The Causes and Effects of Discrimination-Based Human Rights Violations in Family Court Proceedings

Completed 2012

Project Director: Monica Driggers, J.D.

Battered women of color often report that they do not receive fair treatment in family courts and that the courts’ insufficiencies can lead to devastating consequences for them and for their children.  We explored these claims, their underlying causes, and the general effects of combined racial and gender bias in the Massachusetts family courts. Interviews with court advocates for domestic violence survivors revealed how intersecting biases can both negatively and positively affect case processing, case outcomes, and victim safety. The project led to recommendations on how advocacy services and court processes can be reformed to improve outcomes for minority and immigrant battered women.