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.
Take the COURAGE Survey!
Beginning in February 2019, we are surveying members of our community about law enforcement responses to domestic violence and sexual assault. Both surveys are available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault.
If you are an advocate, legal or social service provider, or non-profit worker who supports or represents domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, or other vulnerable populations.
If you are a UM student, take the UM-Student Survey.
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:
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).
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:
- Municipalities that have passed resolutions declaring that “Freedom from Domestic Violence is a Fundamental Human Right”
- “CEDAW Cities”
- Police Departments implementing the key principles of the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2015 Guidance on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
- Practice Guides, such as Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault in the United States: A Human Rights Based Approach & Practice Guide
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.
Recognize and address biases, assumptions and stereotypes about victims;
Treat all victims with respect and employing trauma-informed interviewing tactics;
Investigate sexual assault and domestic violence complaints thoroughly and effectively;
Appropriately classify reports of sexual assault or domestic violence;
Connect victims to appropriate services;
Properly identify the assailant in domestic violence incidents.
Hold officers who commit sexual assault or domestic violence accountable; and
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 email@example.com.