Thursday, December 01, 2005

Many Doctors Do Not Document Domestic Violence

Nearly a third of U.S. doctors surveyed in a recent poll said they don't keep a record when their patients report domestic violence, and 90 percent don't document domestic violence adequately, new research shows. Those inadequate doctors' reports also don't record whether the doctors offered support and information about domestic violence to patients who might have needed that type of assistance.

Reporting in the November 20 issue of the journal BMC Family Practice, researchers led by Megan Gerber of Harvard Medical School analyzed doctors' reports on 90 patients, all victims of domestic violence.

In 26 of those 90 cases, the doctor's report did not document that the patient had mentioned an incident of domestic violence, the researchers found. Only 10 percent of the doctors' reports recorded that the physician offered some information to patients about where to get help for domestic violence and assisted patients in developing a list of steps to remove themselves from the situation. A third of doctors surveyed said they didn't feel confident in counseling patients who reported domestic violence.

World Health Organization Finds Intimate Partner Violence Most Common Form of Violence in Women's Lives

The first-ever World Health Organization (WHO) study on domestic violence reveals that intimate partner violence is the most common form of violence in women’s lives - much more so than assault or rape by strangers or acquaintances. The study reports on the enormous toll physical and sexual violence by husbands and partners has on the health and well-being of women around the world and the extent to which partner violence is still largely hidden.

The study (which found that one in six women are victims of intimate partner violence) is based on interviews with more than 24 000 women from rural and urban areas in 10 countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan, Namibia, Peru, Samoa, Serbia and Montenegro, Thailand, and the United Republic of Tanzania. The study's authors found one-quarter to one-half of all women who had been physically assaulted by their partners said they had suffered physical injuries. Abused women were twice as likely as non-abused women to have poor health and physical and mental problems such as pain or suicidal thoughts or attempts. At least 20 per cent of women who reported physical violence in the study never told anyone before they were interviewed. The report recommends changes to attitudes that perpetuate abuse. Recommendations include:

-Integrating violence prevention into health programs.
-Training health workers and police to identify and respond.
-Ensuring schools are safe places.
-Strengthening support systems for victims.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Domestic violence and productivity

Two University of Arkansas researchers found that for women in non-supervisory positions that had been victims of domestic violence and victimized in the last 12 months, their estimated lost productivity costs per year were $2,940 higher than non-victimized female employees in non-supervisory positions.

So you figure -- just fire the dv victims right? It will be cheaper? Well, on the face of it, I guess I could understand how someone could thing that way. Except:

1) You don't know who all the domestic violence victims are -- and some of them are your really good employees. CAEPV just did a national telephone poll of employed adults and 21% of them reported being victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives -- and all of them work somewhere.

2) Costs of hiring new employees are very high. According to Maria Grant, Deloitte & Touche partner in charge of the human capital program in Michigan, it costs $12,000 in recruitment and training expenses to replace the average nonprofessional worker and $35,000 to find a new professional employee. At the Families and Work Institute, experts tell companies it will cost about 75 percent of a nonmanagerial worker's annual salary to replace him or her and 150 percent of a manager's annual salary.

3) Workplace safety. Domestic violence often becomes a workplace violence issue, and by removing those who you think you "know" are victims, you have just created a dis-incentive for the rest of the victims to talk to you about the issue. It makes much more sense to provide a prevention and safety program for everyone.

The researchers also found that for victims whose workplaces provided support, the negative impact of the victimization was decreased. Cost savings? I would think so. More loyal employee? I would guess so. Possibility of helping to save a life while increasing productivity and decreasing healthcare costs (which I did not even discuss here) -- you bet!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Are 21% of Your Employees Victims of Domestic Violence?

CAEPV ( recently released the first telephone survey of full-time employed adults regarding their experiences with domestic violence and its impact on the workplace. Twenty-one percent (21%) of those we polled had been victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. Keep in mind that everyone we polled was employed full time (we defined being employed full time as being employed 32 hours or more a week).

And what was our split of male/female poll participants? About 40% were male, and about 60% were female, so while it was not an even split, it certainly was not overwhelmingly female. So what do I think that means?

I think that means we have a lot of female (and male) victims of domestic violence at our workplaces -- at least as suggested by this poll. And as we all know, no one leaves their "home life" at the door when they walk into the office -- and this is especially true for a victim of domestic violence.

There are so many positive and proactive things that an enlightened workplace can do to address the issue -- and it does not have to be expensive, or complicated. For more information on the poll, as well as a sample policy and an article on "six steps for creating a workplace program," visit

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Most Dangerous Time

It is so important that people understand the dangerous time for victims of domestic violence is often when they decide to leave or have left the relationship.

In cases of homicide related to domestic violence; 75% of the time it is when the victim is leaving or has left the abuser.

Leaving is potentially VERY dangerous for a victim – this must be kept in mind and communicated to victims -- whether they are employees or friends.

Once again in our community a woman was killed this week when she told her boyfriend that she wanted out of the relationship. He had been very abusive in the past, and when she finally determined this time to go, he determined to kill her.

This was especially chilling to me, because I had just finished doing a presentation earlier in the day at one of our member companies talking about how to help a friend or loved one who is in an abusive relationship, and one of the things I emphasized was the fact of the danger involved in leaving.

And then I came back to work and found out that Ms. Wallace -- mother of five-- had been killed with a kitchen knife by a man who allegedly loved her.

If you need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 -- don't go it alone.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Domestic violence spills into workplace, study finds

Domestic violence is affecting more workers in the office, with altercations sometimes spilling from the home into the workplace, a study by an antiviolence organization has found.

The study, conducted by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, found that 57 percent of American workers know someone who has dealt with domestic violence, and 44 percent have ''personally experienced'' the impact of domestic violence situations at work.

The ways that domestic violence spills over into the workplace may vary, but responses to the survey showed that overall, it affects people fairly consistently at jobs requiring all levels of education. Workers with the greatest mount of education in the survey saw slightly more incidents of domestic violence situations than those with less education: 48 percent of college graduates surveyed reported direct knowledge of problems that affected co-workers, followed by 44 percent of those with some college education and 43 percent of those with a high school degree or less. Of those employees who had witnessed or experienced domestic violence in the workplace, a majority — 71 percent — believed victims they worked with lived ''in fear of discovery,'' the report said.

Behavior by co-workers' partners in the workplace is often embarrassing for the victims, respondents said, and workplace friends and allies often offer support by helping out with workloads.

About 31 percent of workers said they felt ''strongly'' or ''somewhat obliged'' to cover for a domestic violence victim by either performing their work or covering up their absences.
Domestic violence in the workplace affects more than the victims. Of those surveyed, 38 percent said they were ''extremely'' or ''somewhat concerned'' for their own safety, often because the abusive partner would visit the workplace.

In general, employers do not offer support programs for victims. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they did not know whether their company had a domestic violence policy or whether they offered support services for victims, while 31 percent said they knew none were available.

Kim Wells, executive director for the alliance, said a hands-off policy by employers on domestic violence issues is unhealthy for employees who need help.

''Because domestic violence's impact does not end at the office front door, America's employers need to take action,'' she said in a statement released with the study.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Survey Finds Domestic Violence Has Significant Impact on US Workforce

In honor of CAEPV's 10th anniversary, we conducted a first-ever national benchmarking telephone survey to discover what the general adult employee population believes about domestic violence as a workplace issue - and how they have been impacted.

Among the major findings:
-44% of employed adults surveyed personally experienced domestic violence's effect in their workplaces
-21% of respondents (men and women) identified themselves as victims of intimate partner violence
-64% of victims of domestic violence indicated that their ability to work was affected by the violence
-33% of victims reported their employer provides no programs or support
-66% of those surveyed indicated they were not aware of their employer having a workplace domestic violence policy
-61% of those surveyed believe their employer's "performance and reputation" would "improve if it did a better job addressing the impact of domestic violence, such as through a workplace program"

The Survey Sponsors

Our thanks to the following companies and organizations for their sponsorship of this benchmarking survey:
Verizon Wireless-Lead Sponsor
Blue Shield of California Foundation
State Farm Insurance Companies
Liz Claiborne Inc.
Mary Kay Inc.
Park National Bank

Sample Resources

CAEPV Sample Workplace Policy
CAEPV's Six Steps For Creating a Successful Workplace Program

The Survey Findings

A National Issue
The study found that intimate partner violence has a wide and far-reaching effect on American's working lives - whether in terms of economic productivity, personal safety, office culture or other issues.

A full 53% of respondents are "very aware" to "somewhat aware" of domestic violence as a workplace issue, and 43% rated "Domestic Violence's impact on the workplace" as "very important" - placing it among other major issues with the potential to disrupt our working lives such as "Terrorism" (44%), "Job Insecurity" (41%) and "Employee Theft" (40%). Only "Benefits such as health care or retirement" rated significantly higher (63%)

Significant Impact
Specifically, a majority or more of respondents noted that domestic violence had the following significant impact on victims:
-71% believe victims lived in "fear of discovery."
-67% said victims needed "to seek out co-workers for additional help."
-65% noted that the "intimate partner harassed their co-worker at work (by phone or in person)."
-63% believe victims suffered from an "inability to complete assignments on time."
-59% found victims lived in "fear of their intimate partner's unexpected visits."

Covering for Victims
Moreover, 31% of respondents felt "strongly" to "somewhat obliged" to cover for a victim of domestic violence by performing his or her work or offering excuses for his or her absence. Additional reported impact included:
-27% reported "extremely frequently" to "somewhat frequently" having to "do the victim's work for them."
-25% resented co-workers from "great" to "some extent" because of the effect of their situation "on the workplace."

Workplace Safety
In addition, 38% of respondents were "extremely" to "somewhat concerned" for their own safety when they "found out a co-worker was a victim." Thirty-two percent believe the co-worker victim feared "for his/her safety" - perhaps because 30% reported that the abuser frequently visited the office.
-19% said it took "over a year" for the problem to be resolved.
-23% said "several months."

Victims Perspective
The domestic violence victims surveyed confirmed non-victims' impressions - as a full 64% of victims reported their ability to work "significantly" (38%) to "somewhat" (26%) affected.
Among key causes for their decline in productivity, victims noted "distraction" (57%); "fear of discovery" (45%); "harassment by intimate partner at work (either by phone or in person)" (40%); fear of intimate partner's unexpected visits" (34%); "inability to complete assignments on time" (24%); and "job loss" (21%).

First-Hand Knowledge
Fifty-seven percent of respondents know someone who has been affected by domestic violence, and 44% have personally experienced domestic violence's impact on the workplace, most frequently because a co-worker was a victim (45%) - a response that was consistent across educational levels, from a high school degree or less (43%) to some college (44%) to college graduates and beyond (48%).

Employer Support
In victims' experience, employers provided relatively limited support - with 31% reporting that their employers offered "no programs, support or help." However, victims did point to receiving the following help:
-23% "Access to counseling and assistance"
-18% "Information and referral to domestic violence programs"
-12% "Contacting authorities"
-12% "Providing security"
-8% "providing flexible leave time and other benefits"

Accessing Support
Only 46% of victims were "easily able to access" available programs or "seek assistance" and 42% were not able to do so. While just 26% found programs or resources "extremely helpful." The reason victims found "it difficult to access" help included the following:
-25% "Confidentiality"
-16% "Concern seeking help would jeopardize job/career advancement"
-13% "Lack of information"
-6% "No clear contact person"

One-Third Awareness Policies
Slightly more than one-third of all respondents (34%) were aware of their employers' domestic violence policies, and among this "aware" group, 49% believe their employer's program is "very effective." Program elements mentioned included: providing flexible leave time or other benefits, providing security, contacting authorities, changing hours or work locations and providing access to legal support. Two-thirds (66%) were unaware or did not know if their employer has a domestic violence policy or program in place.

Coming Forward — A Hypothetical
A full 75% of non-victim respondents believe their current employer would be "very supportive" to "somewhat supportive" if they came forward as a victim today. Yet 16% would "not come forward as a victim," 32% would be "nervous" and 14% would be concerned. Only 26% would be "relieved."

Moreover, if a respondent were to identify a potential victim at the workplace, his or her response would most likely be personal rather than through professional channels. Specifically, 68% would "reach out to a potential victim" - while only 30% would "report concerns to a supervisor"; 26% would "call the National Domestic Violence Hotline" and 26% would "contact human resources or personnel."

Raising Awareness, Expanding Policies
Respondents pointed to the following information and services that "would have been helpful":
-"Comprehensive domestic violence awareness program" (48%)
-"24 hour hotline to report domestic violence and other problems" (45%)
-"Training on domestic Violence" (43%)
-"Payroll stuffers to raise awareness/promote access" (40%)

Strengthening Reputation
Sixty-one percent believe their employer's "performance and reputation" would "improve if it did a better job addressing the impact of domestic violence, such as through a workplace program." Responses were consistent across ethnicity and income, although the study found somewhat higher support among lower educational levels: 72% "High School or less"; 62% "Some college"; 53% College grad and beyond."

The Hotline
At the end of the survey, when queried, nearly one-third (32%) of all respondents asked for the "National Domestic Violence Hotline" number. Responses were consistent across education, income and marital status.

About the Survey
Group SJR, a national survey research and communications firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles, fielded the study from July 15th to September 15th, 2005. The 1200 person national telephone survey has a margin of error of +/-3 percent.

The Study's Definition of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is the use of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or threats to control another person who is a current or former husband, wife or other intimate partner such as a boyfriend or girlfriend.

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is a leading force in the fight against intimate partner violence and its effects on the workplace. It is the only national nonprofit organization in the US founded by business leaders and focused on domestic violence and its impact on the workplace. Since 1995, the Alliance has brought together dozens of progressive companies who exchange information, collaborate on projects, and use their influence to instigate change. The Alliance offers extensive research, policy knowledge and issue expertise to the business community, including training, program guidance, and crisis consultation - with programs designed to make the workplace safe and to prevent intimate partner violence from impacting the workplace.

CAEPV has member and associate organizations reaching over one million employees across the United States. Corporate members include Altria Group, Inc., American Express, ADM, The Avon Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Blue Shield of California Foundation, CIGNA, Eastman Kodak, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Legal Momentum, Lifetime Television, Liz Claiborne Inc., Mary Kay Inc., Northern Trust, RAND, State Farm Insurance Companies, Verizon Communications, Verizon Wireless, and The Wireless Foundation.

Internationally, the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence UK, the United Nations Population Fund/Turkey and the Office of the Status of Women, Commonwealth of Australia are CAEPV member organizations.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Safe Place in The Workplace Hotline October 11

On October 11th, Liz Claiborne Inc. will host a Safe Place in the Workplace Company Hotline where HR executives can call to discuss how they can incorporate an intimate partner violence workplace program into their own companies' policies. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. October 11th is being dubbed It's Time to Talk Day, a day on which Americans nationwide will be urged to talk about domestic violence. The Safe Place in the Workplace Company Hotline is one of many activities planned for that day, including the roll out of a curriculum for high schools on teen dating violence, and the ringing of the closing bell of the NYSE.

From 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, HR executives can call toll free 877-448-8783 and enter the pin number:VS173409, to speak with Dennis Butler, Vice President of Associate Relations at Liz Claiborne, and Kim Wells, Executive Director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. Both will be available to answer questions for all HR executives who call the Hotline. The Corporate Alliance is the only national organization of its kind founded by business leaders and focused on DV issues in the workplace.

Studies indicate that intimate partner violence affects nearly 25% of all employees in every place of business. Furthermore, intimate partner violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work annually - the equivalent of more than 32,000 full time jobs. Direct medical costs associated with domestic violence in the US are 1.8 billion a year.

With staggering statistics such as these, Liz Claiborne found it critical to include Safe Place in the Workplace Company Hotline in their efforts to combat intimate partner violence.

Companies Care About Domestic Violence

As we recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we honor ALL our CAEPV Members as our "Members of the Month." Whether it is within the workplace through policies and awareness programs, or outside the workplace through educational campaigns, all of our CAEPV members are changing the landscape of our society. For every life that has been or will be changed – or even saved – by workplaces addressing intimate partner violence, our CAEPV members across the country should be very proud indeed.

We are honored to have such involved and dedicated organizations as members of CAEPV – all committed to making partner violence “everybody’s business”!

Friday, September 23, 2005


The 2005 IT'S TIME TO TALK DAY page is now up on the Liz Claiborne "Love Is Not Abuse" site -- you can get there by going to There is all kinds of great information about IT'S TIME TO TALK DAY including an event toolkit, event ideas, a national event roster (where you can register what you are doing), and more!

Friday, August 26, 2005

CAEPV Announces UK Sister Alliance Partnership

We are very pleased to announce our new partnership with its Sister Alliance in the United Kingdom through the Home Office Domestic Violence Team. The Sister Alliance is named the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence UK and participating companies include The Body Shop International, Vodaphone, AOL/Time Warner, KPMG, the BBC, and the National Health Service (NHS) -- the largest employer in Europe with over 1.3 million employees. The Alliance Chair is Baroness Scotland QC, who is also Chair for the Inter-Ministerial Group on Domestic Violence.

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is a leading force in the fight against intimate partner violence and its effects on the workplace. It is the only national organization of its kind founded by business leaders and focused on the workplace. Since 1995, the Alliance has brought together dozens of progressive companies who exchange information, collaborate on projects, and use their influence to instigate change. The Alliance offers extensive research, policy knowledge and issue expertise to the business community, including training, program guidance, and crisis consultation – with programs designed to make the workplace safe and to prevent intimate partner violence from impacting the workplace.

CAEPV has member and associate organizations reaching over one million employees across the United States. Corporate members include Altria Group, Inc., American Express, ADM, Avon Products, Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Blue Shield of California Foundation, CIGNA, COUNTRY Insurance & Financial Services, Eastman Kodak, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Legal Momentum, Lifetime Television, Liz Claiborne Inc., Mary Kay Inc., Northern Trust, RAND, State Farm Insurance Companies, Verizon Communications, Verizon Wireless, and The Wireless Foundation.

Internationally, the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence UK joins the United Nations Population Fund/Turkey and the Office of the Status of Women, Commonwealth of Australia as CAEPV member organizations.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

CAEPV To Field First National Survey Regarding Impact of DV On Workplace

Starting last night, we are fielding the first ever national telephone survey asking employed adults about their experiences and attitudes regarding domestic violence as a workplace issue. There have been small studies done, and some studies done with groups of employees whose companies are participating in domestic violence workplace training programs -- but no one has ever asked people across the US before if they have noticed this at work before, and how it has impacted them.

We are not sure what sort of results to expect (since this kind of survey has never been done before) but we look forward to learning what people across the US have to tell us. This is a benchmarking survey, and we intend to repeat it in coming years to measure changes as we hope that more awareness is raised about the issue, and that more companies have programs and resources in place to assist employees who need help.

We thank Park National Bank for joining on as the most recent sponsor of this survey. Park National Bank joins the following companies and organizations sponsoring this benchmarking survey:
Verizon Wireless -- Lead Sponsor
Blue Shield of California Foundation
State Farm Insurance Company
Liz Claiborne Inc.
Mary Kay Inc.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

October 11, 2005 Set for "It's Time To Talk Day"

Liz Claiborne Inc, Marie Claire, and Verizon Wireless will partner nationally to sponsor the second annual "It's Time to Talk Day" on Tuesday, October 11, 2005.

The idea behind "It's Time to Talk Day" is simple -- it is designed to be a day on which Americans nationwide will be urged to talk about domestic violence -- in classrooms, offices, homes, coffeehouses. . . anywhere people gather.

To see examples of what was done in 2004, check out the "It's Time To Talk Day" page on the CAEPV web site to see what CAEPV members did together in Central Illinois.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Oregon Lawmakers Ensure Help For Domestic Violence Victims A Phone Call Away

Eugene, Oregon --Victims of domestic violence no longer have to worry about having their phone service cut off because of overdue bills. Starting September 1st, a new law requires phone companies to put victims of domestic violence on payment plans rather discontinue service, giving the abused a vital safety link.

To qualify for a payment plan, victims must have a court-issued protective order and make regular payments. Phone companies are not required to extend service to those who won't pay at all. The program provides only local service. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Vicki Walker, D-Eugene, passed both chambers by a wide margin.

Approval brought a feeling of relief to Cheryl O'Neill, the executive director of Womenspace, a Eugene-based shelter and support service for domestic violence victims. O'Neill began pushing for the law six years ago when she worked at the Domestic Violence Clinic of Lane County Legal Aid, helping clients go to court for protective orders to keep abusive ex-partners at bay.
One of O'Neill's clients had recently moved out of an abusive relationship and obtained a restraining order, but could not afford phone service. "Both she and I had contacted the phone company, asking them to let her make payments on the overdue bill so that she would have the safety line of a phone," O'Neill said. "At the phone company I was told it was illegal for them to make such an agreement."

O'Neill said people leaving abusive relationships often have financial problems — such as no credit history, too little income and overdue phone bills — that prevent them from getting phone service.

Yet, O'Neill says, they need phone service to call police, to contact friends and other supporters, to look for housing and jobs, to reach out for help from 24-hour crisis lines, to check on children at school, to call their lawyers.

O'Neill's client could not summon help when her abusive ex-partner showed up at her home. He raped her, and then committed suicide in front of her. "I've been carrying that woman around with me all these years. You know that sinking feeling? You reach out to catch something that's falling and you miss," she said. "I felt I still had a duty to her." (Source: Associated Press)

Friday, July 29, 2005

California Attorney General Finds System Fails Victims, Families

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer released a report this week revealing that the criminal justice system is failing to enforce California's domestic violence laws. Joined by statewide leaders, Lockyer called for implementation of 5 key recommendations to reduce domestic abuse and challenged local law enforcement and judicial officers to increase and improve their efforts to stop the cycle of family violence."The laws already on the books should be holding batterers accountable for their violent behavior, but the criminal justice system often fails to enforce them," Lockyer said. "System fatigue is not an excuse for domestic abuse. We are going to shift a culture of complacency into a culture of compliance."The report is based on an extensive two-year assessment by Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s Task Force on Local Criminal Justice Response to Domestic Violence -- a 26-member group of experts and leaders in law enforcement, the courts, victim advocacy, public health and the legislature. Key report findings are:

- California's courts are not issuing restraining orders, even when required under law.
- Many restraining orders that do get issued are never served.
- There is often lax enforcement of restraining orders, especially firearm prohibitions.
- Community-based victim advocates are not used by all prosecuting offices to assist domestic violence victims.
- Attendance at court-ordered programs for batterers is not tracked and many never complete the program.

A serious lack of coordination plagues criminal justice agencies' approach to domestic violence.
"Our report includes disturbing examples of agencies that have failed to respond to domestic violence victims, failed to enforce the law and failed to work in collaboration," said Casey Gwinn, chair of the Attorney General's task force. "Yet, we have also seen firsthand how much can be accomplished when there is strong local leadership and cooperation among agencies."In response to the findings, Lockyer has sponsored several legislative solutions. AB 1288 (Chu), would authorize arraignment courts to prohibit domestic violence defendants from possessing firearms. That bill would also allow local law enforcement to advise a domestic violence victim whether the batterer possesses a firearm, according to a Department of Justice's (DOJ) database. SB 720 (Kuehl), would help ensure that family court restraining orders are entered into Department of Justice's database so that the proof does not rest with victims. Among the report's recommendations:

- Enforce the laws that already exist. Court officials should issue more restraining orders and get them into the system. Batterers must surrender their guns and if they do not, law enforcement must confiscate the weapons.
- Local counties should adopt a successful Long Beach model where family court judges convene informally on an on-going basis with local agency representatives, the District and City Attorneys' offices, court officials, law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations.
- Break down the walls built by a compartmentalized system by co-locating criminal justice and victim service agencies, as has happened at San Diego's Family Justice Center.
- The courts and the programs designed to get batterers to control and change their behavior must consistently impose sanctions on batterers who fail to attend classes.
- Improve computer database systems so that restraining orders get into the system, and so that attendance at required batterer intervention classes are carefully tracked.

"The broad spectrum of interests represented on the task force, from judges to prosecutors to a public defender and from law enforcement to victim advocates, proved to be an asset – we reached consensus on each finding," said Tom Orloff, Alameda County District Attorney and a task force member. "Consensus was achieved because of the compelling testimony provided at the regional hearings and the information obtained from hundreds of practitioners. We all need to improve the way we respond to domestic violence. We need to strengthen our efforts to protect victims, prosecute batterers and stop this devastating crime."Among the report's positive findings is a pilot project in Orange County's domestic violence court to confiscate prohibited firearms. The court subjects all defendants at initial arraignment to a criminal protective order that requires them to surrender their firearms within 24 hours. The court also requires these defendants to contact DOJ, which checks the information in its Automated Firearms System and enforces the firearms prohibition."We have seen far too many domestic violence cases result in tragedy after they entered the criminal justice system," stated Chief Susan Manheimer of the San Mateo Police Department and a task force member. "The task force traveled throughout the state to identify inconsistencies as well as practices that will prevent further tragedies. It is important that our local criminal justice entities work together to strengthen our response to domestic violence and move forward to adopt these findings and recommendations."

"The task force report gives domestic violence advocates an opportunity to discuss its many findings and recommendations with our partners in the criminal justice system," stated Karen Cooper, Board President of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. "As a victim advocate, I especially appreciate that the report addresses reducing the burdens the criminal justice system can place on victims who are already traumatized."The Task Force focused its investigation on 10 target counties, interviewing hundreds of practitioners and holding 6 public hearings to examine how well local criminal justice agencies respond to and deal with domestic violence issues, identify programs that work well and determine how to improve efforts to protect and prevent family violence.Lockyer's decision to appoint the task force was prompted in part by the findings of a study he and Senator Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, commissioned to determine the effectiveness of laws and practices aimed at reducing domestic violence.

Published in June 2003, the 51-page Senate Office of Research report showed that while California has taken critical steps to protect domestic violence victims, a comprehensive assessment of those efforts was still needed.Domestic violence statistics collected by DOJ show California local law enforcement agencies received 186,439 domestic violence-related calls for assistance in 2004. During that same year, there were 169 murders committed as a result of intimate partner violence and 46,353 adults and juveniles were arrested for spousal abuse under Penal Code section 273.5.Additional information about the Attorney General's efforts to combat domestic violence and copies of Keeping the Promise – Victim Safety and Batterer Accountability are available at the Attorney General's Crime and Violence Prevention Center web site at (Source: California Attorney General's Office)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

New York Mayor Bloomberg Opens First New York Family Justice Center

July 20, 2005 -- Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today opened New York City's first Family Justice Center located in downtown Brooklyn, cutting the ceremonial ribbon accompanied by Avon Foundation President Kathleen Walas, actress/producer and Avon spokesperson Salma Hayek and U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women Director Diane M. Stuart. At the Center, professionals from 37 community partners and nine government agencies will provide an array of necessary services to domestic violence victims. For example, with only one visit, victims may meet with a prosecutor, access social services, begin long term counseling, and meet with a clergy member - all in their native language. The Center anticipates helping approximately 7,000 adults and 14,000 children each year, and is the first of 15 centers to open nationwide as part of a U.S. Department of Justice initiative.

"Domestic violence often leaves victims physically, financially and emotionally devastated," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The Family Justice Center will be a place where domestic violence victims will be able to find the essential services they need under one roof in a supportive, comfortable and understanding environment. We want domestic violence survivors to know that the process of recovery and a new life can begin here."

"The Avon Foundation Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program launched a year ago, and we awarded one of our first grants to the Family Justice Center," stated President, Avon Foundation Kathleen Walas. "We are proud to be members of the Founders' Circle, and extend our gratitude to the dozens of agencies whose collaboration made this Center a reality. We invite other foundations and corporations to join us and help continue the unique vision of hope that the Center represents."

"It is an honor to take part in the opening of the Family Justice Center, which I hope will be the first of many," said Ms. Hayek. "We cannot tolerate a world in which one in three women is a victim of domestic violence, and for the past year I have worked with Avon on the new Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Individuals, companies like Avon, the government and domestic violence organizations working together can break the cycle of domestic violence."

The Family Justice Center received a $725,000 grant from The Founders' Circle, a diverse group of foundations and corporate citizens who were the first to commit financially to the Center,including: the Avon Foundation, Altria Corporate Services, Cisco Systems, Inc., Dell, Inc., Dr. Joy to the World Foundation, Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, Lifetime Television, United Way of New York City and Verizon Wireless, New York Metro Region. Additional funding is provided through in- kind donations from the City and community partners, and more than $1.2 million in a Federal grant.

Also joining the Mayor at the opening were Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, , Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Yolanda B. Jimenez, New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Companies Support Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

The Avon Foundation -- The Avon Foundation continues their "Speak Out Against Domestic Violence" campaign with "Speak Out Against Domestic Violence - Let Congress Hear Your Voice!" They are encouraging individuals to join Salma Hayek and Avon in the campaign to raise awareness and Speak Out Against Domestic Violence. Anyone can stop by the Avon Let's Talk Beauty Tour and sign a card that will be shared with Congress supporting the reauthorization of VAWA. The Avon Let's Talk Beauty Tour will collect signature Cards in support of VAWA all summer and fall until the bill is passed, and will present these petition cards to Congress. In addition, on July 19, Avon Foundation President Kathleen Walas will accompany Salma Hayek to Washington DC as Ms. Hayek testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of VAWA.

Lifetime Television -- Lifetime Television has an Action Center in the Stop Violence Against Women Section of their website at to explain how individuals can become involved in the reauthorization of VAWA. Lifetime has also created FREE stickers for the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence to distribute -- and an email postcard is in the works that can be used to encourage people to contact their Members of Congress and urge them to vote for reauthorization. If you would like stickers, you can contact Cheryl O’Donnell at NNEDV at (202) 543-5566.

Liz Claiborne Inc. -- CEO Paul R. Charron wrote a letter to Senator Arlen Specter, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, encouraging reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Quoting from a portion of his letter, Mr. Charron said, "Domestic violence is a high priority concern for Liz Claiborne Inc. It not only impacts us as a business, as we experience the consequences of domestic violence on our employees, but it affects us on a personal level as well. We are a member of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence and have spearheaded a company-wide campaign to fight domestic violence. Liz Claiborne Inc. offers an environment of support in the workplace, where we can accommodate flexible hours for domestic violence victims to seek safety and protection."

Mary Kay Inc. -- Mary Kay Independent National Sales Directors drove their pink Cadillacs in front of the Capitol Building to symbolize the strong commitment of Mary Kay Inc. and its 650,000 Independent Beauty Consultants in the U.S. to ending domestic violence and enhancing the original bill. The National Sales Directors wore their purple national sales director suits by St. John -- fitting because purple also is the color that is symbolic of the fight against domestic violence. "Renewal of this legislation is critical if our nation is to continue to improve the criminal and civil judicial response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking," said Anne Crews, vice president of government relations at Mary Kay (Anne Crews is also vice president of CAEPV's Board of Directors). "One in three women in the U.S. today will be the victim of violence during her lifetime."

Monday, July 11, 2005

Family Justice Center Opens in Alameda County, California

On July 11, the Family Justice Center in Alameda County, California opens. The Alameda County Family Justice Center will be located at 27th Street and Telegraph Avenue and is a collaboration involving at least 20 public agencies and private nonprofit organizations in an effort to provide "one-stop" services to victims and their families. The Oakland site will bring counselors, medical technicians, social workers, investigators, probation officers, interpreters, career consultants and district attorneys together to help victims. "We've got a tremendous group of people coming together," said Nancy O'Malley, Alameda County's chief assistant to the district attorney. "One of our goals is to provide resources currently not being provided."

Services will range from emergency food and housing to job-placement assistance. There will be specialized resources for elderly, deaf and non-English-speaking residents, O'Malley said. All services will be free and confidential. Located at 27th Street and Telegraph Avenue, the nondescript three-story building is based at the former Alameda County Central Health Clinic, which closed two years ago and fell into disrepair, said Harold Boscovich. Boscovich is a retired director of the victim assistance division of the Alameda County district attorney's office, who is ensuring that every inch of the center's 21,000 square feet is "comfortable and kid-friendly." He's supervising installation of donated furniture and a new coat of paint to replace the peeling brown facade of the center.

"It'll be a family-friendly place," he said. "We're here to help everyone feel more at home."
Marcia Blackstock, executive director of Bay Area Women Against Rape, agrees. "This is a great opportunity to be in close proximity with a variety of services and a wide array of agencies to refer to," she said. She said Women Against Rape staff members will work hand-in-hand with medical technicians and counselors to treat and curb the cycle of violence caused by abuse, whether it's physical, sexual or verbal. By becoming more of a "hands-on advocate," Blackstock hopes her staff will help thousands of victims through the Byzantine process of cops, courts and counseling.
Lt. Mike Yoell, commander of Oakland Police Department's Special Victims section, said his unit will continue to work on cases, ranging from physical abuse to child prostitution, at the new location. Often victims have difficulty finding time or transportation to meet with investigators, and become discouraged with the lengthy red tape process. Now police officers, district attorneys and numerous nonprofit legal advocates will be able to offer assistance to those who need it. But what if victims don't want to get involved with the police? "They don't have to," Yoell said, emphasizing victims' wishes are paramount.

Much effort has been made to ensure the safety and anonymity of victims, with tinted windows at the facility, on-site police surveillance and at least half a dozen sheriff's deputies and police available at all times. Parents with children in tow can get counseling, fill out forms or call friends and family without fear, said O'Malley. "The Alameda Family Justice Center will be a safe and comfortable location where they can be helped," she said.

More than 25,000 cases of physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect were reported last year in Alameda County, according to the Alameda County Child Abuse Prevention Council. Services for victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and other forms of mistreatment were "long overdue" Boscovich said. "It affects all of us," he said, noting the center's comprehensive approach to victims. "We'll be here for anyone who needs help."

Monday, June 27, 2005

Supreme Court Rules That Police Cannot Be Sued For How They Enforce Restraining Orders

The Supreme Court ruled on June 27 that police cannot be sued for how they enforce restraining orders, ending a lawsuit by a Colorado woman who claimed police did not do enough to prevent her estranged husband from killing her three young daughters. Jessica Gonzales did not have a constitutional right to police enforcement of the court order against her husband, the court said in a 7-2 opinion. Gonzales contended that police did not do enough to stop her estranged husband, who took the three daughters from the front yard of her home in June 1999 in violation of a restraining order. Hours later Simon Gonzales died in a gunfight with officers outside a police station. The bodies of the three girls, ages 10, 9 and 7, were in his truck. Gonzales argued that she was entitled to sue based on her rights under the 14th Amendment and under Colorado law that says officers shall use every reasonable means to enforce a restraining order. She contended that her restraining order should be considered property under the 14th Amendment and that it was taken from her without due process when police failed to enforce it.

''The restraining orders are not worth anything unless police officers are willing to enforce them. They are just paper,'' said Brian Reichel, the attorney for Gonzales. ''If nothing else this case has shined the spotlight on a very important issue.''

Castle Rock, Co., police contend they tried to help Gonzales. Police twice went to the estranged husband's apartment, kept an eye out for his truck and called his cellular phone and home phone.Gonzales reached him on his cell phone, and he told her that he had taken the girls to an amusement park in nearby Denver. Gonzales contends that police should have gone to the amusement park or contacted Denver police. The case is Castle Rock, Colo., v. Gonzales, 04-278. To read the full ruling, go to (Source: Associated Press)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Employer hired security, but victim was killed at home

SYMMES TWP. - Trustees at the Clermont County Public Library were so fearful for Bonnie Speece's safety after her husband threatened her with a gun on June 5 that they hired an off-duty deputy to stand guard outside the Batavia building 12 hours a day, the director said.
Colleagues comforted one another Monday at work, a day after Speece, 54, the library's human resources coordinator for six years, was gunned down outside her Symmes Gate Lane condominium. Sheriff's officials said Benton French Speece, a 54-year-old self-employed home builder who was out of jail after posting a $20,000 cash bond in the earlier incident, fired the fatal shots about 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

Then he sped off to his apartment at nearby Harper's Point and shot himself. Benton Speece never appeared at the library earlier this month. But that was little comfort to director Leslie Massey, who worked closely with Bonnie Speece and considered her a friend. "I thought that he would follow through," Massey said. "He had some craziness going on. Obviously, the man was very unbalanced. Certainly all of us that cared about Bonnie were very concerned." On Monday, a bouquet of cut flowers lay as a memorial in the driveway where Bonnie Speece died. The couple's daughters, ages 23 and 11, were gone from the home. Sheriff's detectives continued to investigate the deaths.

Court records show that violence had escalated in the couple's 26-year marriage since January, when they separated, and that Bonnie Speece had done what she could to keep him away. He kept coming back. "This is a real sad one. Because it does appear to look like there were a lot of signs that this was a dangerous guy. And, he was doing the classic signs we see - escalating his behavior," said Ann MacDonald, executive director of the Rape Crisis & Abuse Center of Hamilton County. MacDonald said Bonnie Speece took all the right steps to get out of an abusive relationship, from filing for divorce, to seeking protective orders through the court, and calling police when things got out of hand.

In an application for a civil protective order that was granted through domestic relations court on May 4, Bonnie Speece listed several incidents since January, including threats of suicide and that he would "trash our condo, set fire to the funds in his 401K and bury me in debt." In a late January incident, Bonnie Speece said her husband dragged her out of the car, threw her in the snow and ripped off half of her clothes after a dinner together. He let her put her clothes back on after she quit fighting him. About a week after she filed for divorce in May, Bonnie Speece and her husband attended a marriage counseling session and had planned to depart separately. Benton Speece, however, hid in her car outside the medical office building, and surprised her when she got into her car. She ran to a security guard for help, her affidavit said.
On June 4, a day before Bonnie Speece accused her husband of pulling a gun on her, he ran after their 11-year-old daughter, threw her on the floor and kicked her in the back during an argument, the affidavit said. "He justified his actions and refused counseling," Bonnie Speece wrote.

She also had a protective order issued June 5 through Hamilton County Municipal Court, where Benton French Speece was being prosecuted on misdemeanor charges of domestic violence and aggravated menacing for taking a gun out of a shopping bag, pointing it at Bonnie Speece and threatening to kill her. "He told me that he was going to kill me, then kill himself," Bonnie Speece described the encounter in court documents. "I started talking to him about dropping the divorce action and telling him what he wanted to hear about the marriage. He placed the gun back in the bag and we talked for a while. When he left, I called police." Benton Speece spent the night at the Hamilton County Justice Center, but was released June 6 after he appeared in municipal court and posted the $20,000 cash bond that Judge Heather Russell set at an arraignment. The bond was far above the $1,500 bond that is called for in a guide that municipal judges use for misdemeanor cases. Russell was not available Monday, so it was unclear how much she knew about Benton Speece's past. Lawyers representing the Speeces in the divorce action and the criminal case either could not be reached or declined to comment.

A new law that goes into effect in August requires judges to consider several factors when setting bond in a domestic violence case, including whether the suspect has a history of domestic violence or other violent acts, the suspect's mental health and whether the suspect is a threat to any other person. Under current law, a judge is required to determine whether a suspect charged with domestic violence violated a protection order or has a prior conviction for domestic violence. Speece had none.

Amy Rezos, a West Chester mother after whom the law is named, wasn't sure Amy's law could have stopped what happened Sunday. "Amy's law is not something that's there to keep it from happening altogether. God, I wish it would. But I think they would have gotten more information on him before they did let him out," Rezos said. Meanwhile, the library administration is trying to put together a memorial service for Bonnie Speece, possibly on Wednesday, Massey said. It will provide an opportunity for her co-workers to share their grief and seek some closure, she said. "The reactions ranged from shock to anger to can't believe it happened to just being devastated," Massey said. "It's just a horrible situation."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


The Webby Awards, the leading international honor for web sites, recognized CAEPV’s website as “Webby Worthy,” a distinction made for the first time this year to recognize sites exhibiting remarkable achievement.

Hailed as the “Online Oscars” by Time Magazine, The Webby Awards are determined by The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, a global organization with a membership that includes musician David Bowie, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, The Body Shop president Anita Roddick, “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, Real Networks CEO Rob Glaser, and fashion designer Max Azria.

“The Webby Awards honors the outstanding web sites that are setting the standards for the Internet,” said Tiffany Shlain, creative director and founder of the Webby Awards. “GirlsAllowed’ Webby Worthy selection is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators.”

Said Kim Wells, executive director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV), “We are honored to be recognized by such a distinguished judging panel against such outstanding competition. We are proud of the site because it helps young girls build a foundation for healthy relationships at such a critical time in their lives. When we add new ‘webisodes,’ we strive to bring relevance, greater understanding and confidence to our target audience of girls, ages 11-14.”

Added Wells, “Without the vision and creativity of the team at Media Options, and the leadership of our sponsors, young girls wouldn’t have tools like to help them through the difficult pre-adolescent and adolescent years.”

The 9th Annual Webby Awards received a record number of entries from more than 40 countries and all 50 states. Winners were announced on May 3, 2005 and honored at a gala event in New York’s landmark Gotham Hall on June 6, 2005.

Founded in 1996, the Webby Awards are known worldwide for their famous five-words-or-less acceptance speeches.

About is an animated web site for girls 11 to 14. It is designed to engage girls as “allowed” (welcome) and “aloud” (having a voice) with a focus on helping girls learn to identify healthy and unhealthy relationships before becoming involved in potentially abusive relationships. The program features an animated teen friend named “Anni” whose “space” is the center for information, activities, games and life lessons. Each weekday, a new animated "life lesson" (one of a series of 70) appears on the website, giving girls the opportunity to follow stories involving various people in Anni's life—stories about body image, dating pressures, being a good listener, handling conflict, and of course, identifying healthy and unhealthy relationships. To find out more, visit

About The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence was created by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV), a leading force in the fight against partner violence through education. CAEPV was the first national non-profit organization founded by and comprised of business leaders to address intimate partner violence by leveraging the strength and resources of the corporate community. CAEPV believes that business plays an essential role in raising awareness of the issue and that their sustained efforts will help reduce and ultimately eliminate partner violence. To find out more about CAEPV, go to

About Media Options, Inc.
Media Options, Inc. developed the website for CAEPV. Media Options, Inc. is a Chicago-based company with offices in Los Angeles. Founded in 1982, the company today is a leading developer of innovative education programs in interactive, web, DVD and print media for not-for-profits, professional organizations and corporations who want to reach their important internal and external audiences most effectively. For more information about Media Options, go to

About the Webby Awards
Called the “Oscars of the Internet” by the New York Times, the Webby is the leading international award honoring excellence in Web design, creativity, usability and functionality. Established in 1996, the 9th Annual Webby Awards received more than 4,000 entries from all 50 states and over 40 countries worldwide. The Webby Awards are presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Sponsors and Partners of the Webby Awards include: The Creative Group; Adweek, Brandweek and Mediaweek magazines; IDG; Fortune and FSB; 2advanced Studius; The Online Publishing Association; PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Rackspace Managed Hosting. For more information, visit

Friday, June 10, 2005

Liz Claiborne Study Finds Abuse Common Among Dating Teens

According to a study released Thursday, more than half of America’s teens know friends who have experienced physical, sexual or verbal abuse in their dating relationships. Among those surveyed, 13 percent of teenage girls, admit to being physically injured or hit and one in four report being pressured to perform oral sex or engage in intercourse, according to the survey by the private research group Teenage Research Unlimited.

“There is a lot to be said about the cycle of violence and there’s a lot of research that shows that violence is a learned behavior,” said Jane Randel a vice president at Liz Claiborne Inc., the company that underwrote the study. According to Randel, while research has shown that patterns of domestic violence among teens parallel those among adults, little is being done to educate America’s youth. “Parents are very willing to talk to their kids about drugs and sex and things, but this is an issue that kind of goes right over,” she said. According to the study, teenage dating abuse extends across the nations’s suburbs, cities, regions and ethnic groups.

The "Love Is Not Abuse" study, which used data collected from online surveys among 300,000 registered participants aged 13 to 18, showed only two-thirds of teens, boys and girls, say they would know what to do if a friend asked for help about an abusive relationship.

To help shed some light on the issue, Liz Claiborne, which has been involved in domestic abuse programs since 1991, is sponsoring a new curriculum in schools. The pilot program is a three day course developed by the non-profit Education Development Center (EDC). It will first be offered in nine schools representing a cross-section of the nation’s economy. “The goal of getting the research and the curriculum for us is to try and reach out to these kids when they are first forming their relationships, before they get to be adults so that they understand the issue,” said Randel. The “Love is Not Abuse Curriculum ” is aimed at 14-year-old 9th graders to help prevent growing incidence of physical and verbal abuse and sexual pressure within their age group. The program, to be offered in either health or English classes, is also designed to help establish a support system for those teens in abusive relationships. For more information, visit

Friday, June 03, 2005

Husband Kills Wife, Self In Front Of Her Workplace - Apparently Angry Over Pending Divorce

The Ashland, Kentucky community reacted with shock to the apparent murder-suicide of a married couple the morning of June 1st on a downtown street in Ashland. Donald Price, 49, and Kimberly Price, 40 died of apparent gunshot wounds in the 400-block of 21st Street near Winchester Avenue outside the Studio 21 Salon and Spa where police say Kimberly Price worked. Witnesses heard gunshots at about 8:15 a.m. at the corner of Winchester Avenue and 21st Streets, according to police. Police arrived soon thereafter and found two bodies with gunshot wounds lying on the sidewalk, the police reported. The shooting appears to be a murder-suicide resulting from a domestic dispute, said Capt. Todd Kelley, patrol division commander with the Ashland Police Department. Reports indicated Donald Price was angry about his pending divorce.

Police recovered a .45 caliber handgun from the scene. The woman was pronounced dead on the scene while the man was transferred to Kings Daughter’s Medical Center in Ashland where he later died, Kelley said.

No one at the hair salon where Kimberly Price worked as a receptionist would comment on the incident. Donald and Kimberly Price were seen fighting on the street corner just before the shooting, other witnesses said. Ashland resident Sandy Riley, a receptionist at a nearby doctor’s office, said she heard an altercation just outside her officer and saw the man and woman struggling with each other. She said she went back in her work and heard someone scream, "He has got a gun." "Within seconds, there were gunshots," Riley said.

Jo Ann Colvin saw the man who police now say was Donald Price sitting in a Chevrolet Impala parked next to Goodwill a little after 7:30 a.m. Colvin, a Catlettsburg resident, works at the Goodwill store across the street from Studio 21 at the corner of 21st Street and Winchester Avenue. She didn’t recognize the car or the man and found his being parked outside Goodwill so early suspicious. "I saw a car backed up and a guy inside reading a newspaper," Colvin said. "That was unusual. I know our regular customers." Donald Price rented the car and parked in Goodwill’s parking lot to wait for his estranged wife, Kelley said.

It is important to note that in cases of domestic violence, the most dangerous time for a victim is when they are in the process of leaving or have left the relationships. In cases of homicide connected with domestic violence, 75% of the time, the victim had left or was in the process of leaving the relationship. This situation is another indicator of just how dangerous and deadly that situation can be.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Murder-Suicide At Owensboro Kentucky Target Store

A Daviess County Kentucky man fatally shot a worker he saw with his ex-wife outside a Target department store on May 31 and then killed himself, police said. Doug Ritchie, 51, of Owensboro, an employee of the Target store, was shot once in the back of the head and once in the left side with a 12-gauge shotgun, said Owensboro Patrolman Doug Esther, a spokesman for the police department. Esther said Robin D. Blair, 41, shot Ritchie and then shot himself in the face outside the Target store. Blair believed that Ritchie and Blair's ex-wife were involved in a relationship, Esther said.

Police arrived to find the bodies of Blair and Ritchie, he said. Blair had seen Ritchie standing outside the store with Blair's ex-wife, Traci Blair, around 2:21 p.m. CDT, Esther said. The Blairs were divorced in November. Police said Blair had borrowed a neighbor's vehicle and had driven to the store before firing two shots at Ritchie. Traci Blair called 911, Esther said. "It's upsetting, and certainly not something you would expect to happen in Owensboro," Esther said. "However this type of incident can happen anywhere, if it can happen here."

South Carolina Domestic Violence Law Finally Goes To Governor

A criminal domestic violence bill that went largely unnoticed this legislative session until a lawmaker’s controversial remarks won easy approval Wednesday. The House, which first passed the bill last month, agreed in a voice vote to minor changes made by the Senate and sent it to Governor Mark Sanford for his signature. Sanford is “strongly inclined” to sign the bill, spokesman Will Folks said. If the bill becomes law, it will go into effect January 1, 2006.

Victim advocates were delighted by the passage of the bill, which calls for mandatory minimum sentences for more serious offenses and higher fines. South Carolina in recent years has ranked No. 1 in the rate of women killed by men. “I think we will move our state (below) the top 10 in the nation in domestic violence homicides,” said Vicki Bourus, director of the S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. “I know it will save lives,” said Laura Hudson, spokeswoman for the S.C. Victim Assistance Network.

But Columbia lawyer Kathrine Hudgins, president of the S.C.Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, doesn’t believe the bill will deter domestic violence. “What we need to do to help people is to get them into treatment programs, not throw them into jail,” she said. “As a general principle, mandatory minimums don’t solve the problem.” The bill calls for mandatory minimum sentences of 30 days for second offenses, and one year for third and subsequent offenses and criminal domestic violence of a high and an aggravated nature. It also sets minimum fines for first and second offenses at $1,000 and $2,500, respectively, and makes third and subsequent offenses felonies. “I’m very pleased with the enhanced penalties,” said David Pascoe, the solicitor for Orangeburg, Calhoun and Dorchester counties. “(A third offense) needs to be a felony.”

The bill is a revised version of a bill initially sponsored by Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg. That bill languished in the House until April, when Rep. John Graham Altman, R-Charleston, uttered what critics said were insensitive remarks about domestic violence victims during a House Judiciary Committee meeting and to a female WIS television reporter. Altman’s comments made national news and prompted lawmakers to take a renewed interest in the bill. Efforts after Wednesday’s vote to reach Altman, a co-sponsor of the revised bill, were unsuccessful. Cobb-Hunter, who took her name off the revised bill, contending it had become too politicized, said Wednesday she was happy it passed. She praised House Speaker David Wilkins, R-Greenville, and Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, for their leadership. “If they had chosen not to get behind it, it wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Winston-Salem, Wachovia, and Sara Lee to participate in campaign to prevent domestic violence

The city of Winston-Salem, Wachovia and Sara Lee are participating in a campaign to prevent domestic violence by encouraging male employees to mentor younger men. The program is called Founding Fathers and was created by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Mayor Allen Joines said while announcing the program yesterday at City Hall. The public is also encouraged to participate. Joines said he has long felt that domestic violence is a problem in Forsyth County. There were more than 4,000 domestic-violence cases reported in the county last year, he said. "This program targets men in a positive way," he said. Men will be encouraged to become "Founding Fathers" by signing a declaration that they will treat others with decency and respect and teach boys that violence does not equal strength.

The public is invited to attend an opening celebration for Founding Fathers from noon to 2 p.m. June 17 at Corpening Plaza in downtown Winston-Salem. Skip Pros-ser, the coach of the men's basketball team at Wake Forest University, will attend along with elected officials. In addition to signing the declaration, men who become Founding Fathers will be urged to mentor boys. Wachovia is providing money for the local Founding Fathers program. Among the officials at the news conference were District Attorney Tom Keith; Sheriff Bill Schatzman; Sylvia Oberle, the director of the Center for Community Safety; and Al Renna, the president of Family Services in Forsyth County.

Renna said he hopes that the program will encourage men to teach boys that violence against women is not acceptable. We learn lots of things in our families ... and unfortunately in some families we learn how to be violent," he said. "As we know, men can become tremendous models for their children." A study done for the Center for Community Safety, which is affiliated with Winston-Salem State University, showed that 80 percent of domestic-violence victims in Forsyth County court cases were female. Defendants had an average of eight prior charges and five prior convictions for offenses other than minor traffic violations. More than 70 percent of the defendants had at least one prior domestic-violence charge, the study showed. More information is available online at

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Verizon Wireless To Provide Free AMBER Alerts

CAEPV Member Verizon Wireless announced on Tuesday that it will provide free Wireless AMBER Alerts - or short TXT messages with information about abducted children - to its customers who opt in. Wireless AMBER Alerts will be distributed in cooperation with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and local law enforcement agencies. The alerts will appear as TXT messages on a customer's wireless handset and will include information about the abducted child and a telephone number to call to report any information on that child. "Mobile service plays such a constant role in people's lives, and Wireless AMBER Alerts is another example of how critical information can reach you on your wireless phone," said Denny Strigl, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless. Verizon Wireless customers with handsets capable of receiving TXT messages must choose to receive Wireless AMBER Alerts on those handsets. They can opt in by going to

Monday, May 16, 2005

Avon Foundation Unveils Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Bracelet

Here is a great opportunity to show your fashion sense and raise funds and awareness for domestic violence! Order the new Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Bracelet available soon from Avon Sales Representatives nationwide and at The adjustable bracelet is periwinkle blue rubber with silvertone plate engraved "Speak Out." The price is just $3.00, with $2.00 donated to the Avon Foundation Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program to support education, awareness and prevention programs, and services for victims. Each bracelet comes with an informative domestic violence brochure, which is also available in printable format at To order the bracelet, see your Avon Representative, or go to It is a great way to make a statement against domestic violence without saying a word.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Verizon Wireless Announces Launch of Spanish Language Short Film About Issues Facing Latino Teens

Verizon Wireless recently announced the national release of UBICATE!(TM) (Find Yourself!), the first educational short film in Spanish addressing the complex issues Latino teens face in developing healthy relationships. Funding for the national distribution of the film on Mother's Day is provided through a donation from Verizon Wireless' signature domestic violence prevention program, HopeLine(R). The topics explored in this remarkable short film include serious issues like: a young Latina teen who is in an abusive relationship and thinks she might be pregnant; the underlying sexism of a conflict between brother and sister in a family; the cultural divide between a Latino teen and his parents; and a teen struggling with issues at home who turns to friends with risky behavior. The film was produced by St. Paul, Minn.-based Casa de Esperanza, a non-profit domestic violence prevention agency that conducts national training for other non-profit agencies that receive federal funds.

The Latino population has tripled in the last decade; so have the unique challenges facing Latino youth. According to Casa de Esperanza research, Latino teens have had the highest teen birth rate in the nation since 1994 at 97.4 per 1,000, nearly double the national rate of 52.3 per 1,000. The Latino high school dropout rate is 2.5 times the rate for African Americans and 3.5 times the rate for non-Latino whites. "Verizon Wireless' support helped us produce the short film, and now the company is assisting us to create awareness about this project on a national basis," said Lupe Serrano, executive director of Casa de Esperanza. "Our aim is to expand a dialogue within the Latino community, and among Latino teens. Sending our message on a family-oriented holiday like Mother's Day, is especially appropriate."

"Verizon Wireless is fully committed to supporting domestic violence prevention programs and related initiatives," said Oscar Madrid, Verizon Wireless' associate director - national multicultural marketing. "We believe that UBICATE!(TM) will provide a valuable and much-needed tool for educators, non-profit agencies and the news media to address relationship issues faced by Latino teenagers and their families and provide important messages about family, peer and dating relationships."

The film was developed with input from Latino teens about the issues they face - from dating violence to communicating with parents to sexism within families. Casa de Esperanza's research indicates this is the first Spanish-language film specifically geared to facilitate youth discussion on these issues. Two-time Grammy-winning band Ozomatli provided two songs used in the short film free of charge. Besides the music from the eclectic Los Angeles-based band, the film also contains other music relevant to Latino teens, including Reggeaton and Hip-Hop.
Limited copies of UBICATE!(TM) are being distributed free of charge to public schools, non-profit domestic violence prevention agencies, and the news media in the United States, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To receive a copy, please send your request on official letterhead to: Casa de Esperanza:
P.O. Box 75177
St. Paul, MN 55175
Additional copies can be purchased from Casa de Esperanza. For more information call Casa de Esperanza at the following number: 651-646-5553 or visit their official Web site:

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Murder Risk Much Higher In Workplaces Allowing Guns

A study by the University of North Carolina has found that workplace policies that allow employees to carry guns are more lethal than those that prohibit weapons, reported April 27. The report, published in the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health, compared workplaces that allow employees to carry weapons and those that don't. It found that murders are three times more likely to occur in workplaces where employees may carry weapons, and the risk doubles when the weapon is a gun. The study compared 87 cases in which employees were killed at workplaces in North Carolina between 1994 and 1998 and 177 comparable sites where there were no murders. "We don't know employers' reasons for allowing workers to have guns on the job, but the belief that firearms offer protection against crime is obviously a possible motive," said researcher Dana Loomis, a professor of epidemiology and member of the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center. "However, our data suggest that, like residents of households with guns who are more likely to be victims of homicide, workers in places where the employer allows guns have a greater chance of being killed at work." "In light of these findings, employers should question the risks and benefits of permitting firearms," Loomis said.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

New South Carolina Domestic Violence Bill Jumps To House Floor

A new criminal domestic violence bill was put on a fast-track to the South Carolina House floor on April 26. Bypassing subcommittee, the bill went directly to the full House, something that is rarely done. The House adjourned at 5:30pm without a vote on the bill. Other bills were on the House calendar Tuesday that they say had to take precedence, but lawmakers say they expect to vote on the bill Wednesday. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison of Columbia says the bill is expected to be approved. Harrison says Charleston Representative John Graham Altman is one of the sponsors. Altman received national attention last week for what he said after an earlier domestic violence bill was killed. He told WIS (a television station) he didn't understand why women go back to men who abuse them. Domestic violence advocates say the new bill looks a lot like the bill they introduced to the full committee, the one that was tabled.

The new bill includes training for judges, and at first glance, advocates say one of the penalties is stiffer than what was originally asked for. The original bill required third time offenders to serve a mandatory minimum of 120 days behind bars. In the new version, a third offence would be a felony, punishable by a minimum of a year in jail. The new bill would also set fines of up to $2500 for first-offense criminal domestic violence. The current penalty is 30 days in jail or a $500 fine. The bill's co-sponsor, Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) says, "What they have offered and put on the table is making the third offence a felony, which I support. ... I didn't think I could get that much. That's why I didn't include it in my original version. But I'm saying, hey you guys, go for it." One thing Cobb-Hunter and advocates are still sorting through is a section dealing with pretrial intervention. The way the original bill was written, pre-trial intervention is not an option for batterers.

Under the new bill, first offenders would still attend pre-trial intervention, but the program would be 26 weeks instead of around six, and would require offenders to attend batterer intervention programs, previously not required. The bill also makes another big change. In the past, a first-time offender's record would be expunged after three years. In the new bill, that's bumped up to five years all in all.

Advocates say they have never seen so much compliance with what we've been asking for.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Workplace slaying victim's family sets up fund

For the family of slain coffee shop worker Erin Sperrey, every day is another chance to make workplaces safer. It's a mission the family has advanced passionately since early January when Sperrey was killed while working the night shift at a Tim Hortons restaurant in Caribou. Sperrey, who would have been 21 in February, was beaten to death on Jan. 2, allegedly by a co-worker. According to a court document, Christopher Shumway, 19, told police that he beat Sperrey with his hands and feet and strangled her, leaving her to die in one of the store's restrooms while he waited on customers.

In the minutes before her death, Sperrey was unable to push any kind of panic button - a silent alarm that would alert police - because her workplace had no such security equipment.
That has spurred Sperrey's family to launch Erin's Fund.

The fund, operated by Sperrey's mother, Johna Lovely, and her sister, Amanda McKnight, was created to implement security systems and procedures in workplaces where young people are employed, the two women said this week during an interview conducted by e-mail.
"We believe that all businesses should have security devices in place, including panic buttons, and that employees should be trained in the proper use of this equipment," McKnight said.
Their goal is to see all gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants and fast-food businesses in Aroostook County have the devices in place by the end of 2005. A Hampden alarm company has donated free installations and equipment.

Lovely and McKnight are encouraging employee training in workplace violence and keeping safe on the job through videotapes and workshops. They plan to buy videotapes that can be lent to local businesses and want to ensure that the workshops teach people to recognize the signs of harassment and stress the importance of reporting such incidents. While family members move these measures forward, they are using the fund to lobby for legislation that makes security and training mandatory in all businesses that employ young people. Sperrey's family expects a bill to be introduced in the Legislature.

"If our efforts save even one young person and their family from experiencing what we have been through since January 2nd, it is worth every minute of work," Lovely said. While workplace safety serves as its major focus, the fund also oversees the Erin Elizabeth Sperrey Memorial Scholarship, available for students who graduate from Presque Isle High School Alternative Education program. Sperrey, a 2002 graduate of the high school, was a participant in the program. The family will award the first scholarship in June in conjunction with Tim Hortons and the Maine Community Foundation. The family is funding these initiatives through donations to Erin's Fund and the sale of window-clinging memorial ribbons. Lovely and McKnight said the response they've received from the community for Erin's Fund has been mostly positive. Since January, they have raised about $4,000 for the fund and sold about 500 memorial ribbons. They cost $5 apiece.

The women said eight security systems have been installed in Aroostook County businesses, although they said they have had "some difficulty" in getting businesses to put in the equipment.
"These past 31/2 months our thoughts have been consumed with thinking about Erin not being with us. We miss her every minute of every day," Lovely said. "The only way we can cope now is to pour our energy into keeping Erin's memory alive and protecting our young people in her name." For more information, visit

South Carolina State Legislator's Comments Highlight Need for Domestic Violence Education

A state legislator’s recent comments during a television interview highlight the diverse need for domestic violence education in South Carolina, local officials say. State Rep. John Graham-Altman, R-Charleston, drew fire on April 20th after criticizing victims of domestic violence during an interview with WIS-TV. “There ought not to be a second offense,” Altman said. “The woman ought not to be around the man. I mean you women want it one way and not another. Women want to punish the men, and I do not understand why women continue to go back around men who abuse them.”

“There’s still a lot of myths and ignorance in our legislators,” said Martha Busterna, director of Greenwood’s Sexual Trauma & Counseling Center. “It’s outrageous to think we’re that far behind, but we’re one of the leaders in the country for domestic violence numbers.” On April 18, the House Judiciary Committee tabled the Protect Our Women in Every Relationship (POWER) Act, which sought to make Criminal Domestic Violence crimes a felony for the second offense. The decision to table the bill essentially delayed further action on it for the remainder of the year. In a tape of the committee meeting obtained by The (Columbia) State newspaper, Altman asked why POWER specifically protected women. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison, R-Richland, suggested calling the bill the “Protecting Our People in Every Relationship Act” — or “POPER” — the newspaper reported. A voice on the tape is heard pronouncing it “Pop her.” Then another says “Pop her again” followed by laughter.

“And they wonder why we rank in the bottom on women in office and we lead in women getting killed by men,” state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, who sponsored the bill, said later. “It was done in bad taste and the wrong message was conveyed,” State Rep. Gene Pinson, R-Greenwood, said of Altman’s comments. “Although I think there was some substance to his words. It was not what was said, but the way it was verbalized.” Pinson said many people don’t understand why victims of domestic violence return to their abusers. “I’m around different abuse situations enough to know why people go back,” Pinson said. “Some of it’s economic, some of it’s to protect the family unit. Some of it’s in hope that it will be better next time. But we’re here to protect people from being battered and abused, not to encourage it.”

“I think it’s just a matter of people not having an understanding of domestic violence,” said MEG’s House Director Alice Hodges. MEG’s House is a shelter for abused women and services McCormick, Edgefield and Greenwood counties. “We have people that don’t understand the dynamics, they don’t understand why women stay or why women choose to go back,” she said. “This is not a woman’s issue, this is a family issue. It doesn’t just affect the woman, it also affects the children. And, of course, we have men who are victims.”

Busterna said she was “appalled” by Altman’s words, but believed they may have positive repercussions. “It’s opened up some new avenues for domestic violence to be discussed among advocates and legislators in this state,” she said. “It’s really brought attention to our need to improve domestic violence laws. Something good has come from his ignorance.” In South Carolina, criminal domestic violence acts are classified as misdemeanors for the first three offenses. A bill is expected to be introduced in the House next week to make a third CDV offense a felony. (Source: Greenwood Index Journal)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Illinois Attorney General Proposes Legislation To Help DV Victims Establish Safe Living Enviroments

Marking the 25th Annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently announced she has proposed legislation to help victims of domestic violence secure permanent housing and establish a safe living environment away from their abusers by providing, when needed, for the payment of security deposits and first month’s rent as relocation expenses.

Madigan said Senate Bill 416 is a critical improvement to the Illinois Crime Victims’ Compensation Act, which her office administers and which helps victims of violent crime with grants for services ranging from funerals to counseling to relocation expenses.
Madigan said the Crime Victim Compensation Act does not specifically identify security deposits or first month’s rent as potentially reimbursable relocation expenses. As a result, the Court of Claims – which approves expenses – has repeatedly rejected the Office of the Attorney General’s recommendation for those expenses. However, under SB 416, those costs specifically would be identified as relocation expenses and therefore would be eligible for reimbursement.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Self-Help Protective Order Kit Now Available for Domestic Violence Victims In Texas

On April 12, The Supreme Court of Texas, in collaboration with the Texas Access to Justice Commission, unveiled a self-help Protective Order Kit which will enable victims of domestic violence to file their own applications for protective order. The kit, created by a Texas Supreme Court Task Force, will make it possible for victims to have access to court-ordered protection for themselves and their children, including compelling the abuser to leave the home if necessary.
The Protective Order Kit was unveiled at a press conference to commemorate National Crime Victims' Rights Awareness Week, which is observed April 10-16, 2005. Texas First Lady Anita Perry, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Supreme Court Justice Harriet O'Neill spoke at the press conference in support of the Protective Order Kit. Additionally, Thomasina Olaniyi-Oke, a survivor of domestic violence, spoke about how legal aid helped her escape a violent marriage.

The free, step-by-step Protective Order Kit comes with detailed instructions for filling out the paperwork, having a temporary order signed by a judge and requesting a hearing date to grant the protective order. The temporary order and the protective order are enforceable once they are signed by a judge. The kit also provides helpful information for victims on how to prepare for the hearing. There is no cost to the victims to participate in these proceedings.

The Protective Order Kit is available at The kit will be translated into Spanish and Vietnamese within six months. Individuals needing assistance with filling out the paperwork, information about their legal rights or assistance with safety planning should call the Women's Advocacy Project's Family Violence Legal Line at 800-374-4673.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Pierce County Settles With Crystal Brame's Family

PIERCE COUNTY - Almost two years after then-Tacoma police Chief David Brame killed his wife and committed suicide, Pierce County has settled with the family. Lane and Patty Judson, Crystal Brame's parents, say this tragedy should never have happened. They say David Brame was unfit to be a police officer, let alone a chief. And they say earlier 911 calls from Crystal Brame failed to get an appropriate response. Crystal Brame's family sued Tacoma, Pierce County and the City of Gig Harbor where the shooting occurred. But on April 6, the Judsons agreed to dismiss Pierce County from the lawsuit. In exchange, Pierce County will do the following to help address domestic violence issues in the community:
1. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department will devote three domestic violence investigators and a sergeant to staff the Family Justice Center -- a new one-stop community service facility for victims of domestic violence and their children.
2. The county will conduct a series of domestic violence training seminars for sheriff's deputies and law enforcement personnel from other municipalities in the county, as well as make such training available to other entities.
3. The county will dedicate a plaque to the memory of Crystal Judson at the new Family Justice Center.
Neither the family nor their attorneys will receive any monetary benefit from the agreement.
There is apparently no settlement with the City of Tacoma, and that lawsuit will continue.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Domestic Violence Costs Tennessee Businesses

The economy of Tennessee loses millions of dollars per year due to domestic violence, which directly affects businesses in the form of absenteeism, reduced productivity, health care, lost wages, sick leave, and security costs, says the Tennessee Economic Council on Women. The council's executive director, Lauren Howard, says that the council is trying to get state lawmakers to support domestic violence-prevention programs. The economic impact of domestic violence cannot be underestimated, says Margaret Jane Powers, the council's chairwoman. "It's unreal how much it costs," Powers states. Sometimes the perpetrators of domestic violence seek out their victims in the workplace, she notes. Nationwide, employers lose $36 billion per year due to domestic violence, according to a report from the Palm Springs, Calif.-based Workplace Violence Research Institute. Domestic violence costs the Tennessee healthcare system $32.9 million a year, according to BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Colorado Supreme Court Determines Scope of Victim-Advocate Privilege

In this criminal domestic violence case, the Colorado Supreme Court was asked, for the first time, to determine the scope of the victim-advocate privilege, embodied in section 13-90-107(k)(I), C.R.S. (2004). The defendant, Robert Turner, Jr., was charged with domestic violence against a particular individual, M.P. Turner issued a subpoena duces tecum to the Alliance Against Domestic Violence, a private domestic violence organization, demanding production of records of M.P.'s contact with the organization. The Alliance moved to quash the subpoena. Following a hearing on the defendant's Motion to Compel production, the trial court ordered the organization to produce a broad outline of the type of assistance provided to M.P. The Alliance petitioned the Supreme Court pursuant to C.A.R. 21 for review of that order. The court issued a Rule to Show Cause, which it now makes absolute - reversing the trial court order. The court now holds that the records of assistance provided to M.P. by the domestic violence agency are within the scope of the statutory privilege, and are, therefore, protected.

The court first looked to the statutory language protecting "any communications" made by the victim to the advocate, and concluded that such language would include the initial contact made by the victim with the agency, as well as communications generated from that contact. The court next took direction from legislative history indicating that the legislature intended a broad sweep of confidentiality in an effort to encourage domestic violence victims to seek assistance. Accordingly, the court concluded that the privilege would protect the records sought, absent a showing of express or implied waiver of the privilege by the victim, which was not present in this case. Also, the court held that the defendant's due process rights were not violated by denying him access to the records. Likewise, the court rejected the defendant's contention that his right to compulsory process requires that the Alliance comply with his subpoena. It reasoned, among other things, that the statute sufficiently protects the defendant's right to compulsory process by excluding records held by law enforcement victim advocates. The full opinion can be found at

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Body Shop Survey Finds Over Half US Adults Know Someone Who Has Suffered At The Hands Of A Violent Partner

A study by The Body Shop Americas Region reveals that an estimated 157 million Americans -- about 56% of us -- say they know someone who has suffered at the hands of a violent partner. When questioned about how they'd react if physically assaulted for the first time by a current or future partner, more than a third (39%) female adults say they'd leave immediately.

Yet the reality is that a woman suffering domestic violence will attempt to leave her abuser an average of 5 to 7 times before actually doing so.

And more than one third (34%) of women across America told researchers for The Body Shop they would be too embarrassed to tell their family and friends if they were being abused by their partner. The Body Shop 'Donate a Phone, Save a Life' campaign urges people across the United States to donate old or unwanted cellular phones at any of 300 plus The Body Shop U.S. retail locations from today through August 31, 2005.

Donated phones will be sold, refurbished or recycled, with proceeds benefiting the NCADV and the Wireless Foundation. Additionally, a number of phones will be distributed to approximately 200 women's shelters for dissemination to at-risk women who need access to a personal safety system when domestic violence strikes.

"I know from personal experience that this is a great cause that highlights an important and too often ignored issue," said Missy Elliott. "On behalf of The Body Shop, the NCADV and the Wireless Foundation, I urge everyone to dig up their unused wireless phones and bring them to your closest The Body Shop retail store. It is the easiest way to make a huge difference, and you might even save a life."

"Millions of unused cell phones can be the difference between life and death for countless domestic violence victims," says Joanne Calabrese, President of The Body Shop Americas Region. "As Americans begin to spring clean this season, we urge everyone to dig up those old or unwanted cell phones collecting dust in the back of a drawer or closet and bring them to your nearest The Body Shop. There has never been a simpler way to personally get involved in a public awareness campaign that ultimately can save lives."

Collecting cell phones can be an individual or collective effort. In fact, Amnesty International has agreed to partner with The Body Shop to lend a hand to this cause. With the goal of collecting 100,000 cell phones between now and the end of summer, the added support of reputable organizations like Amnesty International is invaluable.

The Body Shop is committed to campaigning to Stop Violence in The Home because it wants to make a real difference and impact in the fight against domestic violence. To further demonstrate this commitment, The Body Shop sponsored activities earlier this month in collaboration with Lifetime Television's 4th Annual "Stop Violence Against Women Week" in Washington DC. The U.S. campaign is also part of a company-wide effort to combat domestic violence - similar cell phone collections are taking place throughout Europe and Asia.

KRC Research conducted this nationally representative telephone survey of 1,021 adults aged 18 and over for The Body Shop. The margin of error is +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level. The Body Shop is an international, values-driven retailer of top-quality products for skin, hair and body care as well as a full line of make-up. The company has more than 300 stores in the U.S. and more than 2,000 locations in 50 countries spanning 30 languages and 12 time zones. The Body Shop Stop Violence in The Home campaign aims to break the silence around this issue and bring support, awareness and education to The Body Shop customers and employees. Visit for more information.