COURAGE Initiative - Human Rights Clinic

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

 


 

COURAGE Resources

  • 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 affidavit in support of gender-based violence asylum claims filed before U.S. Immigration Court.
  • A Train-the-Trainers Presentation 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.

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.

View & Share Local Services 

 

Survey: Give 15 Minutes!

Take the survey about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected you, your agency, and DV survivors.

Take the Survey

 

Focus Group: Give 60 Minutes!

Participate in a focus group or individual interview about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected you, your agency, and DV survivors.

Join a Focus Group

 

Please contact courage@law.miami.edu 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.

 


 

COURAGE: Learn More

 

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 EVENTS

October 11, 2018: The clinic hosted a free film screening of Home Truth at UM’s Cosford Cinema, a documentary film detailing a domestic violence survivor’s groundbreaking quest for justice. A panel discussion featured 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

 

The clinic also hosted a Community Roundtable on Enhancing the Law Enforcement Response to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault - COURAGE in Policing Roundtable at UM.

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 EVENTS

October 11, 2018: The clinic hosted a free film screening of Home Truth at UM’s Cosford Cinema, a documentary film detailing a domestic violence survivor’s groundbreaking quest for justice. A panel discussion featured 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

 

The clinic also hosted a Community Roundtable on Enhancing the Law Enforcement Response to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault - COURAGE in Policing Roundtable at UM.