April 29, 2008

Give Back a Smile Program

Read this doc on Scribd: AACDappGBAS

Report faults many states on child abuse policies

Many states often fail to release adequate information about fatal and near-fatal child abuse cases, placing confidentiality above disclosure to a degree that thwarts needed reforms, two child advocacy groups say in a new report.

Their report, which gave 10 states a failing grade for their disclosure practices, urges Congress and state legislators to adopt stronger policies and laws regarding deadly and life-threatening child abuse cases. It was being released Tuesday by First Star, a national nonprofit which advocates for abused children, and by the University of San Diego School of Law's Children's Advocacy Institute....The Associated Press: Report faults many states on child abuse policies

Spring Cleaning? What to give; what to toss

The article below describes the places that in one area are in need of items. However, this is a nation wide issue. Domestic Violence shelters can always use "gently" used items. Especially household things such as furniture, pots and pans, other dishes, kitchen utensils and gadgets of all sorts.

Families that must go through a shelter situation to be safe and get back on their feet generally have nothing when they enter the shelter and very little extra when they leave. Some state have shelters that provide a transitional housing program to help these people get back on their feet. But, most don't have a program to help with the transition into a safe and healthy environment.

That means that most are in a shelter for a few weeks and during that time they are expected to "get over it", get a job, find a place to live, furnish that place, possibly get transportation and provide for their children all that is needed.

So during your spring cleaning this year, please take the time to consider giving things away that could be used by people who must seek the services of a non-profit shelter organization to get on their feet.
What to give; what to toss | News-Leader.com | Springfield News-Leader

April 28, 2008

Real ID Worries Domestic Violence Groups

Every year, about 1,000 domestic violence victims legally change their Social Security numbers in an attempt to elude people who may pose threats, and many more change their legal names, according to figures compiled by advocacy groups.

But hiding from stalkers may become more difficult under a federal law called the Real ID Act that's scheduled to take effect on May 11.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's new regulations mandate specific standards for what personal information states must print on the face of Real ID drivers licenses and encode on their machine-readable zones. Although there's some consideration for people who qualify for special confidentiality treatment, critics argue the protections don't go far enough.

Homeland Security hasn't yet stipulated what information must be exchanged among the state-to-state databases, saying only that it will be "limited," nor has it specified exactly how the database linking will work, leaving lingering worries among privacy and victim advocates.

All it would take is a determined, persuasive stalker--many have tricks, like saying an ex-spouse is suicidal or otherwise in need of help--and a gullible or corrupt DMV employee, and a victim's identity could be divulged, Southworth said.

"Given that there are less than six degrees of separation between most abusers and a friend or relative who works for the DMV, we are concerned about victims' location information housed in state databases that could be searched nationally," Southworth said. "Prior to national search ability, a victim could move to a different state and increase her safety and privacy, but national search functionality could place countless victims at risk."

"We still have this problem of the backbone of this system, which is that we're creating this nationwide system of databases, all interlinked," said Guilherme Roschke, an Electronic Privacy Information Center fellow who focuses on domestic violence privacy issues. "A breach in one is a breach in all of them."



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AFP: Austria in shock over incest abuse case

Austrian police on Monday scoured a cellar at a house where a 73-year-old man -- described by media as a "monster" -- is accused of imprisoning his daughter for 24 years and fathering seven children.... AFP: Austria in shock over incest abuse case

April 27, 2008

Domestic violence

Current state law represents an egregious affront to women

South Carolina has a serious flaw in its criminal domestic violence law. Hopefully, the General Assembly is on the path to fixing it.

Currently in the Palmetto State, a criminal domestic violence conviction may be treated as a first offense at sentencing even if the convicted party has been found guilty of prior offenses outside the state. House Speaker Pro Tem Doug Smith, R-Spartanburg, introduced a bill in February to change that and put those previous convictions into play. Last Tuesday, the bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee and headed for the House floor.

But it didn't make it out of committee before a tweak was made to the bill's language - a seemingly minor change but one that could have significantly altered the bill's impact.

The new language opened the door for possible judicial hair-splitting over whether these prior acts may be considered at sentencing. It was an uncalled-for obstacle, particularly in this state. Keep in mind that South Carolina ranks seventh nationally in the rate of women killed by men. And keep in mind that criminal domestic violence is often habitual behavior.

Taking into account past out-of-state convictions is significant, as the penalties for repeat offenders are higher. An abuser doesn't deserve a clean slate here simply because his previous convictions occurred in another state. And he shouldn't be able to argue that a past conviction is similar but perhaps slightly lacks "the same elements" of the latest crime.

Our current CDV law represents an egregious miscarriage of justice for women, and this legislation is vital in a state with such a horrendous domestic violence track record. The Senate should follow the House's lead and take quick action to pass the bill.

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April 26, 2008

Domestic Violence Website Gets Mixed Reviews

Its purpose is to protect people from domestic violence, a bill requiring offenders' names posted online. But tonight, it's raising questions about privacy. Would this website help or hurt in the fight against domestic abuse?... cbs13.com - Domestic Violence Website Gets Mixed Reviews

April 24, 2008

New device protects city domestic violence victims -- Newsday.com

I like this! I think there are a few things that are still left open and could get someone hurt but at least this is a start. This could of course also give a false sense of protection to some because the offender is only monitored in certain areas....not everywhere the victim is. A victim could go tothe store and abuser could be there since there is nothing to monitor that. HHHMMM...wondering here is there would be a way to give the victim a receiver that would also show up or would flash on the screen and emit a sound when the braclet wearer was close?? Just my wondering out loud here. I also don't think I like the way they worder one thing in this article...
The zone is spelled out in orders of protection issued when the offender
agrees to wear the bracelet as part of their sentencing....
I am not sure I like that the offender can "agree" to wear it, that implies that the offender could also refuse to wear it.... New device protects city domestic violence victims -- Newsday.com

April 22, 2008

Film shows reality of domestic violence

"Parts of the film do a good job depicting domestic violence," says Forney. "The scene where Bolo has just physically assaulted Jasmine and forced her to gratify him sexually -- I don't think the general public realizes that's common, sometimes immediately after the violence happens.... Charlotte Observer 04/22/2008 Film shows reality of domestic violence

April 18, 2008

CPS says sexual abuse encouraged at Texas polygamist ranch at hearing

The first day of the hearing was marked by starts and stops – and objections and motions from hundreds of lawyers – against the backdrop of a logistical nightmare for the Tom Green County district court.... CPS says sexual abuse encouraged at Texas polygamist ranch at hearing Dallas Morning News News for Dallas, Texas Latest News

April 17, 2008

End Domestic-Violence "free pass"

Three years ago, the General Assembly rightly toughened criminal domestic violence penalties for repeat offenders. But our state law still confines the repeat-offender classification to those who committed the crimes in South Carolina. The S.C. House correctly passed legislation recently to expand that status to those who committed criminal domestic violence in other states. The S.C. Senate should follow suit. House Speaker Pro Tem Doug Smith, R-Spartanburg, the bill's primary sponsor, made a common-sense case for addressing "a clear inconsistency when it comes to CDV." Lynn Hawkins, executive director of the SAFE Homes/Rape Crisis Coalition, hailed the bill that would end the out-of-state loophole, telling the News: " The more we allow the situation to progress in terms of multiple offenses, then the higher the risk of a homicide." Our state consistently places among the nation's worst in per-capita domestic- violence rankings.

More: Charleston, SC Latest Editorial News: End domestic-violence 'free pass'

April 14, 2008

Warner woman receives suspended sentence for enabling sexual abuse

Ok, so I'm sure there is more to this story....however, first the woman says she knew about the abuse, then allowed it to continue, then blames the fact she didn't report to stop it on her own upbringing and her church....even though it was members of her church that did report it, and the judge still gives her a suspended sentence and says:
“I just don’t buy it — I can’t reconcile it,” Alford told LaBounty. “On the other hand, you make a very good point the harm has already been done ...” .....what BS...... MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK - <font color=green>PM UPDATE: </font>Warner woman receives suspended sentence for enabling sexual abuse

And, in an update....:

Several hours after the sentence was pronounced, a woman identifying herself as
Sherry LaBounty’s twin sister, Terry Estes, said she did not believe the sentence was fair to Sherry LaBounty or her children.
She said her sister might later need her teaching certificate to make a decent living for the children. Sherry LaBounty has filed a divorce action against her husband, who is employed and provides support.
“I know my sister’s heart and how much she tried to do what was best and what was right — other people don’t know the whole situation,” Estes said.

I might buy this if he was abusing the mother also.....I guess I do need to add that, since I do know a couple women that has had something similar happen to them. Where they were being threatened or the kids lives were threatened if the mom told....so in that case, then yes I understand.....but, if that is the case here then why not just say it?

National Sexual Assault Online Hotline

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), now has online IM services that victims can use instead of calling in. This link is to the FAQ section which has a link to the actual Online Hotline at the top of the page...National Sexual Assault Online Hotline

April 10, 2008

DV Victims in CA could go to jail

Ok, lets talk about re-victimizing the victims here....I don't live in CA so maybe I should not be so harsh on this, since apparently there is already a law similar to this for sexual assault victims. However, I think the fact that victims are the ones already made to go to DV Programs and possibly do community service for not testifying, is bad enough. These people have already been abused, and are more than likely scared for their lives to testify. However, I guess on the flip side of that, there is also the people that fabricate DV claims and then do not want to testify, because they will be seen right through.....so ok, I don't like it the way it is, I definitely do not like the proposed solution and at this moment I do not have a suggested solution....so back to keeping my mouth shut on this one...
Currently, judges can order victims to attend a
domestic violence program or perform as much as 72 hours of community service if
they won't testify. Those who still refuse after doing that can be jailed for up
to five days....
DV Victims in CA could go to jail

April 9, 2008

Court documents: Teen in polygamist compound had called family violence shelter

According to the records, the girl called the shelter several times on March 29, saying she’d been moved to the YFZ Ranch by her parents three years ago. She said she was forced to marry a 49-year-old man a year ago, and that she was his seventh wife. She had his baby shortly after, and reported being pregnant again.... Court documents: Teen in polygamist compound had called family violence shelter News for Austin, Texas kvue.com State News

April 7, 2008

Over 400 children taken from Texas polygamist ranch | U.S. | Reuters

Authorities have now removed 401 children from a remote ranch in west Texas belonging to a breakaway Mormon sect linked to jailed polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, local media reported on Monday.... Over 400 children taken from Texas polygamist ranch U.S. Reuters

Panel: Control, not anger, drives abusers

With 20 deaths related to domestic violence in 2007 in and around Frederick County, experts are working to raise awareness of the programs available to help victims.

They also want to remove stigmas and inform people of the warning signs....
The Frederick News-Post Online - Frederick County Maryland Daily Newspaper

Verizon Awards $1 Million to National Family Justice Center Alliance

Throughout the U.S., survivors of domestic violence and their children will receive new and more effective services -- thanks to a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation to the National Family Justice Center Alliance.

The grant, announced Friday (April 4), establishes the Family Justice Center Institute, a technology and training arm within the National Family Justice Center Alliance. The center will use technology and best practices to streamline service and provide training for employees and volunteers.... Verizon Verizon Awards $1 Million to National Family Justice Center Alliance to Help Improve Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence

WHO: Domestic Violence Causes Women Physical and Mental Problems

The study, led by Claudia Garcia-Moreno of the World Health Organization, is the most far-reaching assessment yet into domestic violence in developing countries.

More than 24,000 women between the ages of 15 and 49, participating in the study, were asked if they had experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former male partner. Those reporting violence were further asked if they had any subsequent physical and mental health problems....WHO: Domestic Violence Causes Women Physical and Mental Problems

April 4, 2008

Domestic violence bill advances through House committee | GoUpstate.com | Spartanburg, S.C.

Judiciary group OKs measure to make out-of-state convictions admissible

By Robert W. Dalton
Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 | Updated: 9:35 am


House Speaker Pro Tem Doug Smith

COLUMBIA — South Carolina judges could consider out-of-state convictions when sentencing criminal domestic violence offenders under a bill headed to the House floor.

The bill, sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tem Doug Smith, cleared the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Currently, only South Carolina convictions can be considered in South Carolina. The difference between a conviction for a first offense and a second or subsequent offense is significant.

The penalty for a first offense is up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $1,000 to $2,500, but a judge can suspended the jail time and fine if the offender agrees to complete a batterer treatment program.

If someone is convicted of a second offense, they face a mandatory minimum of 30 days up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500 to $5,000. The judge can suspend the fine if a treatment program is completed.

A third offense requires a mandatory minimum of 1 year up to 5 years in jail.

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April 3, 2008

New law allows domestic abuse victims out of rental agreements

WI Gov. Jim Doyle signed a new law that would allow a victim of DV to break a rental or lease agreement without being penalized.

But property management executive who represents landlords, however, said she was concerned the law would burden landlords.“If it works, that would be great, but I feel it targets landlords,” said Kathy Kintopf, account executive with Start Renting and board member of the Fox Valley Apartment Association.“I don’t know if it really protects anyone else in the building if that victim moves out,” Kintopf said. “Where does it stop? Would the bank let me out of my mortgage? Landlords are in favor of helping people, but I’m not
convinced this is the best way.”

HHHMMM...wondering here...which is the bigger burden: Letting someone out of a lease or rental early and then having to re-rent the place...OR...getting killed?? You decided... Wausau Daily Herald - New law allows domestic abuse victims out of rental agreements

Jenn's Law would allow video testimony in domestic violence trials

With the support of Magnano's family, a bill known as "Jenn's Law" would allow victims of domestic violence to testify by video or audio recording. Its passage would offer some consolation to Jennifer Magnano's children, said Rosenbeck, 22. "Jenn's Law," which was sponsored by Rep. William A. Hamzy, D-Plymouth, won approval from the legislature's judiciary committee last week.... The Republican-American Jenn's Law would allow video testimony in domestic violence trials

April 2, 2008

Three found dead in Indianapolis House

Police are investigating the deaths of three family members on the city's southwest side. They received a 911 call from a cell phone about 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon from a man at the house, reporting a homicide-suicide. When they arrived at the residence, they found the three bodies, along with the cell phone that made the call and a suicide note. Police believe Stephen J. Johnson shot and killed his wife Renee G. Johnson, 49, and the couple's 14-year-old daughter Rebecca J. Johnson. Renee and Rebecca had been shot in the head before Johnson turned the gun on himself.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Indianapolis Police Chief Michael Spears has asked that people be made aware of the need to seek help and guidance when in difficult situations instead of resorting to violence. "There are numerous social agencies available to assist wherein solutions can be found. The use of violence only causes pain and despair and never solves the underlying problem," the statement said.

This is the second father who decided to commit murder-suicide in the past couple months in the city, taking the lives of their children, and destroying lives of those left behind! Father's rights???

Read the story.

Indiana Stepmother's Appeal to Life Sentence Denied

This stepmonster from Indiana, Michelle Gauvin, disiplined her young stepdaughter Aiyana Gauvin to death in March 2005. She admitted tying Aiyana up, using duct tape over her mouth, and beating her with a broken cutting board as punishment for her misbehavior. This week, the State Court of Appeals rejected the claim that Indiana’s definition of torture should not apply to parents disciplining their children, even if the disciplinary measures seem extreme. Dad was also convicted to the maximum 50 year sentence for neglect.

Aiyana's mother, who did not have custody of her 4-year old daughter, tried numerous times to get the authorities to help her daughter, whom she suspected of being abused.

Read the story on the appeal.

Domestic Violence Case Casts New Light on Court System

This man had won custody of his children, when the mother tried to protect her children by asking for custody, she was denied......so far not so unusual in light of the way things have been going in the courts these past few years. She was unsuccessful in protecting her children because the judge said she couldn't provide enough evidence. Enough? So that leads one to think there was evidence...but in this judges mind, not enough.....maybe the three dead children are enough evidence now??

Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy would not comment about the
Castillo case but says judges do not turn a blind eye to domestic violence.

"I think for the large part, judges are very sensitive or particularly sensitive to the issues of domestic violence," McCarthy says.

Domestic Violence Case Casts New Light on Court System

I do not mean to be rude to this woman and her family over their loss, I do understand they would be devastated over this. However, this should show that judges are not sensitive to the issue of child abuse and family violence. Yes, by law they are supposed to weigh the proof, however, too many judges are not weighing the evidence and proof that are presented.

Women are told to document everything, to bring in police reports, medical records, etc....what if there aren't any? That is so often the case. a victim may not be able or allowed to call the cops. The abuser may not allow that to happen. This is just so sad that we still are fighting this in the same manner as we were years ago.

I have no easy fix for this, the laws are in place in most states to prevent this kind of thing, however; too many judges do what ever they feel like doing and innocent children are usually the ones that suffer the most at the hands of these so called defenders of justice!

April 1, 2008

The Weaker Vessel: CA AB 1771 Nadga's Law

My name is Myra Spearman, I am a past victim of domestic violence and I have created the 1st "NATIONAL DATABASE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ABUSERS".... The Weaker Vessel: CA AB 1771 Nadga's Law