Archive | September 2007

Nichelle Mitchem Discusses Common Myths Concerning Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a private family matter between a husband and a wife.

  • Domestic violence is a crime against society.
  • About 1 in 3 American women have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.  (Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: the Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999)
  • In 1996, 30% of all female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1997)
  • 40% to 60% of men who abuse women also abuse children. (American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family, 1996)

Women and men engage in domestic violence at approximately the same rate.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:

  • 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
  • Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers.
  • 50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse. (Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005))

Domestic violence only happens to poor women and women of color.

  • Domestic violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of  any socio-economic status, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.

Some people deserve to be hit.

  • No one deserves to be abused. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser.
  • Physical violence is against the law.

Alcohol, drug abuse, stress, and mental illness cause domestic violence.

  • Domestic violence is a learned behavior.
  • Abusers choose to abuse his/her partner.
  • Alcohol use, drug use, and stress do not cause domestic violence. The afore-referenced conditions might exist in a relationship where domestic violence is present, but they do not cause the violence. Abusers seek to find excuses for their violence. Generally, domestic violence is rarely caused by mental illness, but it is often used as an excuse for domestic violence.

If the relationship is abusive, she would just leave.

  • There are many reasons why women may not leave. Not leaving does not indicate that the relationship is healthy.
  • Research has taught us that leaving can be very dangerous for victims of domestic violence. Actually, in some cases, the most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to  leave.

Domestic violence is not a problem in my community.

  • Research indicates that women worldwide experience domestic violence.

For information on domestic violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website www.thehotline.org or call 800-787-3224.

Sources: Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: the Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999. (Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Justice, NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005). Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1997.

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Kinship Care Support Act (HR 2188/S661)

Senator Hillary Clinton introduced Kinship Care Support Act in February of 2007 (S661) and Danny Davis introduced this legislation in May of 2007. The Kinship Caregiver Support Act,  “Authorizes the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services to make grants for kinship navigator programs to state agencies, metropolitan agencies, or tribal organizations with experience in addressing needs of kinship caregivers or children and connecting them with services and assistance.

Amends part E (Federal Payments for Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Social Security Act to authorize all states to opt to enter agreements to provide kinship guardianship assistance payments on behalf of children to grandparents and other relatives who have assumed legal guardianship of children for whom they have cared as foster parents and have committed to care for on a permanent basis. Allows states to use part E funds to make such payments under specified conditions. Provides that adoptive parents of children with special needs remain eligible for adoption assistance, even if they receive kinship guardianship assistance. Authorizes the use of foster care independence program funds to provide independent living services and education and training
vouchers for children who exit foster care to kinship guardianship or adoption
after age 16. Authorizes kinship guardianship demonstration projects. ”

Requires states to:  (1) notify all adult grandparents and other adult relatives (with exceptions due to family  or domestic violence) when a child is removed from custody of a parent or  parents; and  (2) explain the options the relative has to participate in the child’s care and placement. Allows state agencies to establish separate standards for foster family homes in which a foster parent is a relative of the foster child.

Source: Kinship Care Support Act (HR 2188/S661). opencongress.org. govtrack.us.

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