Making changes in national law to protect victim/survivors of domestic violence!

Archive for March, 2012

Are you an avid blogger with a passion for domestic violence justice?

We had a meeting  last night with some contributing authors.  Still looking for more though. 

If you have a passion for domestic violence cause, especially if you are a survivor yourself, contact me and let me know.  When you contact me, please let me know your background and experience (…and I’ll send you more information and details. :)


Have a great day!!

Dedicated to all domestic violence victims and survivors…

To all those struggling… may we find justice! It’s an attitude thing… to not give up in the progress of obtaining laws across the U.S. that are focused upon protection of all domestic violence victims and survivors.

Have a great day!!

Memo from the Coalition of Women Prisoners about and in support of the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (A.7874-A/S.5436)

We received this recently to add to our blog site about this law being presented in the Courts. What is particularly interesting to note, besides the attempt to have alternative sentencing for (verified) victims of domestic violence to be considered who have committed crimes against the abuser, it also denotes specifically psychological abuse as well, which seems to be left out of many legislation about domestic violence oftentimes.

Let us know your thoughts on the DV Survivors Justice Act.

(You may need to double click on the link below to see the actual memo sent to us.) Thanks!

DV SJA CWP Spt Memo 5-24-11 FINAL

Why A Survivor Needs Programs

Recently, I was asked, “Why does a survivor of domestic violence (and/or sexual violence) need a program that provides resources and/or support?” To me, it’s clearly simple — a survivor needs it to be able to thrive.

When one finally gets out of a domestic violence situation where one felt imprisoned, controlled, alienated from others, have civil liberties personally diminished, told that they are not good, that they are not beautiful, that they cannot do anything right, and so much more, they are oftentimes victimized by the resources not fully available in their areas, they cannot seem to think straight (or have forgotten the skill set to be able think on their own due to their dating or marriage partner repeatedly telling them that they cannot even make decisions right) in order to find resources on their own or make a decision what to do next.

Additionally, as good as our domestic violence programs have become more predominant in many communities, they are simply not available in all – especially, in the rural communities. Victims/survivors in rural communities have to think even more creatively when coming up with their safety plans and/or strategies because the nearest program may be 100, 200, or sometimes 300/400 miles away, as well as police in those areas may not be able to respond as quickly due to factors such as not enough staffing on their law enforcements (especially per area covered) and/or simply the distance covered in order to respond to a call.

It might take a village to help others, but it also takes all types within a village to help others. It’s not just the police (or type of law enforcement available in that area), not just the hospital/physicians, not just the teachers, not just the domestic violence programs that open their doors to victims and try to educate as many in their community (and/or neighboring communities), it’s not just the hotlines, it’s not just the counselors, and….the list can go on and on. Everyone has funding limitations which affect the reach of their arms. With more programs stepping forward to bring something unique to the surface that can, perhaps, help to create a means to fill in any gaps, that others working together to protect all victims and survivors helps, too, to build a force that cannot be reckoned with.

We need all survivors to participate (when they are healed enough to participate and share their voice – so that they aren’t re-victimizing themselves) and help others to be able to succeed in becoming a survivor — and, not just at the mere instance that they are currently in the crisis. For many, that survival requires ongoing resources to help facilitate their independence from their abuser and not to have depended upon them any longer. Set them up with institutions who will train them how to keep a checkbook from going into overdraft mode and how to start some sort of an investment for their and their child(ren)’s future. It might require providing them an insight on good, affordable nutrition so that they and their child(ren)’s future might be increased further by living healthy. It might look like being there for them when their abuser tries to get their child custody modified and give them an encouraging word and/or additional resources that fits their needs at the time, after all, you can’t jam up a survivor with too many resources, etc. that they don’t necessarily need at the time, but may need in the future; often times, the trauma will only allow them to proceed one step at a time.

As we know, different challenges present themselves all the time. No one may have absolutely ALL the answers, but we can come as close as possible to that we can and/or stop a moment a moment to help them find the resources that may be able to provide the answers. What path of recovery and/or healing journey will look like for one, will look totally different for another; therefore, the programs available to them cannot be looking like it has been stamped out of a mold of another.

As a survivor myself, I have a passion to help others. I have personally chosen a path that isn’t typical of most — I have graduated from a paralegal program and studied criminal justice, been a Court Appointed Special Advocate (“CASA”) and Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”) to help represent the child(ren) in the Courts in their best interests, been a Guardian for someone that was in a State Home, been a family eldercare advocate, been a shelter advocate, worked in a thrift store supporting victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, been a victims’ advocate in a police department to help provide support to victims, and worked in a hotline to provide crisis intervention support for domestic violence victims/survivors calling in to get help. On the other side, I have also been involved with a variety of survivor support group programs and strive for more change through making changes in laws – and/or gathering support for various survivor voices to come forward and speak out. I provide outlets for them to share their voice through Domestic Violence Voices and other venues. Presently I am contributing to one book for one author and have started two domestic violence guide books to help others with the help of an author. It never, ever seems to be enough.

We need to reach out in any way that we can, via any means that we can, and to as many as we can. I’m here now with National Domestic Violence Survivor Law Project to do that, as I am presently involved too with the Survive2Thrive Foundation. The numbers continue to rise and the victims continue to be killed by the very hands of those they had loved in spite of the hurt received by them. A goal is to save every life that we possibly can, and, in the event that we simply cannot anticipate every victim/survivor, that we help all those that we can possibly reach. If even a few lives are altered and saved, I shall consider myself a success in my advocacy work.

I’d love to hear more about your roles in what you are doing to help curb domestic violence and/or sexual violence from occurring and re-occurring time and time again, and/or be repeated behavior in generations of families.

May all survivors survive and thrive to be able to live out their lives “happily ever after” and as it was really intended for them to live and enjoy, and, in turn, pay it forward to help others who cross in their paths as well — after all, it really does take a community – right?

The Law, Race and Gender unit takes on the "unconstitutionality" of the Traditional Courts Bill

Reblogged from

While we, here in the United States, have trouble ensuring that the rural America is as well educated on the current trends of the laws 100% of the time, albeit that has been changing with technology, in Africa, they are further challenged by the rural communities are still operating under 1927 law that did not allow women to represent themselves in the governmental process. There has been a curiosity of a debate in the United States about the current update of VAWA 2012; can you imagine if women weren't even allowed to have their voices represented -- especially, if in the rural communities? It would be wonderful to have the global, international communities to be on the same page of being able to give all women internationally voices to be heard so that women are not harmed, no matter what part of the world they are in -- and, no matter if they are in the city or rural communities? Wouldn't it be a blessing to see that one day that we could have an iVAWA (International Violence Against Women Act) introduced one day? This will only be possible, if the women's voices all over are clearly represented in the courts and legislative processes throughout the world. Just a thought to consider....while viewing this article and video.

Violence Against Women in the Military

Reblogged from Wider Opportunities for Women Blog:

Women who are working hard to keep our country safe are being victimized at alarming rates. The Department of Defense estimated that 19,000 service members were raped or assaulted in 2009. Furthermore, the Pentagon detailed a 58.5 percent increase in reported sexual assaults at service academies in 2011. While we commend the brave women who are taking a stand in military schools and the active ranks, too few are coming forward: according to the DOD only 13.5 percent of assaults were reported.

Read more… 330 more words

Thanks, Malore Dusenbery, for sharing this post. One of the issues of domestic violence in the military has been focused upon the men coming back from their tours and committing domestic violence upon their loved ones that they have returned home to (allegedly due to the PTSDs that they are suffering, but not adequately being treated for when they return home). Not so well known is the women in the military also suffering harm from sexual assaults while on tours as well. I know that there is a need for the military to help maintain world peace; however, at what cost to our own people? and, the victim of war also include the numbers of thousands of people dying while providing service to our country. Looks like we're going to have to pay attention to the progress of HR 3435 being presented in the US House. Please help to keep us posted on the progress from time to time, if you will.

More on the debate of passing VAWA of 2012

I received an email from Debby Tucker who was requesting a call to action first and foremost. Her entry into the debate is outlined below the call to action:

I was honored to be invited to submit an entry in this U.S. News & World Report Debate Club and would sincerely appreciate your review of my submittal and those of several others.

You must go to the actual page at the link above to find the arrows up and down on each article posted and to add your votes to this debate.

I would be grateful for clicking the UP on my article to support advancing VAWA’s reauthorization.

Thank you, Debby

Should the Violence Against Women Act Be Reauthorized?
Violence Against Women Act is Working

The Violence Against Women Act must be reauthorized because it is working



By Deborah D. Tucker , Executive Director of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence

March 19, 2012

About Deborah D. Tucker:

Deborah D. Tucker is executive director of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence. She was the founding chair of the National Network to End Domestic Violence during its leadership in the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 and serves on the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women.

The Violence Against Women Act must be reauthorized first and foremost because it is working. Violence in domestic and dating relationships is declining, and we are also actively seeking to prevent sexual violence and stalking.

Nevertheless the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, and other studies available on the Research and Statistics section of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence website tell us that nearly one in four women are beaten or raped by a partner during adulthood, and each year approximately 2.3 million people are raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former intimate partner. One in six women and one in 33 men has experienced an attempted or completed rape. In the United States, an average of three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day.

[Read: Dems Put GOP in Political Box Over Women's Issues]

One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. Children exposed to violence are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes. Men exposed to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence as children are almost four times more likely than other men to perpetrate domestic violence as adults. Many costs are associated with these crimes—medical, legal, absenteeism from work and school as well as the incalculable damage to individuals and families.

Advancing a Coordinated Community Response, a linchpin of the initial Violence Against Women Act in 1994 that was enhanced in the reauthorizations of 2000 and 2005, was based on what we had learned. Then-Senator, now Vice President Joe Biden created> this federal effort to impact the incidence of violence across our nation with input from the National Network to End Domestic Violence and its members State Domestic Violence Coalitions, State Sexual Assault Coalitions now comprising the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence , and other advocacy groups. Coordinated Community Responses encourage social services, criminal justice, education, civic groups, and many more to partner with rape crisis centers, battered women’s shelters, State Domestic Violence Coalitions, State Sexual Assault Coalitions, national community based and governmental organizations. These partnerships change cultural norms and institutional practices that support rather than prevent the use of power and control over others. Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act in 2012 will make it possible to continue full speed ahead to end this violence.

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domestic abuse

Don’t forget to respond to the call for action! :)

Stalking IS a C-R-I-M-E!

Reblogged from Anny Jacoby, Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Specialist, Personal Safety Consultant & Instructor:

Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post


“He Was Really Scary…I Had a Stalker”

Me and my mom were volunteering to set up for a dance at a country club. We’d already volunteered a few times, but this time we met a few other volunteers there. There was a woman and her son. So her son kept coming up to me and asking me questions about how to set up the tables and where they kept the food we were supposed to put out, so basically all of the questions the guy who owned the place had already answered.

Read more… 1,351 more words

Thanks, Anny, for sharing that survivor story and the well-written article. Unfortunately, too many folks go through similar stalking situations and, like domestic violence, knows no special age, race, education, etc. boundaries. It can happen to anyone indeed. Love your suggestions of what to do if you find yourself in that situation. Working upon National DV Survivor Law Project in helping to make things safer for victims and survivors on a national level. Keep me posted on this topic!

Stalkers and Their Victims

Reblogged from The Just Call Me Charley Blog:

This article on stalking is authored by Paul E. Mullen, M.B.B.S., D.Sc., and Michele Pathý, M.B.B.S. | April 1, 2001.

More Like This Stalking: The Veiled Epidemic

Being Stalked–An Occupational Hazard?

Comprehensive Treatment of Stalking Victims

Psychiatrists and Clinical Sexuality

More > >

Stalking” is defined as repeated and persistent unwanted communications and/or approaches that produce fear in the victim.

Read more… 669 more words

This statement: "California passed the first anti-stalking statute in 1990, followed shortly by the rest of the United States as well as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and now some European countries. It was only after stalking became a specific form of offensive behavior that behavioral scientists and health care professionals began to systematically study stalkers and, equally important, the impact of their conduct on the victims." is disturbing that it took passing of laws to finally really buckle down and perform studies on the stalking behavior. You wrote this article back in 2011. I don't see anything done after that point in time. Are you still researching this topic? Do you have any more current information from your research on this topic? Thanks!

Author's Comment on "Police: Five Found Dead in Maryland Home" - US news - Crime & Courts -

Reblogged from The Just Call Me Charley Blog:

Author’s Comment:

I used to live in this town with my ex-husband and four children. My ex, a domestic violence felon in possession of nine counts of illegal guns and ammunition was “set free” by Sheriff Chuck Jenkins without so much of a warrant or indictment. Upon confiscating the weapons on April 22, 2011 after eight months of my initial complaint, I was informed that no warrant was obtained; that the guns were retrieved by the sheriff’s “ATF liason”; that NO report would be filed; that no charges were pressed; and that Sheriff does not intend to pursue the matter any further.

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Thank you for sharing the story about the domestic violence killing in Maryland, as well as your own comment. I am currently working with a project called National Domestic Violence Survivor Law Project ( and I am curious as to what has been happening since June 18, 2011. We'd love to hear more!

Topeka, Kansas Decriminalizes Domestic Violence

Reblogged from Wicked Women Magazine:

Click to visit the original post

Yes, really.  Domestic violence is no longer a crime in the city of Topeka.  And – like so many bizarre and dangerous decisions being made around the country these days – it’s because of the budget.

Topeka’s city council found itself unable to come up with the money to prosecute those charged with domestic violence, a budget shortfall of about $1 million for the upcoming year. 

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Dani - I can't agree more! It is a huge difference. I know that a group of us got mad and furious from a local Survivor Voices group and through the Domestic Violence Voices (found on fb) supported and challenged this through a petition through I'm not sure of the final income though, are you? Is it still decriminalized, or did the DA finally give in and buckled down on these cases? I'm currently working on a National DV Survivor Law Project ( and would love to know if you have an update on this. :)

2012 National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence

Reblogged from In The News...:

Click to visit the original post

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rape combined. And studies suggest that up to ten (10) million children witness some form of domestic abuse annually. Everyone has a right to be safe.

Research data indicates that when different members of the community coordinated their efforts to protect battered women and hold batterers accountable, these efforts were more successful.

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Somehow, the following statement reminds me of Hilliary Clinton as she stated "It takes a village,...[to raise a child]": Research data indicates that when different members of the community coordinated their efforts to protect battered women and hold batterers accountable, these efforts were more successful. Coordination helps to ensure that the system works faster and better for victims, that victims are protected and receive the services they need, and that batterers are held accountable and cease their abusive behavior. It comes at no surprise that we have a National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence. They are right though, with more concerted efforts from the community, there can be a decrease of domestic violence, especially when the abusers are held accountable. We have been trying to bring about this awareness for decades. I'm not sure that with the medical community alone's participation in looking after victims and trying to protect them, but it is a HUGE start. We get on a better page with all medical community, along with law enforcement and courts, etc. and other members of the community, we could actually resolve domestic violence for good. At least, it is always our hope and dreams!

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey

Reblogged from In The News...:

Click to visit the original post

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first findings from The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) on December 14th, 2011 and is available online. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is an on­going, nationally representative survey that assesses experiences of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence among adult women and men in the United States.

Read more… 79 more words

If you haven't read the statistics yet, these can be interesting indicators of trends -- positive and negative...

VAWA Reauthorization 2011

Reblogged from In The News...:

Click to visit the original post

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rape combined. And studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic abuse annually. Everyone has a right to be safe. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) gives law enforcement, prosecutors and judges the resources they need to hold offenders accountable, keeps communities safe while supporting victims, and provides critical funding for prevention and education.

Read more… 1,223 more words

This has specific call to actions that mention dates in early March, but I don't think it can ever be too late to check with your legislators to see how they are voting for this Reauthorization of VAWA.

Survivor Speaks: Ohio’s Dating Violence Protection Bill

A survivor speaks out about teen dating violence in the famous TedTalks series.

March 9th 2010
Ohio Senate Passes Dating Violence Protection Bill
Ohio Senators have unanimously passed a House bill that would allow juvenile courts to issue protection orders for minors in dating relationships.

The Ohio House of Representatives is expected to concur Wednesday. The legislation would then go to Gov. Ted Strickland, who is expected to sign it.

The bill was inspired in part by the plight of Cleveland teen Johanna Orozco, who was shot in the face by her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend in 2007 has had numerous operations. Orozco wanted to get a protection order, but Ohio juvenile courts cannot issue them against minors.

An advocacy group said in a national survey last year that only a handful of states have laws enabling minors the same protection order rights as adults.

This was Ohio in 2010! It’ll be interesting to follow-up with them to see how effective the law has changed since then.

“Teen Dating Violence: What do we really know?”

As we look at the cute couples in High School you would never think that 1 and 5 teens that have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.  This is a subject that we don’t talk about over coffee or on lunch break.  Most of all this wouldn’t be a subject an abused teen would speak with their parents about.  1 in 3 girls who have been in a serious relationship say they’ve been concerned about being physically hurt by their partner.  To change these astounding numbers we have to speak up and speak out about Teen Dating Violence.  No matter what parents of the victims have to be supportive no matter the frustrations.  Here are some of the signs to look for:

  • Falling or failing grades
  • Increased instances of indecision, stops giving her own opinion
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Use of drugs/alcohol, not just experimentation
  • Emotional outburst, not just mood swings
  • Depression
  • Will become isolated, insist on more privacy
  • Physical signs of injury cuts, bruises, etc.
  • Makes excuses for the abusers behavior
  • Begins to put herself/himself down.


  • Is extremely jealous, hypersensitive and controlling
  • Verbally abusive and threatens violence
  • Has unpredictable mood swings, with instances of explosive anger
  • Uses drugs and alcohol not just experimentation
  • Isolates their partner from friends and family
  • Uses force during an argument, physical and emotional
  • Believes in rigid sex roles women are a possession
  • Blames others for his problems or feelings
  • Has a history of abusive relationships.

Stay open with your teen and be honest about Teen Dating Violence.  Be Honest about how common it really is and keep the lines of communication open with who they are dating.  Always remember you are not your child’s best friend you are their parent.  Support and understanding is the biggest thing that you can give your child with dating and teen dating violence.  Speak up and Speak out against violence and you can involve your teen too in this process.  Getting your child involved will also teach him or her that it isn’t the right relationship to be a part of.  These tools should help keep you more educated and your teen safer.  Remember there is NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE.

CALL FOR ACTION – Virginia Parents – CPS-Custody Study

I received a note this week from the following person on my LinkedIn profile, requesting help to find parents in Virginia who are interested in participating in this study.  Feel free to utilize the link to find out more information.

I have a project right now where I am trying to contact Virginia Parents who may be interested in improving our CPS and JDR Courts through a JLARC study. If you have connections that you feel may be interested, please feel free to invite them to:

Thank you,
Rhonda Kirschmann



Crossing Oceans

Crossing Oceans

Might be a great motto for our project… ;)

~ Kat

We begin.. March 2012

We are fascilitating a voice to change established State laws to the national level through awareness to the masses about the issues surrounding domestic violence victims and survivors, which are trying to make a movement to provide guidance from the national level in helping to better protect the victims and survivors of domestic violence. Guest bloggers, who are already domestic violence advocates and/or already experts in the field of domestic violence laws and the need for change to incur to better protect all victims and survivors in the future, will also provide input to help provide further structure and guidance in advocating for changes. Enjoy and be prepared to be informed, have continued education on these issues and receive call to actions as we proceed with our efforts! We encourage victims and survivors to provide input through the comment and/or occasional guest blogging.

Heather Piedmont, Policy Director &
Kathryn Krastin, Advocacy Director & Technical Support


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