Community Oriented and United Responses to Address Gender Violence and Equality
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 and Professor Denisse Córdova Montes.
COURAGE involves the following projects:
COURAGE in Policing Project
COURAGE in COVID-19 Project
COURAGE in the Workplace Project
- An intervention brief submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Toradze v. Georgia, focused on addressing officer-perpetrated domestic violence.
- A book chapter, providing domestic and international perspectives on improving law enforcement responses to gender-based violence.
- A human rights framework for improving law enforcement responses to gender-based violence. A series of country case studies assessing good practices and challenges using this framework. The Canada case study is now available.
- Surveys in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole geared towards survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their advocates in South Florida on their experience with law enforcement responses to domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Survey in English and Spanish geared towards service providers of domestic violence and sexual assault in South Florida on their experience with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A report from a 2019 COURAGE Roundtable on Enhancing Law Enforcement Responses to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (DV/SA) in Washington, DC.
- A package of materials pushing for the repeal of Florida law SB 168 and other anti-immigrant laws in the U.S.
- An op-ed in the Miami Herald: Repeal Florida law that leaves immigrant domestic-violence victims in greater danger | Opinion
- An amicus brief to the Southern District of Florida supporting the repeal of SB 168.
- A report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on the impact of anti-immigrant laws in the U.S. on immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. A web story on this advocacy can be found here: Clinic Submits Four Reports to the United Nations Alleging Violations in the U.S.
- An affidavit in support of gender-based violence asylum claims filed before U.S. Immigration Court.
- A Train-the-Trainers Presentation and factsheets in English and Spanish on Responding to Sexual Violence and Harassment of Low-Wage Immigrant Women in the Workplace.
- An academic report documenting the experiences of farmworkers, nursery workers, and domestic workers in South Florida with gender-based violence in the workplace.
- A report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on low-paid immigrant women workers’ experience with gender-based violence in the workplace. A web story on this advocacy can be found here: Clinic Submits Four Reports to the United Nations Alleging Violations in the U.S.
- A global advocacy guide on ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment and its application to informal workers in the U.S. and beyond.
COURAGE in Policing Project
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.
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).
Why We Need to Improve Police Responses
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.
Department of Justice Guidance on Preventing Gender Bias in Policing
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.
COURAGE in COVID-19 Project
The Human Rights Clinic, with the support of Survivors Pathway and the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council of Greater Miami (DVSAC), is administering an anonymous survey with service providers and conducting focus groups and individual interviews with service providers and survivors to understand the unique impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on:
(1) agencies’ abilities to provide services and support their own service providers;
(2) service providers’ personal well-being and ability to serve survivors; and
(3) survivors’ personal well-being and ability to access services and safety.
We are also coordinating a real-time Google spreadsheet about current domestic violence (DV) services in South Florida.
How Can You Help?
Share: Right Now!
- Actively use, update, and share the real-time Google spreadsheet about current DV services in South Florida. This resource is an initial attempt to monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic impact and quickly coordinating responses to survivors’ immediate needs.
- Update your own agency’s information and forward our database to other agencies.
- Share this information to your colleagues, community agencies, survivors, and community members that you know are addressing interpersonal violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Survey: Give 15 Minutes!
Take the survey about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected you, your agency, and DV survivors.
Focus Group: Give 60 Minutes!
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information about the COURAGE in COVID 19 project.
COURAGE in the Workplace Project
The Human Rights Clinic supports global and South Florida-based organizations in their work with survivors of workplace gender-based violence.
In 2018, the Human Rights Clinic, WeCount!, Miami Workers Center, and Community Justice Project were the joint recipients of a TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund grant to support low-wage immigrant women workers in South Florida who have experienced workplace sexual misconduct or related retaliation. The coalition used the grant to collectively initiate a new project, Voces Unidas/VWA Ini: Building a Local Movement to End Workplace Sexual Harassment and Violence against Low-Wage Immigrant Women Workers in South Florida.
In 2020, the Human Rights Clinic partnered with the Global 16 Days Campaign to contribute to amplify the voices of women workers in the informal economy while continuing to call for the ratification of ILO Convention 190 and to end all forms of gender-based violence in private and public spaces. The HRC contributed to the 2020 Global 16 Days Campaign Advocacy Guide and Supplement, which aim to increase the visibility of informal women workers by highlighting their concerns and recommending activities that can be undertaken during the 2020 Global 16 Days Campaign from November 25 – December 10, 2020 as well as throughout the year.
COURAGE: Learn More
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.