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)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Press Release:


“Horizontal violence in health care settings is focus of International Expert”

When: Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Days: Saturday & Sunday

Dates: 10/22/2005 & 10/23/2005

Why: Gerald Farrell, RN, PhD from the Tasmania School of Nursing, Tasmania Australia and Mary Schoessler, RN, EdD from Providence Health System in Portland will share their latest research on “Horizontal Violence” in the workplace. Dr. Farrell, a leading International expert, will speak on the nature and extent of the problem; along with strategies to effectively reduce workplace violence as well as overt and covert non-physical hostility, such as criticism, sabotage, undermining, infighting and scapegoating. Dr. Schoessler will discuss her research findings on ways to minimize horizontal workplace violence at the individual and organizational level through individual growth, healing and learning from colleagues.

These presentations have important implications for all healthcare workers in settings with workforce shortages. Decreasing horizontal violence in health care settings has the potential to reduce the costs associated with the consequences of horizontal violence such as Depression, Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and to decrease staff attrition. Safe working environments and satisfied health care workers are key to quality patient care.

Where: The Sweetbrier Inn
7125 S.W. Nyberg Rd.
(I-5 Exit 289)
Tualatin, OR.

Who: Farrell and Schoessler’s presentation is sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA). 12 Contact Hours provided by Salem Hospital Nursing Education.

Cost: For Both Days: Includes instructional materials, Continental Breakfast, Lunch & refreshments, Nurse Appreciation Luncheon on Sunday.
$119.00 APNA Members
$139.00 Non-members
$89.00 Students
*Registration Accepted at the Door

Additional Information:

1. Senator Rick Metzger, will speak on Violence in the Workplace at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, October 22nd
2. Jane Ryan, RN, MN, CNAA from Cincinnati, Ohio and Past President of the American Psychiatric Nurse Association will join us to also share her research on workplace violence in Nursing.

The name of the conference is: “Issues in Nursing: Violence in the Workplace”

Susan Griffin, BSN, RN-PMH

Press Contact Daytime phone number: