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Recognizing Common Ground on National Public Defender Day 

Gender-based violence thrives in power imbalance.

Public defenders, champions of equal access to justice, play a crucial role in dismantling structures that perpetuate such violence. Sometimes, however, anti-GBV advocates and defense attorneys perceive themselves rooted on different sides of the justice divide.

If this view sounds familiar to you, we’d like to invite you to take another look.

At BWJP, we are honoring this National Public Defender Day by uplifting some amazing attributes of public defenders:

  • They might be the only person in the room on their client’s side.
  • They are not there to judge. They are there to help and empower.
  • They believe that people should be free to live their lives without unjust interference by those with more societal privilege and power.
  • They believe that people should have access to the information and tools they need to make informed decisions about their lives.
  • They believe that everyone has the right to access safety and justice unlimited by racism, classism, sexism, or any other form of oppression.
  • They believe that people should not be defined by the worst thing they have ever done.
  • They know that sometimes illegal acts are done for literal survival.
  • They understand that increasing options also increases safety.
  • They know that criminal convictions aren’t the same thing as just outcomes.

For our colleagues doing anti-GBV work, we imagine these characteristics sound very familiar!  

Public defenders may sometimes be on the “other side” of a court case, but they are always partners in helping to resist oppression, increase justice, and reduce harm to marginalized people. Please join us in celebrating their tireless efforts today and every day.

For valuable information about working with defense attorneys and incorporating defense-based advocacy in your community, please see our DBA Toolkit by Sue Osthoff and Jane Sadusky, from which some of this article was adapted.

 
 

TAGS: #BWJP Announcements #Gender Based Violence #News

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