Archive | January 2013

New Jersey Improves Access to Affordable Housing for Veterans

soldiers

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 62,619 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness. About 1.4 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing. Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Upendra J. Chivukula (D-Middlesex/Somerset) and Vincent Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson) was signed into law on Monday that makes affordable housing more accessible to New Jersey veterans.

The new law (S-829/A-1744) allows municipalities to enter into agreements with developers to provide affordable housing occupancy preferences of up to 50 percent of the affordable units in a particular project for low to moderate income veterans who served in time of war or other emergency.

Current New Jersey law does not extend affordable housing preferences to low to moderate income veterans. Under the bill, any agreement to provide affordable housing preferences for veterans will not affect a municipality’s ability to get credit for the unit from COAH. As of December 2011, nearly one in seven homeless adults are veterans, according to the Center for American Progress.

Source: Politicker New Jersey, Veteran Homelessness: A Supplemental Report to the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress; Housing and Urban Development, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress: Veterans and Homelessness; Libby Perl; February 2012, Homeless Incidence and Risk Factors for Becoming Homeless in Veterans; VA Office of Inspector General; May 2012, The 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, Volume 1 of the 2012 Point-in-Time Annual Homeless Assessment Report; Housing and Urban Development

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

ADVANCED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT TRAINING

Hurt Woman

For far too many women violence and danger are their constant companions. Despite concerted efforts to eradicate domestic violence, data indicates that intimate partner violence continues to pose a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of countless persons. Social science research indicates that one (1) in four (4) women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. [i] Indigent women are more vulnerable.

On average, more than three (3) women a day are murdered by their intimate partners in our country [ii]. Annually, women experience an estimated two (2) million women injuries resulting from an abusive relationship.[iii] Women who are between the ages of 20-24 years old are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.[iv] Research indicates that most incidents of domestic violence are not reported to the police. [v] The dearth of safe, decent, affordable housing causes many poor women to confront the unenviable choice of homelessness or remaining in a home plagued by violence and turmoil resulting from domestic violence.

Date: February 5-8, 2013
National Institute Crime Prevention
Location: Embassy Suites – Denver-Aurora, Colorado
Embassy Suites
4444 N. Havana Street
Denver-Aurora, Colorado
Hotel Reservations: Room Rates: Sleeping rooms are only $109.00 a night plus 14.75% tax. King Suite, Monday- Friday. / Free Shuttle From Airport. Mention the NICP Conference. The room block closes 14 days before the conference. Free hot breakfast and evening Manager’s Reception.

Conference Registration: Mail in registration form with check
Registration Fee: $475.00
New Training Topics: Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence Family History, Strangulation, Women Who Use Violence, Cyber-Stalking, Do Orders for Protection Work? Helping the Children, Keys to a Successful Rape Investigation and Prosecution, Intimate Partner Rape, Difficulties Prosecuting D. V., Understanding Victim and Abuser Behaviors, Effective D. V. Intervention, Elder Abuse.

Who Should Attend: Law Enforcement Officers, Victim Advocates, Prosecutors, Probation Officers, Social Workers, Mental Health Workers, Rape Treatment Center Workers, Educators, Nurses, Military Police, and CID. *CEU’s for Colorado & Nevada LCSW
——————————————————————————–
AGENDA – (Agenda is subject to change)
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
8:30: Registration
9:00: Case History of Sexual Abuse (Sextons)
10:30: Keys to a Successful Rape Investigation and Prosecution
12:00: Lunch on your own
1:00: Child Sexual Abuse
3:00: Intimate Partner Rape
4:00: Discussion

Wednesday, February 6, 2013
9:00: Domestic Violence Is a Community Problem
10:30: Understanding Victim and Abuser Behaviors
12:00: Lunch on your own
1:00: What is this Doing to the Kids?
2:00: Effective Intervention is the Key
3:00: Recognizing Strangulation as a Crime
4:00: Discussion

Thursday, February 7, 2013
9:00: Women Who Use Violence
12:00: Lunch on your own
1:00: Elder Abuse
2:00: Cyber Stalking
3:00: Do Orders for Protection Protect?
4:00: Discussion

Friday, February 8, 2013
9:00: Is Victimless Prosecution Still Possible?
10:00: Predominant Aggressor
11:00: Typologies of Abusers
12:00: Closing and Certificates

Source: National Institute Crime Prevention. CDC. NCADV. National Coalition on Homelessness.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month: He loves me… He loves me not…

Stress

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Teen Dating Violence (DV) Prevention and Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it during the month of February.

Like domestic violence, teen dating violence is a pattern of controlling, and abusive behaviors of one person over another within a romantic relationship. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and financial abuse. It can occur in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It knows no boundaries and crosses race, socio-economic status, culture, and religion. Violence can happen to anyone.

Annually, 1 out of 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse (CDC 2006). Many of these cases of teen dating violence could have been prevented by helping adolescents to develop skills for healthy relationships with others (Foshee et al. 2005). Like adults, teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have choices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Access to information is integral to breaking the cycle of violence. Toward that goal, I would like to direct your attention to very help informational resources related to domestic violence intervention, prevention, and community outreach. For further information on teen dating violence, here are several websites you can visit: http://www.thesafespace.org; and http://www.breakthecycle.org.

Sources: Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). http://www.thesafespace.org; and http://www.breakthecycle.org. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Happy Business Woman

Four years ago, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, with Lilly Ledbetter, who suffered twenty (20) years of pay discrimination. Data indicates that working women in the United States are paid an average of eighty (80) cents for every dollar paid to men. Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The pay gap is even larger for most women of color; on average, black women earn about seventy (70) cents, and Latinas about sixty (60) cents, of every dollar paid to all men.

In 1996, Equal Pay Day was established by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. For the past thirty-two (32) years, the National Committee on Pay Equity has been working diligently to eliminate sex- and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity.

In 1979, the National Committee on Pay Equity was founded as a coalition of women’s and civil rights organizations; labor unions; religious, professional, legal, and educational associations, commissions on women, state and local pay equity coalitions and individuals working to eliminate sex- and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity.

9 to 5 shared that a woman has had to work an extra three months this year to match a man’s income in 2010. As we think about the work women have done for equal wages, help is needed in the fight for the next step toward pay equity. It reminds us of the continuing problem of sex- and race-based wage discrimination and the need to achieve pay equity. The alert reads as follows:

When the Equal Pay Act passed nearly 50 years ago, a woman earned an average of 59 cents for every dollar a man made. Today, she makes 77 cents. The annual gap between men and women’s median annual wages is a staggering $10,849. With more and more families relying on women’s wages to support them in an ailing economy, shortchanging women nearly $11,000 a year is inexcusable.

Solution:
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is an important step in the continuing struggle for women’s rights. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Actwould take several steps towards closing the wage gap, including: clarifying acceptable reasons for differences in pay between men and women; prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about or disclose information about employers’ wage policies and their pay rates; making it easier to file class action lawsuits based on equal pay; and requiring the EEOC to survey current pay data and obliging employers to submit pay data identified by race, sex and national origin of employees.

Action Needed:
Help 9 to 5 and other advocacy organizations to make this very necessary change: Contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to support and sign on to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Women have waited too long for equal wages. We, as a nation, cannot afford to wait any longer. —9 to 5

Official Summary
The following summary was written by the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, which serves Congress.

4/13/2011–Introduced.

“Paycheck Fairness Act – Amends the portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) known as the Equal Pay Act to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages. Revises the exception to the prohibition for a wage rate differential based on any other factor other than sex. Limits such factors to bona fide factors, such as education, training, or experience. States that the bona fide factor defense shall apply only if the employer demonstrates that such factor: (1) is not based upon or derived from a sex-based differential in compensation, (2) is job-related with respect to the position in question, and (3) is consistent with business necessity. Avers that such defense shall not apply where the employee demonstrates that: (1) an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing such differential, and (2) the employer has refused to adopt such alternative practice. Revises the prohibition against employer retaliation for employee complaints. Prohibits retaliation for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing the wages of the employee or another employee in response to a complaint or charge, or in furtherance of a sex discrimination investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, or an investigation conducted by the employer. Makes employers who violate sex discrimination prohibitions liable in a civil action for either compensatory or (except for the federal government) punitive damages. States that any action brought to enforce the prohibition against sex discrimination may be maintained as a class action in which individuals may be joined as party plaintiffs without their written consent. Authorizes the Secretary of Labor (Secretary) to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a sex discrimination action. Requires the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to train EEOC employees and affected individuals and entities on matters involving wage discrimination. Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to eligible entities for negotiation skills training programs for girls and women. Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of Education to issue regulations or policy guidance to integrate such training into certain programs under their Departments. Directs the Secretary to conduct studies and provide information to employers, labor organizations, and the general public regarding the means available to eliminate pay disparities between men and women. Establishes the Secretary of Labor’s National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace for an employer who has made a substantial effort to eliminate pay disparities between men and women. Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to require the EEOC to collect from employers pay information data regarding the sex, race, and national origin of employees for use in the enforcement of federal laws prohibiting pay discrimination. Directs: (1) the Commissioner of Labor Statistics to continue to collect data on woman workers in the Current Employment Statistics survey, (2) the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to use specified types of methods in investigating compensation discrimination and in enforcing pay equity, and (3) the Secretary to make accurate information on compensation discrimination readily available to the public. Directs the Secretary and the Commissioner of the EEOC jointly to develop technical assistance material to assist small businesses to comply with the requirements of this Act.”

Source: GovTrack. 9 to 5. The National Committee on Pay Equity. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reintroduced in US House and Senate in 2013

serious woman face
Annually, twelve million seven hundred thousand (12.7) Americans are physically abused, raped or stalked by their partners. That is approximately the number of people in New York City and Los Angeles combined. Every minute, twenty-four (24) people are abused. These are people we know. House Republicans let the Violence Against Women Act expire last December — for the first time in nearly 25 years. It is time to end the silence and shame once and for all. With that said, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is long overdue and should be a priority in the 113th Congress.

“For nearly 20 years, Congress recognized the severity of violence against women and our need for this landmark federal law’s comprehensive approach. VAWA truly provides life-saving protections and services needed by victims and their families. It is unacceptable that this law has become politicized while three women a day are still killed by an intimate partner. Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence need a VAWA law that does not roll back protections for immigrant women and their families; includes protections for all victims, including the LGBT community and Native women; and directs resources to this urgent task in the most effective way possible.”

United States Senate Update on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
This week, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID) introduced S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It has been reported by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) that this bill closely mirrors the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Leahy and Crapo last Congress and would improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims of violence. Thus far, the bill has the following co-sponsors in addition to its chief sponsor, Senator Leahy (D-VT): Senators Ayotte (R-NH), Bennet (D-CO), Cantwell (D-WA), Casey (D-PA), Collins (R-ME), Coons (D-DE), Crapo (R-ID), Durbin (D-IL), Hagan (D-NC), Kirk (R-IL), Klobuchar (D-MN), McCaskill (D-MO), Mikulski (D-MD), Murkowski (R-AK), Murray (D-WA), Shaheen (D-NH), Tester (D-MT), Udall (D-CO), and Whitehouse (D-RI).

US House of Representatives Update on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Also this week, Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) introduced H.R. 11, a House companion identical to the bipartisan Senate bill. The National Task Force calls on the United States House of Representatives to work together in a bipartisan effort to build on the momentum from the last Congress in order to reauthorize VAWA as a matter of priority.

Action Item:
Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121and ask the operator to connect you to your Senators. When you are connected to their offices, tell the person who answers the phone:

1. I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _________.

2. I urge Senator _________ to co-sponsor the S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

3. Thank you and I look forward to hearing that the Senator is a co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rape combined. And studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic abuse annually. Urge your senators to cosponsor VAWA and move this bill forward. With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action, we can end violence against women. In 2013, each of us should commit ourselves to halting violence within our homes, our communities, and our nation—toward that goal, contact your about co-sponsoring the Violence Against Women Act.

Source(s): National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women Action Alert; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV); American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

National Stalking Awareness Month 2013

 

 

On December 31, 2012, President Barack Obama declared January 2013 National Stalking Awareness Month. A stalker can be someone you know well or not at all. Most have dated or been involved with the people they stalk. Most stalking cases involve men stalking women, but men dostalk men, women do stalk women, and women do stalk men.

Stalker Profile: (1) 2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily, using more than one method. 78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach. Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases. Almost 1/3 of stalkers have stalked before. Intimate partner stalkers frequently approach their targets, and their behaviors escalate quickly. [Kris Mohandie et al., “The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers,” Journal of Forensic Sciences 51, no. 1 (2006).]

Things you can do if being stalked as recommended by the Stalking Resource Center are listed below:

Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. No two stalking situations are alike. There are no guarantees that what works for one person will work for another, yet you can take steps to increase your safety.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Trust your instincts. Don’t downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are.

Take threats seriously. Danger generally is higher when the stalker talks about suicide or murder, or when a victim tries to leave or end the relationship.

Contact a crisis hotline, victim services agency, or a domestic violence or rape crisis program. They can help you devise a safety plan, give you information about local laws, weigh options such as seeking a protection order, and refer you to other services.

Develop a safety plan, including things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend or relative go places with you. Also, decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work, school, or somewhere else. Tell people how they can help you. Click here to learn more about safety plans.

Don’t communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you.

Keep evidence of the stalking. When the stalker follows you or contacts you, write down the time, date, and place. Keep emails, text messages, phone messages, letters, or notes. Photograph anything of yours the stalker damages and any injuries the stalker causes. Ask witnesses to write down what they saw. Click here to download a stalking incident and behavior log.

Contact the police. Every state has stalking laws. The stalker may also have broken other laws by doing things like assaulting you or stealing or destroying your property.

Consider getting a court order that tells the stalker to stay away from you.

Tell family, friends, roommates, and co-workers about the stalking and seek their support. Tell security staff at your job or school. Ask them to help watch out for your safety.

The Presidential Proclamation for National Stalking Awareness reads as follows:

Presidential Proclamation

“In our schools and in our neighborhoods, at home and in workplaces across our Nation, stalking endangers the physical and emotional well being of millions of American men and women every year. Too often, stalking goes unreported and unaddressed, and we must take action against this unacceptable abuse. This month, we stand with all those who have been affected by stalking and strengthen our resolve to prevent this crime before it occurs.”

“Stalkers inspire fear through intimidation, explicit or implied threats, and nonconsensual communication often by telephone, text message, or email that can cause severe emotional and physical distress. Many victims suffer anxiety attacks, feelings of anger or helplessness, and depression. Fearing for their safety, some are forced to relocate or change jobs to protect themselves. And, tragically, stalking can be a precursor to more violent offenses, including sexual assault and homicide. The consequences of this crime are real, and they take a profound and ongoing toll on men, women, teens, and children across our country.”

“Despite the dangerous reality of stalking, public awareness and legal responses to this crime remain limited. New data show that one in six women and one in 19 men have experienced stalking that caused them to be very fearful or feel that they or someone close to them were in immediate physical danger. Among men and women alike, victims are most commonly stalked by current or former intimate partners, and young adults are at the highest risk for stalking victimization. Though stalking can occur in any community, shame, fear of retribution, or concerns that they will not be supported lead many victims to forego reporting the crime to the police. As we strive to reverse this trend, we must do more to promote public awareness and support for survivors of stalking.”

“My Administration is working to advance protection and services for stalking victims, empower survivors to break the cycle of abuse, and bring an end to violence against women and men. With unprecedented coordination between Federal agencies, we are promoting new tools to decrease the incidence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, and we are taking action to ensure perpetrators are held accountable. To reinforce these efforts, advocates, law enforcement officials, and others who work with victims must continue to improve their capacity to respond with swift and comprehensive action. From raising awareness to pursuing criminal justice, all of us have a role to play in stopping this senseless and harmful behavior.”

“This month, let us come together to prevent abuse, violence, and harassment in all their forms and renew our commitment to bring care and support to those in need.”

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2013 as National Stalking Awareness Month. I call on all Americans to learn to recognize the signs of stalking, acknowledge stalking as a serious crime, and urge those impacted not to be afraid to speak out or ask for help. Let us also resolve to support victims and survivors, and to create communities that are secure and supportive for all Americans.”

For further information on National Stalking Awareness Month related activities, please visit the White House website. Additionally, you can visit www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org for information, resources, and downloadable material to help you raise awareness for Stalking Awareness Month.

Source(s): National Center For Victims of Crime’s Stallking Resource Center website. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/28/presidential-proclamation-national-stalking-awareness-month-2013. [Kris Mohandie et al., “The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers,” Journal of Forensic Sciences 51, no. 1 (2006).]

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art.

Protection From Abuse

What barriers does an abused person face when attempting to end a violent relationship? As a long-time advocate for victims of domestic violence, Nichelle Mitchem recognizes that the complexity of the legal system and the absence of legal assistance cause some victims to stay in an abusive relationship. By understanding of the importance of the access to legal information, assistance, and often representation for battered women, Mitchem has sought to enhance the accessibility to legal services for victims of domestic violence for much of her career.

Whether serving as an administrator of legal service programs for battered women or as the executive director of a domestic violence agency, Nichelle has been asked to present on: the dynamics of domestic violence, available supportive services, and the legal aspects of domestic violence. “Like shelter and counseling, access to legal information and assistance serve to empower abused persons,” Mitchem says. When discussing domestic violence with various audiences, participants often pose the question, “Why doesn’t the victim just leave?” In response, Mitchem says, “Most victims want to leave and many try. Even under the best of circumstances, leaving a relationship is difficult. Violent relationships are complex; and victims in these relationships are faced with many barriers to leaving. These barriers include the lack of knowledge of: civil and criminal protections afforded to them under the law as well as available legal resources. Additionally, the abusive partner occasionally uses intimidation and/or violence to stop the victim from severing the relationship. As a result, victims often fear retaliation for ending the relationship.”

Mitchem asserts that, “Victims often stay, because they fear that the abuser will find her and kill/harm her, the children, other relatives, or friends. They stay with the hopes that the violence will end, because they are financially dependent on the abuser, lack alternative housing, or are trying to keep the family together. They stay hoping change is possible. It takes strength and determination to survive violence. However, as time goes on, surviving an abusive relationship becomes more difficult.” This fact is particularly true for economically disadvantaged battered women and abused women with disabilities. Mitchem has sought to enhance access to legal services for this particularly vulnerable population by understanding of the importance of legal information, assistance, and representation for many battered women, particularly those who are indigent, homeless, and/or disabled. During her tenure as executive director, domestic violence agencies have launched and/or expanded on legal service programs that assist clients in negotiating legal and other challenges that might arise as they seek to eliminate domestic violence from their lives. These very necessary programs assist survivors of domestic violence to build long-term safety and security for themselves and their children.”

For information about available legal services and other programs for victims of domestic violence in your community, please visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at http://www.thehotline.org.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art