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OFFICE ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Archived Messages from the Director


December 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

November 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

2008 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Video Message from the Director

2008 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Poster

October 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

September 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

Marking the 14th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

August 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

Commemorating the 14th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

Reaction to the Giles Decision

Metro Summit Welcome Letter from OVW Director Cindy Dyer -- July 17, 2008

July 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

World Elder Abuse Day -- June 15, 2008

June 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

May 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

Sexual Assault Awareness Month - April 2008

April 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week- February 4-8, 2008

National Stalking Awareness Month - January 2008


December 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer
A Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

Dear Friends,

Warm greetings to everyone during this holiday season.  We not only look ahead to 2009, but also give thanks for what we have accomplished and overcome in the past year.  We give thanks for the strength of our partners around the country and around the world who have dedicated their lives to working together to end the violence.

OVW Senior Policy Advisor, Jan Langbein, and I recently returned from the African nation of Benin and participated in the Conference for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Women’s Justice Empowerment Initiative.  We met with young girls who had escaped abusive forced marriages and others who endured and survived severe violence.  We met with judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers who have partnered with DOJ’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) to combat violence against women in their own nation. As in the United States, we saw a tremendous desire in Benin to create safer homes and safer communities.  We commend advocates working tirelessly, in Benin and around the globe, to strengthen their country’s response to violence.

Looking ahead to January 2009, OVW has partnered with the National Center for Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center to mark the 6th observance of National Stalking Awareness Month to encourage communities to focus attention on this serious and deadly crime. Each year, more than one million women and nearly 400,000 men in the United States are victims of stalking. This year's theme, "Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It" challenges communities to combat stalking by learning more about it and taking action.  Stay tuned for the launch of www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org  to download resources, including fact sheets, media tools, brochures, and artwork, as you plan your local National Stalking Awareness Month activities!

As we gather together to celebrate the holidays and the start of the New Year, please remember those who have been victimized by violence and the families torn apart by violence.  Their futures have promises of hope through the wonderful work that you do.  On behalf of the staff of OVW, I wish the happiest of holidays to you, your organizations, and your loved ones.

Sincerely,

Cindy Dyer
Director, Office on Violence Against Women


November 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer
A Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

Dear Friends,

Thank you for making Domestic Violence Awareness Month such a success!   I know there were many efforts across the country to recognize and support our collaborative response to violence.  I was proud to take part in some of these events with you.

In partnership with the Family Violence Prevention Fund, we hosted a webinar to share research and findings from our new teen dating violence public awareness campaign.  For those of you who were unable to join us, you may view the webinar and download materials from the Prevention Connection website.  We will continue to update you on the launch of the campaign in early 2009.

OVW is pleased to inform you that the 2008 Tribal Consultation has been rescheduled for December 10, 2008 at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, CA.  As you may know, OVW postponed the 2008 Tribal Consultation, originally scheduled for September 8, 2008 in Florida due to the threat of Hurricane Ike.   In conjunction with the Tribal Consultation, we are planning to hold the second meeting of the Section 904 Violence Against Women in Indian Country Task Force meeting on December 8-9, 2008 in Palm Springs.  To learn more about these two events please visit our Safety For Indian Women homepage.

OVW is also pleased to announce, in partnership with the Vera Institute for Justice’s Accessing Safety Initiative, a national conference on Building Bridges Across Disciplines: Developing Safe and Accessible Services for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence who have Disabilities or who are Deaf.  The conference will be held on December 16-17, 2008 in Nashville, TN at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.  The first of its kind, this is a unique training opportunity to improve your organization’s response to the needs of survivors with disabilities and Deaf survivors.  Please visit the conference website for registration information. 

Briefly, I also wanted to share an update, particularly with service providers, concerning the 2008 farm bill passed by Congress.  The new name for the Food Stamp Program is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and benefits are distributed through electronic debit cards instead of coupons.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers SNAP through the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).  For more information please visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/FSP/faqs.htm.

In addition, Congress passed continuing appropriations for all agencies and activities that would be covered by the regular Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations bills, until enactment of the regular appropriations bill or until March 6, 2009, whichever occurs first.  Looking ahead to the coming months, I will also update you on any important information affecting OVW resulting from the transition between administrations. 

Thank you again for all of your hard work and efforts in making October such a success!  We are fortunate to have effective partners at the grassroots level.  Working together we can continue to be formidable opponents to ending not only domestic violence, but also the related crimes of dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Sincerely,

Cindy Dyer
Director, Office on Violence Against Women


2008 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Video Message from the Director

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
View OVW Director Cindy's Dyer's message.

Read OVW Director Cindy Dyer's message


2008 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Poster

Download OVW's Domestic Violence Awareness Month Posters (Large | Small)

October 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer
A Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to join you in recognizing October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.   October offers us an important opportunity to look at how far we have come in providing critical services to victims of violence and opportunities to further strengthen our response.  We have created a poster with links to resources and other helpful information to help spread the message.  To view my statement regarding Domestic Violence Awareness Month or to download our poster, please visit our web site at www.ovw.usdoj.gov

 October is also recognized as Crime Prevention Month.  At the Office on Violence Against Women we believe providing a battered woman the tools to escape the cycle of violence is a proven crime prevention method.  Education, shelter, financial resources, child-care, and access to civil legal assistance all improve the lives of survivors struggling to make a fresh start.  We join all of our partners organizing events, such as Celebrate Safe Communities to raise awareness for National Crime Prevention Month.  To learn more about Celebrate Safe Communities please visit www.celebratesafecommunities.org.

OVW is also proud to support and co-sponsor with the Family Violence Prevention Fund a national education and awareness campaign targeted towards youth that we expect to launch in early 2009.  As we have learned, violence can happen to anyone, at any age.  Recent research has illustrated the risk many young teens now face as they begin dating in the digital age.  It is important to educate teens so they can learn to recognize the early signs of power and control.  Please join us on October 22, 2008 at 11 a.m. EST to participate in an online discussion on what we have learned about teen dating violence. 

Congratulations to all of the coalitions that are celebrating an impressive thirty years in this movement! I am so grateful to have such effective partners out in the field who are dedicated to improving the lives of victims.  Thank you for your daily contributions and services to those victimized by violence.  Please continue this important battle.  It is one we cannot afford to lose.  Together we are making a difference in the lives of children, teens, women, and communities across the country and around the globe. 

Sincerely,

Cindy Dyer
Director, Office on Violence Against Women


September 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer
A Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

Dear Friends,

As some of you may know, August is usually a slow time in our Nation’s capitol.  For the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), the summer heat did not slow us down.  I want to highlight and share with you a few activities and events from this past month.

OVW and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) were pleased to host the inaugural meeting of the Section 904 Violence Against Indian Women Task Force on August 20-21, 2008. The members of the task force provide critical advice to OVW and NIJ on a program of research on violence against Indian women, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and murder. More information regarding the task force is available on OVW’s Safety for Indian Women webpage.

Also, I want to share with you an exciting new national effort to end violence against women.  I joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to endorse the Empire Beauty School’s adoption of the CUT IT OUT curriculum.  CUT IT OUT is a national training program Empire has implemented in all of its 87 schools designed to train salon professionals to recognize the warning signs of domestic abuse and safely refer clients to local resources for help and assistance.  OVW is proud to support this campaign and raise awareness about the crime of domestic violence.  To learn more about the CUT IT OUT curriculum and the “Empire Gives Back” initiative please visit www.ovw.usdoj.gov.

Congratulations to the leadership and staff of the New Orleans Family Justice Center on its one year anniversary!  The New Orleans Family Justice Center opened its doors a little over a year ago, on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and after a remarkably short six months of strategic planning.  The Center has been inspirational to many communities both here and abroad and a model of coordinated community response.  We commend the Center for the wonderful work they are doing and the comprehensive services they are providing to victims.  And while we celebrate this momentous occasion, on behalf of all OVW staff, we also express our deepest sympathy and support for victims and grantees recently affected by Hurricane Gustav.

OVW is eagerly anticipating this year’s recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Special congratulations to coalitions celebrating an impressive 30 years in this movement.  Please let us know the ways you are helping to raise public awareness in your local community.  I look forward to hearing about your activities in October and efforts to bring together advocates and members of your community working to end the violence.

Sincerely,

Cindy Dyer
Director, Office on Violence Against Women


Marking the 14th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow, September 13, 2008, marks the landmark passage of the Violence Against Women Act.  This anniversary has given me a chance to pause from my daily activities and reflect on the impact this Act has had in my own personal life, career, and community.  As many of you know, before coming to OVW, I served as a specialized family violence and sexual assault prosecutor for fourteen years.  I was also an OVW grantee in Texas of both formula and discretionary funds. 

In 1994, I was the sole prosecutor representing the specialized family violence division within the District Attorney’s Office.  Through OVW funds, we were able to expand our division.  When I left the District Attorney’s Office in 2007 the family violence division was one of the largest in the office.  I can personally tell you that the way sexual assault and domestic violence cases are prosecuted and managed in Dallas, Texas has improved dramatically. 

I know that mine is just one of many stories representing the mission and history of OVW.  Thank you for the vital work you are doing.  And just look at how far we have come!  I think I will get up and come back to work again on Monday.

Sincerely,

Cindy Dyer
Director, Office on Violence Against Women


August 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer
A Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

Dear Friends,

July was a very busy and productive month.  As you may know, OVW staff have been diligently working to make sure that grant awards will be made in a timely fashion.  I recognize that this year has been particularly challenging in processing recent awards, particularly for our technical assistance providers.  We are working closely with other components within the Department to address the existing problems.  I thank you for your patience and understanding.  Providing funding to local communities, programs, and services to help victims of violence is the heart of what we do and central to our mission.  We remain committed to distributing federal funds in the most efficient and timely manner.

On July 17-18, 2008, OVW hosted the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Regional Summit II.  Attorney General Mukasey provided closing remarks to participants of the Summit to share the Department’s commitment to fighting violence against women. The purpose of this Summit was to bring together representatives from the field who respond to the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the greater metropolitan, Washington, D.C. area.  Crossing jurisdictional boundaries can pose challenges for victims seeking protection orders, shelter, or other services.  Bringing together representatives from law enforcement, victim services, courts, and prosecution to address these issues will provide a more comprehensive response to victims.  To view photos from the Summit and more information please visit www.ovw.usdoj.gov .

Also, I wanted to bring to your attention to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Giles v. California. Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, clarified the elements of the forfeiture-by-wrongdoing exception to the Confrontation Clause.  When attempting to prove forfeiture-by-wrongdoing, prosecutors must show that the defendant wrongfully caused the victim’s absence and did so with the purpose of preventing the victim’s testimony or cooperation.  As a former prosecutor, I can assure you that domestic violence and sexual assault cases must continue to be aggressively pursued. We will continue to discuss the impact of Giles as we develop strategies to pursue these cases.  To view my full statement on Giles or to read the Supreme Court’s opinion please visit www.ovw.usdoj.gov .

The coordinated community response model, embodied in the Family Justice Center concept, continues to reach local communities.  Recently, I participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Queens Family Justice Center with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and baseball legend Joe Torre.  I also had the opportunity to visit the Croydon Family Justice Center while attending an International Family Violence Conference in the United Kingdom.  I am so proud of the deep-rooted partnerships developed in these communities to address violence against women. 

Looking ahead to August, we are pleased to announce the first meeting of the Title IX Section 904 Task Force Meeting.  This meeting will be held on August 20-21, 2008, in Washington, D.C.  For more information regarding the Task Force or this meeting please visit www.ovw.usdoj.gov.

Thank you for your feedback and comments to the Office on Violence Against Women.  We want to continue to engage in a dialogue with our grantees and partners in the field as we move forward.  Through my travels and in meetings with grantees and leaders in the field, I value the importance of your work.  Working together we can be a formidable opponent against these crimes.

Sincerely,

Cindy Dyer
Director, Office on Violence Against Women


Commemorating the 14th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act
A Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

September 13, 2008 marked the landmark passage of the Violence Against Women Act. This anniversary gave me a chance to pause from my daily activities and reflect on the impact this Act has had in my own personal life, career, and community. As many of you know, before coming to the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), I served as a specialized family violence and sexual assault prosecutor for fourteen years. I was also an OVW grantee in Texas of both formula and discretionary funds.

In 1994, I was the sole prosecutor representing the specialized family violence division within the District Attorney's Office. Through OVW funds, we were able to expand our division. When I left the District Attorney's Office in 2007 the family violence division was one of the largest in the office. I can personally tell you that the way sexual assault and domestic violence cases are prosecuted and managed in Dallas, Texas has improved dramatically.

I know that mine is just one of many stories representing the mission and history of OVW. Thank you for the vital work you are doing. And just look at how far we have come!

 


Reaction to the Giles Decision
OVW Director Cindy Dyer's Statement on the Supreme Court's Decision in Giles v. California

A recent Supreme Court decision affects the admissibility of evidence in domestic violence prosecutions when the victim is unable or unwilling to testify as a result of the defendant's wrongful conduct.

The Supreme Court in Giles v. California clarified the elements of the forfeiture-by-wrongdoing exception to the Confrontation Clause. The ruling holds that forfeiture applies when a prosecutor shows that the defendant wrongfully caused the victim's absence and did so with the purpose of preventing the victim's testimony or cooperation. This opinion establishes a constitutional minimum for admission of unconfronted prior statements of the victim under the forfeiture-by-wrongdoing doctrine. While the Court rejected the view that merely causing the witness' unavailability was sufficient to establish forfeiture, it offered guidance for inferring the necessary intent in the domestic violence context. The Court recognized that "[a]cts of domestic violence often are intended to dissuade a victim from resorting to outside help, and include conduct designed to prevent testimony to police officers or cooperation in criminal prosecutions," and that such acts may support an inference of "intent to isolate the victim and to stop her from reporting abuse to the authorities or cooperating with a criminal prosecution-rendering her prior statements admissible under the forfeiture doctrine." Two concurring justices added that "the element of intention would normally be satisfied by the intent inferred on the part of the domestic abuser in the classic abusive relationship."

Domestic violence cases can and must continue to be aggressively pursued, and the forfeiture-by-wrongdoing doctrine is an important tool in these prosecutions. The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) will collaborate with key partners, experts in the field, law enforcement and others in the criminal justice system to address this new development so that offenders are held accountable.

Press Release

 


July 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

A Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

Dear Friends,

I would like to update you on recent activities and program development that I and OVW staff have been undertaking in the past few weeks.

Highlighting the important work we are doing and expanding our mutual understanding of issues facing women around the globe has been a priority of mine since becoming Director of OVW. I recently attended a thematic debate at the UN Security Council addressing sexual violence against women in conflict and post-conflict areas chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on June 19, 2008. To read Secretary Rice’s full remarks please visit http://www.state.gov/s/we/c26140.htm. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders attended the session to propose solutions to provide necessary protection and assistance for victims of sexual violence. One of my goals as OVW Director is to establish new relationships and partnerships, both here and abroad, as we continue to combat violence against women.

I would like to thank the staff and core partners of the New York City Family Justice Center located in Brooklyn, New York for hosting a special tour and visit for me and OVW staff last month. The Center was the first to be launched under the President’s Family Justice Center Initiative and it continues to expand, grow, and serve victims. Centers like the New York Family Justice Center embody a strong coordinated community response by bringing together victim advocates, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, probation officers, forensic medical professionals, civil legal attorneys, chaplains, and representatives from community-based organizations into one centralized location to better serve victims of violence. More information about the President’s Family Justice Center Initiative is available on OVW’s website or visit www.familyjusticecenter.org.

OVW continues its work on the implementation of funding the new programs authorized by the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005. These new programs are the Sexual Assault Services Program; Services to Advocate for and Respond to Youth; Grants to Assist Children and Youth Exposed to Violence; Violence Against Women Act Court Training and Improvement Grants; Culturally and Linguistically Specific Services Program; and Engaging Men and Youth in Preventing Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking. OVW is working on the development of these new programs. Please continue to check our website www.ovw.usdoj.gov for future announcements, solicitations, and descriptions of these new programs.

On behalf of all OVW staff, we express our sympathy and support for victims and grantees affected by recent flooding in the Midwest. If you were affected by the recent flooding or other natural disasters and need additional time to complete your grant award, progress reports, or changes to your approved budget as a result of this natural disaster, please contact your OVW Program Manager. I encourage you to visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website for information related to disaster assistance. Several national anti-sexual assault organizations have created the Relief Fund for Sexual Assault Victims, to help victims impacted by natural disasters. More information about the Relief Fund is available on their website, http://www.relieffundforsexualassaultvictims.org/.

Thank you for your commitment to advocate for those victimized by domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Working together we can be a formidable opponent against these crimes.

Sincerely,

Cindy Dyer
Director, Office on Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice


The Office on Violence Against Women Observes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day -- June 15, 2008

A Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer on World Elder Abuse Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an excellent opportunity to share information about the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of persons in later life. The face of aging in the United States is changing dramatically. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population age 65 and over is expected to double in size within the next 25 years. By 2030, almost one out of five Americans — some 72 million people — will be 65 years or older and the 85 and older age group is now the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. As the number of older Americans grows, so does the number of potential targets for elder abuse.

The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) is committed to raising awareness and supporting training and services aimed at addressing elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, involving older individuals. OVW joins our partners, including the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, in providing training programs to assist criminal justice professionals and others working with older individuals.

Since 2002, OVW's Enhanced Training and Services to End Violence and Abuse of Women Later in Life Program (Elder Program) serving populations over 50 years of age has provided more than $25 million to communities to support training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts to enhance their ability to recognize, address, investigate, and prosecute instances of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

I encourage you to join others around the nation and world in observing this important day. Individuals can help prevent elder abuse by volunteering to call or to visit an isolated senior who may be at risk of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. Getting involved in any activity in your own neighborhood or community that aims to create awareness of domestic violence, sexual abuse and stalking in later life adds value to the collective efforts underway.

Thank you for doing your part to help raise awareness!

Resources:
Administration on Aging

Eldercare Locator for Community Resources

International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse

Community Guide to Raise World Awareness on Adult Abuse Tool Kit

National Center on Elder Abuse

National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life

National Institute of Justice

June 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

A Message from OVW Director, Cindy Dyer

Dear Friends,

Thank you to all who offered feedback in response to our request for information regarding technical assistance (TA).  Your input and suggestions are critical to the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) as we develop TA that is responsive to your specific needs and concerns.  I encourage you to continue to communicate with us so that we may better serve the needs of our grantees.

On June 15, 2008, I hope you will join OVW as we observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  Through OVW’s Enhanced Training and Services to End Violence and Abuse of Women Later in Life Program (Elder Program) we provide services to communities to support training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts to enhance their ability to recognize, address, investigate, and prosecute instances of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  Please help, in any way you can, to ensure that we continue to raise awareness and support at-risk older individuals who are targeted for abuse.

As some of you may know, the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 amended the STOP formula statutory certification requirement pertaining to forensic examinations.  This new requirement ensures that sexual assault victims receive access to a forensic examination regardless of whether the victim cooperates with law enforcement.  OVW has developed Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Anonymous Reporting and Forensic Examinations that is now accessible online.  I encourage you to view this new fact sheet for more information regarding the new forensic examination certification requirement.

Thank you for your commitment to advocate for those victimized by the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  I look forward to sharing more information and news from OVW with you as the summer progresses.

Sincerely,

Cindy Dyer
Director, Office on Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice


May 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

A Message from OVW Director, Cindy Dyer

Dear Friends,

April, designated as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, was highly successful!  Thank you to everyone in the field who participated in events, conferences, and other activities to raise awareness for those victimized by sexual assault. OVW staff and I were very moved by the inspiring events you organized around the country and the level of national attention brought to this important issue.

Technical Assistance (TA) is vital to meet the challenges of addressing violence against women through the essential training, peer-to-peer networking, and the creative problem-solving strategies employed by our TA providers.  I would like to ask for your help to ensure that OVW is providing you with TA that is most responsive to your needs and concerns as grantees.  Please reply to OVW.Director@usdoj.gov  with “Technical Assistance” in the subject line with your suggestions on how we can improve TA and let us know what you most need and want.  Your feedback is important to us, so I encourage you to be as detailed as you can.  Thank you for taking the time to help us enhance our TA strategy.
OVW is pleased to announce the members of the Section 904 Violence Against Women in Indian Country Task Force, a Federal Advisory Committee authorized by Title IX of the Violence Against Women Act of 2005.  The Task Force will advise and make recommendations to OVW and the National Institute of Justice regarding the development and implementation of a research program on violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women.  Read more about the Section 904 Task Force.

As OVW continues to grow, I am pleased to announce that Jan Langbein joins our staff as Senior Policy Advisor to the Director.  Prior to joining OVW, Ms. Langbein served as the Executive Director of Genesis Women’s Shelter in Dallas, Texas for nineteen years offering help and services to victims of violence.  Her enthusiasm and expertise as an advocate will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to OVW.  I hope many of you have the opportunity to meet and work with Ms. Langbein in the near future.

Thank you for your commitment to advocate for those victimized by the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  I look forward to a very full and enriching summer.

Sincerely,

 

Cindy Dyer
Director, Office on Violence Against Women


Sexual Assault Awareness Month - April, 2008

A Message from OVW Director, Cindy Dyer

Please join me during the month of April, recognized as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to renew our commitment to ending all forms of sexual violence. Sexual assault is a serious crime and continues to impact thousands of women, men, and children every year. The 2008 national theme, “Prevent Sexual Violence . . . in our workplaces,” focuses on ways for us to reach out to our families, friends, and co-workers who may have been the victim of sexual assault. I encourage you to be a good listener and recognize the impact this crime has on those living and working in your own community.

The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) is committed to raising awareness and supporting services aimed at helping victims of sexual assault. OVW joins our partners, including the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, to provide much needed help and support for victims of this crime. In addition, as Director, I plan to strengthen OVW’s outreach and enhance services to victims of sexual assault by developing new, innovative ways to better train prosecutors, forensic examiners, and advocates who work with victims of sexual assault.

I encourage you to help us engage in this important dialogue. “Participating in opportunities to speak out about the crime of sexual assault is an important step to stopping this violent crime against women. During April 2008, designated as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I encourage everyone to use resources being publicized and to participate in events, discussions and programs to increase public awareness about this crime that affects 1 in 6 American women. Working together we can change attitudes, continue to support victims and hold perpetrators responsible.”

Thank you for doing your part to help us raise awareness!


Resources:

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Poster
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations
National Training Standards for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examiners
Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) Virtual Practicum
National Institute of Justice- Rape and Sexual Violence Page
Centers for Disease Control- Sexual Violence Prevention Page
Tribal Justice and Safety- U.S. Department of Justice
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, U.S. Department of Defense
The Voices and Faces Project
Enditnow.gov- OVW's Public Awareness Campaign Website on Domestic Violence, Stalking, Sexual Assault and Dating Violence


If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, please call 1-800-656-HOPE to be connected to the local rape crisis center nearest to you, or visit www.rainn.org for assistance and more information.

If you are in immediate danger, dial 911.


April 2008 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer

A Message from OVW Director, Cindy Dyer

Dear Friends,

My first few months as Director of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) have been wonderfully productive and gratifying. I anticipate that 2008 will be a significant year in our efforts to address the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  One of my priorities as Director is to be actively involved in the field and increase our collaborative efforts.  Each month I will be sharing with you the latest news, events, and resources from OVW. 

Fellow advocates will honor National Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April around the country and our office marks this month by renewing our commitment to ending all forms of sexual violence. Sexual assault is a serious crime and continues to impact thousands of women, men, and children every year.   Our 2008 national theme, “Prevent Sexual Violence... in our workplaces,” focuses on ways for us to reach out to our families, friends, and co-workers who may have been victims of sexual assault. I encourage you to be a good listener and recognize the impact this crime has on those living and working in your own community. 

OVW is pleased to announce the newly designated Sexual Assault Services Program.  This important new program will support the establishment, maintenance and expansion of rape crisis centers and other programs and projects to assist those victimized by sexual assault.  I look forward to working with advocates, sexual assault service providers, and criminal justice professionals to implement this important program.

As a former grantee, I value the importance of Technical Assistance to our projects.  OVW recently released the FY 2008 Technical Assistance Program solicitation, Call for Conference Support Announcement.  The deadline for submission is May 13, 2008.  OVW grant recipients can access information about current Technical Assistance projects through OVW’s Technical Assistance Provider Calendar and Directory by contacting their OVW grant manager.

I invite you to visit our new page dedicated to the “Safety of Indian Women” to view information about plans for the upcoming 2008 Tribal Consultation, the final 2007 Tribal Consultation Report, the December 2007 report from the Focus Group on Public Law 280 and the Sexual Assault of Native Women, and other important news on tribal affairs.

Thank you for your commitment to advocate for those victimized by the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. I look forward to working together as we continue to engage in this important dialogue. 

Sincerely,

 

Cindy Dyer
Director, Office on Violence Against Women
OVW.Director@usdoj.gov


National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week- February 4-8, 2008
A Message from OVW Director, Cindy Dyer

Let's take action! Dating violence continues to impact vulnerable individuals, particularly teens. Please join the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) in our efforts to address the serious issue of dating violence and the behaviors often associated with it during the week of February 4-8, 2008, designated as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week."

Dating violence can happen to anyone. However, young victims face different obstacles than older, adult victims do. According to recent studies, 20 percent of teenage girls and young women have experienced some form of dating violence. Dating violence can include physical, emotional, verbal, psychological or sexual abuse. Teen dating violence often increases the risks of substance abuse, sexual activity, pregnancy and suicide, especially for female victims. It is important to educate teens and those who can influence them to distinguish violent dating behaviors from healthy behaviors.

"Relationships shape our personal worlds with unforgettable experiences. Violence in any relationship, including teen dating, should never be tolerated. Awareness about dating violence behaviors can help teens and other young adults avoid or end harmful relationships. During the month of February please join the Office on Violence Against Women to raise awareness by sharing resources, joining discussions and becoming informed about the impact of teen dating violence."

OVW actively supports outreach to teens, families, schools and communities to address the gravity of teen dating violence and promote the development of healthy relationships. The National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women convened a subcommittee on teen dating violence which provided guidance to OVW on this particular issue. The National Advisory Committee concluded that "teen dating violence is a major public health and safety concern in America" and more collaboration is necessary to strengthen our response to teen dating violence. In 2008, OVW plans to launch a national outreach campaign targeted towards youth. Through these and many other efforts OVW is providing much needed support to address the seriousness of teen dating violence. Please join us in February, and throughout the coming year, to encourage teens and youth to engage in healthy dating behaviors. Thank you for doing your part to help us raise awareness.


On February 27, 2008, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) will sponsor an OVC Web Forum Guest Host Session on best practices for responding to teen victims of dating violence. Join Mitru Ciarlante, Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime's Teen Victim Initiative, and Barri Rosenbluth, Director of SafePlace's Expect Respect Program, at 2 p.m. ET for the live discussion.


Resources

National Stalking Awareness Month- January 2008

A Message from OVW Director, Cindy Dyer

January is stalking awareness month—an important time for us to renew our commitment to raising awareness about this serious crime. “Although often trivialized, stalking is a crime in every state and we must do more to protect the victims who suffer from this crime. During the month of January, designated as Stalking Awareness month, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) is asking for everyone’s help to increase awareness about stalking and share resources. Working together we can make a difference in identifying, preventing and stopping this crime.”

The Office on Violence Against Women supports the National Center for Victims of Crime and the Stalking Resource Center. The on-line Stalking Resource Center provides much needed information including: assistance to victims; various types of stalking awareness materials, including downloadable posters; and available hotlines.

Statistics from the National Violence Against Women Survey tell us that approximately 1.5 million people are stalked every year in the United States and 4 out of 5 of those victims are women. Most often, female victims were stalked by an intimate partner. There is a strong correlation between intimate partner stalking and the related crimes of domestic violence and sexual assault.

It is important to educate everyone about the types of stalking behaviors. Stalking can include repeated phone calls, following, damage to property or homes, and any other action that controls or frightens someone. Increasingly, more individuals are engaged in “cyberstalking” by using the internet, chat rooms, message boards, and electronic tracking devices to harass their victims. Any form of stalking can be terrifying, no matter what the age of the victim, or whether the victim knows the stalker or not.

Education and safety planning is critical to the prevention and detection of this serious crime. OVW is committed to keeping stalking victims safe and holding stalkers accountable for their deplorable actions---not just in January, but in every month of the year. Please display the posters, information, and websites on items that you may use during January. I thank you for partnering with OVW to advance the awareness of the impact of stalking and its tolls on victims, families, and communities.


In recognition of National Stalking Awareness Month, the Office for Victims of Crime, in conjunction with the Office on Violence Against Women, hosted a Web Forum Guest Host Session on best practices for serving intimate partner stalking victims. The discussion with Guest Host Michelle Garcia, Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) Stalking Resource Center, took place on January 9, 2008, at 2 p.m. ET.

Click here to see the transcript (scroll down to "Intimate Partner Stalking").


OVW and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) invite you to add your stalking awareness-related events to the National Calendar of Crime Victim Assistance-Related Events.  The OVC National Calendar of Events helps you locate, plan, and promote victim assistance-related events nationwide.  Visit the National Calendar of Events for instructions on how to add your event.

RESOURCES

Stalking Resource Center
Stalking Awareness Month Poster
www.enditnow.gov
OVW Stalking Resources




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