Enhancing Court Access

Racial bias

As an organization founded by Latina women, Esperanza United knows having an intersectional lens is critical to the work we do. Data shows that survivors who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or other women of color experience more negative outcomes in the courts. However, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has a positive impact on how survivors of color access services and systems like the courts. To understand and better address the ways race, gender, and ethnicity intersect in the courts system, please explore the following research.

Multicultural women

In this journal article, “The intersection of racial and gender bias”,  by the University of Illinois Chicago, the author discusses how focusing only on race or only gender can exclude or erase women of color in reporting about equality in the courts. Courts must focus on race and gender to better adjudicate cases where women of color are survivors.

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Women survivors

In this report, “How gender and race affect justice”,  the Washington State Supreme Court Gender and Justice Commission focuses on outcomes for women survivors in Washington state. The data demonstrates that individuals who identify as Black, indigenous, and/or other women of color experience more negative outcomes in the courts. 

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Custody evaluations

In this journal article, “Overcoming biased views of gender and victimhood in custody evaluations when domestic violence is alleged”, by American University, the researchers looks at the knowledge or lack thereof custody evaluators have of domestic violence. Part I of this article discusses research indicating that the unpredictability and lack of safety in recommendations can be attributed to varying amounts of knowledge held by evaluators, as well as their beliefs about domestic violence. Part II argues that these beliefs are the result of implicit gender bias and bias against victims. Part III proposes strategies for custody evaluators to overcome these biases.

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Domestic violence criminal decision-making

This National Bureau Of Economic Research essay, “Biases in domestic violence criminal decision making” reviews studies about the presence of biases among criminal prosecution actors against victims, showing how VAWA has increased survivors’ access to services and systems including the courts. 

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