Racism, Implicit Biases Negatively Impact Credibility of Domestic Violence Survivors
My colleagues at New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), where I am a supervising attorney in the Domestic Violence Law Unit, and I often see that when clients of color report abuse to law enforcement—or engage with the legal system—they are more likely to risk being charged themselves (or mutually arrested with their abuser). They often feel unsafe or may be unwilling to report to police or our courts because communities of color have historically been overpoliced and overcriminalized.
They are also less likely to be believed when they do come forward. A report published by Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality found that “adults view Black girls as less innocent…than their white peers.”
Racist and implicit biases by judges, police officers, and other players in our legal system, impact credibility determinations, as well as the level of sympathy we have seen historically given to victims of color versus white victims.