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Domestic Violence

Understanding Violence in a Household

Understanding Violence in a HouseholdWhat is Violence?

Violence is classified as the undertaking of behavior, activity, expression, or sentiment with the expressed purpose of causing harm, facilitating damage, and inciting pain and harm with regard to the individual or individuals considered to be victimized by such violence. Violence can be expressed either in speech or action, which entails a vast array of variations in which violence can take place:

The Prosecution of Domestic Violence

Due to the fact that violence is considered to be comprised of both purpose and intent to cause damage, harm, and pain, there exists an implicit attribution of intent within criminal offenses undertaken through the use of violence. In the event that a charge of Domestic Violence is brought forth within the realm of a legal hearing, the defendant in dispute of those charges will typically retain the burden of proof with regard to the illustration that the acts of violence undertaken were done so either without the expressed intention of causing harm or within the classification of measures undertaken with regard to self-defense.

Aggravated Domestic Violence

Elements differentiating violent crimes classified as ‘aggravated’ from additional violent criminal activity can be substantiated in the presumed presence of violence, malice, and the intent to cause harm within the criminal activity in question; in many cases, an aggravated domestic violence charge will include the perpetrator of aggravated domestic violence undertaking any of the following measures with regard to the criminal charge:

Aggravated Domestic Violence may include the use of a deadly weapon to cause physical harm or injury

Aggravated Domestic Violence may include the use of an expressed threat to murder, maim, or rape the victim

In certain jurisdictions, the classification of ‘aggravated’ may be implicit within a domestic violence charge in the event that the act took place within a household or in front of children residing within that household

Varieties of Violence within Domestic Violence Charges

The following types of violent acts are amongst the most commonly brought forth in the event of domestic violence charges:

 
Physical Domestic Violence

Domestic violence enacted in a physical manner, which constitutes physical abuse or assault sustained a member of a romantic partnership at the hands of another member of the romantic partnership; physical domestic violence charges taking place within a household can include:

Physical Assault

Neglect and Physical Abuse

Aggravated Attack

Emotional and Psychological Domestic Violence

Domestic violence enacted in an emotional or psychological manner, which constitutes verbal abuse or the demeaning of a member of a romantic partnership as expressed by another member of the romantic partnership; physical emotional and psychological violence charges taking place within a household can include:

Emotional Abuse

Verbal Assault

Aggravated Threats

Sexual Domestic Violence

Domestic violence enacted in a sexual manner, which constitutes physical sexual abuse or sexually-charged verbal assault or harassment sustained a member of a romantic partnership as a result of the expression – both physical and verbal – set forth by another member of the romantic partnership; sexual domestic violence charges taking place within a household can include:

Spousal Rape

Aggravated Threats

Assistance for Victims of Domestic Violence

In the event that an individual has been made aware of ongoing Domestic Violence, or has been party to Domestic Violence that has occurred in the past, they are encouraged to contact their local authorities or law enforcement department in order to report the details of the offense. In the event that an individual wishes to do so in an anonymous fashion, they have to opportunity to contact the appropriate government department, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline through their 24-hour telephone number: (800) 799-7233. Remember, no one deserves to be victimized by Domestic Violence; a multitude of resources and assistance exist.

Am I Victim of Domestic Violence?

Am I Victim of Domestic Violence?

What is Domestic Violence?
A Domestic Violence definition is the victimization of and individual or individuals resulting from abuse, attacks, or assault undertaken by their respective partners within the realm of a romantic relationship; however, a simple Domestic Violence definition is considerable difficult to address the many natures of domestic violence, due to the fact that domestic violence may not only take place within a variety settings, but also through the involvement of a vast array of individuals victimized, as well:
What is Domestic Violence Victimization?

Domestic Violence victimization is defined as both the nature and classification with regard to the individual victims of domestic violence offenses. Studies undertaking the investigation of the identification of domestic violence victims cite women as accounting for almost 85% of domestic violence victims; furthermore, within that percentage, women between the ages of 20 and 24 are considered to account for the majority of domestic violence victims – however, the classification of domestic violence victims includes the following details:
The Domestic Violence definition of victimization cites that individuals may include married couples, intimate partners, or individuals sharing a residence; furthermore, Domestic Violence Facts will include the vast array of races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic stature

What is Domestic Violence Taking Place on a Physical Level?
A domestic violence definition of domestic violence taking place on a physical level may include any of the following natures of abuse facilitated by the abusive party:
Physical abuse is defined as damage, harm, or injury enacted upon one individual onto another individual or entity
Aggravated physical abuse is defined as the use of a deadly weapon to cause harm, damage, or injury with regard to another individual or entity
What is Domestic Violence Taking Place on both Emotional and Psychological Levels?
A domestic violence definition of domestic violence taking place on both psychological and emotional levels may include any of the following natures of abuse facilitated by the abusive party:
Threats are defined as the unlawful, conditional expressions of criminal or negative recourse contingent on the behavior of the recipient of the threat itself; threats are typically extortive in nature – aggravated threats include threats posed resulting in murder, rape, or maiming
Verbal and psychological abuse is defined as both speech and expressions set forth, typically demeaning, insulting, damaging, or threatening in nature 

What is Domestic Violence Sexually-Charged in Nature?

A domestic violence definition of domestic violence classified as sexual in nature may include any of the following natures of abuse facilitated by the abusive party:
Spousal rape is the act of forced, non-consensual intercourse enacted by a partner of a romantic relationship onto the other; regardless of the participation within a romantic relationship, the severity of a spousal rape offense is considered to be analogous to a standard rape charge
What is Domestic Violence Assistance?

Domestic Violence assistance is defined as the provision of helpful and preventative resources that are available for victims of domestic violence; however, despite the many domestic violence cases taking place within modernity, half of these Domestic Violence acts go unreported – in the event that an individual has been made aware of ongoing Domestic Violence, or has been involved within Domestic Violence cases that have occurred in the past, they are encouraged to contact their local authorities or law enforcement department in order to report the details of the offense:
A multitude of resources and assistance exist; please contact the appropriate government department, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline through their 24-hour telephone number: (800) 799-7233
Individuals are also given the opportunity to report Domestic Violence offenses in an anonymous fashion; remember, no one deserves to be victimized by Domestic Violence

5 Things You Need to Know About Domestic Violence

5 Things You Need to Know About Domestic Violence

The Definition of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is defined as abuse enacted by one or both partners involved within a romantic relationship; amongst the most common examples of domestic violence can include enacting physical assault, the posing of threats, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse undertaken within the realm of a romantic partnership. 


Settings and Victims of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is considered to be fairly expansive in nature, due to the fact that it may span a vast expanse of victims, activity, and severity applicable to individual cases:
Domestic violence can take place within a variety of romantic relationships, including married couples, individuals cohabitating, or individuals considered to be romantically involved
Domestic violence can take place without regard to for race, religion, or ethnicity; furthermore, domestic violence may range on both a locational, as well as a socioeconomic basis
Domestic violence is not specific to sexual orientation; although less common than heterosexual domestic violence cases, homosexual domestic violence does exist
While women are cited as accounting for almost 85% of the victims of domestic violence, males are liable to become victims of domestic violence, as well; studies show that approximately 1 out of every 33 males have been the victim of rape or an attempted rape
The Effect of Domestic Violence on Children

The subjection of children to domestic violence is considered to result in the direct endangerment of that child – or children’s welfare; in a multitude of cases, the exposure of children to domestic violence results in both trauma, as well as psychological and emotional damage experienced by that child. 
The presence of domestic violence within a household portrays a negative influence with regard to the raising of children, which results from neglect, disrespect, and violence; studies have demonstrated that children produced from households in which domestic violence has taken place are prone to repeat such behavior.
Preventing Domestic Violence

The proliferation of knowledge, facts, information, support, and assistance is not only contributory to the protection domestic violence of victims, but such preventative measures serve as effective methods of domestic violence prevention. 
Not only will raised awareness contribute to individuals who have been the victims of domestic violence to be made aware of their respective victimization, but perpetrators of domestic violence may be persuaded to end the abusive behavior in tandem with measures undertaken to stop domestic violence tendencies.
Identifying Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence can take place in a variety of forms; some of which are visible, others are not. In many cases, noticeable bruises, injuries, and other types of identifiable trauma will serve as prominent signs of Physical Domestic Violence. Conversely, signs of emotional, sexual, or psychological domestic violence may range from subtle to invisible; law enforcement agents and advocacy groups rely on the testimony of domestic violence victims to compensate for unobservable signs of domestic violence:
However, despite the existence of institutions providing resources, refuge, and protection for those victimized by domestic violence, only 50% of Domestic Violence cases are reported
Assistance for Victims of Domestic Violence
In the event that an individual has been made aware of ongoing Domestic Violence, or has been involved within Domestic Violence cases that have occurred in the past, they are encouraged to contact their local authorities or law enforcement department in order to report the details of the offense – individuals are also given the opportunity to report Domestic Violence offenses in an anonymous fashion. Help is available upon contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline through their 24-hour telephone number: (800) 799-7233.

4 Important Domestic Violence Facts Questions Answered

4 Important Domestic Violence Facts Questions Answered

What are Domestic Violence Facts?
Domestic Violence Facts illustrate the rate at which domestic violence takes place within applicable locations and jurisdictions; Domestic Violence is classified as any type of abuse assault undertaken by one member of a cohabitant or romantic partnership onto another member of a partnership. 
Domestic Violence Facts can include married couples, intimate partners, or individuals sharing a residence; furthermore, Domestic Violence Facts will include the vast array of races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic stature.


Why are Domestic Violence Facts Important?

The release of Domestic Violence Facts have occurred in conjunction with the growing rate of Domestic Violence taking place within modernity, in addition, to the tragic results and traumatic fate for which it has been responsible with regard to the individuals victimized. The release of Domestic Violence Facts is undertaken for a variety of purposes:
The release of Domestic Violence Facts allow for a heightened awareness of the damage, injury, and destruction caused by domestic violence; the awareness can be perpetuated on both domestic and international levels
The release of Domestic Violence Facts allow for individuals to directly access the alarming information and statistics inherent within the multitude of domestic violence cases taking place within modernity
The release of Domestic Violence Facts allows for individuals who have been – or are currently – victimized by domestic violence to become aware of resources, assistance, and protection from the abusive situation in which they may currently find themselves


Who are the Victims of Domestic Violence?

While the victims of domestic violence are reported as spanning the demographics of age, sex, and gender, Domestic Violence Facts list women as the majority of domestic violence victims – Domestic Violence Facts cite the victimization of women as accounting for upwards of an 85% victimization rate:
On an annual basis, almost 5 million domestic violence cases take place, which include physical assault and rape
Domestic Violence Facts cite women between the ages of 20 and 24 as accounting for the majority of victims of domestic violence
With regard to fatalities resulting from domestic violence cases, the total number of deaths was reported as being almost 2,500; Domestic Violence Facts listed women as accounting for 70% of these fatalities
How Can I Get Help if I am a Victim of Domestic Violence?

Despite the alarming numbers expressed within available Domestic Violence Facts, many Domestic Violence acts go unreported; in the event that an individual has been made aware of ongoing Domestic Violence, or has been involved within Domestic Violence cases that have occurred in the past, they are encouraged to contact their local authorities or law enforcement department in order to report the details of the offense:
A multitude of resources and assistance exist; please contact the appropriate government department, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline through their 24-hour telephone number: (800) 799-7233
Individuals are also given the opportunity to report Domestic Violence offenses in an anonymous fashion; remember, no one deserves to be victimized by Domestic Violence

10 Urgent Domestic Violence Statistics that You Must Know

10 Urgent Domestic Violence Statistics that You Must Know

What are Domestic Violence Statistics?

Domestic Violence Statistics are released in order to elucidate the presence of Domestic Violence occurring within modernity, as well as historically; primarily, Domestic Violence Statistics are set forth by various advocacy groups in order to prevent the proliferation of Domestic Violence both through the facilitation of education, as well as awareness of the tragic and damaging nature of this criminal offense.
What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is classified as the criminal act enacted by one – or both members – of a romantic partnership, which may result in damage, harm, or injury sustained; individuals involved in both the facilitation and victimization of domestic violence may include married couples, intimate partners, or individuals cohabitating – furthermore, Domestic Violence the classification of domestic violence requires the presence of abuse, assault, or attack.
Types of Domestic Violence Statistics

Domestic Violence Statistics can reflect the wide range of physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological abuse experienced by members of a romantic partnership – sexual orientation nor marital status, gender, race, creed, religion, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. 
10 Urgent Domestic Violence Statistics

The following Domestic Violence Statistics were collected between the years of 2009 and 2010:
The majority of Domestic Violence cases are seldom reported to authorities
Females classified as being between the ages of 20 and 24 are considered to be the primary victims of Domestic Violence
The majority of Domestic Violence cases involve victims who undergo cohabitation with the perpetrator
Upwards of 15% of females have either been the victims of rape or attempted rape; upwards of 1 male in 30 have been the victim of rape or attempted rape
While almost 90% of Domestic Violence victims are women, almost 10% of men are considered to be Domestic Violence victims
Almost 1.5 million individuals are victimized by Domestic Violence on an annual basis
Upwards of 25% of women will be the victims of Domestic Violence or attempted Domestic Violence
The collective costs of physical, emotional, and psychological measures of recovery for Domestic Violence victims has been listed as almost $6 million annually
Almost 17,000 individuals have been killed with regard to their victimization of Domestic Violence 
Upwards of 80% of women interviews reported to have been – or are currently – the targets of stalking enacted by past romantic partners

Assistance for Victims of Domestic Violence
Despite the alarming numbers expressed within Domestic Violence Statistics, many Domestic Violence acts go unreported; in the event that an individual has been made aware of ongoing Domestic Violence, or has been party to Domestic Violence that has occurred in the past, they are encouraged to contact their local authorities or law enforcement department in order to report the details of the offense – individuals are also given the opportunity to report Domestic Violence  offenses in an anonymous fashion. 
Remember, no one deserves to be victimized by Domestic Violence; a multitude of resources and assistance exist; please contact the appropriate government department, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline through their 24-hour telephone number: (800) 799-7233. 

The Importance of Sharing Domestic Violence Stories

The Importance of Sharing Domestic Violence Stories

What are Domestic Violence Stories?

Domestic Violence Stories are recounts of experiences, which individuals who have been victimized by Domestic Violence may choose to express in order to report the details and circumstances of their respective victimization from abuse, assault, and attacks resulting from physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual activity. 
The Importance of Domestic Violence Stories

Domestic Violence Stories may be shared for a variety of purposes, which may include the desire to provide for added support, assistance, and preventative measures with regard to fellow victims of domestic violence. 
Although the implicit nature latent within the vast expanse of Domestic Violence Stories is subject to variance in the nature of the abuse, as well as the details, severity, and the victims involved, the sharing of Domestic Violence Stories provide support and informational resources with regard to both the growth of awareness and preventative measures available with regard to the prevention of Domestic Violence:
Due to the fact that women are considered to account for upwards of 85% of the individuals victimized by domestic violence, the ability for a female victim of domestic violence to share her respective domestic violence stories with other victims provides for a structured support network alerting current victims of assistance, resources, and options available to them
Domestic Violence Stories may be shared within a vast array of forums or settings, which can include lectures, workshops, focus groups, literature, and seminars – all of which may allow for the abuse suffered by victims of Domestic Violence to proliferate the awareness of the potential damage latent within each circumstance of Domestic Violence taking place

Types of Domestic Violence Stories
Domestic Violence Stories will typically range with regard to the victims involved, settings, and abuse suffered upon the individual victims; the following are amongst the most common types of domestic violence stories:
Domestic Violence stories illustrating domestic violence in its physical form may include the mention of physical attacks, assaults, and expressed threats of violence
Domestic Violence stories illustrating domestic violence in both emotional and psychological forms may include the mention of verbal abuse, the posing of threats, and demeaning and insulting acts undertaken by the abusive partner
Domestic Violence stories illustrating domestic violence in its sexual form may include the mention of spousal rape, sexual abuse, verbal harassment sexual in nature, and sexually-charged threats posed by the abusive partner

Assistance for Victims of Domestic Violence

Despite the alarming rates at which domestic violence takes place, almost half of the Domestic Violence cases go unreported. In the event that an individual has been made aware of ongoing Domestic Violence, or has been party to Domestic Violence that has occurred in the past, they are encouraged to contact their local authorities or law enforcement department in order to report the details of the offense – individuals are also given the opportunity to report Domestic Violence offenses in an anonymous fashion. Remember, no one deserves to be victimized by Domestic Violence; a multitude of resources and assistance exist; please contact the appropriate government department, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline through their 24-hour telephone number: (800) 799-7233. 

The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence

The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence

The House has renewed the Violence Against Women Act, and that marks a step in the right direction for victims of sexual and domestic violence. This new legislation is stronger than the older version, which was enacted in 1994, in that it expands and creates federal programs that help victims of sexual and domestic violence. In addition to re-establishing provisions of the older law pertaining to domestic violence, it provides new provisions for Native American women and LGBT victims of sexual and domestic violence.

(More on  News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

Since its inception in 1994, VAWA has provided a comprehensive approach to tackling the issues of sexual and domestic violence. One of the ways it did this was by improving how the criminal justice system responded to sexual and domestic violence. It required, for instance, that regardless of a victim’s level of income, victims are not required to pay for their own rape exam or for service of a protection order.  

VAWA required that a victim’s protection order be recognized by all states and territories in the country, and helped to increase conviction and prosecution rates by helping communities to develop dedicated law enforcement units that dealt specifically with victims of sexual and domestic violence.

In 2011, more than 24,000 incidence of domestic violence were reported to law enforcement in Kansas. That same year, nearly 4,000 victims of domestic violence in the state sought emergency shelter, and nearly 17,700 women and children received non-residential assistance in relation to domestic violence.

The Kansas Coalition  Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) aims to eliminate and prevent both sexual and domestic violence. The KCSDV hopes to achieve this goal through effective coalition building among service providers to ensure quality service for victims of domestic violence, statewide educational efforts, advocacy and enhancement of victim services.  In 2011 alone, the 29 member programs of the KCSDV provided nearly 97,000 shelter nights to victims of sexual and domestic violence, provided 53,230 supportive counseling hours and served 21,705 victims face-to-face.

The following is an interview with Joyce Grover, executive director of the KCSDV, on her thoughts and feelings about the recent reauthorization of VAWA, and the work of her organization in the realm of domestic violence.

In your opinion, what does the recent passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) signify for the women's rights movement?

Both the recent passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and its original passage in 1994, acknowledge the historical nature of violence against women.  For millennia, women and children have been subject to violence in the home, in effect, owned by the husband/father.  As we began to move away from this cultural, social and religious definition of family, the impact of violence became more apparent. So, instead of “regulating” what violence against women was allowed, this violence has been outlawed.  Each reauthorization of VAWA is another step along the continuum of equal and fair treatment of women and girls.  One day, all of us hope to live in safe homes and to be safe on our streets and in communities.

Do you believe the new version of VAWA goes far enough to protect women against domestic violence?

Each version of VAWA has provided increased protections for women.  Because sexual and domestic violence have long been a part of our history, both in this country and globally, the changes increasing protection for victims of sexual and domestic violence will likely be incremental.  For example, early versions of VAWA addressed domestic violence without addressing sexual violence; those protections are critical.  Earlier versions of VAWA did not include full protection for immigrant victims; we now know how critical those protections are for immigrant victims. VAWA has never been fully funded; that is critical. Does the new version go far enough to protect women against domestic violence?   Probably not; as we increase protection for victims of domestic violence and sexual violence, we will find the gaps and we will seek to improve VAWA in the next re-authorization.

The new version of VAWA includes historic provisions for Native American Women and members of the LGBT community. Do you think the law as passed represents a step in the right direction for American Indian women and LGBT people in the United States?

Yes, absolutely.  This is an example of how the work of ending violence against women changes over time.  Our work has to include all victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  When we have a gap in protection for victims, rapists and abusers will take advantage of that gap.  That is what was happening for Native American women specifically.  Our work to end this historically and culturally acceptable violence has to include all victims.

What has your organization been able to achieve in terms of advancing the cause of domestic violence victims?

The recognition of domestic violence as an important issue identified by Congress has alone advanced protections for domestic violence victims.  In the mid to late 1980’s before VAWA existed, only law suits brought attention to the issue.  Today, VAWA has allowed us to create consistent training curricula across the criminal justice professions; increased the availability of resources, model response policies, and community collaboration; increased advocacy services; and changed laws that created barriers to safety.  And, not only has this organization advanced the cause of domestic violence victims, with VAWA, we have also been able to identify sexual violence as a similarly critical issue.  The response to sexual violence is advancing with similar initiatives and collaborations.  

As a society, do you believe we have come a long way since the initial passage of VAWA in 1994?

Yes, I do believe we have come a long way since the initial passage of VAWA in 1994.  Historically, victims have been blamed for the abuse they have experienced.  Question such as: “Why doesn’t she just leave?” and “Why was she at that party drinking?” are questions that support a culture of violence against women.  While those questions are still being asked, I believe many people are more likely to identify them as part of the rape culture or the culture of victim blaming.  When the President and Vice-President and Congressional leaders say violence against women is wrong and must end, we have come a long way!

Public policy changes made as the result of VAWA are increasing safety, accountability and justice for victims of sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking. For example, we now have domestic violence units in some of the larger prosecutors’ offices and law enforcement agencies.  Victims can access advocacy services, allowing them to navigate these often intimidating and confusing systems.  Confidentiality for victims is now a critical safety consideration under VAWA.  Immigrant victims can access remedies only available because of VAWA.  With VAWA, we are now able to provide training on sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking to criminal justice professionals, judges, attorneys, direct service programs, teachers, social workers, and many, many more professionals.  We have the ability to work collaboratively with each of these professionals.  And, each of these professionals impacts the lives of victims as they try to address the violence.

There is much, much more to do.  VAWA has never been fully resourced by Congress.  For every law enforcement officer, attorney, or social worker who now understands the dynamics of sexual and domestic violence, there are hundreds or thousands of others who do not and who need to be reached with information and resources.  Until all victims receive appropriate support and responses from all systems, our work is not done.  Until perpetrators of sexual and domestic violence are held accountable for the violence and victims are not the first to be blamed, our work is not done.

If you need help, contact the Kansas Domestic Violence HOTLINE for immediate assistance.  You can learn more about the issue by visiting the Domestic Violence page.

Progress on Domestic Violence in Utah

Progress on Domestic Violence in Utah

The House recently renewed the Violence Against Women Act, marking a huge step forward for victims of domestic violence. This new legislation is more powerful than the older version, which was enacted in 1994, in that it both expands and creates federal programs that help victims of domestic violence. In addition to re-establishing provisions of the older law pertaining to intimate partner violence, it provides newly established legal protections for Native American women and LGBT victims of domestic violence.

(More on  News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

Since its inception in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has provided a holistic approach to tackling the issue of domestic violence. One of the ways it did this was by improving how the criminal justice system responded to domestic violence. It required, for example, that regardless of a victim’s income level, victims are not required to pay for their own rape exam or for service of a protection order.  

VAWA required that a victim’s protection order be recognized by all states and territories, and helped increase prosecution and conviction rates by assisting communities in developing dedicated law enforcement units that dealt with victims of domestic violence.

The Violence Against Women Act also continues to provide funding for the training of over 500,000 prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officers every year so that they are better equipped to respond to the victims of domestic violence. Rape victims were more empowered to talk to police and prosecutors about being sexually assaulted after the bill created the “rape shield law,” which meant that during a rape trial, the defense for the rapist may not use a victim’s sexual behavior in the past against them.

The Utah Domestic Violence Council (UDVC) is a nonprofit organization that is recognized nationally as the state domestic violence coalition in Utah. The UDVC plans and conducts state needs assessments, provides technical assistance and training, serves as an information clearinghouse and collaborates with governmental bodies that deal with domestic violence victims. Established in 1978, it works closely with the 22 domestic violence coalitions in the state of Utah.

The following is an interview with Peg Coleman, executive director of the UDVC, on her thoughts and feelings about the recent reauthorization of VAWA, and the work of her organization in the realm of domestic violence.

In your opinion, what does the recent passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) signify for the women's rights movement?

I think it is an acknowledgment that there is still much more work to be done.  Violence and oppression still exist in our culture. Protections ARE still needed.

Do you believe the new version of VAWA goes far enough to protect women against domestic violence?

I think there are things that can be improved. There is still a great need for support for shelters and victims’ services that are truly empowerment based and not beholding to another system such as police or prosecutors.  Advocates are needed there, but there so many vulnerable people who face barriers in accessing those services that are often housed in the criminal justice system

The new version of VAWA includes historic provisions for Native American Women. Do you think the law as passed represents a step in the right direction for American Indian women in the United States?

Yes. A step forward in giving greater access to safety for victims and more accountability for perpetrators.

What has your organization been able to achieve in terms of advancing the cause of domestic violence victims in the state of Utah?

We have an amazing group of dedicated, passionate people at the table. Many organizations and political folks are invested.  Utah has very effective advocates that are housed in public programs. They do remarkable work as do our police and judicial system. Utah victims have access to legal services to assist with protection orders. Utah as a system demonstrates compassion.

Do you believe Utah has come a long way since the initial passage of VAWA in 1994?

Utah has a proud history with VAWA. Not only senator Hatch but Diane Steward of Utah was one of the first OVW directors.  We still have a long way to go in ensuring there are adequate services. With such a proud start in the movement to end violence against women, I think we took a turn that mis-focused the attention from holding perpetrators accountable towards pathologizing victims.  I believe that with the passage and expansion of VAWA  we can get back to our roots and open our hearts to all victims of violence.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please visit the Hotline for Utah Domestic Violence Council. You can learn more about the issues covered in this article by visiting the Domestic Violence page.

Equality Now: Leading the Global Fight to End Domestic Violence

Equality Now: Leading the Global Fight to End Domestic Violence


The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was recently signed into law. This new version of the original 1994 legislation both expands and creates federal programs that help victims of domestic violence. This new legislation also provides legal protections for Native American women and LGBT victims of domestic violence. It passed by a vote of 286-138 in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Obama on March 7th.

(More on  News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

The bill authorizes funding for a national registry of forensic evidence and for more rape kits. VAWA also strengthens trafficking statutes, and even covers men as well. Non-native partners of native women will no longer be immune from prosecution because they committed their crimes on tribal lands, where tribal police could not arrest them and local police originally did not have jurisdiction.

Domestic violence is by no means limited to the United States, but is prevalent throughout the world. Different countries have differing levels of acceptability regarding domestic violence, and intimate partner prevalence rates vary from country to country, with some 69 percent of women reporting domestic violence in some countries, and only 10 percent reporting the same in others. Forms of domestic violence are diverse, and range from acid burning and honor killings, to rapes and bride burnings.

Equality Now is a nonprofit women’s rights organization whose aim is to protect and promote the human rights of women and girls all over the world. Founded in 1992 by three prominent attorneys, it works to eliminate sexual violence, discrimination in law, trafficking and female genital mutilation. It aims to achieve these objectives through international advocacy, conducting strategic litigation, awareness-raising, partnerships and coalition-building and strengthening international and regional human rights laws.

The following is an interview with Shelby Quast, Senior Policy Advisor for Equality Now on her views on the recent reauthorization of VAWA, and Equality Now's work in the realm of domestic violence.

What does the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) signify for women everywhere?

It was more what a lack of passage signified – that Congress is truly broken.  Passage of VAWA, including the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, and reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act signify that the rights of women and girls' – all women and girls – are human rights.  We still have a long way to go – toward full protection of rights and implementation of the laws but we are moving forward.  

Do you believe VAWA could inspire change in legislation in other countries?

It is important not only within the US that VAWA was signed into law but also symbolically to those fighting violence against women and girls around the world.The United States is one of the top donor countries, both to the United Nations and in bi-lateral assistance.  It is important that the US lead by example.  While what the US does may not always inspire change in other countries what it does not do can often support a lack a change — Equality Now often hears from its partners that the fact the US is one of only six  countries that has not signed the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has been used by other governments to show that CEDAW is not important and need not be implemented. The US really needs to step up and ratify CEDAW.

The new version of VAWA includes important provisions for LGBT people and Native American women. Do you think the law as passed represents a step in the right direction for both groups?

Of course; everyone has a right to live a life free from violence – including Native American women and members of the LGBT community. Unfortunately, women and girls from all backgrounds, in all corners of the world are still subjected to violence and discrimination.  We must continue to advocate not only for the passage of laws that protect women and girls from violence but full implementation of these laws, including education regarding these rights, full access to justice when these rights are violated and accountability when the laws are not implemented.

What has Equality Now achieved in terms of advancing the cause of domestic violence victims here and abroad?

Equality Now advocates for the legal rights of women and girls around the globe and supported passage of VAWA in the US.  We see too often that those charged with protecting the best interests girls often do not do so; family members are often complicit in, if not the perpetrators of, violations against women and girls. Equality Now's work includes supporting legal actions, advocating for the passage of laws and raising awareness on various issues including, for example: incest in Pakistan; incest involving the disabled in Uganda; child marriage in Yemen; forced marriage in Ethiopia; sex trafficking in the US, and sex tourism in Brazil.

Equality Now is involved in partnerships and coalition building, for example, Equality Now is the Secretariat for the Solidarity for African Women's Rights (SOAWR) in Kenya, Secretariat for the all-party parliamentary group for FGM in the UK, on the Steering Committee for the Coalition for Adolescent Girls in the US, and is an active member of International Coalition of Girls Not Brides and GNB USA, the Anti-trafficking Coalition, Civil Society Working Group on Women Peace and Security, among others.

Now that VAWA has been reauthorized, would you like to see the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), which would address violence against women through U.S. foreign policy, signed into law one day as well?

Yes.  One in three women will be the victim of abuse during her lifetime.  Violence against women and girls takes many forms including rape, female genital mutilation, early and forced marriage, domestic violence, dowry deaths, honor killings, human trafficking, sex tourism, incest, and sexual violence by those in positions of power, including armed forces. In addition to its international work, Equality Now works in Washington, DC to inform and hold accountable US foreign policy on issues regarding human rights of women and girls.  It is important that US foreign policies supports local programs that not only addresses victims of violence but also support local efforts to ensure women and girls avoid becoming victims of abuse.  US and military personnel, including contractors, should not only be better trained on how to protect women and girls from violence but held accountable when their actions violate international and US laws and policies such as the US Zero Tolerance policy on human trafficking. IVAWA can help with such efforts.

For more information about women’s rights movements here or abroad, please visit the Equality Now website. Learn more about Domestic Violence by clicking the link.

Fighting Domestic Violence in the Ocean State – The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Fighting Domestic Violence in the Ocean State - The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The House recently reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, which is great news for victims of sexual and domestic violence. This new bill is stronger than the older version, which was enacted in 1994, in that it both creates and expands federal programs that help victims of sexual and domestic violence. In addition to re-establishing provisions of the older law pertaining to sexual and domestic violence, it provides newly established legal protections for LGBT victims of sexual and domestic violence and Native American women. The bill also includes provisions for documented and undocumented immigrant domestic violence victims. For example, documented immigrant victims who are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, can now petition for independent legal status so that they are not forced to remain in an abusive relationship with the partner who initially provided sponsorship. VAWA also has a visa option for undocumented immigrants in abusive relationships.

(More on  News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has provided a holistic approach to dealing with the problems of sexual and domestic violence. One of the manners it did this was by changing how the criminal justice system responded to sexual and domestic violence. It required, for example, that regardless of a victim’s income level, victims are not required to pay for service of a protection order or for their own rape exam.

VAWA required that a victim’s protection order be recognized by every state and territory in the United States, and helped increase prosecution and conviction rates by assisting communities in developing dedicated law enforcement units that dealt with victims of sexual and domestic violence.

The Violence Against Women Act also continues to provide funding for the training of over half a million prosecutors, law enforcement officers and judges annually so that they are better equipped to respond to the victims of sexual and domestic violence. Rape victims were more empowered to talk to police and prosecutors about being sexually assaulted after the bill created the “rape shield law,” which meant that during a rape trial, the defense for the rapist may not use a victim’s sexual behavior in the past against them.

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) was formed in 1979 with the goal of putting an end to domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV serves to provide support to the six domestic violence prevention agencies in the state. It advocates both locally and nationally, promotes community organizing in regards to domestic violence prevention and raises awareness about domestic violence.

The following is an interview with Deborah DeBare, executive director of the RICADV, on her thoughts and feelings about the recent reauthorization of VAWA, and the work of her organization in the realm of domestic violence.

In your opinion, what does the recent passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) signify for the women's rights movement?

I think it has been a tremendous milestone.  The fact that it has been blocked for the last couple of years was troubling, but the fact that it went through swiftly a few weeks ago shows clear signs of progress.

Do you believe the new version of VAWA goes far enough to protect women against domestic violence?

I think the most important thing is that it got passed. This is the strongest version yet, and I don't think we will ever know if VAWA went far enough until domestic violence is eradicated.

The new version of VAWA includes historic provisions for Native American Women and members of the LGBT community. Do you think the law as passed represents a step in the right direction for American Indian women and LGBT people in the United States?

Absolutely! These were a couple of the stumbling blocks, and it seemed imperative that VAWA protects all victims regardless of sexual identity, or whether or not they are Native American. I actually witnessed the signing and the woman who introduced Vice President Biden, Diane Millich, was a Native American of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and she shared her story about marrying a non-Indian man who moved to her reservation and abused her, but the tribal authorities could not prosecute him because he was not Indian. The only reason he was ever prosecuted by the federal government was because when he had fired a bullet meant for her, he accidently hit and injured a non-Indian!  If the new VAWA was law at the time, her tribe would have had the ability to arrest her abuser.

What has your organization been able to achieve in terms of advancing the cause of domestic violence victims in the state of Rhode Island?

We have developed a comprehensive network of victims’ services, shelters, transitional housing, counseling and support services in every corner of the state. We also established a comprehensive program for law enforcement.

Do you believe Rhode Island has come a long way since the initial passage of VAWA in 1994?

Absolutely! There is a world of difference now, and there has been a change in the commitment of the legal system in its response to domestic violence.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please contact the RICADV for help. For more information on domestic violence, please visit the Domestic Violence Page.

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