The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence


January 2013

Hackathon Against Domestic Violence – interesting combination…

The World Bank is doing something interesting… they are organizing the first Hackathon Against Domestic Violence.  A hackathon is a collaborative process to come up with technology solutions to address critical issues.  Hackathons are a new interaction to address social problems.  The Hackathon Against Domestic Violence is th efirst such effort in the region.

World Bank Group’s Hackathon Against Domestic Violence takes place on Saturday, January 26 at 10 am in the I Building, room I2-220.

Simultaneous events will be taking place in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

They have brought together a large number of stakeholders interested in the issue. An important part of the process has been to identify “problem definitions” to be worked on at the actual hackathon on January 26-27 (see here for more details). Problem identification workshops were held in all six Central American countries.

There are a number of institutions (Telefonica, Banco de Costa Rica, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, etc.) that are contributing logistically to the events in Central America and have also expressed interest in supporting financially the development phase of possible applications that may come up as a result of the hackathon.

Some examples on how technology could help solve Domestic Violence problems include:

* A web and mobile application for domestic violence shelters to help coordinate the availability of space and beds for victims.
* An application or website to help healthcare workers identify signs of domestic violence and refer victims appropriately.
* A SMS application allowing police and service providers to map reports of domestic violence submitted by text message, and thereby identify areas of high need for services and support.,
* An application that allows victims to send a silent text message to a predetermined contact, letting someone know that they are in danger.

Anyone can register and attend for a few hours or both days.

Join CAEPV in saying NO MORE. Visit> and learn more.

Questions?  Contact

Elizabeth E. Legrain
Domestic Abuse Prevention Coordinator
HRS Corporate Operations
The World Bank Group

(See attached file: DV Hackathon Intro PPT.pdf)(See attached file: DV Hackathon Brochure English.docx)>






Domestic Violence and Guns: A Lethal Combination

reposted from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance 

According to the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, intimate partner homicide increased by 21% in 2010 and 60.5% of IPV victims were killed with a firearm.  Between 2006 and 2010 intimate partner homicides in the Commonwealth increased by 64% while the overall homicide rate was going down. (1)

Recognizing  the significant risk that exists when a perpetrator of domestic violence has access to firearms, the Action Alliance suports laws that prohibit the purchase, transport and possession of firearms for persons subject to protective orders and/or who have been convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member.  Additionally, we support attempt to give law enforcement officers and prosecutors additional tools to remove or force the surrender of firearms when these conditions are present.

The Virginia General Assembly has recognized that firearms pose a significant risk to victims of domestic violence and stalking by enacting laws that prohibit the purchase or transport of firearms when a person is subject to a protective order.  The Action Alliance urges Members of the General Assembly to support legislation that prohibits the purchase, transport, and possession of firearms for persons who have been convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member and persons subject to protective orders and to oppose any efforts to weaken these protections.

Support HB 1410 (Del. J. Scott)  This bill prohibits any person who is convicted of stalking, sexual battery, or assault and battery of a family member that results in seriou bodily injury from possessing, transporting, or carrying a firearm or any other weapon for a period of five years following his conviction.  A violation would constitute a Class 6 felony.  the bill also provides for the forfeiture of any weapon possessed, transported, or carried in violation of the prohibition.  Finally, the bill provides for a process by which a violator may petition the circuit court for a reinstatement of his/her rights to possess, transport, or carry a weapon.

Support SB 864 (Sen. Favola)  This bill prohibits any person subject to an emergency protective order pursuant to subsection C of 18.2-57.2 to physically possess a firearm while in the residence of the alleged victim or transport a firearm  while such an order is in effect.


(1) 2010 Family and Intimate Partner Homicide Report.  Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Virginia Department of Health. October 2012.  

for more information, contact Kristine Hall at or 804-377-0335 (January 2013)


Check out the National Sexual Violence Resource Center – National Strengths and Needs Assessment

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) has been working on a National Strengths and Needs Assessment over the last three years.  They have released the final report: Year 3 Report and Synthesis: National Strengths and Needs Assessment.

This is the final report from the NSVRC’s three year National Prevention Strengths and Needs Assessment Project, and provides a summary of the work completed during the third year of the assessment as well as a synthesis of major themes across the three year project.  The major activities of the Year 3 assessment were the completion of a national survey comparison of findings to the Year 1 survey.

Their Summary states:

The majority of respondents defined prevention in ways that are consistent with the models that have been promoted in the field over recent years. However, consistency was much stronger among coalition staff and RPE coordinators than among staff from local programs.

Coalition staff and RPE coordinators emphasized:
 Prevention of perpetration on
 Social change and/or norms change
 Skill building for healthy sexuality
These same themes also showed up among the staff of local programs who explained prevention in ways that were consistent with the public health model.
However, a considerable proportion of staff from rape crisis programs continued to reflect an emphasis on awareness and/or risk reduction.  For some programs, awareness was mixed with at least some element of primary prevention. This may indicate challenges with translating the definitions of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention into practical strategies. The continual pull back to awareness programs is understandable in light of the:  Long history of awareness education, continued pressure from some funders to reach large audiences, and smaller time commitment required from community partners


Good news for military: the National Defense Authorization Act is signed

Here is some positive news for advocates against sexual and domestic violence. This week, after much anticipation, President Obama signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. This includes 19 amendments to significantly reform Department of Defense sexual assault and sexual harassment policies.

This bill is significant in that it has the largest number of sexual violence provisions ever signed into law. The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) have worked tirelessly for two years to advocate for these changes. While the NDAA is a bill that focuses on the budget and expenditures of the Department of Defense (DOD), It also deals with multiple military issues. It is the mechanism used by Congress to provide oversight and mandate change within the military.

Again, SWAN’s advocacy work is key as they provide bipartisan legislative recommendations to both the House and Senate to improve the welfare of service women and women veterans. Kudos to SWAN and their advocacy to introduce more provisions based to improve the way the military handles sexual assault and sexual harassment in the ranks. Specifically, the law now provides for:

  • Prohibiting the military from recruiting anyone convicted of a sex offense
  • Mandatory separation of convicted sex offenders
  • Insurance coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest for service women and military family members
  • Retention of restricted report documentation for 50 years if so desired by the victim
  • The creation of “Special Victims Units” to improve investigation, prosecution and victim support in connection with child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault cases
  • Allowing victims to return to active duty after separation to help prosecute sex offenders
  • The creation of an independent review panel comprised of civilian and military members that will closely examine the way that the DOD investigates, prosecutes, and adjudicates sexual assaults
  • Required sexual assault prevention training in pre-command and command courses for officers
  • Improved data collection and reporting by the military on sexual assault and sexual harassment cases
  • Annual command climate assessment surveys to track individual attitudes toward sexual assault and sexual harassment
  • A review of unrestricted sexual assault reports and the nature of any subsequent separations of victims who made those reports
  • Notification to service members of the options available for the correction of military records due to any retaliatory personnel action after making a report of sexual assault or sexual harassment
  • Requirement for DOD to establish a policy for comprehensive sexual harassment prevention and response
  • Language that will allow better oversight and tracking of DOD’s implementation of sexual assault provisions from prior Defense Authorizations in order to ensure they are being enforced properly

SWAN’s goal is to eradicate sexual assault and sexual harassment through the transformation of military culture. The passage of the 2013 NDAA is another critical step in moving the military one step closer to change.

Please consider making a gift to help SWAN end sex discrimination and promote equality and justice in the military!

About SWAN
SWAN is a nonpartisan civil rights organization founded and led by women veterans. SWAN’s works to transform military culture by securing equal opportunity and freedom to serve without discrimination, harassment or assault; and to reform veterans’ services to ensure high quality health care and benefits for women veterans and their families.

Service Women’s Action Network | 220 E. 23rd Street | Suite 509 | New York | NY | 10010

Some articles posted by SWAN

Read the New York Times story on the relationship between Maxim magazine and the military.
Click here to read The Daily Beast’s coverage of the passage of the Shaheen Amendment.

Watch this Al-Jazeera clip on the VA Military Sexual Assault Claims process here.

Check out this Federal News Radio piece here on the rise in reported sexual assaults at military service academies.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month


President Barack Obama has proclaimed January “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month”

“This month, we rededicate ourselves to stopping one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time. Around the world, millions of men, women, and children are bought, sold, beaten, and abused, locked in compelled service and hidden in darkness. They toil in factories and fields; in brothels and sweatshops; at sea, abroad, and at home. They are the victims of human trafficking — a crime that amounts to modern-day slavery.

A press statement put out by NAAG President and Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna states:

“‪Human trafficking is a $32 billion global industry, the fastest growing and second largest criminal activity in the world, tied with arms and after drug dealing. I applaud President Obama’s effort to bring this issue to the forefront in the minds of Americans by proclaiming January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.”

The Polaris Project defines Human Trafficking as:

“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of “labor or services,” such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will. The factors that each of these situations have in common are elements of force, fraud, or coercion that are used to control people.  Then, that control is tied to inducing someone into commercial sex acts, or labor or services.  Numerous people in the field have summed up the concept of human trafficking as “compelled service.”  Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, and here in the United States.  Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. Click here to access human trafficking resource packs.”

they further define Sex Trafficking as:

“Sex trafficking occurs when people are forced or coerced into the commercial sex trade against their will.  Child sex trafficking includes any child involved in commercial sex.  Sex traffickers frequently target vulnerable people with histories of abuse and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims involved in the sex industry.  Sex trafficking exists within the broader commercial sex trade, often at much larger rates than most people realize or understand.  Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues of the overall sex industry, including residential brothelshostess clubs, online escort servicesfake massage businessesstrip clubs, and street prostitution. For sex trafficking resource packs, click here.”

Not For Sale hosts information and provides programs to help communities vulnerable to exploitation.  They have a Slavery Map depicting incidents of trafficking.  Post your story.

The Violence Against Women Act Dies…. Did one person kill it?

Apparently The Violence Against Women Act died last night.  How could this happen?  How does a country founded on freedom and equal rights continue to deny that very thing to certain people?  How can House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have supported such a bill while he was seemingly working to support other non-partisan efforts.

For those just tuning in, one of the items up for consideration at the conclusion of the 112th Congress was the Senate bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, otherwise known as VAWA.  This act was originally passed in 1994.  This time when it came up for renewal, the Senate version had newly added tribal protections for American Indian women, granting tribes limited authority to prosecute sexual-assault crimes on their lands–whether the crimes are committed by American Indians or not.  Eric Cantor campaigned against this version of the bill.  Instead, Cantor offered up a version which excluded the new American Indian protections, along with those for undocumented immigrants as well as lesbian and trans women, which the House passed.

Eric Cantor did not offer up any reasons for his actions to deny every woman in America the same legal protections against violent perpetrators.   When MSNBC reported this story, they listed the following quotes:

  •  In December on Melissa Harris-Perry, National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill said the fight was “draining the resources of the advocacy groups that have been working on re-authorization for two solid years. Many of the advocacy groups also provide services; their resources are being drained. I don’t think that’s a mistake.”
  • The chief Democratic advocate for the VAWA reauthorization, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, released a statement that was reported in Jezebel:  “The House Republican leadership’s failure to take up and pass the Senate’s bipartisan and inclusive VAWA bill is inexcusable. This is a bill that passed with 68 votes in the Senate and that extends the bill’s protections to 30 million more women. But this seems to be how House Republican leadership operates. No matter how broad the bipartisan support, no matter who gets hurt in the process, the politics of the right wing of their party always comes first.”

Can a representative for the people, and the GOP,  really be so indifferent to the rights of women?  Is what O’Neill suggested, a desire and plan to exhaust advocacy groups and their resource, really true?  Why be determined to so actively block equal protections for only certain groups of women: Native American, Undocumented Immigrants, and those who identify as Lesbian and Transgender?   Don’t you want to demand an explanation?

Feel free to contact his office and ask.

Stalking: Know It, Name It, Stop It

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects 6.6 million victims a year.

While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.


• 6.6 million people are stalked in one year in the United States.
• 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. Using a less conservative definition of stalking, which considers any amount of fear (i.e., a little fearful, somewhat fearful, or very fearful), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 13 men reported being a victim of stalking in their lifetime.
• The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
• More than half of female victims and more than 1/3 of male victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before the age of 25.
• About 1 in 5 female victims and 1 in 14 male victims experienced stalking between the ages of 11 and 17. [Michele C. Black et al., “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report,” (Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).]
• 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.
• 11% of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more. [Katrina Baum et al., “Stalking Victimization in the United States,” (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009).]


• 76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
• 67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner.
• 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder.
• 79% of abused femicide victims reported being stalked during the same period that they were abused.
• 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.
[Judith McFarlane et al., “Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide,” Homicide Studies 3, no. 4 (1999).]


• 2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily, using more than one method.
• 78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach.
• Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases.
• Almost 1/3 of stalkers have stalked before.
• Intimate partner stalkers frequently approach their targets, and their behaviors escalate quickly. [Kris Mohandie et al.,“The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers,” Journal of Forensic Sciences, 51, no. 1 (2006).]


• 46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next.
• 29% of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop.
• 1 in 8 employed stalking victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization and more than half lose 5 days of work or more.
• 1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization. [Baum et al.]
• The prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if the stalking involves being followed or having one’s property destroyed. [Eric Blauuw et al., “The Toll of Stalking,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17, no. 1 (2002):50-63.]


• Stalking is a crime under the laws of 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the Federal government.
• Less than 1/3 of states classify stalking as a felony upon first offense.
• More than 1/2 of states classify stalking as a felony upon second or subsequent offense or when the crime involves aggravating factors.
• Aggravating factors may include: possession of a deadly weapon, violation of a court order or condition of probation/parole, victim under 16 years, or same victim as prior occasions.
For a compilation of state, tribal, and federal laws visit


The mission of the Stalking Resource Center is to enhance the ability of professionals, organizations, and systems to effectively respond to stalking. The Stalking Resource Center envisions a future in which the criminal justice system and its many allied community partners will effectively collaborate and respond to stalking, improve victim safety and well-being, and hold offenders accountable. Visit us online at Contact us at 202-467-8700 or
This document was developed under grant number 2008-TA-AX-K017 from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) of the U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions and views expressed in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Office on Violence Against Women of the U.S. Department of Justice. For more information on the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women visit

This document may be reproduced only in its entirety. Any alterations must be approved by the Stalking Resource Center

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