Project SAFE works to improve the services offered to criminalized black women who are survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
On any given day, black women in the United States are three times more likely than white women to be behind bars. And more than eight out of 10 black women engaged in the criminal justice system in the United States are survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
It is in response to statistics such as these that the Center for Court Innovation, Black Women’s Blueprint, the National Black Women’s Justice Institute, and Rev. Dr. Cheryl Dudley of the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York created Project SAFE. The initiative provides targeted training and expert assistance to Office on Violence Against Women grantees working with criminalized black women who are also survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Project SAFE addresses the intersections of trauma, race, gender, and sexuality by acknowledging the needs of black women engaged in the justice system through enhanced trauma-informed responses and practices. Our training and technical assistance includes trauma-informed engagement, strategic planning, needs assessments, developing implementation strategies, and more.
In addition to the interview introducing Project SAFE (see the audio player above), we have produced three related podcasts hosted by Afua Addo, the Center's former coordinator of Gender and Justice Initiatives:
- Rev. Dr. Cheryl F. Dudley, the regional executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York, discusses the history of black churches in America as well as their role, along with other spiritual communities, in supporting criminalized black women survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Farah Tanis, co-founder and executive director of Black Women’s Blueprint, discusses the creation of the Blueprint and highlights its work organizing with black women on issues that impact their daily lives. She points to the high rate of domestic violence and sexual assault and exploitation confronting black women and the importance of continued advocacy for criminalized and incarcerated black women.
- Dr. Monique Morris, the co-founder and president of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute, and Andrea C. James, the founder and executive director of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, discuss the importance of focusing on the lived experiences of black criminalized women who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence and engaging survivors in community-led organizing and policy work to effect change. They also highlight the need to focus on the needs and desires of black women and girls that will help them to both thrive and grow.
Webinars and Publications
- Monograph: Understanding the Needs of Criminalized Survivors
- Report: Understanding the Needs and Identifying Effective Strategies for Working with Criminalized Black Women Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence
- Monograph: Criminalization of Black Girls in the Juvenile Legal System
- Fact Sheet: Intimate Partner Violence Against Black Women: Trauma Informed Responses
- Fact Sheet: Sexual Assault and Criminalization of Black Women: Trauma Informed Responses
- Fact Sheet: Criminalized Black Women and their Resilience
- Fact Sheet: The Role of Faith in Working with Criminalized Black Women Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
If you are interested in receiving training and technical assistance, please contact us.
We also invite you to join our Project SAFE forum, a space for individuals and organizations engaged with the project to pose questions, share ideas, and discuss themes related to the work. The Center for Court Innovation moderates discussions and posts in this forum.