Friday, February 25, 2005

Security Tool To Help Domestic Abuse Victims

The national program called "AWARE," or abused women's active response emergency, uses a small device, but it could mean the difference between life and death for someone threatened by domestic violence. ADT Security is the company the created and promotes the program.

Domestic abuse survivor Elissa Spivey says the sheer nature of the pendant makes it valuable in the face of danger, "The ability to be near it and the time and quickness that it operates. I had several experiences where i could get to a phone but the perpetrator hung up the phone."

ADT Security security will install the system free of charge and provide pendants for as long as victims need it. For more information visit

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Domestic Violence Risk Measurement Tool Now Online

Each year, more than three million women in the U.S. are abused by their intimate partners–and more than 1,200 are killed by their abusers. These victims of homicide or attempted homicide are often unaware that their lives are in danger prior to the attack. The newly revised Danger Assessment instrument, developed by Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Associate Dean Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, is available now online to help women at risk learn their level of danger and to train domestic violence advocates, law enforcement, and health care professionals in measuring and warning danger levels.

“According to informants who knew the victims,” says Campbell, “only 47 percent of femicide victims accurately predicted their risk before the lethal event and only 53 percent of attempted femicide victims accurately predicted their risk before the attempted murder.”

Twenty-five years ago, Campbell created the first Danger Assessment (DA) to help victims of abuse and the professionals who work with them to better understand the threats to their safety and well-being. This year, Campbell revised and updated the assessment to incorporate the findings of recent domestic violence research and to deliver the mechanism to a wider audience through a new website, Women who feel they are in danger may visit the website and download the DA for free. The results are best interpreted, however, by a person certified to use the DA scoring system. Criminal justice, health care and advocacy practitioners who wish to administer the assessment and interpret the scoring system also may use the website to obtain training and certification.

The assessment begins by giving a woman a calendar. She is asked to mark the days when physically abusive incidents occurred, ranking each incident’s severity on a scale between one and five. This exercise can heighten the woman’s awareness of her situation and reduce denial and minimization of the abuse. When the DA was originally developed, Campbell found that 38 percent of women who initially reported no increase in severity and frequency changed their response to “yes” after filling out the calendar.

The second part of the assessment asks the woman 20 questions designed to identify danger within the relationship. Each question addresses a specific behavior that is a significant predictor to intimate partner homicide. The list includes questions such as “Does he own a gun?” “Is he an alcoholic or problem drinker?” and “Does he threaten to harm your children?”

According to Campbell, “Women using the DA can gain a better understanding of their risk and decrease their chances of becoming femicide victims.” She added, “Now that the assessment is easily accessible to battered women, advocates, and other practitioners, perhaps some of those 1,200 murders may be prevented.” is presented through the Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing, the joint JHU School of Nursing and the JHH Department of Nursing initiative formed to promote and support nursing excellence and to foster communication and collaboration between nursing education and nursing practice.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Verizon Wireless Marks 10 Year Anniversary of Hopeline (SM) Program

To mark the 10-year anniversary of Verizon Wireless' HopeLine(SM) program, the company today (February 16, 2005) announced a $250,000 gift to The University of Kentucky Center for Research on Violence Against Women. The gift is the largest amount pledged by Verizon Wireless to a single organization to support domestic violence prevention and awareness. It will be used by the University's Center to establish and endow a professorship of studies on violence against women.

"Over the past decade, the HopeLine program has grown significantly and along the way has helped so many victims -- keeping them safe and helping them rebuild their lives," said Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. "We're thankful to our customers and the countless other consumers, organizations and businesses that have participated in the program and helped make possible gifts like that pledged to the University of Kentucky Center for
Research on Violence Against Women."

The professorship established by the Verizon Wireless endowment will be focused on innovative research on violence against women and women's health and will be based in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. The gift will be matched dollar for dollar by the state of Kentucky through its Research Challenge Trust Fund, which was established in 1997 to promote research and allow the state's universities to attract and retain renowned faculty and researchers in critical areas of science and economic development.

"From donating phones and airtime to funding direct service programs for survivors, Verizon Wireless has a proven track record of supporting domestic violence awareness and prevention," said Carol E. Jordan, director of the University of Kentucky Center for Research on Violence Against Women. "Through this gift, Verizon Wireless builds on its vital work of protecting women in the present day by investing in the future of women. The professorship established by the Verizon Wireless endowment significantly advances our efforts to better understand and one day end acts of violence committed against women."

HopeLine Highlights from 2004

In 2004, consumers donated three-quarters of a million phones to HopeLine, up more than 35 percent from the previous year, and bringing the total to nearly two million phones since the national phone collection and recycling efforts began in 2001.

Additional milestones for the HopeLine program in 2004 include:

* More than $800,000 donated to shelters and organizations to support
domestic violence prevention programs and victims' services;
* More than 11,000 phones, along with airtime and other features,
provided to shelters to distribute for use by victims;
* More than 140,000 phones recycled in an environmentally safe way.

Addressing an Issue that Affects Everyone

Domestic violence in the United States knows no social or economic boundaries and can affect people in any community -- including friends, family and co-workers. Across the country, Verizon Wireless has put its HopeLine program to work and seen the program grow.

Verizon Wireless created its long-running HopeLine program to put wireless products and services to work to combat domestic violence and raise awareness of the issue. When it began, the HopeLine program donated voicemail boxes to victims living in shelters. Today, the multi-faceted program also includes a successful phone recycling and re-use effort, financial support for regional and national non-profit domestic violence organizations, community and corporate awareness programs, and partnerships with law enforcement agencies, professional sports teams, educational institutions and corporations nationwide. Since 2001, the key element of the program has been a national recycling initiative -- taking no-longer used wireless phones and accessories and turning them into help and support for victims of domestic violence and the agencies and shelters committed to helping.

How to Donate

Wireless phones and equipment can be donated to the HopeLine program at more than 1,200 Verizon Wireless Communications Store across the country. Wireless phones and equipment donations can also be sent to:

Verizon Wireless HopeLine
c/o ReCellular Inc
2555 Bishop Circle W.
Dexter, MI 48130

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Liz Claiborne Hang Tags Feature Domestic Violence Information

Liz Claiborne Inc. garment hang tags feature more than just size and style information --they could save a life! The hang tags include information about their commitment to the prevention of domestic violence, provide the address for their web site, as well as the National Domestic Violence Hotline number (1-800-799-SAFE). Individuals who may never pick up a domestic violence booklet may buy a Liz Claiborne garment, read the hang tag, and gain valuable information that could change their lives, or the lives of those they love. Look for them the next time you go shopping!

Friday, February 11, 2005

$2.25 Million Verdict in Maryland DV/Workplace Tort Case

On February 10, 2005, a jury came back with a verdict in the amount of $2,250,000, in Gantt v. Security, USA, a domestic violence/workplace violence case.

Because the 4th Circuit opinion allowed only recovery for the 1 hour that Ms. Gantt spent on Post 9, before Gary Sheppard abducted her, raped her and held her captive for six hours, threatening to kill her with his shotgun,and due to evidentiary rulings by the trial court, the trial was cut back from its originally scheduled two week period to 2 days.

The jury awarded $2,000,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitives. The case is Gantt v.Security, USA, 356 F.3d 547 (4th Cir. 2004). It has received press coverage and discussion on numerous EEO and employment websites, as well as mention in the Maryland Code Annotated and other legal commentaries.

The case has sparked controversy about an employer's obligation to honor and enforce protective orders in the workplace, even though, in this highly unusual case, Dominique's supervisor actually intentionally assisted the batterer in violating the protective order in the worplace, which is why her lawyers are suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Kaiser Permanente Display Addresses Domestic Violence

Kaiser Permanente recently opened a Silent Witness exhibit at its Terra Linda, CA medical center on February 4. The display is a collection of tall panels that feature the stories of victims of physical, verbal and psychological violence. A striking central panel shows photographs of three Kaiser employees who were killed by their abusers. The exhibit is part of the Kaiser's family violence prevention program, designed to create awareness among its workers and the public about the epidemic that its victims and perpetrators so often hide.

In a short speech before the unveiling of the panels, newly appointed Marin District Attorney Ed Berberian said the goal of his office is to work with other agencies to stop domestic violence. "Domestic violence is not hidden - it's not a secret anymore," Berberian said. "It's something we've got to stop and will stop."

The traveling exhibit, displayed at Kaiser facilities throughout the state, tells the stories of Kaiser staff who have dealt with domestic violence. The personal stories come from physicians, administrators, medical technicians and other employees who believe family violence can be prevented by bringing it out into the open. Kaiser labor consultant Cindy Thomas of Petaluma spoke of a four-year ordeal during which she was abused by her former husband. She said it is important for people to tell their stories because it helps others who have not confronted the violence in their lives. It took a potentially fatal attack that resulted in an ambulance trip to the hospital to make Thomas realize she had to leave the abusive relationship. A social worker who visited her in the hospital was the first person she was able to talk to about what was happening. "The vicious cycle is you don't want to talk about it with anyone because you don't want to set him off again," Thomas said.

Once released from the hospital, Thomas continued to meet with the social worker and followed her advice to pack a suitcase at home. "You get ready for a 30-second escape," Thomas said. Thomas finally made her getaway and took refuge in the home of a family member. There, for the first time, she talked to the shocked relative about what had been happening. "(The social worker) helped me prepare for how I was going to talk about it," Thomas said. "It's a lot of work, but it's worth every minute of work."

According to Kaiser statistics, of its 3.5 million Northern California members, 45,000 females are experiencing some kind of domestic violence. The exhibit is on display in the dermatology laboratory at the medical center at 99 Montecillo Road until Feb. 15. (Source: Marin Independent Journal )

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Massachusetts Considers DV Workplace Legislation

State Representative Joseph R. Driscoll (D-Braintree), has announced his full support of a legislative package introduced by Rep. Peter Koutoujian (D-Waltham), Sen. Pamela Resor (D-Acton) and Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) that would strengthen state laws against criminal stalking and make it easier for victims to relocate and take time off from work. Specifically, the measure would extend the ability to file a restraining order to people whose relationship with the stalker does not meet certain level. Currently, only petitioners with a "prior and substantive" relationship are eligible for the restriction. Additional provisions of the legislative package would protect stalking victims from housing discrimination by requiring landlords to release victims from rental agreements and prohibit landlords from evicting tenants on the grounds that they were the victims of the crimes.

The package would also protect employees, working for companies that employ more than fifty individuals, who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking from being penalized in the workplace for taking time off to address issues related to being a victim of such crimes.

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, one million women and 371,000 men are stalked in the United States each year, and most victims know their stalkers. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, arraignments on stalking-related offenses rose 10 percent between 1999 and 2003, from 277 to 304 according to Jane Doe, Inc., a women's rights group. (Source: Braintree Forum)