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The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence

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Action Alliance

The V Word: Innovative Reporting Solutions

Welcome to the V Word, where we talk about sexual and domestic violence, stalking, harassment and trafficking. We talk about what is going on in the community, what resources are available and what changes are happening to end violence.

You can listen to today’s show archive.org or use the player below:

This past year we have talked alot about sexual assault on college campuses, the prevalence, the inability of schools to better protect students, support those who have been assualted and downright misrepresentation of facts. Many states are trying to put into place laws and regulations to help students and schools address campus sexual assault.

One nonprofit: Sexual Health Innovations, has created a new program for use by higher education institutions. This new reporting program is called Callisto and it is designed to allow victims to file reports of sexual assault, harassment and interpersonal violence online. The victim has options, choosing to have the perpetrator reported, to have other victims of the same perpetrator notified and have all records time stamped. The records are private, for use by the victim when they want to further their case.

Multiple studies from colleges, rape crisis centers, and state criminal justice programs show that between 20 percent and 25 percent of women experience sexual assault by the time they graduate from college, but few report it. Of those, according to state records and the Department of Justice, less than 5 percent of reported rapes in college get reported to the criminal justice system. Fewer still are reports of other types of sexual assault.

Are you on a college campus? Check out Callisto and help improve reporting for college campus students. You can help on the state level as well, join your local coalition that supports both rape crisis centers and college campus programs. Here in Virginia, we have the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. They worked with survivors from University of Virginia and Representatives to change legislation to improve response, support services, and reporting of rape on college campuses. As a student or college employee, you can join the Campus Sexual Assault Taskforce, host a bystander intervention program like the Red Flag Campaign, or donate to support the work.

V-Word Radio Show: The Link between mass shootings and domestic violence.

Emily Westerholm visits the link between mass shootings and domestic violence.

You can listen to the show here

Links:

WRIR 97.3 FM

National Network to End Domestic Violence

Virginia Domestic and Sexual Violence Action Alliance

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

It’s Time to Ask: What will Congress do to get VAWA passed

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
It’s time to ask–What will Congress do to get VAWA passed

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and an ideal time to ask Virginia’s Congressional Delegation to commit to passing VAWA as a matter of priority during the lame duck session. The recent report from the Office of Chief Medical Examiner indicates that while homicides in Virginia have gone down, intimate partner homicides in Virginia have increased by an alarming amount–21% between 2009 and 2010.

Requested Action
Email, call, tweet, or tell your Members of Congress (who are now back in their districts until after the elections) this simple message:

“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We all play a role in ending domestic violence. Congress’s role is to pass VAWA – lifesaving legislation that has transformed the way our nation addresses violence against women. It is essential that a strong, bipartisan VAWA, that safely and effectively meets the needs of all victims, is promptly reauthorized after the elections. Will you commit to passing VAWA as a matter of priority during the lame duck session?”

Use the tweets below, post on Facebook/websites, and/or have this conversation when you see your Members of Congress at events.

Oct is #DVAM2012 . Do your part to end violence against women. Let’s pass #VAWA

Support #DVAM2012! Commit to passing a #VAWA that safely and effectively meets the needs of all victims.

Fact: #VAWA saves lives! Reauthorization must be a priority after the elections

The Background
Despite our collective hard work urging Congress to pass VAWA, they did not do so before they left for recess. As you know, passing major legislation can be contentious in an election year and VAWA’s reauthorization became more politicized than it ever had been in the past. There is still an opportunity, however, for Congress to reauthorize VAWA after the elections (during the “lame duck” session). With the combination of additional pressure from you throughout October and the work of NNEDV and others at the national level, we believe that it is very likely that Congress will act on VAWA upon their return.

So keep up the pressure right through this election cycle—urge your Member of Congress to prioritize post-election passage of a VAWA reauthorization bill that safely and effectively protects all victims.

Click here to find your Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Click here to find your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm/

About the Action Alliance
The Action Alliance has been Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and domestic violence for 30 years and enhances response and prevention efforts through training, public policy advocacy, public awareness programs, and technical assistance to professionals. To find out more about the Action Alliance, call 804.377.0335, e-mail:info@vsdvalliance.org, or visit us on the web: http://www.vsdvalliance.org. You may also call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238 (v/tty).

Address postal inquiries to:
Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alli
5008 Monument Ave.
Ste. A
Richmond, VA 23230
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Red Flag Campaign

It’s that time of year again, October and the Red Flag Campaign Awareness Events are happening at Universities and Colleges around the state. The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance are collaborating with identified schools to bring awareness to dating violence, sexual assualt, and other interpersonal violence in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Red Flag Campaign is a public awareness campaign designed to address dating violence and promote the prevention of dating violence on college campuses. The campaign was created using a “bystander intervention” strategy, encouraging friends and other campus community members to “say something” when they see warning signs (“red flags”) for dating violence in a friend’s relationship. The campaign posters reflect racially and ethnically diverse models, and illustrate both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

The Campaign is a project of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and was created by college students, college personnel, and community victim advocates. The Campaign is funded by grants from the Verizon Foundation, Verizon Wireless, Macy’s Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research indicates that in 21% of college dating relationships, one of the partners is being abused. That’s 1 in 5 relationships (see citation below). Whether you are a student seeking help for yourself or a friend, or a professional seeking information about how you can help students, we hope the materials on this website will be helpful to you.

Check out the new series of Red Flag Campaign posters.

C. Sellers and M. Bromley, “Violent Behavior in College Student Dating Relationships,” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice (1996)

reposted from http://www.theredflagcampaign.org/

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

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

Special Thanks to supportive of our bills regarding strangulation.

Delegate Charniele Herring:

I want to thank you for the great speech you gave at the General Assembly about the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence in Virginia.  As both the leader of a local center serving central Virginia and a Governing Body member of the Action Alliance, I appreciate the recognition you gave our work and your knowledge of the extent of what we really do.   The staff, boards, volunteers, interns, and members here at RCASA and at the Action Alliance appreciate all that you do as an individual and a delegate to support our work to help support survivors of violence. 

Senator Mark Herring:

I want to thank you for your support of the issues important to those serving survivors of sexual and domestic violence and stalking.  We appreciate your support of the Action Alliance license plate bill that will provide another funding source for our local centers.  Your support of the bills dealing with strangulation and firearms prohibitions related to domestic violence criminal convictions and equal protections for sexual and domestic violence victims is also an important effort for us and the safety of our community. 

Lobby for Sexual and Domestic Violence Services and Funding

2012 Preliminary Legislative Agenda

 

  1. 1.      Protect funding for core safety and crisis services for victims of sexual and domestic violence.

The Action Alliance will be closely monitoring the state budget process to ensure that funding for core crisis and safety services for victims of domestic and sexual violence is protected from cuts.  Funding for crisis and safety services support emergency shelter and transportation, hotlines, court advocacy, and counseling.

  1. 2.      Establish a “Building Healthy Futures Fund” to support efforts to prevent sexual and domestic violence.  Support legislation to create a special interest license plate, “Peace Begins at Home.”

Virginia’s Sexual and Domestic Violence Advocacy Agencies are engaged in a wide variety of prevention efforts across the state to reduce risk factors and promote healthy communities and relationships and they are struggling to fund those initiatives.  In order to sustain and expand prevention efforts—with the ultimate goal of reducing the incidence and prevalence of both sexual and domestic violence, the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance is launching the Building Healthy Futures Fund.   For more information on the Building Healthy Futures Fund or pre-ordering a “Peace Begins at Home” plate, please visit http://www.vadv.org/secAction/bhff.html.

  1. 3.      Preserve access to services for ALL victims of sexual and domestic violence in Virginia regardless of immigration status.

The Action Alliance is opposed to any legislation that will hinder the ability of victims of sexual and domestic violence to access services needed to escape and/or address violence because of immigration status, including crisis intervention, emergency transportation, shelter, and advocacy services offered by Sexual and Domestic Violence Agencies.  Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault already face tremendous barriers to reporting and seeking help.  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 to hold perpetrators accountable.  We oppose any legislation that threatens access to safety, including but not limited to, services provided by law enforcement, the courts, crisis services, and protections made available through the Violence Against Women Act.   

  1. 4.      Campus Sexual Assault

The Action Alliance has been closely monitoring the State Crime Commission’s study of House Bill 2490, which relates to law enforcement response to sexual assaults that occur on campus.  Our organization will support legislation that requires notification and collaboration between campuses and communities when there has been a sexual assault reported by a student.  The model legislation we have offered is consistent with the best practices promoted by the Action Alliance and allied partners across the state.

  1. 5.      Protective Orders

In 2011, the Action Alliance served on the Governor’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board.  Our agency will support legislation, recommended by the Board, that would allow for the extension of “permanent” protective orders issued in the Circuit Court and require Circuit Court clerks to submit protective orders to law enforcement by the end of the business day on which they are issued.

Last year, the General Assembly overhauled Virginia’s civil protective order process to provide equal access and equal protections to victims of stalking, dating violence and sexual assault.  The Action Alliance will continue to monitor all legislation related to civil protective orders to ensure that Virginia’s laws continue to protect all victims of sexual and domestic violence.

  1. 6.      Enhanced Penalties for Strangulation

During the work of the Governor’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board, there were discussions about the challenges to prosecuting acts of strangulation in Virginia.  As a result, the Governor is introducing legislation that creates an enhanced penalty for acts of strangulation committed against a family or household member.  The Action Alliance has concerns about the narrow application of the legislation (recognizing that strangulation is an act that occurs commonly in dating violence and during a sexual assault).  The Action Alliance will continue to monitor this legislation and advocate that any revisions to the Code protect all victims of sexual and domestic violence.    

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

Please join The Action Alliance for a breakfast reception on Wednesday, January 25 from 9:30-11:30am in 7 West during our Legislative Advocacy Day!

Peace Begins at Home license plate

The Virginia Sexual and domestic Violence Action Alliance, with its member Sexual and Domestic Violence Advocacy Agencies, establishes a new fund to support statewide and local efforts to prevent sexual and domestic violence.

The “Peace Begins at Home” Special Interest License Plate is the first initiative of the Building Healthy Futures Fund. To order a special interest license plate: go to: h…ttp://vsdvalliance.org/secAction/bhff.html to download your license plate application. (make sure when filling out application to check the box for special interest and write Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance for organization name.) Write check made out to “Action Alliance” for $25(non-personalized) or $35 for personalized license plate.

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