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The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence

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February 2010

Action Needed – Support Services for Victims of Violence

Earlier I posted a press release by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance detailing the proposed budgets released by the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.  There are significant differences between the House and Senate proposals and we need everyone’s help to bridge the gap and protect funding for domestic violence services.
The House Appropriations Committee is recommending a budget that includes significant cuts for domestic violence services (31%).
The Senate Finance Committee is recommending a budget that minimizes cuts for domestic violence services (7.5% ) and also includes an increase in the marriage license fee to $45 to provide funding for services to children and youth.
The Action Alliance is calling on its membership and supporting community members to ask our state Senators and Delegates to support an increase in the marriage license fee to preserve the opportunity to provide services to children and youth exposed to sexual and domestic violence without sacrificing services to adults victims of domestic violence services.

Each body will be voting on their respective budgets on Thursday, and then a conference committee will be appointed to try to resolve the differences and come up with one budget.
They need to hear from you that there is a revenue source in the Senate Budget to protect funding for domestic violence services.

Following are some steps that you can take:
1. Contact your state Senator:
  • Call your state Senator, express gratitude for the Senate Finance Committee’s support of domestic violence programs, and ask him/her to support the recommended budget of the Senate Finance Committee who worked hard to protect domestic violence program funding and supported the budget amendment for children’s services.
  • Send a personal letter (it can be brief) to your Senator immediately after your call to follow-up and reiterate in writing the need for them to support the Senate Finance Committee’s proposed budget and increase in the marriage license fee.
2. Contact your state Delegate
3. Contact anyone you know who is concerned about the safety of domestic violence survivors and their children, and ask them to also contact their Senators and their Delegates.

4. Contact your local domestic violence program and ask how you can support their action steps in your community.

5. After taking action, please let us know and share with us how it went by sending an email to dhaynes@vsdvalliance.org or making a post to the 1,000 Grandmothers Campaign on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/1000-Grandmothers-Campaign/275846239928?ref=mf
If you have any questions or concerns about this information, please free to contact the Action Alliance Co-Directors, Jeanine Beiber or Kristi VanAudenhove at directors@vsdvalliiance.org or 804-377-0335.
Thank you for your support!
Carol Olson, Governing Body Member and Executive Director of the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault
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Press Release – VSDVAA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2010

Contact:  Kristi VanAudenhove, kvanaudenhove@vsdvalliance.org, 804/377-0335

 (Richmond, Virginia) On Wednesday,  Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, proposed severe cuts to state domestic violence programs that will end services to thousands of Virginians whose  lives depend on the shelter and services these programs provide.   Governor McDonnell asked the General Assembly to cut more than $3.5 million in funding[1] that supports domestic violence shelters and services to victims and their children across the Commonwealth.  These cuts would be in addition to across the board cuts of 10% proposed in the Governor Kaine’s introduced budget.  If adopted, Governor McDonnell’s recommendations will bring the total cuts to 50% of state funding  – which translates to an average cut of $100,000 for each community Domestic Violence Program across the Commonwealth.

Kristi VanAudenhove and Jeanine Beiber, co-directors of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance released the following statement in response to the Governor’s proposed cuts:

At a time when the need for domestic violence shelter and services is expanding, in part because of added economic stress on families, these programs should rank higher than rest stop convenience or overseas offices for state economic development bureaucrats. Domestic violence programs are a public safety issue and a “jobs” issue and they should be prioritized as such.

Speaking to members of the General Assembly just one month ago, Candy Phillips, Executive Director of the First Step domestic violence program in Harrisonburg said:  I implore you: please do not cut funding any further to domestic violence shelters in Virginia.  In the 15 years that I have worked at First Step I have never seen things this bad. Calls are increasing, our emergency shelter is staying full and we’re witnessing more severe acts of violence.

Individuals who cannot access shelter from violence or related services aren’t merely inconvenienced.  When asked “What would you have done if the shelter had not existed?” 22% of service recipients surveyed[2] indicated that they would have been homeless, 21% reported that they would have been compelled to return to their abusers and 10% believed that they would be dead at the hands of their abuser.

                Survey respondents said: 

 I would have been living in my car with an 18-month old worrying about my life.

I was close to ending my own life.  I felt safe here.

 Sarah Meacham, Executive Director of Avalon:  A Center for Women and Children, serving the greater Williamsburg area shared her response to these cuts:  A significant decrease in funding, like the one proposed by Governor McDonnell, will not only result in a loss of agency jobs and reduction in services available to victims who need it the most, it will force women and children to have nowhere to turn during the most difficult period in their lives.  We are experiencing a tremendous increase in demand for emergency shelter and supportive services—a 76% increase over last year alone. Our clients are real women with real children, not just budget items to be dropped.

In addition to compelling evidence that cuts to domestic violence jeopardize public safety, cuts to these programs are also a “jobs” issue.  There is a direct impact on Virginia’s economy when domestic violence services are unavailable; the inability to access services affects employee productivity, results in increased absenteeism and health care costs, and can impact the safety of workplaces.

Virginia’s long-term commitment to funding these programs is an important part of the Commonwealth’s commitment to public safety, an area the Governor protected from significant reductions.  Without the availability of shelter programs and other services, Virginia families and children face the prospect of lives in which they have no safe haven from violence, and law enforcement has no way to intervene to prevent violence before it results in injury or death. 

We urge member agencies of the Action Alliance and concerned citizens to contact their legislators as well as the Governor’s office to share their concern about this change of direction in Virginia’s commitment to public safety. 

We look forward to the opportunity to work with the Governor, with whom we have worked closely in the past as Attorney General and member of the House of Delegates, to find ways to continue to fund domestic violence programs in a manner that will alleviate the devastating  consequences that will result with the acceptance of this week’s proposals and accord these programs the budget priority they deserve.

The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Action Alliance is a not-for-profit agency representing 53 community domestic violence programs across the Commonwealth that annually provide services to more than 12,000 adults and 4,000 children.  For more information, visit the Action Alliance web-site: http://www.vsdvalliance.org.


[1] McDonnell proposes to eliminate funding that was first appropriated by the General Assembly in response to the fact that 1 out of 2 victims calling and requesting safe shelter could not be sheltered by Domestic Violence Programs because the agencies did not have space available.  The Assembly initially used federal funds to support a substantial increase in bed space—along with the crisis and support services necessary for victims and their children filling those beds.   Governor Kaine proposed replacing these federal funds with state funds – funds McDonnell now proposes to cut completely along with the needed services they provide.

 

[2] Virginia’s Domestic Violence Programs provide safety and support to thousands of victims of domestic violence each year.  In an effort to ensure quality services, in 2009 the Domestic Violence Programs implemented a statewide outcome evaluation effort supported by the Family Violence Prevention and Services office of the US Department of Health and Human Services.  697 individuals who have received shelter and services from Domestic Violence Programs have completed anonymous surveys evaluating those services.  It is a testament to the value of these services that 85% reported that as a result of the services they could live more safely.   In response to the question, “What would you have done if the shelter had not existed?” 22% indicated that they would have been homeless, 21% reported that they would have been compelled to return to their abusers and 10% believed that they would be dead at the hands of their abuser.

How you can help

There is still time to ACT to influence the outcome of the final budget.  Following are some steps that you can take:

  • Contact  Governor McDonnell and request that he restore $3.8 million to Virginia’s domestic violence programs as a public safety priority and to continue the commitment that he made to domestic violence programs as Attorney General and as a candidate for governor.  You can reach the Governor @ 804-786-2211.
  • Contact your state Senator and Delegate and request that they restore $3.8 million in the state’s budget to Virginia’s domestic violence programs.  If you do not know who your state Senator or Delegate is, go to: http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform.  For Senator Capitol office phone numbers:  http://sov.state.va.us/SenatorDB.nsf/$$Viewtemplate+for+WMembershipHome?OpenForm

For Delegate Capitol office phone numbers: http://dela.state.va.us/dela/MemBios.nsf/MWebsiteTL?OpenView

  • Contact anyone you know who is concerned about the safety of domestic violence survivors and their children, and ask them to also contact Governor McDonnell, their Senators, and their Delegates.
  • Spread the word:  write a letter to the editor of your local paper or the Richmond Times Dispatch; post your concerns as well as these action steps on facebook, twitter, or your personal blog.
  • Contact your local domestic violence program and ask how you can support their action steps in your community.

If you have any questions or concerns about this information, please free to contact the Action Alliance Co-Directors, Jeanine Beiber or Kristi VanAudenhove at directors@vsdvalliiance.org or 804-377-0335. Thank you for your support! 

Stop Femicide Now! Human Rights Advocate Norma Cruz

r-post

March 2- Event with distinguished Guatemalan speaker Norma Cruz visiting the Virginia Commonwealth University campus

Stop Femicide Now! Guatemalan human rights advocate Norma Cruz will be speaking at Virginia Commonwealth University on Violence Against Women in Guatemala.

The program will be held March 2, 2010 from 1:00 to 3:15 pm at the Pace Center, 700 W. Franklin St.

The event is free and open to all, no pre-registration is required.

Ms. Cruz is an internationally recognized advocate and activist for women who are victims of domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking, and illegal adoptions. She is one of eight women worldwide to receive the “Women of Courage” award from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March 2009. Her work was born out of her personal struggle and has grown to provide legal, psychosocial, physical and political support for women survivors in a country where violence against women is prevalent and tolerated.

Sponsors: VCU Institute for Women’s Health, La Milpa: Guatemala Interest Group, Highland Support Project Club, Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC), VCU School of Social Work, and the VCU Office of International Education.

The event is part of an east coast speaker’s tour hosted by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission with a goal of educating and informing a diverse audience in the U.S. on violence against women and impunity in Guatemala.

For more information visit: www.womenshealth.vcu.edu or http://www.stopfemicide.com or http://www.ghrc-usa.org Or call 827-1200 with questions

Press Release from the VSDVAA – Red Flag Campaign

For Immediate Release

January 28, 2010

Contact: Kate McCord, Public Awareness Manager
Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
(804) 377-0335 x2119
kmccord@vsdvalliance.org
Red Flag Campaign Featured in Designing for the Greater Good; New Book Showcases Best in Cause-Related Marketing and Nonprofit Design
(Richmond, Virginia), January 28, 2010 – In an age when non-profit organizations are struggling
harder than ever to have their messages heard, the value of branding and design has become
increasingly essential to their survival. This week, a first-of-its-kind book, Designing for the Greater
Good, was released to offer readers insights into great nonprofit branding campaigns in 24 inspiring
case studies and hundreds of illustrated examples.

The Red Flag Campaign, a project of the Action Alliance in collaboration with Richmond-based Another Limited Rebellion design firm, was among the outstanding campaigns selected for inclusion in this prestigious collection.

About The Red Flag Campaign
The Red Flag Campaign (www.TheRedFlagCampaign.org) is a national public awareness campaign
designed to address dating violence and promote the prevention of dating violence on college
campuses. The Campaign is a project of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance,
and was created in partnership with Another Limited Rebellion, college students, college personnel,
and community victim advocates. The Campaign is funded by a generous grant from the Verizon
Foundation, along with support from the Macy’s Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention.

About Designing for the Greater Good
Created as a comprehensive resource for designers, creative professionals, marketers, corporate
communications departments and nonprofit leaders, Designing for the Greater Good is based on
authors Peleg Top and Jonathan Cleveland’s nearly 40 years of combined experience working with
nonprofits and corporate communications departments across the country.
“After nearly a decade of studying cause marketing campaigns, I know that strong design is absolutely
critical to success,” commented David Hessekiel, president, Cause Marketing Forum. “As a unique
showcase of campaigns that stand out from the crowd, Designing for the Greater Good is a valuable
addition to the cause marketing literature. This collection of work, often created in spite of low budgets
and organizational impediments, should be an inspiration to creatives, nonprofit and corporate
marketers alike.”
“Successful design for nonprofit organizations relies on a true partnership, where the designer is
connected to the cause and the organization has accurately portrayed its culture and clientele. When
these elements come together, a powerful brand connection is made,” said author Jonathan Cleveland.

More information on Designing for the Greater Good (Harper Design, an imprint of Harper Collins) is available at http://www.designingforthegreatergood.com.

More information about The Red Flag Campaign is available at http://www.TheRedFlagCampaign.org or at 804.377.0335.

For information on how to support the Red Flag Campaign or how to get one started at your local school or college, contact the Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance at 804-377-0335.

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