AEquitas is a stakeholder in the Center for Court Innovation’s Child Witness Materials Development Project, funded in 2017 by a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, which seeks to create a package of interactive support materials for children, teens, their caregivers and the justice system practitioners who work with them, including law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates, child welfare workers, and mental health professionals.
Just Tech will provide practical, accessible training and technical assistance on the investigation and prosecution of online abuse — including cyberstalking, doxing, online harassment, and image exploitation. Targeting prosecutors and law enforcement officers, Just Tech aims to increase the likelihood of positive case outcomes and victim experiences, as well as address the disproportionate impact of online abuse experienced by underserved communities.
AEquitas serves as the national prosecution partner to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges on its project entitled the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Firearms Technical Assistance Project, funded in 2016 by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
MOSAICS is assisting courts with the implementation of trauma-responsive policies to better identify survivors of human trafficking, provide legal and social services tailored to their needs, and reduce the infliction of harm in court proceedings.
The justice system should be a safe haven for survivors—it should not fail them. Improving access to, and the quality of, justice requires an intimate knowledge of the justice system and the laws under which it operates as well as knowledge about the lives and experiences of the victims entitled to that justice. Through the development of resources and its provision of training and mentorship, Just Exits will afford prosecutors and allied professionals the opportunity to close individual and systemic on-ramps to sexual exploitation while building more exit ramps for survivors.
Despite increased awareness of human trafficking and corresponding efforts to eradicate it, the epidemic persists. Survivors of both sex and labor trafficking continue to be criminalized while investigations and prosecutions remain reactive and coercive. The system's response to labor trafficking has been especially lagging, with the number of prosecutions paling in comparison to the number of known survivors. With funds from the US DOJ OVC, AEquitas will work with prosecutors across the nation to implement promising practices and enhance collaborative efforts, with the aim of holding more traffickers accountable while achieving justice for and providing meaningful support to survivors.
Innovative approaches are needed to identify emerging issues and trends, create more comprehensive and responsive investigation and prosecution practices, ensure access to justice and safety for victims/witnesses, and evaluate the effectiveness of criminal justice interventions. Collaboration across disciplines and jurisdictions is also critical to creating and sustaining informed, effective responses to violent crime. AEquitas and RTI International are assisting participating jurisdictions on unique projects to implement, evaluate, and sustain innovative approaches to the prosecution of violent crime.
There is currently no reliable estimate for the number of sexual assault kits (SAKs) that have not been submitted to a crime laboratory. Unsubmitted kits can be a result of poor evidence tracking, outdated investigation practices, lack of resources and personnel, or lack of understanding about the value of testing SAKs. AEquitas, with the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative led by RTI International, is working to ensure just resolution to sexual assault cases through (1) a victim-centered approach, (2) jurisdictional capacity building to prevent high numbers of unsubmitted SAKs, and (3) supporting the investigation and prosecution of cases for which SAKs were previously unsubmitted.
Stalking often goes undetected, unreported, or uncharged because victims and first responders fail to recognize the conduct for what it is or because offices lack the specialized knowledge and resources necessary to handle these cases. SPARC was developed to ensure first responders and other allied professionals have access to the training and tools needed to properly identify and effectively respond to the crime of stalking.
Human trafficking is one of the world's fastest growing criminal activities, operating on the same scale as the illegal trade of guns and drugs. Research has found that coordination, proactive investigative strategies, information sharing, victim-centered approaches, training, among other solutions, will improve the successful identification, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking. AEquitas, in partnership with the International Associations of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, are providing training and technical assistance to support innovative investigative and prosecutorial techniques being employed by human trafficking task forces nationally.
Partner with AEquitas
We value our partnerships with organizations who support our mission to improve the access to and quality of justice for victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking cases. Interested in joining forces? Let us know.
AEquitas collaborated with the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) on its project entitled the Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Exam Training Curriculum Initiative (SAMFE), funded in 2018 by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
Sexual abuse in correctional facilities is a crime and a human rights violation. Each year, over 200,000 inmates are sexually abused, which can lead to physical and emotional consequences including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, drug addiction, and the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. These consequences are not confined to correctional facilities, as 600,000 inmates are released each year, making an effective criminal justice response to prison rape that much more crucial.
Successful investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases requires effective collaboration between prosecutors, law enforcement, judges, advocates, health care providers, and social service professionals. These allied professionals require specialized discipline-specific training, multidisciplinary cross training, and ongoing technical assistance in order to improve the quality of justice in elder abuse cases by increasing victim safety and offender accountability.
As prosecutors, we strive to improve the criminal justice response to sexual violence as a whole in order to promote safety and healing for victims, hold offenders accountable, and make our communities safer. But how do we measure our progress? The Sexual Assault Justice Initiative (SAJI) is a unique opportunity to not only measure success but to improve how we respond to sexual assault cases by developing resources and providing site-specific support to guide policy, practice, and the implementation of a performance management system to help improve and sustain the best practices.
Violent criminals routinely escape justice by intimidating the witnesses to their crimes. Intimidation crimes range from crude to complex and when successful, escape the purview of the justice system which allows the criminal behavior to continue unchecked. The pervasive nature of these crimes is devastating to victims and a community's confidence in the justice system's ability to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable.
Witness intimidation is “behavior which strikes at the heart of the justice system itself” (United States v. Mastrangelo, 693 F.2d 269 (2d Cir. 1982)). When intimidation of victims and witnesses is left unaddressed, perpetrators are not brought to justice, and the public safety is compromised. The Combating Witness Intimidation initiative (CWI) provided technical assistance to three pilot sites focused on implementing practices consistent with legal and evidence-based investigative and prosecution practices.