Gender-based violence – crime directed at people because of their biological sex or gender identity – remains an unacceptable crisis across the country and in New York City. Significantly underreported and under prosecuted, our criminal justice system routinely fails the victims of these crimes. While law enforcement cannot address this crisis alone, we must do our part and do it better.
As district attorney, Tali will transform DANY’s response to gender-based violence and integrate her approach into the broader agenda of criminal justice reform. This starts with establishing a new bureau reporting directly and regularly to her: The Bureau of Gender-Based Violence (BGBV).
BGBV will house the Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence units, as well as human trafficking, elder abuse, stalking, and gender-based hate crimes. Headed by experienced, extensively-trained prosecutors, the BGBV units will follow a victim-centered, offender-focused approach. And it will share a mission of a sustained, focused, and expert commitment to investigation, prosecution, and reducing this violence.
Historically, successful prosecution of gender-based crimes has faced significant hurdles, including a lack of data and the nature of the crime itself. These are surmountable. The successful investigation, prosecution, and prevention of gender-based violence depend on an array of strategies, and – in keeping with the BGBV Guiding Principles – Tali is committed to proceeding with vigor and adequate resources.
DANY will survey as many affected parties as possible to source relative data and descriptive feedback and include opportunities to propose concrete and specific changes to DANY practices.
Tali will establish a BGBV data analytics department to track all NYPD sex crimes and domestic violence reports, alongside substantive information on DANY investigations and prosecutions, and eventually making it available to the public.
OVERSIGHT AND MEASURING SUCCESS
Conviction rates cannot be the benchmark for a good prosecutor or a successful bureau. Tali will develop new markers to evaluate ADAs’ work and implement new evaluation standards across DANY.
RESOURCES & STAFFING
Tali will increase the capacity and skill set of the BGBV by hiring in-house investigators and qualified experts, including forensic scientists, medical professionals and victims advocates.
Prosecutors will receive specialized instruction to improve victim response and trial strategies pertinent to the prosecution of sexual violence, including cultural and gender-sensitivity training.
Whether or not prosecution is feasible under the New York penal law, the BGBV will serve as a resource and improve community outcomes. Tali is committed to expanding support to victims and their families by:
- Establishing a second Family Justice Center in Northern Manhattan.
- Expanding the Witness Services Aid Unit.
- Increasing the number of support staff and enhancing their roles to provide personalized and practical services.
IMPROVING ACCESS FOR HISTORICALLY UNDER-RESOURCED GROUPS
To increase access and improve the experience for community members who historically have faced greater barriers to justice, Tali will prioritize:
- Directing resources where they’re most needed.
- Orders of protection.
- Creating a culturally competent and empathetic workplace.
- Facilitating the reporting of all crimes.
- Protecting non-citizens.
In addition to its public data-sharing commitment, the BGBV will develop education and training programs for communities and groups that have opportunities to prevent and report on gender-based violence.
Click here to read Tali’s plan for the Bureau of Gender-Based Violence and its sources.