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Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence

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Ways to Support Stalking Awareness #6 – Support a Victim

If you suspect someone is a victim, ask if they are safe or need someone to talk to. Explain that free and confidential services are available at their local sexual or domestic violence program.

RAINN has a list of Sexual Assault Centers around the nation.

In Virginia, the Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance has a list of centers around the state.

The Virginia Commonwealth University has tips for students.

 

End Sexual and Domestic Violence In Virginia -join the Action Alliance

Want to be part of the voice against violence? Want to impact health and safety in your community in a positive way? Want to provide support to survivors of interpersonal violence?

Join the statewide coalition and engage actively in the work to end violence in our communities.

Membership Information

Questions about membership? For more information email info@vsdvalliance.org

Become or Renew a Membership on-line

Membership Types

Standard Individual/SDVA Staff $30 Lifetime Member $1000 (PDF Brochure)
Affiliate Membership $250 Sexual & Domestic Violence Advocacy Membership (3-10 FTEs) $500
Sexual & Domestic Violence Advocacy Membership (3 or Fewer FTEs) $250 Sexual & Domestic Violence Advocacy Membership (10-19 FTEs) $1,000
Sexual & Domestic Violence Advocacy Membership (20+ FTEs) $2,000
Individual/SDVA Staff Members

Individual/SDVA Staff ($30)
Benefits =participation in Action Alliance membership meetings, Task Forces and Caucuses; reduced training registration fees; public policy alerts; Revolution
Lifetime Member ($1000)

A lifetime membership constitutes a lifetime connection between you and the Action Alliance. You will never have to pay dues again. Lifetime members will receive all benefits of an individual membership and never have your annual dues increased. Lifetime members will recieve special recognition and be invited to participate in select Action Alliance events.
Affiliate Membership

Affiliate Members: agencies, organizations, businesses and units of state or local government agencies with a commitment to the mission of the Action Alliance ($250)
Benefits in addition to above = resources for victims; access to borrowing public awareness displays (e.g. Silent Witness, Art of Surviving, Beating Hearts)
Sexual and Domestic Violence Advocacy Membership

SDVA Advocacy Members: private non-profit agencies and units of local government, colleges and universities, and military installations whose primary function (at least 75% of activities) is services to victims of sexual/domestic violence and/or community-based prevention of sexual/domestic violence. Tiered membership fee of $250 if fewer than 3 FTEs; $500 if 3 FTEs up to 10 FTEs; $1,000 if 10-19FTEs, $2,000 if more than 20 FTEs.
Benefits in addition to above = Resonance, access to Technical Assitance Calls, access to use of VAdata, reduced Accreditation Fee

Some interesting Research and Literature for Advocates and Providers to check out…

 

Research / Literature

Preventing Children’s Exposure to Violence: The Defending Childhood Initiative
by Sarah B. Berson, Jolene Hernon and Beth Pearsall
An NIJ-funded evaluation takes a close look at communities developing strategies to address childhood exposure to violence. See attached PDF file labeled 238485.

New summer 2012 issue of Age in Action, published by the Virginia Center on Aging and the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services can be found at http://www.sahp.vcu.edu/vcoa/newsletter/ageaction/agesummer12.pdf

Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives is the latest research report from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media. We surveyed over 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds nationally to understand how they perceive social media (like Facebook and Twitter) affects their relationships and feelings about themselves. Read highlights from the study in the info graphic below, and visit our research page to download the full report. http://www.commonsensemedia.org/research

The Perfect Shade of Change: Resources for Sexual Violence Preventionists Creating Safe & Healthy Communities
This information packet provides guidance to prevention practitioners at local, state, tribal, territory, and national organizations to work more effectively toward the goal of eliminating sexual violence in their communities.  http://nsvrc.org/publications/nsvrc-publications-information-packets/perfect-shade-change-resources-sexual-violence

 

SlutWalk – RVA style…. come out and advocate against victim blaming

On Saturday, September 22, Richmond will hold its first SlutWalk.  SlutWalk Richmond has been organized much like SlutWalk Toronto, first held last April in response to the statement the Toronto Police made that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”.  As news of that event grew, the international outcry and support were astounding.  The purpose of these walks is to change the perception of sexual assault and what has become known as “slut-slamming”.

In 2010*, 4,687 forcible sex offenses were reported in the state of Virginia.  Sexual offenses as a whole remain largely unreported to law enforcement.  Only half (50%) of the individuals seeking sexual assault crisis services had reported their assault to law enforcement.  It is clear that there is still a sense of shame and blame surrounding a crime that is not the victim’s fault and needs to be admonished.

We will join communities around the world this year as we bring awareness to the Richmond area, which is home to more than five colleges, young adults and many sexual assault survivors.  As the organizer of this local event, I am encouraging everyone to attend the walk to show his or her support for our community’s sexual assault survivors, to bring an end to derogatory remarks and victim blaming, and to remove the thought that a person’s attire and behavior solicit being sexually assaulted.

This is a grass roots event with no formal financial support but is funded by passion, sweat and tears.  I am asking local galleries and artists to align their missions with the mission and principals of SlutWalk Richmond and be one of our Allies.  My hope is that by including community Allies on the SlutWalk Richmond website, people will realize the scope and importance of promoting education about rape and sexual assault.  You will become an important part of our community’s awareness.  Should you wish to be more than an Ally and be one of our Supporters, you will help further the success of the event.  Donations toward promotion materials, posters, advertising and permits would be greatly appreciated.  This day will be a victorious milestone for sexual assault survivors.

For more information on how we can all work together to raise awareness of sexual assault issues, please feel free to call Helen Rogers at 804.484.4908, or e-mail slutwalkrichmond@gmail.com.  Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Helen Rogers

Chairperson/ Organizer

SlutWalk Richmond . 2012
www.slutwalkrichmond.org

“Like” us on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/slutwalkrichmondva

*Statistics provided by the “Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Virginia” 2011 Annual Report 

Virginia General Assembly Report 2012

Priority Areas for those interested in sexual or domestic violence related legislation.

1. Protect Funding for Crisis and Safety Services – While it is good news that the adopted budget in the 2012 session does not propose any additional reductions in funding for sexual and domestic violence services, unfortunately the adopted budget uses one-time fund balances to restore $1.2 million in funding for domestic violence services that was at risk due to changes in the administration and availability of TANF funds. These one-time funds will not be available in 2014 or beyond. Thus, the $1.2 million in funding for the core services will be eliminated when this short-term solution is no longer available unless other funds are allocated for these purposes.

2. “Peace Begins at Home” specialized interest license plate – DEFEATED. These bills were continued to 2013 because the required 450 pre-paid applications were not collected. These bills would have authorized the issuance of revenue-sharing special license places bearing the legend: PEACE BEGINS AT HOME to support the programs of the Action Alliance for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence in Virginia. Help us get this passed next year. Sign up to buy a license plate through your local Virginia center or the Action Alliance.

3. Enhance the Prosecution of Strangulation – PASSED! These bills make strangulation a felony in Virginia. The law provides that any person who, without consent, impedes the blood circulation or respiration of another person by knowingly, intentionally and unlawfully applying pressure to the neck, causing wounding or bodily injury is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

4. Improve Virginia’s Response to Sexual Assault on College Campuses – PASSED!
SB 302 (Senator Howell) & HB 965 (Delegate Rob Bell) – 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. These bills do not mandate any one law enforcement to take the lead over another.
SB 301 (Senator Howell) & HB 969 (Delegate Rob Bell) – These bills add chiefs of campus police located within the jurisdiction to the list of persons the Attorney for the Commonwealth must invite to the annual meeting to establish guidelines for a coordinated response to sexual assault.

5. Strengthen the Enforcement of Federal Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Convicted of Domestic Violence SB 224 (Senator Herring) – DEFEATED – This bill would have created a way to differentiate charges and convictions for assault and battery that involved the use of physical force from convictions for assault and battery that did not involve physical force. 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 due to federal court decision, U.S. v. White, issued in 2010.

Information provided from The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. Contact Kristine Hall at 804-377-0335 or khall@vsdvalliance.org for more information.

More reports on tomorrow’s blog…

Virginia’s Sexual Assault Crisis Centers are here to help

In 2010, Sexual Assault Crisis Centers in Virginia…

  • responded to 61,860 hotline calls
  • offered 50,949 hours of advocacy services to 4,903 adults
  • provided 26,570 hours of advocacy services to 2,123 children

Survivors of sexual violence who have received advocacy services from Virginia’s Sexual Assault Crisis Centers have said the following:

“I feel so strong when I am here. I feel safe, supported, and not judged.   I have more tools to help me be safe and happy in my life.”

 “My children are getting the help they need.”

 “Everything about this experience has been positive. I have learned more about myself, who I am, and what I really want in life for me and my children and have been able to set goals for myself to better our future!

  I loved my advocate. She was there for me from the beginning of it all, causing me to feel supported!!!

 “The support group was the most positive experience. I really, really had a need to hear from other women who are survivors of sexual abuse.”

  “It’s rewarding to feel good about myself and the services I’ve received have given me back my confidence.”

 Source of all data on this fact sheet: VAdata: The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Data Collection System, 2010.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month – Virginia Facts

 

Sexual assault affects every community in Virginia

 Nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime while 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime. 1

 Approximately 80% of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and almost half ex­perienced the first rape before age 18 (30% between 11-17 years old and 12% at or before the age of 10). 28% of male victims of rape were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.2

 Sexual assault profoundly affects children and teens

 56% of youth report experiences of sexual assault and coercion. 

In 2010, Sexual Assault Crisis Centers in Virginia…3

  • responded to 61,860 hotline calls
  • offered 50,949 hours of advocacy services to 4,903 adults
  • provided 26,570 hours of advocacy services to 2,123 children

  

You can help too…

  Three out of four people affected by sexual violence turn to family and friends for help before contacting a Sexual Assault Crisis Center.4

 

1 -2  National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), 2010. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published December, 2011.

3-4      VAdata: The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Data Collection System, 2010.

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

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.

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