April 2010 Message from OVW Acting Director Catherine
As you probably know, the Senate confirmed President Obama’s
nomination of Judge Susan B. Carbon as Director of the Office
on Violence Against Women on February 11, 2010. Please
join us in warmly welcoming her to the Department of Justice,
as she officially assumes her duties tomorrow, April 2, 2010. You
can read Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement on
her confirmation here.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
OVW is proud to commemorate April as Sexual Assault Awareness
Month alongside advocates throughout the country who are
transforming lives. We know the Department cannot do
this work alone, and we stand committed to those who are
doing this critical work every day.
The numbers tell a story we cannot ignore. According to the
Bureau of Justice Statistics, in the United States, individuals
age 12 or older experienced an estimated 222,000 rapes or
sexual assaults in 2008. Research indicates that, over
the course of their lifetimes, 18 percent of women in this
country are raped.
During this month, we take strength and inspiration from
the work of advocates around the country who serve as a bridge
to recovery and encourage survivors of sexual violence to
raise their voices. The strength and the belief you
have in survivors of sexual violence, is much of what makes
the work we do at OVW worthwhile – and I am proud to
say that we are committed to standing with you and supporting
you in your efforts, locally and nationally - and to refocusing
our own efforts to address sexual assault more effectively. Ending
sexual violence is and will remain a priority for the Office
on Violence Against Women, the Department of Justice and
for the entire Administration.
The Attorney General’s Children
Exposed to Violence Demonstration Program
The Department of Justice announced yesterday more than $5
million in available funds to address the high incidence
of American children’s exposure to violence. The Department
has made these funds available through six grant solicitations
targeting planning, outreach, research, and best practices. This
announcement includes the Attorney
General's Children Exposed to Violence Demonstration Program and
is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing commitment
to provide leadership and federal assistance to reduce the
incidence and impact of children’s exposure to violence
across the country. Solicitations and funding opportunities
can be found here: http://www.ojp.gov/funding/solicitations.htm. Read
Fiscal Year 2009 Grantees
We are pleased to announce that the list of Fiscal Year 2009
grantees is now available on OVW’s our website,
sorted by OVW
program and state
or territory. In Fiscal Year 2009 OVW made
1,058 awards totaling more than $611 million! OVW welcomes
our new grantees and looks forward to working with you on
your projects in the coming years.
As we prepare to welcome Judge Carbon, I would like to express
what a privilege it has been to serve as the Acting Director
of OVW these past 15 months. I will be returning to
projects and programs that have for so long been at the heart
of our work. I want to thank our extremely dedicated
and talented staff for their hard work and for ensuring that
hundreds of grantees in the field receive the programmatic,
financial and administrative support from OVW they need to
succeed and drive change. I am most grateful to survivors,
advocates, and the criminal justice community who have taught
us the direction we need to go. We are, every one of
us, partners in our daily efforts to end violence against
women, girls, and all whose lives have been forever changed
by sexual and domestic violence. There is still so
much to be done.
December 2009 Message from OVW Acting Director Catherine
Seasons greetings from the Office on Violence Against Women! As
the end of this decade nears, we pause to reflect on what
we have accomplished and the work we still have to do. An
important priority this year is including fathers—in
fact, all men and boys—as equal partners in our work
to end violence in our communities. The Department
is taking important steps to meet this goal.
Responsible Fathers, Healthy Communities
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder co-hosted a Fatherhood Town
Hall at Morehouse College in Atlanta to discuss the
importance of fatherhood and how the criminal justice
system can help support the successful re-entry of incarcerated
fathers back into the community. The Department
of Justice is committed to establishing a more stable
and supportive environment for those released, namely
by awarding $28 million under the Second Chance Act for
re-entry programs. For additional information about
the intersection of domestic violence and prisoner re-entry,
visit the SafeReturn
Re-Entry Technical Assistance Project, funded by OVW
and launched in cooperation with the Institute
on Domestic Violence in the African-American Community. Read
more about the Attorney General’s Fatherhood Town
January is Stalking Awareness Month
The first month of 2010 is Stalking Awareness Month, and
once again, OVW is proud to fund the Stalking
Resource Center and the Stalking
Awareness Month Resources website, in cooperation with National
Center for Victims of Crime. Stalking can
be defined as a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention,
harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed
at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person
to feel fear. The 2008
Stalking Victimization Report found that, during a 12
month period, an estimated 3.4 million persons age 18 or
older were victims of stalking. Nearly 75 percent
of victims knew their offender in some capacity. Stalking
victims most often identified the stalker as a former intimate
partner (22 percent) or a friend, roommate, or neighbor (16
percent). The report confirmed what we knew to be
true: domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault,
and stalking crimes are not isolated from each other, but
happen as part of a continuum in many victims’ lives. I
encourage all of you to join OVW in raising awareness in
your community and focusing attention on this serious and
Fiscal Year 2010 Solicitations for Proposals
OVW has started to announce Fiscal Year 2010 solicitations
for program proposals through spring of 2010. These
will be regularly posted on OVW’s website: http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/open-solicitations.htm. We
encourage you to review carefully the Information
for Applicants page which includes the OVW
Grant Program Reference Guide and important resources
which will help you prepare your application proposals.
As 2009 draws to a close, I want to acknowledge the remarkable
support from our President, Vice President, Attorney General
Eric Holder, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, and Associate
Attorney General Tom Perrelli, remarkable men who stand strongly
with us and behind us every day. We are thankful for
the nation’s investment in protecting the most victimized
through the Recovery Act. We are thankful to live in
a nation where protecting women and girls from brutality
and abuse continues to be a national priority because of
fifteen years of the Violence Against Women Act. And
I am thankful to all of you for your continued partnership
and for doing the important work that reflects the most compassionate
qualities of humanity. From all of us at the Office
on Violence Against Women, we wish you a wonderful holiday
season and an even brighter new year.
November 2009 Message OVW Acting Director Catherine Pierce
Congratulations on another successful Domestic Violence Awareness
Month! I enjoyed hearing about the many exciting events that
took place around the country. On October 19, the Department
of Justice commemorated the month to honor the work of advocates
and communities around the country who protect and serve
survivors. Attorney General Eric Holder, Deputy Attorney
General David Ogden, and Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli,
and I were joined by representatives from organizations that
work to end domestic violence and survivors and advocates
who generously shared their stories. You can view videos
from the event on the new Department of Justice Blog: http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/category/ovaw.
December 3: It’s Time to Talk!
Fifteen years after the Violence Against Women Act was enacted,
much has been accomplished, but the work is far from finished.
On December 3, Liz Claiborne, Inc. will sponsor It’s Time
to Talk Day, dedicated to ensuring that Americans speak up
about domestic, sexual and teen dating violence and to spark
a national conversation about violence against women and
teen dating abuse. The Department of Justice will also dedicate
this day to talk about ways to end the violence against women
and girls that pervades every community in America. We
encourage you to stand with us on December 3 because it’s
time to talk to our colleagues, friends, and our family. Please
let us know if you are planning any events in your community
on this day and we will highlight them on our website. OVW
developed a toolkit of resources for the 15th Anniversary
of the Violence Against Women Act and the official It’s
Time to Talk website has additional information.
Fiscal Year 2010 Solicitations
I know many of you will be interested to learn that OVW will
release solicitations for proposals for Fiscal Year 2010
grant programs beginning mid-December. All solicitations
will be posted on OVW’s website: http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/open-solicitations.htm.
You may subscribe to instant updates on new solicitations
by signing up for the EGov Delivery Option: http://www.justice.gov/govdelivery/subscribe.html?topic_id=USDOJ_59.
We also encourage everyone to review carefully “Information
for Applicants” in each solicitation which includes
the first-ever OVW
Grant Program Reference Guide. This important resource
includes eligibility requirements for all OVW programs,
solicitation timelines, budget caps and project periods,
information about how to apply, required application content,
grant writing tips, sample budgets, and much more! Please
review the guidebook carefully and thoroughly as you prepare
for the 2010 application process.
As 2009 comes to a close and the holidays approach, I want
to give thanks to everyone in the field for your efforts
every day on behalf of survivors. It is a joy to do this
work with devoted men and women committed to changing the
status quo. In looking forward to December 3rd and 2010,
we will continue our efforts until we see a day where men,
women, and children are considered sacred in a world without
Happy Thanksgiving and, again, with gratitude,
October 2009 Message OVW Acting Director Catherine Pierce
On behalf of the Office on Violence Against Women, I offer
my deepest condolences to residents of American Samoa and
surrounding areas who have been impacted by the recent tsunami.
As you know, OVW works with a number of organizations on
the island and we are monitoring the situation and the safety
of our partners.
OVW Director Nominated
Last week, President Barack Obama announced his intent to
nominate Judge Susan B. Carbon to be the next Director of
OVW. Susan Carbon, first appointed to the bench in 1991,
has been a Supervisory Judge of the New Hampshire Judicial
Branch Family Division since 1996. Judge Carbon has made
many contributions to our collective work, including serving
as faculty for the National Judicial Institute on Domestic
Violence. You may view the White House announcement here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/President-Obama-Announces-More-Key-Administration-Posts-10/01/09/.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The Department of Justice and the Office on Violence Against
Women join victim service providers, law enforcement, the
judiciary, prosecutors and survivors around the country to
observe October 2009 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
We must recognize that we can all be agents of social change
and end the tragedy of violence against women.
President Barack Obama made the official
announcement in a proclamation:
During this month, we rededicate ourselves to breaking
the cycle of violence. By providing young people with
education about healthy relationships, and by changing
attitudes that support violence, we recognize that
domestic violence can be prevented. We must build the
capacity of our Nation's victim service providers to
reach and serve those in need. We urge community leaders
to raise awareness and bring attention to this quiet
crisis. Together, we must ensure that, in America,
no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone.
While we have witnessed significant progress since the Violence
Against Women Act was signed into law fifteen years ago,
we must raise the bar and create a lasting shift in the way
our country perceives and responds to violence against women
and girls and to violence against children. As President
Obama states, “Together, we must ensure that, in America,
no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone. “ Therefore,
we, as agents of social change, must elevate the conversation
so that Americans understand that violence against women
and girls is unacceptable in our homes, schools, and communities – stretching
as far north as our Native Alaska villages and as far west
as the American Samoa territory.
Violence against women is the seed to so many other forms
of violence. This shift must happen because violence against
women continues to have devastating effects on entire communities.
When children witness violence in the home, those children
are impacted by what they have seen and often experienced
themselves. Therefore, all members of the community must
be engaged to end the violence. Parents, grandparents, siblings,
co-workers, coaches, mentors, teachers, religious leaders,
must all be involved.
We are pleased to share with you new statistical studies
released by the Department. The Bureau of Justice Statistics
(BJS) released a publication on Female
Victims of Violence, which provides the current findings
on nonfatal and fatal violent crimes committed against females.
Second, the Crimes
Against People with Disabilities is the first national
study that presents findings about nonfatal violent and property
crime experienced by persons with disabilities.
In partnership with the National Institute for Justice, OVW
is proud to sponsor a an important presentation on the latest
research on protective orders, with experts Dr. TK Logan
and Teri Faragher from the Kentucky Civil Protective Order
Study. If you will be in the Washington, DC-area, please
join us for the presentation at 801 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW, Washington, DC on Thursday, October 22 from 1
PM to 2:30 PM. Please RSVP to Tosha
Preston by Friday, October 16. Reservations will
be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis as space
Additional information can be found on OVW’s website: http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/events-meetings.htm.
Best wishes for a successful month of Domestic Violence Awareness
Month activities! The 2009
OVW poster is available for download to use for events.
Thank you for all that you do to change our conversations
to prevent violence against women, one community at a time.
June 2009 Message OVW Acting Director Catherine Pierce
Today, OVW proudly joins international organizations and
countries around the world to recognize June 15, 2009 as
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. By 2030, the number of Americans
aged 65 and older will more than double to 71 million older
Americans, comprising roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population.
Unfortunately, as the number of older Americans increases,
so does the number of potential victims of elder abuse.
Individuals 50 years of age or older who are victims of elder
abuse, neglect, and exploitation, including sexual assault,
domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, face unique
barriers in receiving assistance. OVW's Enhanced
Training and Services to End Violence Against and Abuse of
Women in Later in Life Program funds projects providing
a comprehensive approach to addressing elder abuse. The Abuse
of Women in Later in Life Program currently funds grantees
in 26 communities across the nation where police, prosecutors,
the judiciary, victim- service organizations, governmental
agencies, and organizations serving older victims are working
together to create or support multidisciplinary collaborative
community responses for older victims. Please visit OVW's
website for additional information on how you can raise
public awareness about confronting elder abuse in your community.
Last month, OVW awarded the first round of Recovery
Act awards to States and state coalitions to support
comprehensive strategies addressing sexual assault, domestic
violence, dating violence, and stalking. These awards
not only support coordination among state agencies and
victim service organizations, but offer an opportunity
for our field victim services agencies to be part of our
nation's economic recovery.
Please visit your state's STOP Administering agency for information
on how your state plans to award ARRA STOP funds. A complete
list of state contacts can be found on OVW's website: http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/stop-contactlist.htm.
Sharing his vision for safe and healthy families, Attorney
General Eric Holder recently addressed participants
at the OVW-sponsored National
Summit on the Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child
Maltreatment via video message. The Attorney
General emphasized the "importance of healthy relationships
and that all of us need to be role models and mentors
for our children so that they have the best chance of
living in communities and families free from violence." OVW
continues to make ending the cycle of violence a priority
in our programmatic and policy work, and we wish to extend
our gratitude to all participants for making the conference
an enormous success!
Last week, The Honorable Patrick Leahy convened the Senate
Committee on the Judiciary to hold a hearing on "The Continued
Importance of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)." Senators,
survivors, advocates, and victims' families testified on
the effects of change in the way communities around the country
respond to violence against women, as a direct result of
VAWA funding. Additional information from the committee hearing
is available on the Senate Judiciary Committee's website.
I continue to be inspired by your work and am grateful to
those of you who have devoted your lives to preventing and
ending violence against women. We know none of this would
be possible without your continued commitment and dedication.
We thank you for working with us and each other. The Attorney
General, and our President stand with you.
Office on Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice
Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2009 Message
Barack Obama has proclaimed April 2009 as National Sexual
Assault Awareness Month. We are proud to announce
this historic and unprecedented proclamation, and we are
inspired by what President Obama has asked of us:
I urge all Americans to respond to sexual assault
by creating policies at work and school, by engaging in
discussions with family and friends, and by making the
prevention of sexual assault a priority in their communities.
Sexual violence is a harsh reality in every corner of the
globe, including the United States. It is a serious problem
in the workplace, on college campuses, in our communities,
and sadly, in some of our families. The Office on Violence
Against Women (OVW) joins victim advocates, prosecutors,
law enforcement officers, sexual assault forensic examiners,
and all those serving survivors in recognizing April
as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
According to the Bureau
of Justice Statistics, National
Crime Victimization Survey, over 255,000 sexual assaults
and rapes occurred or were attempted in 2006 in this country
alone. Sexual violence continues to be a significant crime
against women, and every threat of sexual assault or brutal
act of rape is one too many.
Ending sexual violence is a priority for OVW, and we assure
you we will continue to strengthen our efforts to confront
this terrible crime. Through our collective efforts and dedication
we can end the trauma sexual violence victims experience
in the aftermath of assault. Together, we can let it be known
that there is no excuse for sexual violence, including the
sexual exploitation of women and girls.
In 2009, we launched the Sexual
Assault Services Program (SASP) authorized by the Violence
Against Women Act of 2005. This Fiscal Year OVW will
award $21 million to the Sexual
Assault Services Formula Grant Program; and four additional
SASP discretionary programs for culturally and linguistically
specific programs; State, tribal, and territorial sexual
assault coalitions; and tribal governments. Awards will
be made this summer to enhance services to sexual assault
In 2004 OVW released the National
Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations.
Recognizing the additional burdens facing victims of sexual
assault in Indian country, OVW is now working with Red
Wind Consulting to develop a new protocol specific to
Indian country. It is our hope that this will allow Indian
victims to receive a uniform, high-quality response in
cases of sexual assault.
In other important news, on March 11, 2009, President Obama signed
an Executive Order establishing the White House Council
on Women and Girls. The Council will provide a coordinated
federal response to the challenges confronted by women
and girls and will ensure that U.S. government agencies
consider how their policies and programs impact women
and families. One of the inaugural members of the Council,
Attorney General Eric Holder will meet regularly with
Council members to find new ways to prevent violence against
women, at home and abroad.
Also, OVW is proud to support the second national summit
on the intersection of child abuse and domestic violence, From
Inspiration to Innovation: Leadership, Partnership, and Change,
in Jackson Hole, Wyoming from June 2-4, 2009. The registration
deadline is extended to April 15. For details on the conference
as well as the registration application, please visit http://www.thegreenbook.info/summit/index.htm.
In closing, please join me, Attorney General Eric Holder,
and President Obama in recognizing the tireless efforts of
advocates and organizations working everyday to raise awareness
in communities throughout the world during Sexual Assault
Awareness Month. Your efforts continue to inspire and motivate
our work throughout the year and we are proud to stand with
you as partners.
Office on Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice
February 2009 Message from OVW Acting Director
It is my pleasure to continue the Director’s monthly
messages and share with you the latest news from the Office
on Violence Against Women. I am honored to have been
designated Acting Director by President Barack Obama.
This week we welcome Attorney
General Eric Holder. He has challenged every
one of us at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to “roll
up our sleeves” and “get down to work.” OVW
is very excited to have the opportunity to work closely
with new DOJ leadership and we will continue to be actively
involved with the field in both policy and program development. We
rely on you for feedback on improving our efforts to end
violence against women.
The U.S. Senate designated the week of February 2-6 as Teen
Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week. According
to the Center
for Disease Control's 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey,
approximately 10% of adolescents nationwide reported being
the victim of physical violence at the hands of an intimate
partner during the previous year. Under the Violence
Against Women Act of 2005, Congress directed OVW to
include teens in our intervention work, specifically through
three of our new programs: Services
to Advocate for and Respond to Youth, Children
and Youth Exposed to Violence, and Engaging
Men and Youth. Through collaborative
efforts, we can enhance understanding of healthy relationships,
help teens identify signs of abuse, and help them locate
services if they or someone they know is experiencing
a physically or emotionally abusive relationship.
This week, the Family
Violence Prevention Fund in partnership with OVW,
the AD Council,
and R/GA launched a national public service advertising
campaign to help teens recognize digital dating abuse
and its prevention. This web-based campaign is tailored
to teen interaction and communication with peers. Diverse
focus groups and additional research provided insight
on the forms of digital dating abuse through social networking
sites and mobile communication. We also learned
that technology is at the center of most teenagers’ lives,
regardless of class, sex, or race, and can be a tool to
abuse and control.
To address this problem, the four partners launched www.ThatsNotCool.com,
asking teens, “Where Do You Draw Your Digital Line?” to
define what is acceptable behavior and what is not. The
website provides interactive, web-based tools and resources
to prevent teen dating violence by promoting positive friendships
and relationships, raising awareness about the signs of abuse,
and most importantly, educating teens about “digital
gray areas.” A recent New
York Times article details the development of the campaign.
We urge you to visit www.ThatsNotCool.com and
we hope this website will aid in your community’s efforts
to reach out to teens and prevent teen dating violence.
Lastly, as we approach the 15th anniversary of the passage
of the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA), we would like your help in
creating a display of artwork, posters, graphics and photographs
that reflect the spirit of the VAWA as demonstrated by the
extraordinary work of our grantees and partners in the field. Please
send us items you have developed and we will exhibit a diverse
selection in OVW’s office space.
Please send submissions via FedEx or UPS (or another courier
service) and/or electronically to OVW.Outreach@usdoj.gov. There
is no need to rush shipping but please DO NOT send
items through the U.S. Postal Service as they will be damaged
by DOJ security screening. Send your submissions with
complete contact information to:
Office on Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice
800 K Street NW, Suite 920
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 307-6026
Attn: Linda Richardson
We look forward to your response!
I want to thank each of you for the work you do every day
to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence,
and stalking. Without your hard work and dedication, we never
would have come this far. But as you know, there is
much more work to do. As Attorney General Holder said
first message to DOJ employees, “Our task will
not be easy. Our days will be long and our challenges
will be great. But I know that because of your
professionalism, your integrity, and your hard work, we will
succeed in our vital mission.”
Together we can bring about the change we are dedicated to. I
wish you the best in your continuing endeavors.
Acting Director, Office on Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice
Message from OVW Acting Director Catherine Pierce on the
15th Anniversary of the VAWA
Fifteen years ago, we saw the result of the hard work of
dedicated advocates throughout the nation, when landmark
legislation, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), was signed
into law on September 13, 1994.
And today, President Barack Obama commemorated the 15th anniversary
of this historic law in a Presidential
“Far too many women in our communities and neighborhoods,
and across the world, continue to suffer from violence.
Inspired by the promise and achievement of the Violence
Against Women Act, our Nation stands united in its determination
to end these crimes and help those in need.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United
States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in
me by the Constitution and laws of the United States,
do hereby proclaim the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Violence
Against Women Act. I call upon men and women of all ages,
communities, organizations, and all levels of government,
to work in collaboration to end violence against women.”
Without a doubt, VAWA would never have happened without the
steadfast commitment and work of the countless advocates,
coalitions and community partners who worked tirelessly for
this landmark legislation, and without the dedication of
our Vice President, then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden, and U.S.
Senator Orrin Hatch.
The VAWA recognized the severity of domestic violence, sexual
assault and stalking and provided federal funding to help
communities in their efforts to address the needs of survivors
and hold offenders accountable. In marking this historic
moment, I encourage you to reflect on where we were before,
before the VAWA, and where we are now.
Thirty years ago, when a law enforcement officer responded
to domestic abuse, it was considered a “family matter.” Spousal
rape was not a crime. Many States did not have domestic violence
shelters, rape crisis centers, or hotlines.
Thirty years ago, programs for culturally and linguistically
specific groups were unheard of. Disabled women and women
in later in life were not thought to be vulnerable to abuse.
We had little understanding of the dynamics of teen relationships
and the potential for sexual assault and intimate partner
violence. We did not recognize the co-occurrence of child
maltreatment, and sexual and domestic violence nor did we
understand the devastating impact of early victimization
and exposure to violence.
But thirty years ago, a diverse group of advocates organized
to change the way our nation thought about and responded
to violence against women. It became safer for survivors
to talk to one another and speak about their struggles with
the justice system. Survivors and advocates talked to legislators,
educated policy makers, and changed the way our nation viewed
and responded to violence against women. They stressed the
necessity for treating domestic violence, sexual assault
and stalking as crimes, for federal legislation that would
support local efforts throughout the country, and vastly
change the way we as a nation responded to survivors and
It took another 15 years to enact the VAWA, but since then
countless lives have been saved, the voices of survivors
have been heard, and families have been protected. Practitioners
in the criminal justice system better understand the complex
responses needed to address domestic violence, sexual assault,
dating violence, and stalking.
Today we invite partners on the front lines of the movement —advocates,
law enforcement, prosecutors, the judiciary, and survivors—to
join us in commemorating, not only 15 years of the Violence
Against Women Act, but also the many years of partnership
that brings us to where we are today.
In recognition of the 15th anniversary of the VAWA, OVW announces
the beginning of a year-long effort to raise public awareness,
to build stronger coalitions among federal, state, local
and tribal communities, and to redouble our efforts to end
domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking
for men, women and children across the country.
I call upon all of you to continue to innovate and collaborate
with the same resolute spirit of the movement we witnessed
fifteen and thirty years ago. Together we will keep women
and girls safe, and find lasting community-based solutions
to end violence against women and girls.
You may view additional information about OVW’s plans to
commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against
Women Act on our website: www.ovw.usdoj.gov/vawa15.htm.
The Department of Justice and the Office on Violence Against
Women mark this anniversary with a renewed sense of dedication.
Please join us.
January 2009 Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer
January is National
Stalking Awareness Month and OVW, in partnership with
the National Center for
Victims of Crime, launched the 2009 campaign “Know
it. Name It. Stop It.” This resource assists
our partners in the field integrate stalking awareness
into prevention and outreach programs and rigorously confront
Today the Department of Justice, Bureau
of Justice Statistics released a supplemental report
to the National
Crime Victimization Survey focused on Stalking
Victimization in the United States. This report
is the most comprehensive study of stalking to date and
confirms what we in the field have long known—stalking
is pervasive, women are at higher risk of being stalked,
and there is a dangerous intersection between stalking
and more violent crimes.
The study found that during a 12-month period, an
estimated 3.4 million people (age 18 or older) were victims
of stalking. Surpassing previous estimates
of stalking, the study noted persons age 18 to
19 and 20 to 24 experienced the highest rates of stalking
The study further illustrates a dangerous reality that women
are at higher risk of stalking victimization. Females
experienced 20 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females
age 18 or older. The rate of stalking victimization
for males was approximately 7 per 1,000 males age 18 or older.
Seven in 10 victims sought help. Approximately
60% do not report victimization to the police. Most
enlisted the help of family or friends while only 7%
contacted victim services, a shelter, or helpline.
These findings delineate some clear priorities for all of
us, as law enforcement officers, prosecutors, advocates,
judges, or friends and colleagues. We must raise awareness
that stalking is a violent crime against women. Secondly,
in conjunction with our victim-centered approach, we can
integrate services to stalking victims in the same way we
serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. These
crimes are interrelated and stalking is often times a result
of intimate partner violence.
We encourage you to take advantage of the resources on the National
Stalking Awareness Month website, during Stalking
Awareness Month and throughout the year. Your communities
rely on you to provide information on services available,
and we encourage you to include the crime of stalking
in your mission statements and implement multidisciplinary
responses to stalking. By taking a firm stand against
stalking, we are closer to ending violence against women.
Director, Office on Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice
Farewell Message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer
This month marks the end of my tenure serving you as Director
of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence
Against Women (OVW). It has been an honor to lead this
office in raising awareness and providing national leadership
on issues related to stalking, domestic violence, sexual
assault, and dating violence.
My desire to reach out to you for input on improving our
country’s response to violence and abuse was rooted
in my experience as a specialized domestic violence and sexual
assault prosecutor. One year later, I am proud to report
on the progress of our top priorities.
Many of our partners noted a startling trend emerging all
over the country: battered women are losing custody of their
children to state protection authorities or to batterers. Last
summer I convened a roundtable of experts from around the
country to explore the intersection of custody and
domestic violence. I directed the office to
develop and explore ways to equip communities to assist victims
with custody disputes and prevent the negative consequences
of giving custody to abusers. OVW will continue
to provide updates on this initiative and policies as they
Last April I renewed OVW’s commitment to ending sexual
violence. As a result, OVW will launch the Sexual
Assault Services Program this spring. I am
also pleased to announce OVW will launch a Sexual
Assault Demonstration Initiative in partnership
with the National
Institute of Justice, the Iowa
Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the National
Sexual Violence Resource Center to enhance services for
victims of sexual assault through dual domestic violence/sexual
assault programs. This Initiative will provide a strong
foundational response and spur promising practices to end
Lastly, we worked to establish new relationships with partners
abroad and expand our mutual understanding of issues
facing women around the globe. The United
States recognized sexual violence in conflict zones as a
security concern, which was affirmed at the UN Security Council
Thematic Debate on Women, Peace, and Security last year. OVW
presented at the International Family Justice Center Conference
in England, showcased the work of our field partners at the
UN Crime Commission in a forum of over 40 countries, and
brought our experiences fighting violence against women to
women’s organizations in Benin. We created remarkable
connections across borders and oceans and look forward to
the day when women can live in a world free of violence.
Upon my departure, Deputy Director Catherine Pierce, a 15-year
OVW veteran, will assume responsibilities as Acting Director. I
place my full faith and confidence in her and OVW staff to
continue leading OVW and working with us to end violence
I have learned so much through my extensive travels and meetings
with grantees and site visits to the field and abroad. I
have seen first-hand how your work significantly impacts
the lives of women everyday.
I leave you with words of the great American leader, Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. whose memory and contribution to our
country will be celebrated in the coming days. He once
said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable...
Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice,
suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate
concern of dedicated individuals.”
I thank you, dedicated individuals, for your tireless effort
and for your passion to eradicate violence in the pursuit
of justice for all.
Director, Office on Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice