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Michelle Kaminsky will head up DA’s new Gender-Based Violence Division

October 26, 2022 Rob Abruzzese
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Brooklyn’s District Attorney Eric Gonzalez has set out to create a prosecutor’s office designed with victims in mind and on Wednesday his office announced the creation of a new division tailored for that approach — the Gender-Based Violence Division.

The Gender-Based Violence Division was designed by the DA’s Office to combine aspects of multiple units at a time including the Domestic Violence and Sex Crimes Bureaus, the Human Trafficking, Crimes Against Children and Victim Services units, Family Justice Center operations and the U-Visa practice that allows non-citizen crime victims to remain lawfully in the United States.

Cases handled by the Gender-Based Violence Division will share common evidentiary issues, require a trauma-informed, victim-centered approach, and will require victims to deal with fewer employees in fewer departments.

“Improving the way we approach gender-based violence has long been a goal of my administration and creating this new Division will go a long way toward achieving that,” District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. “The same trauma-informed and survivor-centered approach is necessary when handling cases of sexual abuse, intimate partner violence or trafficking, and when providing support to survivors.

“I am confident that under this new structure and with guidance from a nationally recognized expert and veteran prosecutor, the Brooklyn DA’s Office will be able to better assist victims and more effectively bring offenders to justice,” Gonzalez continued.

Gonzalez explained that the division was necessary because many of the DA’s Office’s various bureaus and units share common evidentiary themes and there is a need for a unified, coordinated and consistent response to these types of cases. He added that victims of domestic violence or trafficking can often also be victims of sex crimes.

Over the last five years, so percent of the people arrested in Brooklyn for gun offenses also had a history of domestic violence offenses, according to the DA’s Office.

The DA said that the creation of the division is also a response to the need to elevate the issue of gender-based violence, especially in wake of recent “regressive” policies that have been passed both in New York State and nationally.

Gonzalez has picked Assistant District Attorney Michelle Kaminsky to lead the division.

Kaminsky, a Brooklyn Law School graduate, began working at the Kings County DA’s Office in 1992, a few months before she was admitted to the bar in New York State. She has worked there ever since and most recently served as Chief of the Domestic Violence Bureau, the largest bureau at the KCDA’s Office. In that position, she supervised the prosecution of approximately 10,000 cases a year.

“ADA Kaminsky is a sought-after expert, lecturing at conferences nationwide on the legal response to domestic violence,” read a statement issued by the DA’s Office.

“In 2012, she published a book on her experiences handling these cases which continues to be used in college and law school classes, and she is recognized as a leading voice on legislation and policy, working with the Obama and Biden Administrations. A respected trial attorney, she has tried 39 cases, including 20 domestic violence homicides. Many of these cases involved challenging defenses, including extreme emotional disturbance, battering and its effects, alcohol induced dementia, and self-defense.”

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