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Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence

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February 2012

Cross-Over Report on Current Legislation in Virginia

This week was cross over, which means we are officially moving into the 2nd half of the General Assembly Session.  For the most part, its been a good session with respect to our priorities.   We are pleased that anti-strangulation is moving forward as a stand-alone crime, that a bill to keep guns out of the hands of persons convicted of domestic violence is still alive, legislation to promote inter-agency collaboration and coordination in the investigation and prosecution of campus sexual assault expected to pass, and that legislation to clarify issues regarding protective orders processes and procedures are also moving forward without resistance.  

Unfortunately, several good bills were also defeated, including legislation to enhance penalties for stalking and a bill to clarify a minor’s rights with respect to petitioning for protective orders.   We are disappointed that the anti-immigration legislation is also still alive, but will continue our work with allies to defeat these bills in the Senate.  

These are just a few of the highlights.   Summarized below is a more detailed 2012 Cross Over Report.  Kristine created a hyperlink for all bills that are still alive so that if you are interested in reading the actual language on any bill, you can “click” on the bill # and be directed to the actual bill language. 

2012 Cross Over Report

 

PROTECT FUNDING FOR CRISIS AND SAFETY SERVICES

 

Governor McDonnell maintained level funding in his proposed budget.   Neither the House nor the Senate has proposed any additional reductions in funding for sexual and domestic violence services.  However, the current budget uses one-time fund balances to replace $1.2 million in TANF funding for domestic violence services. These one-time funds will not be available in 2014 or beyond.  Thus, $1.2 million in funding for the core services that provide safety for victims of domestic violence and their children remains at risk. 

 

“PEACE BEGINS AT HOME” SPECIALIZE INTEREST LICENSE PLATE

SB 225 (Senator Herring) & HB 182 (Delegate O’Bannon) –SB 225 passed the Senate unanimously & HB 182 was continued to 2013 in the House.

Supported by the Action Alliance.  These bills authorize the issuance of revenue-sharing special license plates bearing the legend PEACE BEGINS AT HOME to support the programs of the Domestic Violence Action Alliance for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence in Virginia.  HB 182 was not continued in the House because we had not collected 450 pre-paid applications.   SB 225 will now be considered by the House and will only pass if we collect 450 pre-paid applications.   

 

ENHANCE THE PROSECUTION OF STRANGULATION

SB 459 (Senator Herring) & HB 752 (Delegate Cline)— SB 459 passed the Senate unanimously & HB 752 passed the House unanimously.  

Supported by the Action Alliance.  Both of these bills were amended to provide that any person who impedes the blood circulation or respiration of another person by applying pressure to the person’s neck and resulting in wounding or bodily injury is guilty of strangulation, a Class 6 felony.

There are minor differences between these bills.  SB 459 uses the language “willfully, knowingly, intentionally” applying pressure to the person’s neck.  HB 752 uses the language “knowingly, intentionally and unlawfully” applying pressure to the neck of such person.  The Action Alliance staff will work with the Senator Herring & Delegate Cline to align these two bills. 

 

IMPROVE VIRGINIA’S RESPONSE TO SEXUAL ASSAULT ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES

 

SB 302 (Senator Howell) & HB 965 (Delegate Rob Bell)— SB 302 passed the Senate unanimously & HB 965 passed the House unanimously.  

Supported by the Action Alliance.   These bills require campus police to enter into mutual aid agreements with a local law-enforcement agency or the State Police for cooperation in providing assistance with the investigation of deaths and alleged rapes occurring on college campuses.

 

SB 301 (Senator Howell) & HB 969 (Delegate Rob Bell)—SB 301 passed the Senate unanimously & HB 969 passed the House unanimously. 

Supported by the Action Alliance.  These bills require each attorney for the Commonwealth to invite any chiefs of campus police located within the jurisdiction to the annual SART meeting.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

 

SB 224 (Senator Herring).  Passed the Senate unanimously.

Supported by the Action Alliance.  This bill provides for a Class 1 misdemeanor for a battery through the application of physical force against a member of a family or household member. This change in law is needed to apply federal firearm prohibitions appropriately to persons convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member.  This bill will now be considered by the House.

 

PROTECT THE SAFETY AND BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILDREN

 

HB 84 (Delegate Albo)— HB 84 passed the House unanimously.

Supported by the Action Alliance, as amended.  The bill was amended and no longer creates a presumption for joint custody.  Instead, it requires judge’s to communicate the basis for their decision regarding custody or visitation and to communicate the relevant statutory factors used to determine the best interests of the child when making the decision.  This bill will now be considered by the Senate.

 

HB 606 (Delegate LeMunyon)— HB 606 was defeated.   

Opposed by the Action Alliance.  Establishes a presumption in child custody cases that an award of joint legal custody, with physical custody, to the extent feasible, shared equally between the parties, is in the best interests of the child.

 

ADVANCE VIRGINIA’S PROTECTIVE ORDER LAWS

 

SB 445 (Senator Vogel) & HB 1033 (Delegate McClellan)— SB 445 passed the Senate unanimously & HB 1033 passed the House unanimously.  

Supported by the Action Alliance.  These bills allow Circuit Court to hear petitions to modify, dissolve, or extend a permanent protective order when the Circuit Court issued the order. The bill also requires the Court to enter and transfer identifying information to the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) system when a protective order is issued. Circuit court clerks who are not currently using the Statewide Case Management System shall provide protective orders directly to the Virginia Criminal Information Network in an electronic format approved by the Department of State Police. This bill seeks to align the process and procedures for protective orders issued in Circuit Court with those currently  in place for the Juvenile & Domestic Relations and General District Court.

 

SB 300 (Senator Howell)— SB 300 passed the Senate unanimously.

Supported by the Action Alliance.  This bill makes various changes to the provisions governing protective orders issued by a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, including (i) clarifying that only violations related to trespass, criminal offenses, acts of abuse, or prohibited contacts are Class 1 misdemeanors; (ii) clarifying that Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts have jurisdiction over all protective orders that involve juveniles who are petitioners or respondents; and (iii) allowing judges to prohibit contact between the respondent and the petitioner’s family.  This bill will now be considered by the House.

 

HB 674 (Delegate Surovell)—HB 674 was defeated in House Courts.  

Supported by the Action Alliance.  This bill would have addressed several issues regarding protective orders and minors, including (i) providing that a minor may petition for an emergency protective order on his own behalf without a parent, legal guardian, or another adult acting as a next friend; and ii) providing that any adult may petition in the name of a minor as the minor’s next friend for a preliminary and/or permanent protective order.   These provisions would have codified existing case law and are consistent with the Attorney General’s Opinion (10-116) issued in January 2011.

 

PRESERVE ACCESS TO SERVICES REGARDLESS OF IMMIGRATION STATUS

 

HB 958 (Delegate Rob Bell)—Passed the House  

Opposed by the Action Alliance.   This bill Supplements the existing law that requires sheriffs to make a query into legal presence when a person is “taken into custody” at a jail. This bill expands such inquiries by requiring inquiries of everyone arrested, and requires that an arresting officer inquire of every arrestee whether he (i) was born in a country other than the United States and (ii) is a citizen of a country other than the United States. This bill incorporates HB 89 and HB 320. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.

 

HB 1060 (Delegate Anderson)—Passed the House   

Opposed by the Action Alliance.  This bill Supplements the existing law that requires sheriffs to make a query into legal presence when a person is “taken into custody” at a jail. This bill expands such inquiries by requiring that an arresting officer inquire of every arrestee whether he is in the country legally. The bill further provides that when a law-enforcement officer believes that the person is not legally present in the United States, he shall communicate to the judicial officer the facts and circumstances underlying his belief. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.

 

HB 1001 (Delegate Ramadan)—Passed the House   

Opposed by the Action Alliance. This bill provides that the Superintendent of State Police shall seek to enter into a memorandum of agreement with United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as authorized under 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g), to permit the State Police to perform federal immigration law-enforcement functions in the Commonwealth after arrest of an alien. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.

 

SB 460 (Senator Black)—Defeated in Senate Courts. 

Opposed by the Action Alliance.  This bill would have provided that when a law-enforcement officer lawfully detains a person following a lawful stop, detention, or arrest of such person for a suspected criminal offense or traffic infraction or upon reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and, during the detention, based upon certain prescribed inquiries of the detainee and ICE, the officer forms a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, the officer shall make a reasonable effort during the detention, when practicable, to determine whether the person is lawfully present, unless the determination would hinder or obstruct an investigation. The bill would have also sets out procedures to be followed by a judicial officer who would make a bail determination for such an arrestee.

 

STALKING

 

HB 361 (Delegate McClellan)—Defeated in House Appropriations.

Supported by the Action Alliance.  This bill would have provided that a second or subsequent offense of stalking is a Class 6 felony.  Currently, the enhanced penalty applies for a third or subsequent offense.  The bill also provides that stalking when a protective order is in effect is a Class 6 felony.

 

HB 807 (Delegate May)—Passed the House

Supported by the Action Alliance.  Provides that any person who uses an electronic tracking device through intentionally deceptive means and without consent to track the location of another person is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. The bill includes exceptions for law-enforcement officers, the parent or legal guardian of a minor or any person authorized by the parent or legal guardian as a caretaker of the minor at any time when the minor is under the person’s sole care; a legally authorized representative of an incapacitated adult, private investigators in certain circumstances, bail bondsmen, and the owners of fleet vehicles.  This bill will now be considered by the Senate.

 

SEXUAL VIOLENCE

 

HB 963 (Delegate Rob Bell)—Passed the House unanimously. 

Supported by the Action Alliance.  This bill provides that any person who commands, entreats, or otherwise attempts to persuade another person to send, submit, transfer, or provide to him any child pornography in order to gain entry into a group, association, or assembly of persons engaged in trading or sharing child pornography shall be punished by not less than five years nor more than 20 years in a state correctional facility, with a five-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for a second or subsequent violation. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.

 

HB 964 (Delegate Rob Bell)—Passed the House unanimously.

Supported by the Action Alliance.  The bill provides that any person who displays child pornography or a grooming video or materials to a minor is guilty of a Class 6 felony. The bill defines grooming video or materials as (i) a cartoon, animation, image, or series of images depicting a child engaged in a sex act when the minor to whom the material is displayed is less than 13 years of age. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.

 

SB 205 (Senator Barker)—Passed the Senate unanimously. 

Supported by the Action Alliance.  This bill allows the collection of forensic evidence in cases of suspected sexual assault where the alleged victim may not be legally capable of giving consent.

This bill will now be considered by the House.

 

Gena M. Boyle, MPA

Domestic Violence Advocacy Coordinator

Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance

804.377.0335 x2109

gboyle@vsdvalliance.org

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We need your help today to protect immigrant victims of sexual and domestic violence.

We need your help today to protect immigrant victims of sexual and domestic violence. 

Please call the members of the House Courts Criminal Law Subcommittee today and ask them to defeat the following legislation that threatens access to safety for victims of sexual and domestic violence: House Bill 89, House Bill 108, House Bill 320, House Bill 472, House Bill 958, House Bill 1060 and House Bill 1001.

This Wednesday, February 8, the House Courts of Justice Criminal Law Subcommittee will consider the above bills that would threaten access to safety for immigrant victims of sexual and domestic violence.  The bills, all of which deal with the ability of local and state law enforcement to enforce civil immigration laws, will impede the ability of immigrant victims to access law enforcement and undercut community policing and efforts to enhance victim/witness cooperation in criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Members of the House Courts Criminal Subcommittee:

Delegate Rob Bell: 804-698-1058 or delrbell@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Dave Albo: 804-698-1042 or deldalbo@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Ben Cline:804-698-1024 or delbcline@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Todd Gilbert: 804-698-1015 or deltgilbert@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Jackson Miller: 804-698-1050 or deljmiller@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Ron Villanueva: 804-698-1021 or delrvillanueva@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Rick Morris: 804-698-1064 or delrmorris@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Vivian Watts: 804-698-1039 or delvwatts@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Charniele Herring: 804-698-1046 delcherring@house.virginia.gov

Suggested talking points:

  •  If approved, these bills would threaten access to safety for victims of sexual and domestic violence and will discourage victims and witnesses from reporting acts of sexual and domestic violence.
  • Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault already face tremendous barriers to reporting.
  • When victims perceive that law enforcement is to be feared rather than trusted, it undercuts community policing and efforts to enhance victim/witness cooperation in criminal investigations and prosecutions.
  • Please protect access to safety for sexual and domestic violence victims by rejecting these bills.

For questions or more information, please contact Kristine Hall or Gena Boyle at 804-377-0335 or khall@vsdvalliance.org and gboyle@vsdvalliance.org.

I just saw a commercial for “Just for Men” beard dye.  The commercial shows a toddler with a beard out with an adult woman on a date.  The implication is that the beard dye makes the male young and sexy.  The commercial implies suggestiveness of intimacy between the adult female and the toddler.  All in the service of males to feel young and sexy.  It’s too creepy for me.  Plus, there are posts regarding other “Just For Men” commercials that imply pedophilia.  What is it with these types of commercials popping up?  Every step forward we make is two steps back.  Disappointing “Just for Men”

Reject Immigration-related bills that threaten access to safety for victims of sexual and domestic violence

Sexual Coercion and Teen Dating Violence

SEXUAL COERCION AND TEEN DATING VIOLENCE
Teens face an alarming rate of violence in relationships and it is often not disclosed by the teens or observed by others.  As you will see from Traci’s statistics below, the rates are over 50% of teens experiencing dating violence and sexual coercion. 
A study by Gale Spencer and Sharon Bryant in 2000 analyzed the difference in teen dating violence in rural, suburban, and urban settings. Their study found that teens in rural districts were more likely to be victims of dating violence than their suburban and urban counterparts, with female teens at greatest risk.  It is also apparent in analysis of the research and articles, that teen dating violence and sexual coercion among teens is less likely to be studied in the rural South, despite studies showing that the rural areas and rural areas in the south are more likely to have incidents of teen dating violence and sexual coercion. Rickert, Wiemann, and Vaughan in their study through the Center for Community Health and Education at Columbia University found that teens who were verbally coerced into sex were less likely (only 47%) to tell another person while 60% of teens who experienced rape/attempted rape were more likely to tell another person. Shorter dating periods and the use of alcohol were predictors of disclosure as well.  Meaning the shorter the time the teens were dating, the more likely the adolescent victim of sexual assault is to tell someone and the longer the teens were dating, the less likely the adolescent victim is to tell when violence enters the relationship.
The Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life and the Chesterfield County Coordinating Council produced a study in their community of dating violence in middle and high schools. They found correlation between the perpetrator knowing the victim, substance use, attitudes toward violence, acceptability of violence-related behaviors and grade level.  Additionally, another study by the Center for Studies in Criminology and Law found numerous risk factors associated with dating violence and sexual coercion.  They found that risk taking behaviors mediated the effects of social ties and emotional states on the likelihood of violent victimization in adolescent dating relationships and lend support for theories regarding the relationship between lifestyles and violence in dating relationships. Science Daily and the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine reported that dating violence and histories of sexual assault among urban teens may be associated with suicide attempts. Childhood sexual assault has been linked with depression, alcohol use and violence, also linking to risk factors for suicide attempts. The authors write that dating violence and sexual coercion/assault is associated with depressive symptoms and multiple health-compromising behaviors.
In support of these statistics regarding the high rate of violence in teen dating relationships, the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health and the Division of Adolescent Medicine, the Department of Pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center studied the type and amount of parents communication to children and teens about dating violence. They found that only fifty-five percent of parents had discussed dating violence and sexual coercion with their children. Mothers were found to be more likely than fathers to discuss this issue.
Conclusion: That programs are needed to equip parents to talk with children and teens about dating violence and sexual coercion are needed.
In the Rappahannock Area of Virginia, Contact the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault to schedule a prevention/education program for your school or youth-serving agency call 540-371-6771.

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