A new project designed to empower and assist LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault navigate the criminal justice system by providing culturally competent and trauma-informed support has been launched in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced KCDA Pride Connect, which will be managed by a social worker from the District Attorney's Victim Services Unit and will engage in community outreach and training.
The new program will provide culturally competent trauma-informed crisis intervention, advocacy, criminal justice support and referrals to community-based services to victims and survivors, Gonzalez said.
It will also provide stakeholders and the community with information on the intersection of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and LGBTQIA+ survivors through a newly formed task force and engage in community outreach and training. Outreach and training will be done in partnership with LGBTQIA+ centered community-based organizations and will be aimed at educating professionals and community members about the issues of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and best practices when working with the LGBTQ community.
Social worker Emmanuel DeJesus has been named project coordinator for KCDA Pride Connect. DeJesus has several years' experience at the Victim Services Unit and a background in community organizing.
The DA's Office said DeJesus has developed a number of partnerships through participation in the Brooklyn Sexual Assault Task Force and in his work on Common Justice (a restorative justice program for violent felonies), and had the ability to provide trauma-informed care to vulnerable survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault who identify as LGBTQIA+, come from immigrant communities, and male identified survivors.
KCDA Pride Connect will operate under the supervision of Shibinsky Payne, Director of the District Attorney's Victim Services Unit. The project is funded through a $50,000 grant from the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Gonzalez said during Pride month his office was reaffirming its commitment to protect and competently serve everyone in the borough.
"Providing assistance to crime victims, especially those from marginalized and overlooked communities, is a crucial mission of my Office.
"That's why I'm happy to announce KCDA Pride Connect, which will help us to provide the best support to members of Brooklyn's LGBTQIA+ community.