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Survivors In Action Commemorates Anniversary; Advocates Strong Action to Ensure No Victim is Left Behind

Posted Oct 02 2009 3:07pm

•September 13 was 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
•October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Survivors In Action Commemorates Anniversary;
Advocates Strong Action to Ensure No Victim is Left Behind

Sacramento, California, October 1, 2009 – Survivors In Action, a non-profit national advocacy group that supports crime victims and their families, has joined President Obama and the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) in commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

VAWA was passed on September 13, 1994, to improve the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and to increase the availability of services for victims of these crimes. The OVW oversees the financial and technical assistance provided to communities nationwide to help them create programs, policies, and practices to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

In a recent letter, Acting Director of the OVW Catherine Pierce stated: “Since the enactment of the VAWA, countless lives have been saved, the voices of survivors have been heard, and families have been protected. Most important, the criminal justice system’s understanding of the complex responses needed to address domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking has grown.”

Pierce goes on to announce “a year-long campaign to raise public awareness, to build stronger coalitions among federal, state, local and tribal communities, and to redouble our efforts to end domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking for men, women and children across the country.”

SIA agrees that significant progress has been made since the passage of VAWA and applauds the OVW’s commitment to take even stronger action to ensure that services are available to all victims, increase cooperation among agencies, and end the violence. In response to Pierce’s memo, SIA President and Founder Alexis A. Moore stated “Many victims continue to be turned away from federally and state-funded domestic violence organizations, so there is still much work to be done. SIA believes that certain changes are a prerequisite to ending the violence, saving lives, and giving victims renewed hope.”

The changes Moore is referring to are to:

1)Implement uniform protocols and procedures in every state to ensure that each federally and state-funded domestic violence victim organization operates under the same standards—ones that ensure victims are not turned away and get the help they need.

2)Have a liaison in each state that victims and their advocates can contact to voice concerns and complaints when victims do not receive the assistance they need, as well as to report positive experiences. The state liaison could be a representative of one of the many non-profit organizations or state coalitions willing to serve as a clearinghouse. Today’s technology permits many things to be accomplished quickly and effectively, making it possible for such a clearinghouse to begin operating rapidly and at minimal or even no cost.

3)Form a national oversight agency or committee, reporting to Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, to which state DV agencies and resources would be accountable and would report what is and isn’t working, and to which state liaisons could escalate grievances that cannot be resolved at the state level.

4)Organize and provide strong leadership for the many non-profits, volunteers, and other individuals working to bring about domestic violence resource reform.

Moore concluded: “We believe the appointment of Lynn Rosenthal as a White House Advisor signals recognition on at the highest levels of government that the critical problem of domestic violence needs a higher profile and more effective action. Ms. Rosenthal, along with an effective oversight committee, can provide that leadership and organization.

“SIA has offered to help Ms. Rosenthal by serving as a liaison to the White House, forming an oversight committee, and organizing the diverse resources committed to this cause. Meanwhile, in the spirit of the VAWA, we will continue to advocate and work for the changes needed to bring domestic violence resources, protocols, and procedures into the 21st century. Our goal is to prevent more victims from falling through the cracks.”

Survivors In Action (SIA) is a non-profit national advocacy group that supports victims and the families of victims of any crime. 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 fills the gaps, providing support through all stages of the journey from victim to survivor, with no time limitations, cut-off dates, or conditions, helping to ensure that no victim is left behind.

Alexis A. Moore, Survivors In Action
P.O. Box 4584
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
(916) 941-7292
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