Lost to Domestic Violence: Jackie Axt speaks out on behalf of her late sister and domestic violence victims in NYS
Posted Apr 22 2011 12:00am
Recently, I've been reading about all of the available services for domestic violence assistance in Dutchess County. I cannot help but point out how this "model" for DV response has failed so many people.
I'd like to set a few things straight. My sister, Linda Riccardulli, was not helped by Grace Smith House. She did not get directed to a Domestic Violence Court in Dutchess County. She was not assigned a DV Divorce Lawyer who would have given her appropriate council. She and her children were not protected by the "Order of Protection" that was given to them. Her estranged husband who was a danger to himself and others was released from jail and what she was given was 40 minutes notice that he was out. That was the "model" that did not save Linda's life last summer, the same model I keep reading about.
I can not correlate the military level response to the woman who was being evicted from her home, to the lack of response that Linda encountered in Dutchess County when she brought her multiple OP violations to her lawyers, the DA and Police, and ultimately as she lay bleeding in her home on the night she lost her life.
I really cannot fathom the reluctance that the advocates I work with, Maria DiBari and Alyssa Kogon have encountered trying to offer solutions to the problems. Not far fetched solutions or unproven theories. These are solutions that have been proven effective in other places. Ideas that have been dismissed or ignored, and in some instances, many months later, are being touted as their own.
As previously mentioned, the press conference we held in September for "Linda's Laws" was not attended by anyone from any DV assistance group even though they were all invited.
The latest slap in the face was the Committee hearing on April 7th. You can see for yourself how the discussion of the GPS proposal was mentioned and tabled and the reaction from the Angela Friesland -R who seemed annoyed that it was even being brought up. I wrote a letter to the Legislature/Advisory Committee regarding my feelings from a victims point of view. (letter attached below)
I got three responses (Thank you!) out of 25 people in the Legislature. Most notably , I received no response from Leah Feldman who is the Project Coordinator of the Universal Response to Domestic Violence. The most resounding response I got was the Web Cast taken down the day after my letter was received by the Legislature. Only after complaints from the public, the Webcast was put back up and a letter from the Advisory Committee went out to appease those concerned and angered about the Legislature Meeting.
Stop using my sister as a political pawn. I am appalled that these groups keep invoking Linda's name when I know first hand that they did not help her before her death, nor have they supported or even acknowledged the family in the wake of her murder.
ATTACHMENT LETTER TO LEGISLATURE 4-14-11
I would like to thank those Legislators in Dutchess County that value saving the lives of domestic violence victims in the community and were willing to speak out, along with the unpaid advocates in the county.
However, I'm sorry that the value of saving lives for some is not as obvious as the value of a free ice machine.
I am shocked and appalled by what occurred in the committee meeting on April 7th. it is unbelievable that the committee was so quick to table the GPS proposal with nothing more than a vague "We're looking into it" from the Advisory Committee Liaison. That Leah Feldman, the Project Coordinator for the Universal Response for Domestic Violence had nothing to say on the matter is baffling.
Furthermore, my family and I are offended by the callus comments made by Legislator Angela Flesland as though it was out of line to bring this proposal to the meeting. My sister, Linda Riccardulli, is dead, and other families in addition to my own have been destroyed by homicides related to DV since. The Committee is not working fast enough where domestic violence is concerned. The offenders were all out on bail. Victims go unprotected. The GPS would have saved lives, and as part of a solution deserves discussion, not distain. You must remember we are dealing with lives, not political agendas.