Caroline (“Carrie’) Bettinger-López is a Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Director of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law. She also serves as an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Carrie recently completed a two-year term in the Obama Administration, where she served as the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, a senior advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, and a member of the White House Council on Women and Girls. At the White House, she spearheaded initiatives on campus sexual assault, law enforcement response to gender violence, rape kit testing, trauma-informed responses to immigrant women and children, and violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Carrie’s human rights work focuses on gender equality, racial justice, and immigrants’ rights, principally in the United States and Latin America. She regularly litigates and advocates before the Inter-American Human Rights system, the United Nations, federal and state courts, and legislative bodies. Previously, Carrie taught at University of Chicago Law School and Columbia Law School; worked at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project; and taught in Miami Beach public schools and Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti.
The COURAGE in Policing Project (COURAGE = Community Oriented and United Responses to Address Gender Violence and Equality) works with community-based organizations, police departments, and national leaders on gender violence and policing to enhance law enforcement response to domestic violence and sexual assault against women (especially women of color and immigrant women) and LGBTQI individuals. The project has both a local and national focus, and aims to promote, implement, and coordinate the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) groundbreaking 2015 Guidance on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.
Working in close coordination with law enforcement, the COURAGE in Policing Project connects the dots between local and national advocacy on gender violence, racial and immigrant justice, and LGBTQI rights. Although domestic and sexual violence calls for service comprise the majority of 911 calls to many police departments, law enforcement response to gender violence is often not prioritized accordingly. Additionally, our national conversation about bias in policing has tended to focus on race and national origin, not sex or gender. This project aims to fill those gaps by developing model policies, training, supervision protocols, and systems of accountability for law enforcement response to domestic violence and sexual assault.
As we collectively experience this current watershed moment on gender violence in the U.S., we must think creatively about how to move from #MeToo to #RealChange. A coordinated and systematic response to gender violence in every sector—including law enforcement—is needed to create lasting change.