing Project aims to improve access to safety and justice for all survivors, with a particular focus on:

  • Women of color

  • Immigrant women

  • Disabled women

  • LGBTQI individuals

  • Underserved populations

 More

The project builds upon the work of human rights frameworks and structures at the local level, such as municipalities that have passed resolutions declaring that “Freedom from Domestic Violence is a Fundamental Human Right” as well as “CEDAW Cities,” to engage them in efforts to work with police departments in their local jurisdictions to implement the key principles of the DOJ Guidance. It also builds upon the promising practices in jurisdictions that are developing pilot projects to implement the DOJ Guidance through grants from the DOJ Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC).

Project Goals

COURAGE

  • Develop model community assessments and climate surveys

  • Provide tools for use of research and data monitoring

  • Develop a repository of information and resources

  • Develop a community toolkit

  • Bring an intersectional gender lens to this initiative

  • Facilitate ongoing engagement between communities and police departments

  • Facilitate a national conversation among local communities

 More

  • Develop model community assessments and climate surveys, to assess how law enforcement is responding to domestic violence and sexual assault at the community level, and to identify priority issues for local advocates;

  • Provide tools for use of research and data monitoring in order to identify and prevent gender bias in law enforcement responses to domestic violence and sexual assault;

  • Develop a repository of information and resources through a special COURAGE webpage, to assist organizations and communities with implementation of the DOJ Guidance through improved trainings, policies, supervision protocols, and systems of accountability;

  • Develop a community toolkit to complement the impact campaign associated with HOME TRUTH, a documentary that focuses on the life and activism of Jessica Lenahan (formerly Gonzales), whose case to compel greater law enforcement accountability in enforcing orders of protection went to the U.S. Supreme Court and ultimately the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;

  • Bring an intersectional gender lens to this initiative to identify resources and promising practices for improving law enforcement responses to better serve survivors from marginalized populations who face additional barriers, including women of color, immigrant women, disabled women, indigenous women, LGBTQI individuals, and other underserved populations;

  • Facilitate ongoing engagement between communities and police departments, through the use of the tools described above; and

  • Facilitate a national conversation among local communities to foster innovation, enhance coordinated community responses, and support peer learning to advance national and local momentum on improving the law enforcement response to gender violence.

 

Freedom from Gender Violence is a Fundamental Human Right

The COURAGE in Policing project builds upon the work of human rights frameworks and structures at the local level, such as:

 

Download the Flyer

 

 Advancing Responses to Gender Violence

Why We Need to Improve Police Responses to Gender Violence

Improving the response to gender violence is often not a top law enforcement priority, even though:

  • Domestic and sexual violence calls for service comprise the majority of 911 calls to many police departments;

  • These 911 calls are among the most dangerous assignments for responding officers;

  • Our national conversation about bias in policing has tended to focus on race and national origin, not sex or gender;

  • A 2015 survey of victims who called the National Domestic Violence Hotline, as well as a 2015 survey victim advocates and professionals, demonstrated

    • a strong reluctance on the part of many victims to turn to law enforcement for help; and

    • significant barriers when victims do seek law enforcement assistance.

Fulfilling the Department of Justice 2015 Guidance

The COURAGE in Policing Project was established after the 2015 Guidance on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (DOJ Guidance). As detailed in this report, the DOJ Guidance reflects input provided by a wide array of stakeholders and experts, including police leaders, victim advocates, survivors, and civil rights advocates.

It aims to advance more trauma-informed and victim-centered approaches in police response to domestic violence and sexual assault. The Guidance highlights 8 key principles for law enforcement agencies to integrate into trainings, protocols, and practices, to reduce potential gender bias in policing and develop more effective responses.

  1. Recognize and address biases, assumptions and stereotypes about victims;

  2. Treat all victims with respect and employing trauma-informed interviewing tactics;

  3. Investigate sexual assault and domestic violence complaints thoroughly and effectively;

  4. Appropriately classify reports of sexual assault or domestic violence;

  5. Connect victims to appropriate services;

  6. Properly identify the assailant in domestic violence incidents.

  7. Hold officers who commit sexual assault or domestic violence accountable; and

  8. Maintain, review and act upon data regarding sexual assault and domestic violence to improve the law enforcement response.

For More Information

If you are interested in learning more about the COURAGE in Policing project — including how to establish COURAGE in your city, county, or country — please contact courage@law.miami.edu.

CONTACT INFORMATION

COURAGE in Policing Project
Human Rights Clinic
University of Miami School of Law
1311 Miller Drive, E295A
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Phone: (305) 284-1678
Email: courage@law.miami.edu
Fax: (305) 284-6093
 

PAST EVENT

October 11, 2018: Join us for a free screening of Home Truth, a documentary film detailing a domestic violence survivor’s groundbreaking quest for justice. Stay for a panel discussion featuring the filmmakers, human rights experts, and the survivor-activist herself – Jessica Lenahan, who is represented by the Miami Law Human Rights Clinic.
Click here for more information
Click here for the livestream recording of Home Truth.

Home Truth

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

COURAGE in Policing Project
Human Rights Clinic
University of Miami School of Law
1311 Miller Drive, E295A
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Phone: (305) 284-1678
Email: courage@law.miami.edu
Fax: (305) 284-6093
 

PAST EVENT

October 11, 2018: Join us for a free screening of Home Truth, a documentary film detailing a domestic violence survivor’s groundbreaking quest for justice. Stay for a panel discussion featuring the filmmakers, human rights experts, and the survivor-activist herself – Jessica Lenahan, who is represented by the Miami Law Human Rights Clinic.
Click here for more information
Click here for the livestream recording of Home Truth.

Home Truth