Week 5

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
4:00-5:30 p.m.
Carr Center Conference Room (Rubenstein 219)
Harvard Kennedy School

Study Group

The Global Movement to
End Violence Against Women

Will take place on April 16 instead


Breaking the Silence:
Addressing Institutional Responses to VAW in the Muslim Community


Darakshan Raja
Research Associate, Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center, Washington D.C.

About the Session:

A Discussion of the findings of Ms. Raja’s study based on feedback from direct services providers-on the role of U.S criminal justice and social services institutions in responding to VAW in the Muslim community and the unique barriers faced by women.

Suggested Readings:

  • tba

 More about the presenter:

Darakshan Raja is a Research Associate at the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center where she works on a range of program and policy evaluations on crime victimization. Within this capacity, Ms. Raja served as the Project Director for an evaluation of the 2005 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for the National Institute of Justice, and a study on evaluating the Texas Juvenile Justice Department's (TJJD) intervention on improving the safety of youth within state facilities. Currently, Ms. Raja is working on a range of evaluations that include examining the role of social networks and gang desistance, the feasibility of developing a national database that tracks elder abuse, sexual assault kits, and the intersection of domestic violence, sexual assault, and forced marriage among the South Asian community. Outside of the Urban Institute, Ms. Raja serves as an Associate with Safe Nation Collaborative, an initiative that was founded to strengthen the relationship between the American Muslim community and law enforcement agencies. In this capacity, Ms. Raja led the development of a training for criminal justice agencies on working with Muslims who are victims of crime. Simultaneously, she completed a study documenting institutional responses to American Muslims who are victims of crime. Prior to joining the Urban Institute, Ms. Raja was a Vera Institute of Justice Fellow where she examined Safe Horizon's victim services provision for individuals who had cases within the Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) courts. Moreover, Ms. Raja served as a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) advocate, and worked on the passage of a comprehensive policy on sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking for all 23 CUNY college campuses. Furthermore, Ms. Raja worked as an extern at Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Facility where she worked with individuals who were found incompetent to stand trial, and co-facilitated groups with women reentering the community from prison in Washington, DC. Ms. Raja aims to utilize policy-driven research to improve access and responses from the criminal justice system for underserved and minority communities. She holds a MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.