Thursday, June 17, 2010

Domestic Violence Risk - How Safe Are You?

Yesterday I read a news story about a family found dead in their home.  Details were not being released, but I could tell by the way it was written that it was probably a murder by a domestic partner.

Today I read three other similar stories.  One where the neighbors said "police never came to their house."

Sometimes police are never called. 

But when they are, law enforcement authorities are increasingly turning to lists of questions  or "risk assessments" to assess the danger and risks associated with homicides of both batterers and their victims.

Here is an example of questions law enforcement personnel in Raleigh, NC are using. The 14 questions cover violent tendencies, weapons, threats and what a victim is thinking to help determine whether he or she is at a high risk of being killed by a spouse or significant other:

1. Has the physical violence increased in frequency over the past six months or year?

2. Has the physical violence increased in severity over the past six months or year, or have threats been made with a weapon?

3. Does your partner ever try to choke you?

4. Is there a gun in the house?

5. Does your partner threaten to kill you, or do you believe he or she is capable of killing you?

6. Is your partner drunk or high every day or almost every day?

7. Does your partner control most or all of your daily activities (e.g., telling you whom you can be friends with or how much money you can spend)?

8. Has your partner ever beaten you while you were pregnant?

9. Is your partner violently and consistently jealous of you (e.g., he or she says, "If I can't have you, no one can.")?

10. Have you ever thought about, threatened or attempted to commit suicide?

11. Is your partner violent outside the home?

12. Do you plan to leave? Do you have a safety plan in place (i.e., where you will go, a suitcase with extra clothes, keys, important documents, medications, etc.)?

13. What do you think will happen between you and your partner in the near future?

14. Are you expecting a violent attack?

If a person answers yes to three or more questions, they are at a higher risk for death.

If you are reading this, and you are concerned for yourself, or if you are reading this, and you are concerned for someone you care about, please don't wait.  Please reach out.  Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). 

Please don't be named in an article in the newspaper as someone we lost because of domestic violence.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


What a totally cool idea! I love this!

CAEPV Members Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation, in conjunction with the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), recently announced the launch of the Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant Program, which will provide grants to domestic violence survivors to help them successfully develop small businesses.

Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation are donating a total of $45,000 to fund the grant program. One-time grants will range from $500 to $2,500 per applicant and can be used to make a down payment on a work space, purchase a computer or other office equipment, purchase initial product inventory, as collateral to support the receipt of a small business loan, pay for child care or transportation necessary to complete entrepreneurship classes, or other start-up costs.

Knowing of Verizon's strong support of domestic violence survivors through its HopeLine initiative and other grant-making activities, OPDV Executive Director Amy Barasch approached the company with the idea for the scholarships, and Verizon put the idea into action. The grant program is based on the premise that domestic violence survivors, through their past experience and the coping and problem-solving skills they developed to escape the cycle of violence, are uniquely prepared to step into an entrepreneurial role.

Applicants will be required to submit a business plan, and be enrolled in, or have completed an entrepreneurship assistance program, many of which are offered across the state through local chambers of commerce or schools and universities. New York State's Empire State Development funds a network of entrepreneurship assistance programs across New York.

The partnership between entrepreneurship programs and domestic violence programs makes a great deal of sense: in 2007-08, 60 percent of the state-supported entrepreneurship program graduates were female, and the programs overall resulted in significant increased sales, employee retention, and new jobs. In addition, many existing entrepreneurship programs have graduated domestic violence survivors, even though the programs may not know that fact.

In New York State, 87 percent of all business enterprises have four employees or less, illustrating that entrepreneurs and small business owners play a significant role in the state's economy and will be a key force in the state's economic recovery. In addition, the successful development of a small business can bring survivors increased control over their working lives, create important financial and social opportunities for them, and help ensure their long-term safety and stability, according to Barasch.

Interested individuals can obtain a grant application through their local domestic violence organization – visit for a complete list of programs in New York State – or by sending an e-mail to .