|The Seattle Proposal|
by Feminist Coordinating Council
Feminist Alliance Against Rape Newsletter Sep/Oct 1974
Feminist Coordinating Council's proposed ORDINANCE
establishing a COMMISSION ON CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN and a SPECIAL PROTECTION UNIT:
1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS ORDINANCE?
To secure equal protection under the law for women by providing meaningful protection from violent crimes such as rape and domestic assault.
2. HOW WILL THIS PURPOSE BE ACCOMPLISHED?
By creating a 5-member Commission on Crimes Against Women and a 20-member Special Protection Unit within the Executive Department of city government.
The Commission will:
-be recruited from feminist, minority, and community organizations;
-coordinate the efforts of the many groups and agencies responding to the problem;
-educate the community both as to the nature of the problem and to possible solutions;
-set up and administrate the Special Protection Unit and establish policy for the unit and the police in the area of violent crimes against women.
The Special Protection Unit will:
-be trained in criminal procedure, investigation, human relations, community outreach, weapons and martial arts, and public health and first aid; -respond to all reports of rape, domestic violence, and other assaults in which a woman is the victim;
-perform the full law enforcement investigation (only arrests will still be performed by the police);
-provide investigatory assistance to the Prosecutor's Office.
3. WHY ARE SUCH A COMMISSION AND UNIT NECESSARY?
Because rape, domestic violence and other violent assaults on women are rapidly increasing in our community (rape reports rose 420% in 10 years).
Because of traditional views of women's roles and insensitive and judgmental attitudes toward female victims of violent crimes, the police and the courts are not effectively apprehending, prosecuting, and deterring those who commit such crimes.
-Rape victims are treated more like criminals. A victim's reputation, lifestyle, and social worth is what is really being investigated and tried.
-Domestic assault victims can seldom get police protection. Such complaints are usually dismissed by the police as "personal squabbles" or "lovers' quarrels."
Because a fresh organizational structure in which traditional views and insensitive responses are not institutionalized can immediately and thoroughly attack the problem.
4. WOULD THE COMMISSION AND UNIT BE A DUPLICATION OF SERVICES ALREADY AVAILABLE?
No. The Ordinance is the first such proposal to address the problem of domestic violence. At present there is no agency, including the police department, which provides meaningful protection to actual and potential victims of domestic violence.
While the Rape Reduction Project is providing various follow-up services to rape victims, this project alone cannot deal with the full magnitude and scope of the problem. The Ordinance proposes a solution which would work in conjunction with projects such as Rape Reduction and at the same time would be part of the law enforcement process, rather than external to it.
5. WHAT MAKES THIS ORDINANCE THE BEST SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF CRIMES OF VIOLENCE
It is a comprehensive solution, reaching all phases of law enforcement. It provides a means for community education as well as for coordinating all the efforts in this area, resulting in the most efficient use of energy and resources.
Feminist Coordinating Council, <address> , Seattle, Washington