BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez sat down exclusively with PIX11 News to discuss the newly created Gender-Based Violence Division in his office.
Led by veteran prosecutor Michelle Kaminsky, the division will handle sex crimes, sex trafficking, and domestic violence.
“We felt that to silo these bureaus really wasn’t the best way,” Kaminsky said. “You can be a victim of trafficking, and your trafficker can also be the person who you’re in a relationship with who’s sexually assaulting you.”
In an interview with PIX11, Kaminsky discussed why she believes the division’s name is so important. “A lot of times, it’s called the special victims division as if there’s something special about the victims experiencing gender-based violence,” Kaminsky said. “We’re calling it out for what it is.”
“Experiences of survivors have been really clear,” Gonzalez said. “They feel marginalized often by the work of police and investigators in hearing what happened to them.”
The Gender-Based Violence Division will include 100 Assistant District Attorneys and 30 social workers. “Often a survivor, their immediate need is not the prosecution of a case but to get assistance, to get the abuse to stop, to get assistance with housing and family court,” Gonzalez said.
Unlike other divisions in the DA’s office, one prosecutor will work with a survivor for the duration of the case.
As a result, Kaminsky explained, “they don’t have to meet with different prosecutors and tell the story over and over.”