Dear Colleagues and Friends,
This is a bittersweet moment for me as I write to say thank you and goodbye. I have been so honored to work with all of you for nearly six years at the Office on Violence Against Women. I have had the great fortune to travel around the country and see, first-hand, the amazing work happening in communities, large and small, to prevent and respond to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. From meetings and conversations with many of you, we identified key gaps and priorities, focused on them, and saw them became primary issues for OVW – issues such as:
- improving our response to sexual assault, including law enforcement, prosecution and victim services;
- finding strategies to reduce domestic violence-related homicides, including addressing the impact of firearms;
- expanding access to culturally-specific services for those who are most impacted by sexual and domestic violence, but who are often least likely to have access to services that meet their needs (including American Indian and Alaska Native communities, communities of color, immigrant communities, LGBT communities, people with disabilities, the Deaf community, youth and those in later life, incarcerated individuals and those recently released from incarceration); and
- building an evidence-base for our work that evaluates programs and models that meet the diverse needs of victims, especially communities most impacted by sexual and domestic violence and most neglected by the field’s current body of research.
I hope you have a chance to read through, Accomplishments of the Office on Violence Against Women, which outlines key achievements we have produced together during this Administration. We all should be so proud of our work together. I know I am. And, we could not have done it without all of us working together – advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, health care providers, those in government and those working with non-profit organizations. All of us are in this together. And, of course, we have not put an end to sexual assault and domestic violence. The work continues, and the work remains critical.
As I return to New York City, I know that I will continue this work and remain part of this inspiring community of people committed to ending domestic and sexual violence.
Ever in gratitude,