For Immediate Release: March 6, 2014
Contact for GCADV: Jan Christiansen, 404-209-0280
Contact for NNEDV: Monica McLaughlin, 202-543-5566
NATIONWIDE SURVEY REVEALS URGENT NEED FOR INCREASED FUNDING FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE PROVIDERS
Nearly 66,000 Domestic Violence Victims Helped On a Single Day, But Almost 10,000 Requests for Help Go Unanswered
Georgia – March 6, 2014 – Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) released a new research report that found, in a single 24-hour period, more than 66,000 victims of domestic violence received help and support from service organizations in the United States, yet nearly 10,000 more who needed assistance could not be helped due to a lack of adequate resources.
In Georgia, 1975 victims received services in that 24-hour period, but 248 could not be helped because local programs here in Georgia didn’t have sufficient resources, based on the survey data from 35 of the 50 identified domestic violence programs in Georgia that participated.
The report, “Domestic Violence Counts 2013: A 24-hour Census of Domestic Violence Shelters and Services,” examined a random day – September 17, 2013 – and collected information from 1649 domestic violence programs throughout the United States from midnight to midnight on that day. It identifies needs that were met and unmet on that day and provides a snapshot of how budget cuts are affecting the staffing and resources of these organizations.
Key findings for Georgia include this 24-hour data from September 17, 2013
“Every day in this country, victims of domestic violence are bravely reaching out for help, and it’s essential that they have somewhere safe to go,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the NNEDV. “We have made so much progress toward ending violence and giving survivors avenues for safety. But continued program cuts jeopardize that progress and jeopardize the lives of victims.”
When nationwide program providers were asked what most likely happens when services are not available, 60% said the most likely outcome was that victims returned to their abusers, 27% said the victims become homeless, and 11% said that victims end up living in their cars.
The number of unmet needs is related to the financial resources of these programs. In 2013, 1,696 staff positions were cut nationwide due to funding reductions, an average of 1.2 staff per program across the country. Of the staff that were cut in 2013, 70 percent were direct service positions, such as case managers, advocates, shelter staff, and child advocates.
Download the summary of Georgia findings at http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2013/State_Summaries/DVCounts13_StateSummary_GA.pdf
Download the full “Domestic Violence Counts 2013” census report at http://www.nnedv.org/census
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The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc. (GCADV) brings together member agencies, allied organizations and supportive individuals who are committed to ending domestic violence. Guided by the voices of survivors, we work to create social change by addressing the root causes of this violence. GCADV leads advocacy efforts for responsive public policy and fosters quality, comprehensive prevention and intervention services throughout the state.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), a 501(c)(3) social change organization, is dedicated to creating a social, political and economic environment in which domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking no longer exist. As the leading voice for domestic violence victims and their allies, NNEDV members include all 56 of the state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence, including over 2,000 local programs. NNEDV has been a premiere national organization advancing the movement against domestic violence for almost 25 years, having led efforts among domestic violence advocates and survivors in urging Congress to pass the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994. To learn more about NNEDV, please visit www.nnedv.org.No Comments »
Georgia Domestic Violence Deaths Examined, Progress Reported
On March 7, the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Georgia Commission on Family Violence released the 2013 Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Report. These statewide agencies have coordinated the Fatality Review Project since it began in 2004. They work with local teams to review domestic violence-related deaths to learn how Georgia can respond more effectively and prevent more fatalities from occurring. The Report analyzes domestic violence homicides in the state and provides recommendations for systems change with the objective of lowering homicide rates.
Now, with 10 years of data from nearly 100 fatality reviews, the 2013 Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Report focuses on 10 key findings that hold tremendous potential to significantly impact the lives of victims of domestic violence. The 10 key findings discussed in depth in the report include Children Exposed to Domestic Violence; Teen Dating Violence; Economic Abuse; the Role of the Criminal Legal System; Civil Protective Orders and the Courts; Firearms and Domestic Violence Fatalities; Family, Friends, and the Faith Community; Detachment, Separation, and the Risks of Leaving; the Suicide-Homicide Connection; and Barriers to Accessing Services. Each finding is accompanied by case examples and recommendations for change.
Some of the main findings of the Report include:
Georgia holds the unfortunate distinction of ranking 12th in the nation for men killing women in single-victim homicides, most of which are domestic violence murders, according to a study conducted by the Violence Policy Center. Over the past 11 years, the Project has recorded the deaths of over 1,300 Georgians due to domestic violence. In 2013, we recorded the deaths of 116 Georgians due to domestic violence – 15 fewer deaths than in 2012. However, at least 14 people have already lost their lives this year due to domestic violence.
In response to these numbers, Judge Stephen Kelley, Chair of the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, stated, “We are making a lot of progress in our state but we still have much to do. The recommendations in the Report can no longer remain words on a page. Everyone – judges, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, state legislators, private attorneys, advocates, faith leaders, employers, and all citizens in Georgia – has a role to play in in increasing victim safety and offender accountability.”
Jan Christiansen, Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, urges readers to view the Report as a call to action, “The findings from the last 10 years are compelling. They serve as a foundation from which we must build and repair our coordinated community efforts to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable. We must work together to do things differently for Georgia citizens who are victims of domestic violence – their lives depend on it.”
If you or someone you know is being abused, there are community and statewide resources available to you. Call 1-800-33-HAVEN (voice/TTY), the toll-free, statewide, 24-hour hotline, for a confidential place to get help or find resources.
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GCADV Position Announcement: Operations Coordinator
Organization Overview: The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) is located in Decatur, Georgia and is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to creating social change and eliminating domestic violence in the lives of all Georgia citizens through providing quality support, comprehensive training, and legislative advocacy for domestic violence agencies, advocates, and communities statewide. You can learn more about GCADV at www.gcadv.org.
Job Overview: The Operations Coordinator is a part time, 30-hour per week position and reports to the Executive Director. This position is responsible for providing a combination office support, human resources coordination and administrative duties to support GCADV’s key activities and overall operations.
Summary of Job Responsibilities:
Compensation: Salary commensurate with experience. GCADV offers excellent benefits, including health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, retirement, and generous vacation, leave, and holidays. As a part time position, the Operations Coordinator is eligible for prorated benefits.
Start Date: March 2014.
To Apply: Email a cover letter and resume with your qualifications to GCADVOpCoor@gmail.com by February 28, 2014. We will accept applications only by e-mail. NO PHONE CALLS. All applications will be kept strictly confidential.
Equal Opportunity: GCADV is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity and encourages all qualified applicants to apply, including but not limited: to people of color, people with disabilities and survivors of domestic violence.No Comments »
Hundreds of domestic violence program and sexual assault center staff, members of law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, survivors of violence, and concerned community members from across the state converged on the Georgia State Capitol today to urge legislators to pass House Bill 911 to make strangulation assault a felony offense. House Bill 911 was the focus of today’s Stop Violence Against Women Day, an annual event to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault in Georgia. Mary Kay, Inc., which provides financial support to organizations in Georgia and throughout the country that work to end violence against women, served as the primary sponsor for the event.
Strangulation – often referred to as “choking” – is a highly dangerous form of assault used by those who abuse their partners. Using as little as four pounds of pressure, abusive partners stop the flow of blood through the victim’s brain, causing brain damage in a matter of seconds and unconsciousness and death within minutes.”Victims who survive a strangulation assault frequently describe it as a near-death experience,” says Jan Christiansen, Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “It’s an abuser’s way of letting a victim know, ‘I could kill you if I wanted to.’ It’s a powerful way of making a victim feel trapped.”
“Victims who survive a strangulation assault frequently describe it as a near-death experience,” says Jan Christiansen, Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “It’s an abuser’s way of letting a victim know, ‘I could kill you if I wanted to.’ It’s a powerful way of making a victim feel trapped.”
According to a recent survey, over 44 percent of victims served by Georgia’s state-certified domestic violence programs have been strangled. This statistic is particularly alarming in light of research showing that victims of prior attempted strangulation are eight times more likely to be killed by the same abuser. Georgia currently ranks 12th worst in the nation for the rate of women killed by men, according to the Violence Policy Center.
Prosecutors indicate that House Bill 911, which explicitly defines strangulation within Georgia’s existing aggravated assault statute, will better enable them to successfully prosecute this crime, seek a sentence that reflects the seriousness of this offense, and hopefully help to reduce the number of domestic violence homicides in Georgia.
However, there is a public education that also needs to take place, according to Greg Loughlin, Executive Director of the Georgia Commission on Family Violence.
“Passing a law to make strangulation assault a felony, as 37 other states have already done, will save lives in Georgia,” says Loughlin. “We also want to raise public awareness about the dangers of strangulation and how to help, including the signs to alert you to advise immediate medical attention. When a person puts their hands around someone’s neck, only bad things can happen.”
Christiansen also urges victims of strangulation or other violence at the hands of an intimate partner to contact Georgia’s 24-hour statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-800-334-2836 to talk to an advocate at one of Georgia’s 46 state-certified domestic violence programs about how they can plan for their safety and to learn about services in their community.
Based on recent service statistics of these domestic violence programs and of the 22 state-funded sexual assault programs, it is clear that victims are reaching out and that the need is great. From October 2012 through September 2013, Georgia’s 46 state-certified domestic violence programs provided services to over 29,779 victims and their children and answered nearly 58,955 crisis calls. During that same time period, Georgia’s 22 state-funded sexual assault programs served 3,944 victims of rape and sexual assault, including 1,668 child victims, and answered over 8,013 crisis calls.
However, there are many areas of unmet need for victims, according to Jennifer Bivins, Executive Director of the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault. Due to a lack of adequate funding, victims in 53 of Georgia’s 159 counties have little or no access to the services of a sexual assault center.
“We appreciate that our state legislators and the Governor have shown a commitment to maintaining stable state funding for these critical services during the recent recession,” says Bivins. “Unfortunately, though, the state funding allocated to sexual assault centers is not enough to maintain even the most basic services to victims of rape and sexual assault across our state. Many of our centers are on the brink of closing their doors.”
Domestic violence programs are also facing greater demand than they can accommodate, particularly when victims need shelter. Between October 2012 and September 2013, they were forced to turn away about 4,612 victims and their children due to lack of available bed space.
“Stop Violence Against Women Day gives us a chance to talk with legislators about these unmet needs, to ask for needed changes to our laws to improve victim safety, and to share the incredible, life-saving work these programs do with their constituents,” says Christiansen.
To find a domestic violence program near you, call Georgia’s 24-Hour Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline – 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836) (Voice/TTY)
To find a sexual assault center near you, visit www.gnesa.org or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE (1.800.656.4673)
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An action alert from the National Network to End Domestic Violence (http://www.nnedv.org)
Thank you! You helped us win reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) earlier this year, and victims everywhere are grateful for your activism.
But that success is being undermined by the sequester and by funding cuts that are rolling back our progress and jeopardizing the safety of victims.
Please take a minute to call on Congress to fund domestic violence programs and services at the full amount that Congress set for them when it passed the funding legislation – which for VAWA was just this year! Members need to hear that too many programs lack the resources they need to provide basic, essential services, and too many victims are left with nowhere to turn.
FACT: In one 24-hour period, U.S. domestic violence programs provided services to 64,324 victims and their children. However, on that same day, over 10,470 requests for services went unmet due to a lack of funding and resources. This unconscionable gap must be remedied, and we urge you to take action now.
Victims and their children need emergency shelter, crisis intervention, protection orders, legal advice, advocacy, and other supportive services. At their most vulnerable time — leaving a violent situation, seeking help — it is unacceptable that victims of abuse are turned away because of budget cuts.
Please send a message to your Members of Congress urging them to support full funding for VAWA and the other critical programs that address domestic violence. I know I can count on you to act now.
For peace and safety, Kim Gandy President & CEO, NNEDVNo Comments »
***If you have not already registered for the 2014 Stop Violence Against Women Day, please click HERE to register.***
Check out photos from the 2013 Stop Violence Against Women Day
Tools to prepare you for Stop Violence Against Women Day
GCADV, in collaboration with the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, Men Stopping Violence, Caminar Latino, and Raksha, has created the following videos in order to better prepare you and your team for Stop Violence Against Women Day! Please take time to watch each video and review the documents prior to the event.
Video credits (in order of appearance):
Video 1: How a Bill Becomes a Law
Document to accompany Video 1: How a Bill is Passed in the Georgia Legislature
Video 2: How to Influence Your Legislators
Video 3: The Nuts and Bolts of Visiting the Capitol
Document to accompany Video 3: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about legislative advocacy
Weblink to accompany Video 3: Find your state legislators
Video 4a: 2014 Legislation / Intro to role plays of meetings with legislators
Video 4b: Role play #1 – Neutral legislator, but very busy
Video 4c: Role play #2 – Supportive legislator
Video 4d: Role play #3 – Unsupportive legislator
Video 4e: Role play wrap-up and Conclusion
Prolonged Government Shutdown Continues to Threaten Services for Victims
What is your Congressperson doing to keep shelters and rape crisis centers open?
The House seems no nearer to passing a bill to reopen the government than before. Progress is stalled in Congress and we need every voice in your state to call for Congress to work quickly to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling.
Tell your Congressperson to tell House leadership: “Open the government and end the shutdown now. The country’s domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers cannot access the funding they need to help victims. These lifesaving services will close down unless you vote now to end the shutdown and lift the debt ceiling with no conditions.”
Congress finally passed a bipartisan, inclusive reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act just a few months ago. It was hard work, but in the end they put partisan politics aside and did what was right for victims across the country. Now the House has to agree to move forward on another bipartisan, inclusive bill to reopen government and lift the debt ceiling. Tell your Congressperson that if this is not done, the crucial work that VAWA authorized will not be available in your state to respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
ACTION ITEM 1: CALL MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES & URGE THEM TO VOTE TO END THE SHUTDOWN
Find phone numbers for Representatives HERE
When you’re connected to their offices, say (or leave a message saying):
1) I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _____________.
2) Please tell Representative _________ to vote to re-open the government and lift the debt ceiling, with no conditions. The shutdown is placing domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers in serious danger of closing, leaving victims with nowhere to turn for safety and support.
3) The House must move to a vote in order to ensure that life-saving services will continue to be available to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
ACTION ITEM 2: TWEET REPRESENTATIVES TO SAY #JUSTVOTE
Here are the Twitter handles for Georgia’s U.S. Representatives:
Rep. John Barrow @repjohnbarrow
Rep. Sanford Bishop @SanfordBishop
Rep. Paul Broun @RepPaulBrounMD
Rep. Doug Collins @RepDougCollins
Rep. Phil Gingrey @RepPhilGingrey
Rep. Tom Graves @RepTomGraves
Rep. Hank Johnson @RepHankJohnson
Rep. Jack Kingston @JackKingston
Rep. John Lewis @repjohnlewis
Rep. Tom Price @RepTomPrice
Rep. Austin Scott @AustinScottGA08
Rep. David Scott @repdavidscott
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland @RepWestmoreland
Rep. Rob Woodall @votewoodall
.@[handle] The #shutdown is hurting #DV & #SA victims & programs. #JustVote to open govt & lift debt ceiling with no conditions.
For more information, fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates: www.4vawa.org.
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Georgia’s rate of 1.58 per 100,000 came out in the study, “When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2011 Homicide Data,” which is released each year as a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October by the Washington-based Violence Policy Center. The study is available for download on their website.
“The sad reality is that women are nearly always murdered by someone they know,” said VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. “Already, many elected officials and community leaders are working tirelessly to reduce the toll of domestic violence. Yet despite these efforts, the numbers remain unacceptably high. We need new policies in place from local communities to the federal government to protect women from harm.”
The 10 states with the highest rates of women murdered by men were in descending order South Carolina, Alaska, Oklahoma, Delaware, Arizona, Tennessee, Idaho, West Virginia, Louisiana, and New Mexico, according to the study.
“Nine women each week are shot to death by their husband or intimate partner,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “That’s nearly 500 domestic gun violence deaths each year — more than twice the number of servicewomen killed in military conflicts since the Korean War. We urgently need better policies that protect women and their families from this senseless violence. No American, adult or child, should live in a perpetual state of fear. It’s inhumane.”No Comments »
Find your members of Congress HERE
While the state legislative session is over, the 113th Congress is in full swing! There are several policy issues being decided which directly affect survivors of domestic violence and their children. Please take time to contact your members of Congress with the following messages:
Find your state legislators HERE.
Click HERE to access our Legislative Reports for the latest news on what’s going on at the Georgia State Capitol. ***updated for 2013 legislative session***
For statistics on services provided by Georgia’s state-certified domestic violence and sexual assault programs in 2013, click here.No Comments »