For Immediate Release
The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys Launches
Survivor Centered Diversion Pilot Project
Project aims to address strong correlation between survivors of gender-based violence and eventual interface with the criminal justice system
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 19, 2023—The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) announced today that they have selected two pilot sites to establish locally tailored diversion programs for criminalized survivors of gender-based violence that are specific to their community’s needs.
This project addresses the strong correlation between survivors of gender-based violence and eventual interface with the criminal justice system. Few resources exist to provide diversion, services and a pathway to healing for survivors. This project is especially important for women of color. Research has demonstrated that the needs and experiences of women of color, especially Black women, who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and sex work, go largely unaddressed in the traditional criminal justice approach to victim services when compared to their white counterparts.
The two sites, which each include a prosecutor office and a community-based advocacy partner organization are: Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office partnering with Bradley Angle (domestic and sexual assault support services), and Nashville District Attorney’s Office partnering with the YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee.
“We are excited to work with these two communities to develop pathways for survivor centered diversion which will simultaneously improve public safety in their communities, provide trauma-informed support and healing to survivors, and target racial and ethnic disparities” said David LaBahn, President and CEO.
This project will provide prosecutors with a set of tools to identify and support criminalized survivors, promoting public safety and addressing the well-being of the individuals receiving services and support. The goal of this initiative is to work with two prosecutor’s offices and their community-based advocacy partners to create an alternative pathway for criminalized survivors away from traditional prosecution while addressing traumas that are the underlying causes of their criminal behavior.
APA, in partnership with Bowie State University and funded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, will work with the selected sites to collect data to better understand the needs of criminalized survivors and to develop model diversion programs and practices to support survivor centered diversion. The two sites participated in a competitive process and were selected from applications received from prosecutor’s offices nationwide.
Over the course of the project, APA and project partners will identify promising practices and share guidance and insights to support the creation of alternative pathways in a wide array of prosecutors’ offices and communities nationwide.
About The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to support prosecutors in their efforts to create safer communities through a more just and equitable legal system. APA provides prosecutorial training and technical assistance for our membership, which is made up of elected and appointed prosecuting attorneys, law enforcement professionals and other criminal justice system actors. APA works across disciplines to increase public safety and eliminate disparities in the justice system by providing prosecutors with the most effective and innovative resources and guidance to better serve everyone in their communities.