Thank you for visiting the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act Campaign website.
The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act Campaign is part of the Coalition for Women Prisoners’ multi-year advocacy to change the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence survivors who act to protect themselves and their families from an abuser. The Coalition for Women Prisoners, coordinated by the Correctional Association of New York’s Women in Prison Project, is a state-wide alliance representing over 1,600 people and 100 organizations. Members include people with criminal justice histories, social service providers, community-based organizations, lawyers, teachers, students, faith leaders, and concerned individuals.
The Campaign seeks to change policy and public awareness about the connection between abuse and women’s pathways to prison.
Why Support the Campaign?
Domestic violence and women’s incarceration are inextricably linked: nine of ten incarcerated women have experienced severe physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes, eight of ten experienced serious physical or sexual violence during childhood; 75% suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner during adulthood; and 37% were raped before their incarceration. Ninety-three percent of women convicted of killing an intimate partner were abused by an intimate partner in the past.
Over the past 30 years, domestic violence has been increasingly recognized as a national epidemic. Unfortunately, the significant advances made by the anti-violence movement have stopped short of reforming the unjust ways in which the criminal justice system responds to and punishes survivors charged with crimes directly related to the abuse they suffer.
The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVJA) is legislation currently pending in the New York State legislature. The bill is sponsored by Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Assemblymember Jeffrion L. Aubry.
If enacted, the DVSJA would:
(1) give judges discretion to sentence survivors whose abuse was a “significant contributing factor” in their crime to lower sentences and, in some cases, to community-based alternatives to incarceration instead of prison, and
(2) permit currently incarcerated survivors to apply to the courts for re-sentencing and earlier release.
In so doing, the DVSJA make it less likely that survivors will be re-victimized by the very system that should help protect them.
You Can Help!
We are currently working to build broad legislative and public support for the bill and the DVSJA Campaign.
Whether you are working on behalf of an organization or as an individual, you can show your support for this critical legislation. Take action here.