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Open Letter to Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Domestic Violence

Posted May 31 2011 12:00am
On June 26, 2009, Vice President Biden named Lynn Rosenthal as White House Advisor on Violence Against Women (VAW). Rosenthal has championed the movement against domestic and sexual violence for three decades, leading the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) from 2000 to 2006. Most recently, she served as executive director of the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Previously, she played a major advocacy role in reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and assisted states and communities with its implementation. For the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, she developed service models and created the state’s first comprehensive plan to help survivors find housing. She has also worked with corporate partners to promote economic empowerment for survivors and to bring millions of dollars in aid to communities in responding to domestic violence.

Ms. Lynn Rosenthal
White House Advisor on Violence Against Women

Dear Ms. Rosenthal,

As you are aware, domestic violence is a matter of life and death for millions of Americans. Each month, it is estimated that thousands of victims are turned away from state and federally funded domestic violence coalitions and shelters. These victims ¬-- abused by the people they trust -- have no recourse when this happens, and no place to report their experiences or grievances.

The cold, hard reality is that these victims are falling through the cracks—ignored by the very organizations whose mission is to assist them. Because of this failure, a growing number of victims are reaching out to Survivors In Action (SIA), a non-profit national advocacy group that provides individual assistance to victims of domestic abuse.

Ms. Rosenthal, given your extraordinary qualifications and clear commitment to preventing domestic violence, SIA is encouraged by your appointment as White House Advisor. Your appointment signals recognition at the highest levels of government that now is the time for real change and domestic violence resource reform. Without such reform, more victims will be subject to what advocates and victims now refer to as "The DV Run Around," and more will die.

We believe the DV Run Around occurs in large part because there is so little oversight of how funds are used by the thousands of state and federally funded domestic violence organizations and no assessment of whether these organizations are meeting victims’ needs. Additionally, DV reform has done very little to assist teen, LGBT and male victims -- who are afraid to reach out for help because of social stigma -- or victims of military or officer-involved violence, who remain silent for fear of legal repercussions. Accordingly, SIA is leading a two-pronged movement for national domestic violence resource reform
•First, we are advocating that the government audit the federal grants and other funds that domestic violence organizations receive to determine how these funds are being used and to ensure accountability.

•Second, we are advocating the creation of a Federal Domestic Violence Oversight Committee to oversee state and federally funded domestic violence organizations and provide victims a place to document their experiences and file complaints.

As evidence of increasing public recognition of the urgent need for measures like these, we have obtained more than 1,000 signatures on our petition for Domestic Violence Resource Reform in just a matter of weeks.

As stated by Family Violence Prevention Fund President Esta Soler, “At a time when domestic, dating and sexual violence are pervasive problems that touch every community, and on average three women are murdered each day by their husbands or boyfriends, we need renewed attention to this issue and increased resources for victims and prevention measures.”

Ms. Rosenthal, I can’t express this any more clearly than Ms. Soler has in her statement above. The victims of domestic violence desperately need—and SIA respectfully requests—your support for the above measures. Please stand up for these reforms now.

Thank you so much for your attention and concern.


Alexis A. Moore
Survivors In Action
"No Victim Left Behind"

What is Survivors In Action?
Survivors In Action (SIA) is a non-profit national advocacy group that supports victims and the families of victims of any crime, including domestic violence, identity theft, elder abuse, cyberstalking, stalking, child abuse, rape, and sexual assault Other national organizations typically help victims at specific points in their victimization cycle—such as when they first report the crime or in writing parole opposition letters—leaving “gaps” in needed services. SIA is the only organization that fills the gaps, providing support through all stages of the journey from victim to survivor, with no time limitations, cut-off dates, or conditions. Our mission is to ensure that no victim anywhere in the nation is left behind.
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