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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.

CAWS North Dakota receives Community Innovation Grant

BISMARCK – The Consensus Council, in partnership with The Bush Foundation, has awarded eight grants to organizations in North Dakota through the Community Innovation Grant program. CAWS North Dakota received $10,000 for statewide resource planning.   Currently, there are 20 domestic violence and sexual assault crisis centers across North Dakota that provide services to all 53 counties and the four reservations. However, not all victims and survivors are able to access these services. Grant funds will be used to help CAWS North Dakota facilitate conversations in communities to help identify what victims need and want in order to be safe. Due to growing communities, especially in western North Dakota, crisis centers are continually asked to do more, often without additional funding. In order for these crisis centers to be sustainable in the future under these challenging circumstances, programs will be provided an opportunity to examine, rethink and modernize services.

During this year long project, CAWS North Dakota will work with a consultant to create a process for crisis centers to assess their services, generate the best way to deliver these services and determine the most effective approaches to operations. As a result, CAWS North Dakota will be able to identify key questions, help crisis center’s evaluate how best to meet the needs of victims and communities and develop a plan to modernize services.

“We are very excited about the opportunity that funding from the Bush Foundation offers. Many of our programs have been in operation for over 30 years and have expanded their services in response to the needs of survivors and communities. We rarely have an opportunity to reflect on the work we do and if we can find ways to improve our service delivery and accessibility for survivors,” said Janelle Moos, CAWS North Dakota’s Executive Director.  

Other grantees in North Dakota are as follows; from Bismarck–‐Mandan: Heart River Lutheran Church for the Bridges of Hope project, the ND Department of Health for Creating a Hunger–‐Free ND Coalition, and Charles Hall Youth Services for mentoring and academic tutoring of foster care children. From the Fargo area, grantees include the African Initiative for Progress for work with the immigrant community, and Theatre B, to use theatre as a tool to teach medical humanities. Additional grants were made to the Grand Forks Community Land Trust for their efforts toward home ownership for people of low and moderate income and to the Great Plains Institute (MN) for the Legacy Fund Initiative in North Dakota.

Nonprofit organizations and government entities of all sizes are eligible to apply for Community Innovation Grants from the Consensus Council ranging from $500 up to $10,000. The Community Innovation Grants support communities to use problem–‐solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions. The program is part of the Bush Foundation’s effort to support, inspire and reward community innovation.

ABOUT CAWS North DakotaCAWS North Dakota is a nonprofit membership organization representing the 20 domestic violence and sexual assault crisis centers throughout the state. It is our mission to provide leadership and support in the identification, intervention, and prevention of sexual and domestic violence. CAWS North Dakota is a member of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. For more information, go to www.ndcaws.org.

Planning underway for 2nd annual Race to Zero 5K!

BISMARCK— Planning for the second annual Race to Zero: Run/Walk for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention is underway and registration is now open. The 5K event is intended to raise public awareness about sexual violence throughout the lifespan as well as military sexual trauma. This year, Race to Zero will take place on Saturday, April 12, at the Hay Creek Trail Loop with registration and displays in Shiloh Christian School.

April is both Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. In 2012 alone, more than 900 victims of sexual assault sought help from crisis intervention centers throughout the North Dakota (2013 statistics are still pending). Nearly 40 percent of victims were under the age of 18 at the time of the assault. The Pentagon reported that in 2012, more than 26,000 military service members experienced unwanted sexual contact. Nationally, more than half of sexual assaults go unreported. The intent of the race is to encourage community conversation about sexual assault awareness and prevention. Support for survivors from the larger community can translate into better response for victims of sexual assault and ultimately, change social norms like silence and victim blaming.

Pre-registration is $20 and participants receive a Race to Zero t-shirt the day of the event. Registration the day of the race is $25. Check-in and day-of registration begins at 8 a.m. in the Shiloh Christian School Elementary foyer, and the race begins at 9 a.m. Racers can register for either competitive or non-competitive categories. A small awards ceremony and light refreshments will be held after the race. Educational and outreach displays and activities will be located in the chapel of Shiloh Christian School (just inside the elementary entrance).

To help spread the word about the race, please visit www.facebook.com/RacetoZero or register directly on Eventbrite at https://racetozero.eventbrite.com. For more information about registration, please contact Stephanie Gerhardt at 701-225-6240 or sgerhardt@ndcaws.org. For more information about the race, contact primary organizer Heather Mattson at 701-333-3293 or heather.m.mattson5.civ@mail.mil.

Race to Zero: Run/Walk for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention is a collaborative project between the Abused Adult Resource Center, Bismarck Prevention Task Force, CAWS North Dakota, the North Dakota National Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program (SARP), Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota (PCAND), and Region 7 Foster Care/Adoption Recruitment Coalition. Along with advocacy centers around the state, these agencies work toward a shared goal of zero sexual assaults in North Dakota.