NNEDV Urges Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

 

July 26, 2018 – Today on Capitol Hill, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for reauthorization (H.R.6545). This legislation provides critical improvements to VAWA that would ensure survivors can access vital resources to heal from trauma and rebuild their lives. We commend Congresswoman Jackson Lee’s leadership and her dedication to championing the needs of survivors.

“The Violence Against Women Act has been a game-changer for victims of domestic violence and should be swiftly reauthorized,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of NNEDV. “These proposed improvements will save even more lives and help countless survivors access the resource they need to stay safe.”

Since its original passage in 1994, VAWA has provided crucial resources for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. With each reauthorization, this landmark legislation has been reshaped to better address the needs of survivors and their families. The 2018 bill reaffirms this commitment and makes much needed improvements to the current law, including increased funding for rape prevention education, improving healthcare responses, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and extending financial support services to victims and survivors. Additionally, this legislation provides needed housing protections for victims, and recognizes the sovereignty of Native tribes to prosecute non-Native offenders of sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking, and stalking.

“This bill will take crucial steps towards ending the crisis of homelessness among domestic violence survivors, and give them the opportunity to decide the best way forward for themselves and their families,” said Gandy.  The proposed legislation reauthorizing VAWA would prevent survivors from being evicted or denied housing based on the criminal activity of their abusers. These provisions also prohibit housing discrimination, enables survivors to maintain safe housing through emergency transfers and vouchers, and guarantees survivors the right to seek emergency assistance (e.g. calling 911) without retaliation.

The NNEDV is proud to support this bill, as it closes longstanding loopholes and focuses on the needs of survivors. NNEDV and our 56 state and territory coalitions are urging their Members of Congress to co-sponsor the bill, and support passage before current provisions expire on September 30.

 

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), a non-profit charitable organization, is a leading voice for domestic violence victims and their advocates. NNEDV members include the state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence, which include more than 2,000 local programs and serve millions of victims each year. NNEDV has been a premiere national organization advancing the movement against domestic violence for over 25 years, having led efforts to pass the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and to reauthorize and strengthen countless laws and regulations to increase safety and end violence. To learn more about NNEDV, please visit NNEDV.org.

Is ‘Time’s Up’ the Next Step for the #MeToo Movement?

Story by Megan Garber of The Atlantic | January 2, 2018

For the most part, powerful women. For the most part, wealthy women. For the most part, white women. #MeToo, for all the progress it has made in exposing sexual harassment and abuse—and in exposing the contours of systemic sexism more broadly—has been, from the outset, largely limited in its scope: A movement started, in this iteration, by the famous and the familiar, a movement unsure of how to convert itself from stories into action. The question quickly became: How do you broaden it? How do you move the #MeToo movement beyond the provinces of privilege to be more inclusive, more systematized, more politically effective? How can #MeToo, essentially, move from the realm of the “me” to the realm of, more fully and more meaningfully, the “we”?

One possible answer: Shift its orientation, collectively, intentionally. Move from identifying the problem to actively solving it. On Monday, as 2017 gave way to 2018, more than 300 women in Hollywood—executives, actors, agents, writers, directors, and producers—announced the formation of Time’s Up, an effort to counter systemic sexual harassment not just in the entertainment industry, but also in industries across the country. It is an effort, significantly, that aims to combat workplace sexism at its foundations: through legal recourse. Through improved representation in board rooms and beyond. Through the changing of norms. “We just reached this conclusion in our heads that, damn it, everything is possible,” Shonda Rhimes, who has been closely involved with Time’s Up, toldThe New York Times of the effort. “Why shouldn’t it be?”

The initiative includes efforts to create legislation that will penalize companies that tolerate harassment, and that will discourage the use of the nondisclosure agreements that have helped to silence victims of abuse. It has embraced a mission to reach gender parity at Hollywood studios and talent agencies. And, perhaps most significantly, it includes a legal defense arm that will be administered by the National Women’s Law Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity and that will connect victims of sexual harassment with legal representation. To that end, Time’s Up has established a GoFundMe effort aimed at raising $15 million—from Hollywood honchos and the public at large—to provide legal support to women and men who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace. “Access to prompt and comprehensive legal and communications help,” the campaign notes, “will mean empowerment for these individuals and long term growth for our culture and communities as a whole.” (As of this writing, the campaign has raised nearly $14 million.)

The formation of Time’s Up was announced via a full-page advertisement in the Times and via an ad in La Opinion, a Spanish-language newspaper. The ads were accompanied by a detailed news report in the Times, and also by a social-media campaign—#TimesUp—that included participation from many of Hollywood’s most powerful voices, among them Rhimes, Eva Longoria, Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Lawrence, America Ferrera, Emma Stone, Uzo Aduba, Reese Witherspoon, Jill Soloway, Kerry Washington, Tina Tchen, Rashida Jones, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman, Ava DuVernay, and many, many more.

The simple shift in hashtag, #MeToo to #TimesUp, is telling: While the former has, thus far, largely emphasized the personal and the anecdotal, #TimesUp—objective in subject, inclusive of verb, suggestive of action—embraces the political. It attempts to expand the fight against sexual harassment, and the workplace inequality that has allowed it to flourish for so long, beyond the realm of the individual story, the individual reality. (Reese Witherspoon: “We have been siloed off from each other. We’re finally hearing each other, and seeing each other, and now locking arms in solidarity with each other, and in solidarity for every woman who doesn’t feel seen, to be finally heard.”) One of the prevailing ethics of #MeToo has been the opt-in nature of the movement: To share one’s own story, with all the costs that accompany it, that ethic has acknowledged, is both an act of bravery and an act of privilege. While many have spoken up and spoken out, and should be commended for it, many more have not: The risks of doing so are too severe.

As a result, implied among all the stories that have formed #MeToo’s emerging portrait—all those splashes of color and light—have been all the stories that have remained in the darkness: the long shadows cast by all the people who lack the privileges of publicity. The known unknowns. #TimesUp, though—and Time’s Up, the organization—is an attempt to change that. It was inspired, its collaborators note, not just by the stories of celebrities, but also by a letter sent in November from the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, an organization of farmworker women and women from farmworker families: a letter of solidarity to Hollywood actors who were speaking up and acting out. “Even though we work in very different environments,” the organization, representing some 700,000 workers, noted, “we share a common experience of being preyed upon by individuals who have the power to hire, fire, blacklist, and otherwise threaten our economic, physical, and emotional security.”

Time’s Up, for its part, is, significantly, leaderless: It is run by volunteers and comprised of working groups. (One of those groups oversaw the creation of the commission, led by Anita Hill, that is tasked with creating strategies to end sexual harassment in show business.) And Time’s Up emphasizes the crucial need to move beyond an ad-hoc approach to solving the systemic problems of harassment—the firings of abusers, the earnest promises of executives and leaders to do better—with solutions that are fittingly systematized. Time’s Up is also attempting to offer more quotidian solutions to workplace sexism. It has forged alliances with other organizations aimed at improving representation in the workplace, among them 50/50 by 2020, a group dedicated to achieving gender parity in Hollywood boardrooms. And Time’s Up’s mission statement includes several answers to the question of “What You Can Do”:

  1. Don’t be part of the problem. For starters, don’t harass anyone.
  2. If a person who has been harassed tells you about it, believe them. Don’t underestimate how hard it is to talk about these things.
  3. If you know someone who has been harassed, connect them to resources who can help, such as the ones found here.
  4. If you are a witness or bystander and see a harassing situation, you can help the person being harassed. You could actually intervene. You could confront the harasser. You could also help the person get out of the harassing situation. If you cannot do any of these things, you can still support the harassed person by corroborating and confirming the account of what happened.
  5. You can support those affected by sexual harassment by donating to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.
  6. If you are part of an organization, look at the workforce and the leadership (management, officers, board of directors). Does it reflect the market where you operate and the world we live in? If not, ask why not and do something to move it closer to that goal.
  7. Acknowledge that talent is equally distributed, but work and career opportunities are not. Mentor someone from an under-represented group in your industry. If you are in a position to do so, hire someone who can diversify the perspectives included in your organization; your team will be better and stronger for it.
  8. You can vote with your wallet: in your purchasing, in your investing and in your charitable giving. Spend or give to companies and organizations who have more equitable leadership and opportunities for all.

Time’s Up, in all this, suggests an effort to bring one kind of full-circling to #MeToo: an attempt to move the movement, in a revealing reversal of bell hooks’s phrase, from the center to the margin. It is an effort to bring centrifugal forces to bear on #MeToo’s momentum, helping the movement to radiate out from beyond the privileged few. Is it, in that, fully, satisfyingly inclusive? Is it, on its own, enough? No. No, of course not. (One of the recommendations put forward by the group, according to the Times, is that “women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes speak out and raise awareness by wearing black”—a “solution” that is well-meaning but, compared to the others, notably lacking in political rigor.) But Time’s Up, too, is a way to begin. It embraces the trajectory that forward movement so often adopts, in culture and in politics: a path not of smooth inevitability, but of change that comes in fits and starts. With stories that are shared and then—eventually—converted into action. As Shonda Rhimes summed it up: “If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?”


Original article: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/01/beyond-metoo-can-times-up-effect-real-change/549482/

Fargo Police Chief David Todd featured in NYT Opinion Video on Gun Rights and Domestic Violence

FARGO – Fargo Police Chief David Todd has entered the gun debate on the national stage.

In a video on The New York Times’ website and Facebook page, Todd shares his views on gun rights and gun control, and discusses the death of officer Jason Moszer. “Even as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I have a red line. Individuals with violent records like domestic violence should never be allowed to own a gun,” Todd says in the video.

Interspersed with Todd providing his views, The New York Times video plays images and police radio recordings from the night officer Moszer was shot after Moszer and other officers responded to a domestic violence call.

“My biggest fear is losing one of my police officers,” Todd said in the video.

“Statistically, these (domestic violence calls) are the most deadly calls we get, and the trend is rising,” he added. Todd states in the video that the man who shot Moszer was a convicted felon with a history of domestic violence and who was able to legally own a gun because 10 years had passed since his release from prison.

“It does not have to be this way,” Todd said. “Domestic abusers should not be allowed to have guns.”

According to Todd, federal laws have loopholes when it comes to domestic abusers and guns and he said only 17 states require anyone with a domestic violence restraining order to turn in their firearms. On the other hand, in 2017, eight governors from both parties ignored pressure from the gun lobby and closed some loopholes, Todd said in the video.

“I understand criminals will always find ways to hurt people, but we can still take reasonable steps to prevent deadly acts by people who already have a violent record with firearms,” Todd said.

“We all want fewer people to die from domestic violence and we want our police officers to go home at the end of their shift to be with their families,” he added.

In an interview with WDAY, Todd said he agreed to record the video provided that it was done carefully. “I was not interested in being used as a pawn in a political agenda, so we worked through what my concerns were and I wanted it to be a common-sense message,” Todd said in the interview.

The New York Times contacted Todd, knowing the 2016 shooting death of officer Moszer was still fresh in the minds of people in the community.

“Gun ownership is a part of life here and that is a right we need to preserve, but there are common-sense things we need to look at when we have people convicted of violent crimes or domestic violence that perhaps they lose the right to own that gun,” Todd said in the video.

Millions of New York Times readers saw Todd’s video, and many seemed to agree with his statement.

“Watching comments, certainly more cynical outside our region, but the majority agree with what I am saying,” he told WDAY.

To view the video, click here.

ND SAVIN System to be Renovated

Original article by Daniela Hurtado (KFYR-TV) |
BISMARCK, N.D. – Most crime victims want to know the status of the case against the accused. North Dakota’s statewide automated victim information and notification system or “SAVIN” provides that kind of information.

SAVIN has seen updates in the last three months because of Marsy’s law, which is an expanded list of rights for victims approved by lawmakers last year. As a result of Marsy’s law being approved changes to SAVIN have to be made to better notify victims.

“One of the good things unarguably is that we would be able to provide a lot more information about what’s happened with court cases and with defendents, to give to people who are victims, or even people who are just be interested in the status of certain criminal cases,” said Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota Attorney General.

The three year long renovation to the system will cost more than $800,000, two thirds of which will come from the state’s general fund and the other part from counties and cities.

“I believe it will be a great benefit to the Bismarck City Attorney’s office and provide us with an updated method of providing notification to victims of crimes,” said Jason Hammes, Bismarck Assistant City Attorney

“We now have completed the upgrade for the municipal courts. We’re rolling that out right now. So, that is something from the municipal courts all the Marsy’s Law notices can be sent automatically as soon as all of the cities have signed up for it,” said Stenehjem.

Other things included in the upgrade are juvenile court, sentencing, pardon board and some jail transfer notifications. The Attorney General says this is a long process but with three months in, the kick off of the update is marching along nicely.

Which domestic abusers will go on to commit murder? This one act offers a clue.

Article by  (Washington Post) | November 16, 2017

 

In 2012, while stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Devin Patrick Kelley assaulted his wife and stepson. Kelley was subsequently convicted of domestic violence and released early from the Air Force.

One important detail of the attack: In addition to fracturing the child’s skull and hitting and kicking his wife, Kelley strangled her. If the particular severity of his violence had been better understood and recognized in New Mexico, 26 people, including a 17-month-old baby named Noah, might not have been killed in Sutherland Springs, Tex., this month.

Strangulation inhabits a category all its own in domestic violence as a marker of lethality. A kick, a punch, a slap, a bite — none of these, though terrible, portend homicide like strangulation does. And while the link between mass shooters and domestic violence is increasingly recognized in the public arena, articles and op-eds, strangulation as a specific sign of lethality in the context of domestic violence remains largely unknown.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission recognized strangulation as a marker of dangerousness in a 2014 report and recommended increased prison time — up to 10 years — for those convicted of it. Indeed, 45 states now recognize strangulation as a felony. New Mexico, where Kelley was convicted, is not one of them.

Kelley, as we know now, served just one year for the assault on his wife and stepchild, after which he was discharged from the Air Force for “bad conduct.”

Bad conduct is going 80 in a 55 mph zone. Bad conduct is cutting down your neighbor’s azaleas or flirting with your colleague’s wife. Bad conduct is not engaging in an act so violent that it could take the life of another human being.

Omar Mateen, the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooter, had also choked both his wives and was never charged, let alone prosecuted. He and Kelley should not have had access to guns, true enough, but more to the point, they should have been behind bars.

The list goes on. Take Cedric Ford , who in 2016 fatally shot three of his co-workers and injured 14 others in Kansas, but prior to that was charged only with misdemeanor domestic violence for choking his ex. Then there’s Esteban Santiago. He killed five and injured six in a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport early this year. He, too, had been charged with a misdemeanor after strangling his ex. (Kevin Neal, who killed his wife and four other people in Northern California this past week, had a history of domestic violence, though it’s not clear if that included strangulation.)

Gael Strack, chief executive of the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention in San Diego, says the mere presence of strangulation in a situation of domestic abuse increases the chances of homicide sevenfold. It is a clear trajectory from escalating violence to homicide, of which strangulation is the penultimate act. “Statistically, we know that once the hands are on the neck, the very next step is homicide,” Strack said. “They don’t go backwards.”

Casey Gwinn, president of the Alliance for Hope International and a co-founder of the Training Institute for Strangulation Prevention along with Strack, wrote in an email to me that Kelley “was a rage-filled domestic violence strangler and child abuser who had left every possible lethality marker for a mass shooter we know of in plain sight.”

Yet strangulation, as a signal of dangerousness, is not only overlooked by most law enforcement officers and prosecutors, it’s not always recognized by health-care workers. Symptoms can appear days or months afterward. Victims are regularly released from emergency rooms without undergoing CT scans or MRIs. Most strangulation injuries are not visible enough to photograph, and police often don’t know to look for other signs — including urination, slurred speech, redness around the eyes or scalp, a hoarse voice or trouble swallowing . As a result, injuries are played down in police reports and commonly noted as mere scratches or redness around the neck, according to a study by Strack of 300 nonfatal strangulation cases. Many victims have poor recall of events — often a result of loss of consciousness from the strangulation. In fact, a person can be strangled in less than 12 seconds and never stop breathing.

It wasn’t that Kelley operated under the radar; it was that authorities failed to see and then act on the clues he was leaving. So, while we’re offering up theories as to Kelley’s motives — he was an atheist, he was a liberal, he was mentally ill, he was a loner, he was a weirdo — we can also consider this single fact: He was a strangler.

He was a strangler whose violent act was described as “choking” in the report on his 2012 assault. Law enforcement officers may not have known about strangulation as a marker of dangerousness the night they were called to his home. Or they may not have known how to look for the signs of strangulation. Perhaps they had never been trained. Perhaps they dismissed the call as just another “domestic” in a long string of frustrating domestics. Whatever happened that night, because Kelley was not charged with nonfatal strangulation as a felony, he was not prosecuted accordingly. And because he was not prosecuted accordingly, he was not sentenced to the 10 years he could and should have gotten in prison, where he would remain today. And because he was not in prison, he was out in the world with the rest of us: a dangerous man, legally free and simmering.

 

Original article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/which-domestic-abusers-will-go-on-to-commit-murder-this-one-act-offers-a-clue/2017/11/16/80881ebc-c978-11e7-aa96-54417592cf72_story.html?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.832230ad8e6e

Enhancing the System’s Response to Domestic Cases in North Dakota Training

ND Supreme Court in collaboration with National Council of Juvenile and Family Court (NCJFCJ) are excited to bring Enhancing the System’s Response to Domestic Cases in North Dakota Training.

 The training will be split into two sessions (see the attached invite too)

Monday, November 21 for judges and referees only – ND Capitol

Tuesday, November 22 for judges and multi-disciplinary professional – Radisson Inn, Bismarck

Deadline to register is November 1, 2016 – Limited space!

The training topics include:

  • Exercises to assess batterers behavior
  • Impact of violence on victims and children
  • Civil  and criminal systems’ response
  • Ethics
  • Decision-making regarding full faith and credit and ordering supervised visits and offender treatment

Recommended audience: district judges, justices, referee/magistrates, law students, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, advocates, socials services, child protective services, guardian ad litem, custody investigators,  parenting coordinator or mediator, offender treatment program staff, probation, juvenile court personnel, supervised visitation staff.

Continuing Education Credits are approved for the following:

  • Continuing Judicial Education
  • Social Work CEU’s
  • Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
  • ND POST
  • domestic-violence-training-invite-2

“This is not something we can ignore.”

A presidential candidate’s recent comments about sexually assaulting women exposes what needs to change in our culture in order to end sexual violence. Bragging or joking about sexual violence feeds into a culture where sexual assault is normalized and deemed acceptable. This concept is nothing new, by definition rape culture is the very idea of being surrounded by images, language and other occurrences that not only allows but justifies sexual violence. It means that we are continually being exposed to all forms of media and content that sexualizes and trivializes violence, especially toward women and girls.

To dismiss these comments as “locker room talk” is an insult to boys and men. CAWS North Dakota encourages nonviolent relationships and promotes social change. We echo First Lady Michelle Obama’s statement “This is not something we can ignore.”

The National Sexual Assault Hotline had a 33% increase in online sessions since the comments were aired. Sexual Assault affects all of us. Every two minutes someone becomes a victim of sexual assault in the United States.

We all can help prevent sexual violence. We need to let those in power, as well as those around us know that this is not acceptable. Stand up, intervene, say something when you hear “locker room talk.”

Abuse Resource Network seeking Direct Services Coordinator for Ransom and Sargent Counties

The Abuse Resource Network of Ransom and Sargent Counties is looking for a Direct Services Coordinator 32 hours a week between the hours of 8:30-4:30pm, Monday-Friday).  Some on-call evenings/weekends.  Some travel and overnight training required.  Must have valid driver’s license.  Background check will be conducted.

 

Duties include but not limited to:

Provide crisis intervention, emotional support and case management to victims; arrange emergency shelter and supportive services; assist in filing for protection orders; conduct outreach through public speaking and other means; support decision making process of clients. Monthly Stats and quarterly reimbursement of grants put into database.

Must maintain strict confidentiality in accordance with state law and maintain positive relationships with law enforcement and court personnel.

 

Skills/Abilities:

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience and ease working with a diverse population of clients
  • Ability to handle crisis situations with sensitivity and assertiveness
  • Ability to work as a team, as well as independently and take initiative
  • Flexibility and ability to prioritize job responsibilities
  • Ability to relate with children
  • Non-judgmental
  • Ability to separate your own emotions from those of victims
  • Ability to stay calm in high-stress situations
  • Must respect and maintain strict confidentiality
  • Dependable

Please send resume to: Liz Anderson, Executive Director
lianderson@nd.gov

Abuse Resource Network – PO Box 919 – Lisbon, ND 58054

  1-701-683-5061

 

 

Job Open until filled

Pay – DOE

First Nations Women’s Alliance is seeking to hire an Executive Director

The First Nations Women’s Alliance is seeking to hire an Executive Director. The Executive Director is responsible for overseeing the ND domestic violence/sexual assault tribal coalition. This includes ongoing program development, including maintaining nonprofit organizational status; working with a board of directors; serving as primary representative of FNWA on tribal, statewide, and national levels; overseeing the budget and finances; personnel management; and policy development.

Candidates must have a minimum five years of experience in management and program development in a tribal domestic violence agency and experience working with both tribal and non-tribal entities that are focused on domestic violence intervention and prevention.

The position is full-time with a generous benefit package. The position is Exempt.  The office location is in Devils Lake, ND.For more information, please call FNWA Board President Sadie Young Bird-Barusto 1-701-627-4171, current Director Linda Thompson 1-701-662-3380, or email questions:  fnwa08@gmail.com. Click here to view job listing.

Interested parties may review a complete job description upon request before application deadline July 18. To apply for this position, submit a completed application, resume, and cover letter to:

First Nations Women’s Alliance

103 North College Drive, #3

Devils Lake, ND 58301

CAWS North Dakota announces position on Marsy’s Law

CAWS North Dakota announced opposition toward the proposed Marsy’s Law amendment today. Alongside CAWS North Dakota, a group of victims’ advocates and County State’s Attorneys held a press conference in Bismarck to outline concerns with the proposed state constitutional amendment.

 

According to CAWS North Dakota’s Executive Director Janelle Moos, victims have multi-faceted needs and a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work as outlined in Marsy’s Law. This pre-packaged constitutional amendment is not geared towards what’s best for victims in North Dakota.

 

CAWS North Dakota stands with other partners committed to improving access to and promoting the rights of victims currently outlined in state law. Victim service providers and their partners are well positioned to work together to create policies, language and implementation strategies tailored to the needs of victims in our state.

 

“We believe there will be unintended consequences about the unknown impact on an already overwhelmed system with additional requirements without additional resources. Constitutional measures, although well intentioned are often not clearly defined until litigation (case law), making it difficult to modify or implement.  For example, such possible litigation over defining who is a victim may create disadvantages because it could limit or frustrate successful resolution to victims of crime,” said Moos.

 

CAWS North Dakota has been advocating for the rights of victims by building institutional relationships and helping shape public policy since the late 1970’s. In 1987, under the leadership of CAWS North Dakota, the organization joined other states in passing 21 bills that created broad protections for all victims of crime often referred to as the victim’s “fair treatment standards”. (NDCC 12.1-34). Under this statute victims and witnesses are afforded 18 rights including the right to be notified of the status of the investigation and whether criminal charges have been filed, to be notified of pre-trial release, to be present and participate in court proceedings, to be informed of services available, to be protected from the release of any identifying information, and the right to submit a victim impact statement.

 

North Dakota has a rich history of collaborative problem-solving through organizational, administrative and legislative processes that date back to 1979 when the first domestic violence statute was passed.  This process has allowed time for discussion, negotiation and transparency in creating language and consensus to bring forward change that benefits victims.