Civil Rights Division and Office on Violence Against Women Highlight Justice Department Efforts to Combat Sexual Misconduct

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) today held an event to highlight efforts to combat sexual misconduct and gender-based violence. The event, entitled “Access to Justice for Survivors of Sexual Harassment, Assault, and Misconduct,” featured Civil Rights Division and OVW officials and staff, as well as national community leaders and representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“We are committed to using our federal civil rights laws to confront gender-based violence, prosecute perpetrators of sexual assault and eliminate sexual harassment,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Sexual assaults and gender-based violence, whether carried out in our communities, workplaces, schools or jails, stand as a threat to our shared humanity. Through enforcement of the law, we are working to empower survivors, hold perpetrators accountable, expose unlawful systems that leave people vulnerable and ensure greater public safety in every corner of the country.”

“Sexual violence – in all its forms – is an affront to our values, impacting the lives of everyone in our communities, not just those of us who are survivors,” said OVW Principal Deputy Director Allison Randall. “Sexual assault harms all of us in a workplace or a neighborhood or a family. It ripples out. And it demands a response from all of us. That response must be rooted in what survivors themselves tell us they need. We must hold survivors at the forefront of our efforts to repair and prevent harm.”

At the beginning of the event, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco’s pre-recorded remarks were aired and she discussed the Justice Department’s criminal enforcement efforts and the 2022 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

The event also featured a discussion with Fatima Goss Graves, the Executive Director of the National Women’s Law Center, and Condencia Brade, the Co-Founder and Strategic Director of the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault, who are national leaders in representing survivors of sexual misconduct and advocating for affected communities.

The event also included panels where attorneys from the Civil Rights Division discussed their enforcement authorities to address sexual misconduct, and where an OVW attorney advisor and representatives from HHS and HUD discussed initiatives that provide economic and housing supports and protections to survivors, including funding for transitional housing and family violence prevention services.

Assistant Attorney General Clarke also announced the creation of a new Coordinating Committee to Combat Sexual Misconduct, which will increase the Civil Rights Division’s outreach to affected communities and enhance civil and criminal enforcement actions.