Police violence and criminal justice reform

June 18, 2020

Like so many across this community and country, we are outraged by the devastating impacts of police violence and systemic racism. Change is long overdue.

As a domestic and sexual violence service provider, we do recognize and value the critical role that law enforcement and the justice system can play in protecting women and children from violence. We also see the ways in which Black women, Indigenous women and women of color are criminalized and harmed by the very systems that are supposed to protect them– from racial profiling, to the racialized policing of pregnancy and motherhood, to higher rates of adverse outcomes during routine traffic stops. Women of color are the fastest growing jail population, and girls of color are detained at significantly higher rates than their white peers for non-violent offenses, which are typically associated with underlying trauma.

And yet women and girls of color are often overlooked in the discussion of police violence and criminal justice reform. We encourage our supporters, lawmakers and city officials to consider the particular ways that women, girls, transgender and non-binary people of color experience police violence and criminalization. Policy changes should keep their safety at the forefront. This includes appropriate training and increased accountability for law enforcement.

You can read more in a 2017 report issued by YWCA USA, We Deserve Safety: Ending the Criminalization of Women and Girls of Color.