CEDAW's Promise for Strengthening Law-Enforcement Accountability to Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence in the United States
27 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2014 Last revised: 5 Oct 2014
Date Written: September 30, 2014
This Article discusses how ratification by the United States of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) could strengthen law-enforcement accountability for responding to and preventing violence against women and girls in the United States. Advocacy in the U.S. primarily has focused on criminal justice system interventions to address domestic and sexual violence. But in far too many communities, law-enforcement officers respond to domestic and sexual violence in harmful and biased ways, allowing those who commit violence to do so with impunity and withholding governmental protection from survivors.
CEDAW ratification would empower survivors and advocates by establishing the government’s obligation to protect victims of gender-based violence and a right to a remedy for the violence when it occurs. Furthermore, CEDAW and the human rights framework highlight the intersectionality analysis, which is particularly important in scrutinizing law-enforcement responses to violence in the U.S. Lastly, CEDAW could be used to help transform the current U.S. movement to end gender-based violence, which often has chosen not to confront problematic policing practices.
Note: This Article arises from a presentation given at the symposium on Whether the U.S. Should Become a Party to CEDAW, held at the Michigan State University College of Law in November 2013.
Keywords: CEDAW, women's rights, domestic violence, sexual violence, human rights, law enforcement, gender-based violence, violence against women, police oversight
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