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WHY WE USE GENDERED LANGUAGE

When We Talk About Domestic Violence

The term “domestic violence” encompasses all forms of violence and abuse by a current or former intimate partner for the purpose of establishing and maintaining power and control.

Domestic violence can affect anyone, including people in later life, people with disabilities, and individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.

We often refer to victims as women to reflect national studies and PCADV service statistics that show the greatest number of victims are females, abused by men.

In no way is our language meant to ignore or minimize the fact that men also experience domestic violence at the hands of their female or same-sex partners. PCADV and our domestic violence programs offer services to male and female victims of domestic violence.

We often refer to domestic violence program advocates as women, again to reflect the majority of staff and volunteers at PCADV programs. It does not negate or dismiss the dedicated men who work at or volunteer with these programs.

These terms are used interchangeably to describe:

Domestic violence:

The person who is being abused:

The person who commits acts of domestic violence:

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trainer pointing to board

WEBINARS

Representing Clients Experiencing Trauma in Civil Protection Order Cases May 12, 2014

trauma in protection order cases

Host: National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit
Register Here

Date: Monday, May 12, 2014, Time: 2:00-3:30pm (EDT)
Audience: Attorneys, Advocates, Law Enforcement and Court Personnel

This webinar will provide information on how to tailor legal advocacy of clients who are experiencing trauma in order to:
-Provide assistance that accommodates their mental health needs.
-Make civil legal justice accessible.
-Obtain the best possible legal outcomes.

Discussion will include: The definition and effect of trauma on clients and how to counsel clients in a trauma-informed manner, as well as strategies that anticipate and account for trauma in court.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Credit for Attorneys: Please check with your state bar for CLE requirements and related fees. We will provide teleconference materials and an attendance certificate to those applying for CLE credit.

Registration Details: This webinar is open to OVW grantees and the general public. Registration will close on May 9, 2014.
Register HERE!

You will receive a confirmation email from emailservice@ilinc.com immediately after registering. If you don't receive the email, please check your spam/junk folder. You will receive a reminder containing the webinar and audio information the day before the event. Please keep both emails.

More information: NCPOFFC via email- type "Webinar" in the subject line.

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Request Training

Many professionals and businesses work with, employ, serve and help victims of domestic violence, whether they realize it or not.

We provide training for groups of allied professionals:

small or large groups, in-person or online -We offer a central place to arrange:

PCADV is eager to work with you to address your training needs. Please complete the information below so our staff can contact you. Please note that PCADV does not provide training to individuals. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or want training, please contact the domestic violence program in your area.

Do not use this form to request help if you are a victim of domestic violence or to send to a friend who may be in an abusive relationship. Clicking send for the form above sends an immediate email back to the sender. The abuser could see the email, and it may not be safe to let the abuser know that you or your friend is looking for help.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and need immediate assistance, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to be directly connected with a domestic violence program in your area.

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Training Opportunities

Training Topics

The Coalition provides training and technical assistance. Requested topics often are related to domestic violence and its impact on victims, children, families, and communities.

Other topics concern the intersections between domestic violence and larger systems in society. Changes in these systems can have a positive effect in broad sections of society over time.

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Training Calendar

PCADV training and Coalition events

You can search the PCADV calendar by date, training type, or audience. Click on the name of the training to view details for that event. Registration information is located on the training information page.

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PTI Logo Color

Scheduled Trainings

Information and education about domestic violence are key to our mission. We work to stop personal violence and change society to prevent violence against women.

Every day, coalition staff provides training and technical assistance on topics related to domestic violence. We tailor topics to the needs of the audiences - professional associations, Bar associations, STOP teams, law enforcement groups, judicial and medical conferences, private workplaces.

PCADV also works with our Coalition members - 60 local community-based programs - to maintain a trained and skilled network of domestic violence advocates and attorneys across Pennsylvania.

Request Training - we can customize our standard training packages or create a specialized training package for your needs.

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TERMS OF USE

Terms of Use

PCADV, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit Pennsylvania corporation, is supported by a number of federal, state and private funding sources. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed on this Website and in the publications and materials available on this Website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of PCADV’s funders.

The legal policies listed below govern the use of PCADV’s Website. Please be sure to read these policies carefully, including the disclaimers and limitations on liability, because your use of the site constitutes your understanding and acceptance of these terms of use for the site. Please note that we may change this policy at any time, and you are responsible for checking these terms periodically for changes. These policies apply only to the PCADV site; therefore, once you link to another site, you are subject to the policies of the new site.

Use of Materials & Copyright

PCADV holds the copyrights to the publications, Web pages, and other content on this site, but encourages limited duplication of these materials for noncommercial purposes, provided that any copies retain the original copyright notices. Proper citation to PCADV as the source of the information is required, as appropriate. Modification of the content is prohibited, however, and you may not republish PCADV's publications or Web pages, post them on servers, or redistribute them to lists, without the prior permission of PCADV.

To request permission to publish, please contact the webmaster.
webmaster@pcadv.org

Copyright for materials not owned by PCADV must be honored and permission be obtained from the owner of such materials.

Limitation of Liability and Disclaimer

While PCADV strives to make the information on this Website as timely and accurate as possible, PCADV makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or adequacy of the contents of this site, and expressly disclaims liability for errors and omissions in the contents of this site or any loss or damages resulting from the use of, or inability to use, this Website, regardless of the basis upon which liability has been claimed, even if PCADV has been advised of the possibility of such loss or damages. NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, IMPLIED, EXPRESSED, OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF NON-INFRINGEMENT OF THIRD PARTY RIGHTS, TITLE, MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR FREEDOM FROM COMPUTER VIRUS, IS GIVEN WITH RESPECT TO THE CONTENTS OF THIS WEBSITE OR ITS LINKS TO OTHER INTERNET RESOURCES.

No Legal Advice

The information appearing on this Website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice to any individual or entity. We urge you to consult with your own legal advisor before taking any action based on information appearing on this site or any site to which it may be linked.

No Endorsements

Reference in this site to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by PCADV.

Links to Third Party Websites

The information posted on the PCADV Website includes hypertext links or pointers to information created and maintained by other public and/or private organizations. PCADV provides these links and pointers solely for your information and convenience. When you select a link to an outside Website, you are subject to the privacy, copyright, security, and information quality policies of that Website.

If you find a link that does not work please e-mail the PCADV Webmaster at webmaster@pcadv.org.

PCADV:


Links from Third Party Websites

Links to the PCADV Website are permitted, preferably to its home page. The fact that a Website links to the PCADV site does not indicate that PCADV has any responsibility for the content of that site, nor does it constitute an endorsement of that site by PCADV. Upon entering the PCADV Website, the user agrees to all of the Terms of Use contained herein.

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PCADV Site Map

Site Map

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Search Results

Public Policy Policy Positions /Public-Policy/Policy-Positions/Default.asp
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Policy Positions

Public Policy Policy Agenda Public Utilities /Public-Policy/Policy-Agenda/Public-Utilities/Default.asp
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Public Utilities

PUBLIC UTILITIES

PROBLEM

The issue of public utilities is a both an economic justice issue (in that utilities are a significant expense victims face in enduring and escaping abuse) and a privacy and hence safety concern (in that utility companies disclose home addresses, which may reveal a victim’s location and allow her abuser to track her down).

In the last days of the legislative session ending 2004, a harmful bill called the Responsible Utility Consumer Protection Act passed the legislature and became Act 201 of 2004. Instead of providing consumers with protections as the title claims, the Act eliminated winter termination protections, denied consumers access to utility services, eliminated 48-hour termination of service notices, and restricted the flexibility of payment agreements. PCADV participated with a coalition of dozens of groups that opposed the bill. At the end of the session, compromise legislation was amended into the bill, which exempts
domestic violence victims with a valid protection order from all of the provisions of the bill.

On the privacy front, utility deregulation has led to widespread marketing changes among the electricity generation and distribution industries, which results in widespread dissemination of customer addresses and other personal information, putting victims’ safety in jeopardy by allowing abusers to easily track them down.

PROGRESS


2012 ACTION STEPS ON PUBLIC UTILITIES

Public Policy Policy Agenda Opposition To Marriage Protection Amendment /Public-Policy/Policy-Agenda/Opposition-To-Marriage-Protection-Amendment/Default.asp
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Opposition to Marriage Protection Amendment

OPPOSITION TO THE “MARRIAGE PROTECTION AMENDMENT” PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO BAN SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

PROBLEM

The “Marriage Protection Amendment” would amend the PA Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, and other legal recognition or benefits to same-sex partners. A similar provision enacted in Ohio resulted in the denial of domestic violence protections for unmarried couples. In 2006, the PCADV Board voted both to oppose the “Marriage Protection Amendment” and any other legislation that would support only one man and one woman as a recognizable marriage in PA. PCADV joined the Value All Families Coalition to coordinate our opposition efforts with allied groups.

In February 2008, the Marriage Protection Act was again introduced, again bringing with it the unintended consequence of jeopardizing the safety of unmarried PFA plaintiffs, as well as its intended consequence of discriminating against LGBT persons.

PROGRESS

PCADV lobbied aggressively each time the same-sex marriage ban bill advanced, alerting legislators to the dangers the bill posed to the PFA Act’s protections for unmarried victims, as well as our opposition to continued discrimination against LGBT persons. Our lobbying, in conjunction with that of other groups, helped turn the tide in the momentum of the bill and the bill has not passed, nor is there much will among legislators to renew the issue again.

2012 ACTION STEPS ON THE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BAN

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Immigration

IMMIGRATION

PROBLEM

Immigration is a hotly contested political issue, and there is great momentum to enact laws that restrict, punish, and marginalize immigrants, including battered immigrant women and their children. Specifically here in Pennsylvania, there is a swelling movement within the state legislature to penalize immigrants by restricting access to public benefits, mandating reporting of immigration status by local law enforcement and other agencies, requiring proof of immigration status as a condition of a host of privileges and assistance programs, and more. Commonly, the effect of these anti-immigrant efforts is to deter battered immigrant women from reaching out for help—from police, from domestic violence programs, from economic assistance, etc.—when they desperately need it.

PROGRESS

The domestic violence movement has been a crucial advocate for reform in immigration law that protects battered immigrant women and their children. From the creation of the Battered Spouse Waiver, to the VAWA Self-Petition, to the T, U, and V visas, our movement has been at the forefront of immigration reform discussions to ensure such reforms include protections for battered immigrants. Now more than ever, the battered women’s movement in PA and nationally is called upon to act in defense of victimized immigrants whose safety and autonomy are jeopardized by punitive legislative proposals—and has in fact responded. In particular, PCADV has zealously opposed a long-standing measure to restrict access to public benefits by requiring government issued identification as a precondition of receipt (SB 9, the “Protection of Public Benefits Act”), and ultimately secured an amendment to the bill that provides an exception to the ID requirement for domestic violence victims.

2012 ACTION STEPS ON IMMIGRATION

Public Policy Policy Agenda Housing /Public-Policy/Policy-Agenda/Housing/Default.asp
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Housing

HOUSING: TRANSITIONAL AND PERMANENT HOUSINS

PROBLEM

Access to housing is critical for battered women trying to obtain safety, autonomy, and independence. It is the basic foundation upon which battered women escape abuse. At the same time, domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness and a frequent cause of eviction for victims who rent their homes. Battered women with additional barriers such as a lack of transportation, immigration status, or lack of child care, or those who have substance abuse and/or mental health issues, are unable to access and/or maintain the limited housing that does exist. Battered women are too often caught in no-win situation: without housing resources, battered women are forced to remain in abusive homes—yet are also being evicted or otherwise penalized by housing providers as a result of the abusers’ conduct.

Domestic violence programs also face a host of challenges when trying to meet victims’ housing needs. The greatest barrier to developing transitional housing is a lack of funding. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) continues to prioritize “permanent” housing above the dire need for more emergency and transitional housing, creating policies and practices that pose further challenges to meeting the need for safe and affordable short-term housing options for battered women.

PROGRESS


2012 ACTION STEPS ON HOUSING

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Homicide Prevention

HOMICIDE PREVENTION: FATALITY REVIEW

PROBLEM

In the decade between January 2001 and December 2010, at least 1,532 people in Pennsylvania died as a result of domestic violence—mostly abused women but also children, law enforcement officers, friends, coworkers, passersby, and perpetrators who killed themselves. Such fatal incidents of domestic violence occur throughout all areas of our state, in rural, urban and suburban communities, and underscore the lethal consequences of abuse.

Since Fatality Review was made a policy priority in 2003, much has been achieved. However, there are only seven fatality review teams in existence, with little to no consistency in their practices or data collection. While domestic violence programs may be interested in forming fatality review teams, they may be reluctant to take on additional commitments given the increasingly dire funding situation and consequent staff shortages. To address the need for more review teams, and materials to aid those review teams, more resources are needed.

PROGRESS

PCADV convened a Planning Group in 2004 to research and strategize around the best means of bringing the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project to fruition and what the Project’s objectives would be. PCADV assembled a state-level Domestic Violence Fatality Review Advisory Group, including representatives from an array of systems and offices, which began meeting in 2004.

In addition, PCADV and the Advisory Group drafted model legislation enabling fatality review teams access to records concerning the fatal incident while maintaining the confidentiality of identifying information. This legislation, the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Act, would also create a statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project, and provides that PCADV will serve as the sole administrator of the Project. The legislation has been introduced in two consecutive legislative sessions but has not yet passed, due in great part to the absence of a state agency to serve as a partner with PCADV in the project.

PCADV has made significant strides toward its goal of providing technical assistance on the creation of county-based fatality review teams.


2012 ACTION STEPS ON FATALITY REVIEW

HOMICIDE PREVENTION: FIREARMS ADVOCACY

PROBLEM

The gun industry’s lobby is incredibly powerful in Pennsylvania, and consequently the Pennsylvania General Assembly is loathe to enact any legislation regulating individuals’ use and ownership of firearms. Moreover, many Pennsylvania counties neither enforce the federal Brady Law nor adequately participate in
NICS. At the same time, between one half and two-thirds of all domestic violence homicide victims are killed by perpetrators using firearms. Nonetheless, several bills have advanced that propose to expand access to and use of firearms, including a bill to expand the “castle doctrine” and a bill to provide for
expedited emergency concealed carry permits to PFA plaintiffs. Despite our efforts, the emergency concealed carry permits bill was enacted in 2008 with only a partial victory for us: the removal of all language referring to PFA orders or domestic violence. As for the castle doctrine expansion bill, it, too, was enacted in 2011 despite our zealous opposition to it, with the partial victory for us in that we successfully fended off inclusion of PFA orders in the proposal.

PROGRESS

After a decade of advocacy, in 2005 the PFA Amendments Act was finally passed, authorizing judges to order PFA defendants to relinquish all or some of their firearms, even absent the use of particular firearms against the victim. Additionally, we were able to remove inclusion of the PFA Act and/or domestic violence
in both the emergency concealed carry license bill and the castle doctrine expansion bill.

In addition to the legislative accomplishments contained in the PFA Amendments Act, PCADV has:


2012 ACTION STEPS ON FIREARMS
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Access to Full Range of Health Care

ACCESS TO FULL RANGE OF HEALTH CARE OPTIONS, INCLUDING REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE

PROBLEM

The core belief of our advocacy is the entitlement of women to make choices about their own lives free from violence, abuse, and coercion. This core value extends not only to individual acts that infringe on women’s autonomy but also to institutional oppression that impedes women’s self-determination. Laws that aim to restrict access to women’s full range of health care options—reproductive health care including abortion, in particular—are antithetical to women’s autonomy, and as such PCADV opposes them.

Pennsylvania has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. The 1989 Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act(upheld by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey) was one of the first comprehensive sets of abortion restrictions in the country, and began a nearly twenty-year trend of slowly chipping away at a woman’s right to choose through what seem like small restrictions, but add up to a significant burden on women seeking abortion. Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act includes the following restrictions:

In recent years the Pennsylvania legislature has taken up a slew of bills intended to restrict both the individual fundamental right to reproductive choice, and the provision of abortion and contraception services by providers. In the 2011-2012 legislative session alone, the following bills have been introduced:

PROGRESS

PCADV recognizes its role as one of the largest statewide advocacy networks on behalf of women’s livesand our history as an organization with a strong, unequivocal pro-choice position. This legislative session, PCADV began participating more vocally in the opposition to proposed legislation that would curb access
to reproductive choice. We submitted letters and conducted lobby visits in partnership with Planned Parenthood to urge legislators to reject HB 1077—which was and remains tabled as of this writing.

2012 ACTION STEPS ON REPRODUCTIVE AND OTHER WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE ISSUES

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Funding

FUNDING FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES

PROBLEM

Domestic violence programs are experiencing a severe funding shortfall due to stagnant public funding and skyrocketing operating costs. Just a few years ago, on average programs received about half of their funding through the federal and state sources distributed through PCADV. Now, the level of state and federal funding has declined to below one third, leaving programs to raise two-thirds of their annual budgets at the local level. The consequence of this lack of funding has been that programs all across the state have cut staff, eliminated programs such as children’s advocacy and community education, created waiting lists for services, and otherwise reduced services to victims and communities.

Every year, in addition to our work on policy priority areas, PCADV devotes substantial time and resources to advocating for increased government funding at both the state and federal levels. Our lobbying efforts include annual campaigns to increase the state budget line item for domestic violence services and/or to fend off proposed cuts to this and other relevant budget line items. We also lobby each year for federal funding, including increased appropriations for VAWA, FVPSA, and VOCA.

Domestic violence programs in PA also receive revenue from a second source: the $10 marriage license surcharge. Because the existing $10 fee has never been raised since it was established in 1990, PCADV has pursued legislation to raise it from $10 to $35 per license, and to establish a parallel fee on divorce filings. That legislation almost passed in 2009 but the fees for domestic violence services were removed without debate at the very end of the legislative process.

PROGRESS


2012 ACTION STEPS ON FUNDING

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Economic Justice

ECONOMIC JUSTICE/WELFARE ADVOCACY

PROBLEM

Economic coercion and lack of financial resources are powerful deterrents to victims trying to break free of abusive relationships. Access to independent economic resources—including adequate employment, job training, child support, child care, affordable housing, and public assistance—is central to abused women’s decision-making and safety-planning. In nearly all studies that address the correlation between domestic violence and welfare, well over half of the women receiving public benefits reported that they had been physically abused by a male partner in their adult lives, and of those, between one quarter and one third were currently or recently abused. Research confirms what advocates know well from experience: domestic violence victims seek economic assistance as a bridge out of abusive relationships and toward safety and independence.

Legislation often arises that would reduce access to economic assistance, create additional barriers thereto, further stigmatize poverty through invasive regulations of recipients, or other methods that would impede domestic violence victims’ attainment of financial self-sufficiency. When such legislation arises, PCADV works with several allied organizations to coordinate advocacy both for positive legislative initiatives and in opposition to proposals that would harm domestic violence victims.

2012 ACTION STEPS ON ECONOMIC JUSTICE

In light of the current Administration’s aggressive campaign to restrict access to and reduce levels of economic assistance, PCADV will intensify our focus on advocacy to oppose legislative and regulatory developments that restrict access to economic assistance for domestic violence victims and/or endanger victims' safety, particularly:

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Children

CHILDREN: SERVICE TO TEENS

PROBLEM

Domestic violence among teenage dating partners has grown in both prevalence and awareness, yet the resources to serve these victims have not. Domestic violence prevention programs in school settings have resulted in an increase in disclosures of dating violence by teenage victims. At the same time, domestic violence programs face uncertainty around serving victims under age 18. Programs need clear guidance as to what services they can offer to teen victims particularly in the absence of parental consent.

PROGRESS


2012 ACTION STEPS ON TEEN DATING VIOLENCE

CHILDREN: CUSTODY

PROBLEM

Battered parents often lose custody of their children to the abusive parent, or are forced to endure ongoing abuse through court-ordered shared custody or visitation orders. Research shows that abusive parents are twice as likely to seek sole custody of their children than are abused parents--and they are successful about 70% of the time. Nonetheless, various groups of “fathers’ rights” activists have zealously lobbied for enactment of a presumptive joint custody bill that would give equal custody rights even to abusers.

Victims of domestic violence attempting to maneuver Pennsylvania’s custody process face an array of problems. There is an overall lack of consistency and uniformity in child custody proceedings across the Commonwealth, and the process is expensive and unnecessarily long, with many parents waiting years to be heard by a judge. Battered women frequently lack adequate legal counsel. Few supervised visitation centers exist in Pennsylvania and even fewer are safe for battered women and their children.

While custody reform legislation passed in 2010, the efficacy of Pennsylvania’s new custody law depends
on judges, custody evaluators, and others involved with custody proceedings effectively implementing the law. Informed decisions that that reflect the full range of children’s best interests, including protection from abusive parents, depend on judges’ knowledge of the harms to children caused by abuse, and the high risk of continued abuse via continued contact with abusive parents. And that knowledge depends on whether judges have been educated about domestic violence. However, Pennsylvania has no law requiring judges or other stakeholders in the custody process to receive education about domestic violence.

PROGRESS

After many years of work researching, drafting model custody legislation, educating stakeholders about the obstacles battered parents face in custody proceedings, and defending against harmful custody bills, in 2009 the PA legislature introduced HB 1639, a bill to completely overhaul PA’s faulty child custody statute. PCADV participated in the development of the bill throughout the process. The bill passed in late 2010 and became Act 112; it conclusively and deliberately omitted any presumption of joint custody, defeating the dangerous “fathers’ rights” groups efforts.

Act 112 includes many improvements designed to protect the safety of children put at risk by abusive parents, including requirements that courts:


2012 ACTION STEPS ON CUSTODY

CHILDREN: CHILDREN AND YOUTH SYSTEMS

PROBLEM

Many battered women and advocates lack a complete understanding of the Children and Youth System (CYS) and how it works, a problem confounded by the varying practices of each county. In addition, communication between CYS and domestic violence programs is often non-existent or ineffective. Battered parents are often not given clear direction as to the procedures of CYS or how they may seek alternatives within the system. Consequently, they are losing custody of their children due to charges of “failure to protect” and “child endangerment” because the children have witnessed domestic violence, and/or are being mandated to seek domestic violence “treatment” in order to regain custody of their children. In sum, battered women are being held accountable for the violence they have experienced rather than being given support and services to restore their lives and the lives of their children.

At the same time, grant funding for most of PCADV’s projects focusing on children has ended, and new challenges have emerged. Additionally, local programs’ capacity to do systems advocacy work within their local CYS offices has been curtailed by decreasing funding and its consequent staff layoffs of many children's advocates. Increasing funding for programs is critical to restoring and building programs' capacity to provide services and advocacy related to children.

PROGRESS


2012 ACTION STEPS ON CHILDREN AND YOUTH SYSTEMS

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Policy Agenda

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Pending Legislation

Pennsylvania Legislation

Senate Bill 20 & House Bill 726 -- Definition of "Child Abuse"

PCADV urges adoption of an amendment to exempt a protective parent from liability for failure to act if he or she reasonably believes that acting would exacerbate abuse of the child, other children in the home, or the protective parent. Read PCADV's Position and Analysis

Senate Bill 23 & House Bill 726 -- Definition of a "Perpetrator"

PCADV urges the General Assembly not to impose failure to act liability on children under the age of 18 and requests for an exemption for protective, non-abusive parents from the definition of "perpetrator" and "child abuse" in failure to act cases. Read PCADV's Position and Analysis

Senate Bill 30 & House Bill 433 -- Reviewing Indicated Reports for Inclusion on the Child Abuse Registry

PCADV requests further amendment to provide that an indicated report based on an alleged perpetrator's failure to act can only be included in the Registry when the failure to act is supported by clear and convincing evidence and the perpetrator has had an opportunity to appeal. Read PCADV's Position and Analysis

Senate Bill 22 & House Bill 436 -- Failure to Report, Prevention of/Interference with Reporting, or Concealment of Abuse

PCADV urges the General Assembly to amend the crimes of interference with (prevention of) reporting and concealment of abuse to only impose liability on a person or official required to report a case of suspected child abuse. Read PCADV's Position and Analysis

Senate Bill 21 -- Reporting Suspected Child Abuse

PCADV requests an amendment to exempt domestic violence and sexual assault counselors from reporting statutory sexual assault on the grounds that it will deter minors from seeking help. Read PCADV's Position and Analysis

Senate Bill 20 & Senate Bill 31 -- Founded Reports of Child Abuse and Protection from Abuse Orders

PCADV requests an expansion to the provision of founded reports to be "restricted visitation to include supervised custody." Read PCADV's Position and Analysis

Senate Bill 689 -- Protecting Victim Children from Being Abducted by an Abusive Parent

PCADV seeks two amendments to the proposed Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA) that will guard against manipulation by an abusive parent and minimize unintended consequences to domestic violence victims and their children. Read PCADV's Position and Analysis

House Bill 939 -- Utility Protections are Urgently Needed for All Victims of Domestic Violence

PCADV requests to expand the domestic violence exemption verification in Chapter 14 to include Protection from Abuse Orders, other court records, police reports or medical records. Read PCADV's Position and Analysis

House Bill 1796 -- Supporting Victims of Crime Faced with the Choice of Help or Homelessness

PCADV supports House Bill 1796 that would prohibit local nuisance ordinances from penalizing tenants for calling police to respond to domestic violence and other emergencies. Read the Letter of Support PCADV submitted to the House Local Government Committee

Federal Legislation

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) - Reauthorized for another 5 Years!

VAWA will be not only reauthorized through 2018 but STRENGTHENED by the crucial provisions contained in the Senate version of the bill that PCADV and our allies fought so hard for.

The House voted, on February 28, 2013, to reauthorize the Senate’s inclusive, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act. This version of VAWA is stronger and more effective than ever before – with added services and protections strengthening legal safeguards for LGBT victims, immigrants and college students, and giving Native American women equal access to justice.

PCADV says THANK YOU to everyone who made their voices heard with calls and emails to their legislators, and who made the commitment to ensuring that ALL victims are protected.

PCADV’s Goals – Funding for Victims

At the federal level, PCADV’s primary legislative goals are to:

Visit our Funding page for more information about these vital programs.

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Laws and Regulations

Federal Laws Pertaining to Domestic Violence

In simple terms, the job of the U.S. Congress is to enact laws and write regulations to say how federal agencies should implement the laws. Congress also has to appropriate funds to make sure there is money to do what the law requires. Without funding, domestic violence victims and their families may not get the services and protections they are entitled to.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act was first passed 1994, then reauthorized in 2000 and again in 2005. Highlights of this landmark legislation
The full text of each of these three versions of VAWA is available here:

VAWA includes dozens of grant programs that fund thousands of programs. These various programs and the amounts of funding for each are detailed in the NNEDV’s annual Briefing Book.

The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)

The 1984 Victims of Crime Act established the Crime Victims Fund, which is financed by fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders, not from tax dollars. For the first 15 years of the Fund’s existence, the total deposits for each fiscal year were distributed the following year to support services to crime victims.

Starting in 2000, in response to large fluctuations in deposits, Congress placed a cap on funds available for distribution. These annual caps were intended to maintain the Fund as a stable source of support for future victim services. The cap was set at $705 million for FY 2010.

The text of the federal statute for VOCA is available here:

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA)

FVPSA, first enacted in 1984, provides funding for core domestic violence services such as shelter and counseling. It is the only federal funding source dedicated solely to domestic violence services and programs. The text of FVPSA is available here:

Pennsylvania Laws Relevant to Domestic Violence

Address Confidentiality

The Address Confidentiality Program that provides a secret and confidential address for a victim to use. According to the ACP law, an applicant must be a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or a person who lives in the same household as the victim. The Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) manages this Program, but applicants must apply at a local domestic violence, rape crisis or victim-witness program. For more information about the ACP

Child Abuse

The Child Protective Services Law (23 Pa. C.S. § 6311) requires a person, who suspects – because of their work – that a child under their care or supervision is a victim of child abuse, to report that suspected abuse to state officials. A person working in a domestic violence program is required to make such a report and will not be breaking the victim’s confidentiality to do so. It is important that victims of domestic violence and domestic violence advocates understand the requirements of this law and what happens if they violate it. PCADV provides training and technical assistance for domestic violence advocates and others on the issue of mandated child abuse reporting. For more information or training on the requirements for reporting child abuse, please contact PCADV.

Crimes

Stalking

The Stalking Law, 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709.1, defines stalking as a serious crime in Pennsylvania. There are two basic elements to the crime:

For more information on Stalking, visit the Stalking page on this website.

Custody

Child Custody (23 PA C.S. §§5321 – 40)
Pennsylvania’s child custody law was amended in 2010 and still requires courts to make decisions based on the best interest of the child. The new law provides the court with a list of 16 factors to consider in making its decision. It directs the court to give weighted consideration to anything affecting the safety of the child, including the present and past abuse of each parent and members of the parents’ households. The law also provides strict guidance to any person who wishes to relocate to a new home with the child if that move would take away from the other parent’s ability to see the child. Failure to follow these guidelines and get the approval of the other parent or the court before moving could have negative consequences for the relocating party. The court is directed to consider the best interest of the child in making its decision to approve the request for relocation and must give weighted consideration to any fact that affects the safety of the child. While the new law makes the safety of the child a priority, it can be a difficult law to understand. For that reason, those involved in custody matters are encouraged to seek the advice of a lawyer or legal clinic so they can understand how the law might apply to their situations.

A User-Friendly Guide to Pennsylvania's New Child Custody Law compares the law before 2010 to the current law. The Custody page provides more information on custody related to domestic violence.

Jen and Dave’s Law (Act 119 of 1996)
Act 119 of 1996 established the nation’s first statewide, automated telephone system for providing criminal charge information for individuals involved in custody cases. The goal of the Jen & Dave Program is to protect Pennsylvania’s children by making it easier for parents to obtain criminal information about other people involved in their child custody case.

Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services

Grants for Domestic Violence & Rape Crisis Services
Senate Bill 71 of 1981 is the law that first authorized the Commonwealth to make grants for domestic violence and rape crisis services. The current version of the law is now part of the Administrative Code.

Marriage Fees
Marriage License Fees to Support Domestic Violence Services (House Bill 1983 of 1990) is the law passed in 1990 that authorized the $10 surcharge on marriage licenses that is dedicated to domestic violence services. While the full text of the Act no longer appears in Pennsylvania Statutes, this Act provides funds for domestic violence services from monies collected for marriage license fees.

Financial Assistance to Victims of Crime

The Pennsylvania Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) was established by Act 139 of 1976. The program helps victims and their families by paying for a variety of expenses, such as, medical and counseling expenses, loss of earnings, loss of support, stolen cash, relocation, funeral, or crime scene cleanup. A victim of crime can apply for this assistance with help from a victim advocate at a local Victim Service Program or by filing a claim online.

Health Care

Health Care Response Act
House Bill 2268 of 1998 provides for screening of patients for symptoms of domestic violence; established the Domestic Violence Health Care Response Program in the Department of Public Welfare; and provides for domestic violence medical advocacy projects to assist in implementation of domestic violence policies, procedures, health care worker training and hospital, health center and clinic response to domestic violence victims. The Act is codified in law as 35 P.S. § 7661 et seq. 2011.

Protection From Abuse

Protection From Abuse Act
23 Pa. C.S. Section 6101 et seq. or Act 66 of 2005 is the state law that provides for Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders to safeguard victims and their children from a family or household member who is abusing them. The law also provides for absolute confidentiality between a victim and a domestic violence counselor/advocate. For more information on the PFA Act, see the Protection From Abuse page.

Insurance Discrimination

Unfair Insurance Practices Act
40 P.S. §§ 1171.1-1171.14 Amendments to this Act in 1996 and 2006 prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage or benefits to victims of domestic violence for life, health, disability, homeowners and auto insurance.

Teen Dating Violence

Teen Dating Violence Education in Schools
School-age youths are experiencing violence in their dating relationships at alarming rates. In 2010 Pennsylvania’s legislature passed a law, 24 P.S. § 15-1553 (2011), that permits schools to adopt a policy that addresses incidents of dating violence at school and to provide training and education to high school guidance counselors, nurses and other staff as well as parents. Schools may also provide dating violence education to students in grades nine through twelve as part of the school health curriculum. PCADV can provide school personnel, parents and other interested people with training, technical assistance and resources about dating violence, developing a school policy, and research-based curricula, and how dating violence must be addressed in our schools, homes and communities.

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Funding

Every year, the need for and cost of services for domestic violence victims goes up. PCADV actively works for increases in funding to keep pace with these growing needs.

Federal Funding

Three Sources, Ever-Increasing Need

Domestic violence programs in Pennsylvania receive federal funding from primarily three sources:

PCADV is an active member of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), which is the leading national advocacy group working to increase federal funding for domestic violence services.

The federal appropriations process can be complicated, and action needs to be timely in order to be effective. To learn more about the budget and appropriations process, along with the timeline for action, see Overview of the Budget Process – State and Federal.

State Funding

24-Hour-a-Day Services

The costs of providing shelter, counseling, and advocacy for victims all across the state, 24 hours per day, is staggering. Beyond the usual costs of any business, domestic violence shelters also must pay for the expenses required of running a 24-hour residential facility, including food and clothing for victims and their children in shelter, heat and other utilities, and gasoline for transportation to court and medical appointments.

Programs all across the state report drastic cuts and consequences. For example:

Impact On Victim Safety

Cutting program staff directly affects victims:

Beyond providing essential intervention services directly to victims, programs also are responsible for guiding and coordinating their communities' response to domestic violence and initiating broad prevention initiatives. Lack of sufficient funding will result in lost opportunities to change attitudes, improve systemic responses, and prevent future abuse.

In sum, Pennsylvania's domestic violence programs are struggling to maintain operations and respond to requests for help from thousands victims and their children annually. Now, throughout the state, programs have had to lay off staff and cut back on community education and prevention efforts, have had to implement waiting lists for services, have had to bus victims to another program in another county because the shelter was full to capacity. Again, the situation is dire, and programs do not have the ability to sustain services without additional funding.

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Advocacy Tips

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Action Alert

No current action alerts are pending.

Check back for further opportunities to take action on behalf of domestic violence victims and programs in Pennsylvania.

For questions about a public policy related issues, please contact
Nicole Lindemyer, Esq., PCADV Policy Manager (nlindemyer@pcadv.org) or 800-932-4632 x205.

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Public Policy

Law and policy play an essential role in society’s response to domestic violence. Likewise, it is essential for those who care about ending domestic violence to let their lawmakers know their views and help improve the systemic response to domestic violence.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

PCADV works diligently to make sure that legislators understand the needs of domestic violence victims and the programs that serve them, and we encourage you to join us in our public policy work.

We invite you to contact our policy specialist, Abigail Hurst, at ahurst@pcadv.org to discuss domestic violence budget and policy matters. Please contact your legislators to let them know your views on public policy and funding decisions.

The policy issues that affect domestic violence victims and programs are very far-reaching—from criminal law, to economic justice, to public funding for shelters and programs. The PCADV Policy Agenda details our current policy priorities, which include three primary areas:
• Homicide Prevention
• Children
• Housing
as well as several other issues important to victims’ lives.

Because the need for funding affects all other aspects of domestic violence services, funding advocacy at both the state and federal level is a constant priority. We encourage you to talk with your legislators about how important it is to fund these life-saving services. To learn more about the budget process and how you can help shape funding decisions, please read Overview of the Budget Process – State and Federal

Contacting your legislators is a powerful way for you to be a part of the movement to end domestic violence. Your voice is crucial!

Speak Up About Domestic Violence.

By reaching out and making your views known to your legislators, you can help shape laws and get the funds necessary for victims to access the services they need.

Your voice is crucial!

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Press Releases

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield donates $5,000 to the Western Pennsylvania Giving Circle

GivingCircleOnly150x_img_03252014 Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield donates $5000 to the Western Pennsylvania Giving Circle

Executive Director Peg Dierkers thanked Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield for its generous support. The Giving Circle was developed by PCADV, its four Allegheny County domestic violence programs and the Pittsburgh Foundation. It will raise donations for new primary prevention programs in Allegheny County through the statewide NO MORE campaign that PCADV sponsors with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. Primary prevention raises awareness about the causes and the ways to prevent domestic violence from happening in the first place.

Urgent Need for Increased Funding for Domestic Violence Service Providers

A new research report looked at a random day - Sept. 17, 2013 - and collected information from 1,649 domestic violence programs throughout the United States from midnight to midnight on that day. The National Network to End Domestic Violence released the report, “Domestic Violence Counts 2013: A 24-hour Census of Domestic Violence Shelters and Services,” today.

In Pennsylvania, 2,424 victims received services in that 24-hour period, but 364 could not be helped because local programs in the commonwealth lacked sufficient resources.

Key findings in Pennsylvania during this 24-hour period were:


Read the full press release

PCADV and Allstate Foundation Expand Financial Independence Initiative for Domestic Violence Victims

This new grant from Allstate Foundation expands and enhances PCADV’s Investing in Survivors’ Financial Independence Initiative. The grant funds four pilot job readiness and training programs at Wise Options in Lycoming County, the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, AWARE in Mercer County and the Victims’ Intervention Program in Wayne County. "Financial instability ranks as the No. 1 reason why they stay with or return to their abuser,” said PCADV Executive Director Peg Dierkers. “Many victims endanger themselves so their children can have a home. By preparing victims for the workplace and teaching them budgeting and financial planning skills, this initiative gives them the tools they need to start new lives free from abuse.”

PCADV, PCAR set Nov. 24 as #pasaysnomore Day To Speak Against Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 14, 2013 – The state’s leading organizations providing assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault today ask all Pennsylvanians to participate in a social media event to raise awareness and reduce domestic and sexual assaults in the commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape urge Pennsylvanians to post the message “NO MORE,’’ accompanied with the hashtag #pasaysnomore, to their Twitter accounts Nov. 24.

PCADV Urges Philly-area Males to ManUp Against Domestic Violence at Oct. 19 Love Park Program

(Oct. 11, 2013) The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the nation’s oldest statewide domestic violence coalition, is urging southeastern Pennsylvania men to show their support for reducing domestic violence by attending the Love Yourself Campaign’s ManUp program, from 3-6 pm Saturday, Oct. 19 at Love Park, at 16th Street and JFK Boulevard in Philadelphia.

Candlelight vigils, purple ribbon displays To highlight domestic violence awareness month

For Information Contact: Ellen Lyon 717-545-6400, ext. 209; 717-919-9924 (cell)

(Oct. 1, 2013) October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an annual campaign that was begun in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to connect battered-women's advocates who were working to end violence against women and children.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its 60 member organizations, serving domestic violence victims in all 67 counties, have scheduled a series of special events this month as part of the national Domestic Violence Awareness campaign.

Events that have been scheduled as of Oct. 1, 2013, are listed on the full press release. For updates and additional information, please visit our DVAM 2013 page.

2,300 Domestic Violence Victims Seek Help in PA in One Day

(March 25, 2013) HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania’s 60 community-based domestic violence programs assisted 2,308 women, men and children during a 24-hour census of domestic violence services released today. Another 933 requests for services had to be denied because of insufficient resources.

The services provided included emergency shelter and transitional housing for 1,157 victims; counseling, legal advocacy and children’s services for 1,151 victims; and 915 hotline calls answered.
Ninety percent of the unmet requests for services were for emergency shelter and transitional housing. The biggest reason cited for unmet service requests was not enough staff (37%), followed by not enough beds or funding for motels (32%); not enough funding for needed programs and services (25%); lack of specialized services (13%) and inadequate funding for translators, bilingual staff or accessible equipment (10%).

“The numbers for this one day alone show just how hard our programs work with limited resources and how great the demand is for these lifesaving services,” said Peg Dierkers, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

This seventh annual census, conducted in all 50 states by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), occurred on Sept. 12, 2012. Nationally, on that day, 64,324 adults and children received domestic violence services, and 10,471 requests for services went unmet because of lack of resources. Pennsylvania ranked 7th highest among the states in total number of people served.

The full census report is available on the NNEDV website.

Congress Approves Violence Against Women Act

(February 28, 2013) The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence commends the U.S. House of Representatives for voting today, 286-138, to reauthorize the more inclusive and stronger Violence Against Women Act version already approved by the U.S. Senate.

For nearly 20 years this bipartisan legislation has been the cornerstone of a comprehensive response to violence against women, bringing sweeping legal reforms and critically needed funding for services for victims of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking here in Pennsylvania and across the nation.

“This proves the power of grassroots advocacy and bipartisan support. VAWA enables a strong, coordinated community response among law enforcement, prosecutors, the courts and advocates for domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Reauthorization ensures justice for victims and accountability for offenders,” Peg Dierkers, executive director of PCADV, said Thursday. This latest reauthorization through 2018 will extend vital protections to women on Tribal lands, immigrant women and LGBT survivors.

PCADV especially thanks the members of the Pennsylvania delegation who voted to reauthorize VAWA. In the House, they are: Reps. Robert Brady, Chaka Fatah, Glenn W. Thompson, Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan, Michael G. Fitzpatrick, Bill Shuster, Lou Barletta, Allyson Y. Schwartz, Mike Doyle, Charles W. Dent and Matthew Cartwright. And in the Senate they are: Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey.

PCADV and Allstate Foundation Launch Financial Independence Initiative For Domestic Violence Victims

(December 5, 2012) The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) is pleased to announce a new partnership with The Allstate Foundation on an initiative that will enable domestic violence victims to attain safety and build secure and stable financial futures on their own.

The Allstate Foundation’s grant to PCADV will fund the job readiness and job training component of the Investing in Survivors’ Financial Independence Initiative. This innovative and timely PCADV initiative, also supported by a private family trust donation, will empower domestic violence victims to surmount the many economic barriers they face.

PCADV and its statewide network of 60 community-based domestic violence programs know from more than three decades of working with victims, that financial instability ranks as the No. 1 reason why they stay with or return to their abuser. Many victims endanger themselves so their children can have a home. By preparing victims for the workplace and teaching them budgeting and financial planning skills, this initiative will give them the tools to obtain employment, save money and start new lives free from abuse.

The Allstate Foundation’s grant will be used to strengthen and expand financial education services for victims at all of PCADV’s local domestic violence programs. The grant also will establish a pilot site at Wise Options, the domestic violence program in Lycoming County, where victims will learn job readiness skills such as interview techniques and resume building and will receive job training. In addition, victim advocates from across Pennsylvania will learn to use The Allstate Foundation’s “Moving Ahead Through Financial Management” curriculum with their clients. This pilot site will set a standard for comprehensive, user-friendly and relevant financial education that effectively impacts victims’ decision-making.

PCADV, the nation’s oldest statewide coalition against domestic violence, is a private nonprofit organization working at state and national levels to eliminate domestic violence, secure justice for victims, enhance safety for families and communities, and create lasting social change. Its statewide network of 60 community-based programs provides direct services to domestic violence victims, including 24-hour emergency hotlines, shelter, counseling, legal and medical advocacy, children’s programs, transitional housing and many other free and confidential services.

Since 1952, The Allstate Foundation has created practical, proven programs to help thousands of individuals and families overcome personal challenges and uncertainties so they can lead better and safer lives. PCADV thanks The Allstate Foundation for its commitment to helping domestic violence victims find safety and build new lives. For more information, please contact Arlene Marshall-Hockensmith, Esq., project manager at PCADV, at 1-800-932-4632.

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PCADV Publications

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On Background

On Background With PCADV’s Communications Team

We know the media operate on tight deadlines. For your convenience we have provided information and statistics on domestic violence, warning signs, useful tips and links to sources. Feel free to use whatever you need for a story or sidebar. Please attribute the information to the source listed with it. If no source is listed, please attribute the information to PCADV.

For additional information and to set up interviews with experts and/or survivors, please contact our team. Their contact information is listed in the sidebar.

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Definition, Prevalence, Risk and Characteristics of Domestic Violence, and Effect on Children:

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Economy and Domestic Violence

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Workplace and Domestic Violence

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Fatalities from Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania

Fatalities Chart.JPG Fatalities from Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania
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Funding for Domestic Violence Services in Pennsylvania:

State and Federal Funding For Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Services (for FY 2001-02 Through 2012-13)

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Guns and Domestic Violence

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Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence

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Protection from Abuse (PFA) Orders

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Service Statistics for Domestic Violence Victims (for FY 2011/12)

Help for Domestic Violence Victims and Their Families

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Warning Signs Someone May Be In Increased Danger

An abuse often escalates the domestic violence over time, both in frequency and severity. A victim may be in increased danger if the abuser:

Caution: These factors usually form a pattern of behavior to get and keep power and control over a partner. The presence or absence of any or all of these behaviors does not predict that someone will be hurt, killed or safe.

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Why Doesn´t the Victim Just Leave?

Domestic violence victims are often in heightened danger when they first leave or attempt to end a relationship. Sometimes they postpone leaving because of fear of or financial dependence on their abuser. Abusers may control victims’ money or ruin their credit. Often abusers isolate their victims from friends, family and other sources of help. Sometimes abusers threaten to take their victims’ children away from them. Victims can get help (find_help) in developing a safety plan, counseling, support, emergency shelter and other free and confidential services from their local domestic violence program.

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Where to Get Help in Pennsylvania

Each county in Pennsylvania is served by a domestic violence program, that offers services such as counseling, crisis intervention, housing, information, legal and medical advocacy, safety planning, shelter, support, and referrals. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or visit our Find Help page to find the one nearest you.

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How to Help

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Contact Local Programs

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Stopping_Dominos

Newsroom

PCADV can help you save time, reduce legwork, ensure accuracy, and get your story out there quickly.

Getting The Story Out

We recognize that every minute counts when you're on deadline. In your coverage of domestic violence issues/incidents, the expertise and resources of PCADV and its statewide network of 60 local domestic violence programs can help you save time, reduce legwork, ensure accuracy, and get your story out there quickly.

Our Communications Team will make every effort to assist you in:

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One is too many Joe Biden Domestic Violence Awareness 1 is 2 Many

1 is 2 Many

Because young women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of violence at the hands of someone they know, the White House has produced a new PSA on dating violence for Vice President Joe Biden's 1 is 2 Many campaign.

The PSA features President Obama, Biden and some famous men from sports talking to young men about how to treat women. It will air this summer on ESPN Networks, Fox Sports Networks, the MLB Network and the NFL Network.

Watch the PSA | Get more information | Visit the blog

Hershey Lodge Provides Comforters for Domestic Violence Victims PA Comforting Gift Warms Our Hearts

Comforting Gift Warms Our Hearts

A big thank-you to Hershey Lodge for donating 1,000 comforters to PCADV. They will be distributed to our 60 programs around the state for use in emergency shelters and transitional housing. Often victims come to our shelters with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing. Thanks, Hershey Lodge, for helping our programs provide a warm welcome to these victims

Candlelight Vigils, Purple Ribbon Displays, Concerts To Highlight Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DVAMphilly150x_pic_10012013 Candlelight Vigils Purple Ribbon Displays Concerts
To Highlight Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an annual campaign that was begun in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to connect battered-women's advocates who were working to end violence against women and children.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its 60 member organizations, serving domestic violence victims in all 67 counties, have scheduled a series of special events this month as part of the national Domestic Violence Awareness campaign. Find events in your county

Photo: Jeannine Lisitski, Executive Director, Women Against Abuse, at their DVAM kickoff event - iPledge campaign - in Philadelphia's Love Park.

A Call to Men

TBench_of_A_Call_To_men_DBaker

Ted Bunch of A Call to Men visits York's YWCA program on Sept. 24, challenging men to take a more active role in reducing domestic violence in their communities. A Call to Men is a New York-based nonprofit agency that teaches men and boys to develop loving and respectful attitudes toward women. Bunch met with Dee Baker, PCADV's Fund Development Director.

Watch Ted Bunch on the Katie Couric show, when he joins Mariska Hargitay and other cast members of Law & Order Special Victims Unit and Peter Hermann to discuss men, domestic violence and sexual assault, and the No More campaign. Hargitay and Hermann founded the Joyful Heart foundation

RSS
Tougher Gun Laws to Reduce Domestic Violence It´s Time for Tougher Gun Laws

It´s Time for Tougher Gun Laws

PCADV supports President Obama´s proposals to toughen gun laws. The vast majority of domestic violence fatalities in Pennsylvania involve firearms. Guns increase the likelihood a domestic violence incident will become lethal. Read More

Congress Approves Stronger Violence Against Women Act

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence commends the U.S. House of Representatives for voting February 28th, by 286 votes - 138 votes, to reauthorize the more inclusive and stronger Violence Against Women Act version already approved by the U.S. Senate. Read More

Gov. Corbett Proposes More Funding For Services

Corbett2013 Increases Domestic Violence Funding Gov. Corbett Proposes More Funding For Services

Gov. Corbett visited the YWCA of Harrisburg on March 29 to talk with advocates about his proposal to increase state funding for services for domestic violence victims.

Watch or read excerpts from the Governor´s press conference.

PCADV Files Brief Against Discriminatory Housing Ordinance

white houses with one red house

Ordinance forces victims to choose between help and homelessness
PCADV filed an amicus brief on May 31 in Briggs v. Norristown. Ms. Briggs' federal lawsuit challenges the Norristown nuisance ordinance that forced her into eviction proceedings after police were repeatedly called to her home. Peg Dierkers, PCADV Executive Director, explained, "We are fighting this ordinance in Pennsylvania to protect victims in our state…We hope our work helps to end these harmful ordinances across the nation." 22 other agencies supported the brief. Read more

PA Says NO MORE

nomorepressconference

At a recent press conference in Harrisburg, Peg Dierkers (right), executive director of PCADV, and Delilah Rumburg, chief executive officer of PCAR, launched a new statewide initiative – PA Says NO MORE – to raise public awareness and reduce domestic violence and sexual assault in our communities.

Read more about the effort, which includes a website, Facebook page, comprehensive advertising campaign and “NO MORE” symbol.

Domestic Violence Too Common – Yet Preventable

Wooden figures

The headlines would be shocking enough if they had been culled from multiple cities over several days or weeks. However, they all appeared the same day – Aug. 15, 2013 – in just one city, Pittsburgh, and in just one newspaper, The Post Gazette:

All Too Common, Domestic Violence is Still Preventable

Read the PennLive.com OpEd by Peg Dierkers, PCADV's Executive Director.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Urges Congress to Pass Manchin-Toomey To Close Background Check Loopholes

#savewomenslives

Almost one year ago, on October 21, 2012, Zina Daniel was tracked down and murdered by her estranged husband. After years of abuse, Zina obtained a restraining order that blocked him from buying a gun at a dealer. Instead, he found a private online seller and bought a gun without a background check. At Zina's place of work — a spa in Brookfield, WI — he killed her, two of her coworkers and injured 4 others.

Celebrating 20 Years of VAWA

EKramer VAWA remarks

PCADV Legal Director Ellen Kramer opened a yearlong celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with a speech at Villanova University School of Law's conference on Commercial Sexual Exploitation.

PCADV has partnered with Pennsylvania's eight law schools to hold events throughout the next year that highlight VAWA's landmark achievements in protecting victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The next event will be a conference on Protection of Native American Women in VAWA 2013 at the University of Pennsylvania Law School on Feb. 17-21, 2014.

Thanks, PA Dept. of Corrections! 1,100 donated cellphones

donated cell phones

Administration Seeks Hotline Funding

Biden Rosenthal Domestic Violence Hotline

Vice President Joe Biden recognized Lynn Rosenthal, the White House's adviser on Violence Against Women, at the National Domestic Violence Hotline office in Austin, TX, where Biden called for more federal funding for the hotline. The Obama Administration had asked for $4.5 million to fully fund the hotline but has only been able to get $3.2 million, and sequestration has further cut that amount to $2.9 million. Meanwhile, the hotline answered 265,000 calls last year, but more than 50,000 calls still went unanswered.

Gov. Corbett Says NO MORE to Domestic Violence

Gov Corbett 2013

PCADV is a part of No More - the national campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault. Learn about No More by visiting the PA Says No More or the National No More Website.

PFA Orders Are Effective PCADV on WHTM27 News

"Victims are finding safety and protection... and abusers are being held accountable," says Ellen Kramer, PCADV Legal Director. Watch the Video

Tweet NO MORE on Nov. 24 - #pasaysnomore

Mirabal Sisters from Dominican Republic

That is the day before the 53rd anniversary of the deaths of the Mirabal sisters – Patria, Maria and Antonia -- Dominican political dissidents. Their brutal assassinations prompted the United Nations to designate November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

“The Mirabel sisters represent the struggle against violence hundreds of thousands of women, men and children face each year,” Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape CEO Delilah Rumburg said. “Through the NO MORE campaign, we are uniting our communities to take a stand against sexual and domestic violence.”

Join PCADV and PCAR in a social media event to raise awareness and reduce domestic violence and sexual assault. Post the message “NO MORE,’’ accompanied with the hashtag #pasaysnomore, to your Twitter accounts on Nov. 24.

More about the Mirabal Sisters

"Revenge Porn" Victimizes Pennsylvania Women

PCADV's Legal Director

“Revenge Porn,” where men send explicit pictures of their “exes” to websites, feels like "emotional terrorism" to victims. The practice is not against the law in many states, including Pennsylvania, at least for now. PCADV's Legal Director, Ellen Kramer, talked to a WNEP16 (Scranton) reporter about efforts to make it illegal. Victims say that restoring their trust, reputations and even livelihoods will be an uphill fight. WNEP16 coverage

News Archive

Lace up for Lisa Grab Your Running Shoes and Lace Up for Lisa

Grab Your Running Shoes and Lace Up for Lisa

Saturday, October 6th, 9 a.m.
South Middleton Township Park

Calling All High School Journalists!

Give Your Classmates the Scoop on Teen Dating Violence and Compete for Prizes.

In honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, PCADV is holding its second annual "In Your Own Words" competition for high school journalists.

They can win computer hardware and software for their school, and be entered in a drawing for an iPad for themselves, by writing an article for their school newspaper or producing a short video for their school´s media outlet on the subject of teen dating violence.

Because entries must be published or aired at schools this month, time is running out! Download the attached form for more information on how to enter the competition.

PCADV Joins the Combined Federal Campaign

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) is proud to announce that we have been selected to be a part of the 2012 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).

The U.S. government-sponsored CFC is the world's largest and most prestigious workplace fundraising drive.

The mission of the CFC is to promote and support philanthropy by providing federal employees with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those in need.

Read more about the CFC

PCADV Receives Check from WAWA

Maria Macaluso, Executive Director of Women's Center of Montgomery County and Beth Sturman, Executive Director of Laurel House, Montgomery County, accepted a check for $60,136.23 on behalf of all the southeastern domestic violence programs that share in the proceeds. The event was held on August 25, 2011 at the Wawa Easton, PA store # 89 to celebrate the 35Th anniversary. Wawa's contribution to PCADV was raised through in-store donations by customers and community associates throughout Pennsylvania during the second quarter of 2011.

PCADV thanks Wawa and its customers and community partners for their generous contribution to the cause of preventing domestic violence and providing its victims and their children in Pennsylvania with safe refuge and a new start in life.

Walmart Associates Award PCADV $100,000

PCADV is honored to be the recipient of a $100,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Walmart Associate Choice Program.

The Walmart Foundation announced the award in August after tallying the votes of thousands of Walmart associates across the state who chose PCADV from among the five Pennsylvania nonprofits nominated for the 2010 grant. The Foundation sponsors the Associate Choice Program each year in all 50 states.

PCADV is deeply grateful to the good and generous people at Walmart for recognizing the importance of the work we do to reduce and prevent domestic violence, and for helping us move forward in our efforts to build safer, stronger communities.

FISA Foundation Logo1 FISA Foundation Funds PCADV´s Prevention Efforts

FISA Foundation Funds PCADV´s Prevention Efforts

PCADV is pleased to announce that the FISA Foundation has awarded a $30,000 grant to the Coalition for an innovative Primary Prevention Initiative in southwestern Pennsylvania.

"These grant funds will enable us to lead community-wide discussions and strategies to engage schools, parents and community leaders as active prevention partners," PCADV Executive Director Peg Dierkers said. "Through awareness education and concerted community action, we can prevent domestic violence against women and girls."

The mission of the FISA Foundation is to build a culture of respect and improve the quality of life for three populations in southwestern Pennsylvania: women, girls and people with disabilities. For 100 years, FISA has been led by women and has focused on responding to unmet community needs.

FISA Foundation

PCADV Releases 2012 Fatality Report

Students Tackle Teen Dating Violence In Their Own Words

Congratulations to the winners of PCADV’s 2nd annual “In Your Own Words” Competition to promote awareness and prevention of teen dating violence (TDV).

These high school students won prizes for their school by researching TDV and educating their peers about it through videos and school newspaper articles. PCADV received 42 impressive entries from 106 students at 17 schools around the state.

Learn the winners’ names and see their entries...

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October 2013 Domestic Violence Awareness Events by County

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Violence Against Women Act 20th Anniversary Fullfilling the Promise of Safety and Justice

Student Writing Competition

Entries should address an issue related to the Violence Against Women Act that furthers the needs of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking or their children by discussing the impact of VAWA, exploring a current substantive area of VAWA or suggesting an expansion of the Act.

First Prize: Kaplan PMBR - Complete Bar Review Course

Kaplan Bar Review

At the time of submission, all entrants must be enrolled at (or have graduated within the last six months from) one of Pennsylvania’s eight accredited law schools.

Entries must be received by June 16, 2014, 5:00 pm EDT and comply with the detailed submission guidelines.

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What is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)?

I am pleased that the House and Senate came together in a bipartisan manner to pass the Violence Against Women Act. VAWA has proven to be extremely effective in protecting Pennsylvania women and supporting victims of abuse and assault. I am particularly encouraged by the inclusion of my provisions to combat sexual violence on college campuses so that college campuses are safe and secure paces to learn and work.

Senator Bob Casey
February 29, 2013

The Law That Changed History

In 1994, in a remarkable spirit of bipartisanship, the U.S. House and Senate joined to enact the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). On March 7, 2013, President Barack Obama signed the reauthorization of VAWA for another 5 years.

VAWA was the first comprehensive approach to fighting violence against women through sweeping legal reforms and critically needed increases in federal funding for services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The recent reauthorization is a strong reauthorization that includes protections for women on Tribal lands, improves protections for immigrant victims, ensures services for LGBT survivors, and adds important housing protections for victims. The bill also preserves and maintains core funding for life-saving victim services.

VAWA efforts break the cycle of intimate partner violence by changing the culture of acceptance through:

Read About the Changes Made in VAWA 2013, summarized by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women

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"VAWA is just as important today as it was when it first became law, and I urge Congress to keep the promise we made to our daughters and our granddaughters on that day––that we would work together to keep them safe."
- Vice President Joseph Biden, urging congressional reauthorization of VAWA, September 2012

VAWA 20th Anniversary Celebration -Fulfilling the Promise of Safety and Justice

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act - known as VAWA - PCADV has partnered with all 8 Pennsylvania law schools to host a year of events across the Commonwealth to explore VAWA's protections for victims of interpersonal violence.

Please check back often for more details as they become available!

Law Student Writing Competition, Article Submissions DUE JUNE 16, 2014

keyboardThumbnailWeb1 Law Student Writing Competition Article Submissions DUE JUNE 16 2014

Information and Submission Criteria

PCADV is sponsoring a Law Student Writing Competition. Submissions must analyze a key issue (or issues) regarding the implementation of VAWA, with the goal of preparing future attorneys to understand and apply an array of protections on behalf of victims and their children.

The top three articles will be published by PCADV in a VAWA 20th Anniversary Anthology, an online publication that will compile the scholarship created at events throughout the year-long celebration. And, the first place article will receive a FREE Kaplan Bar Review Course!

Pennsylvania Law School Event Calendar

Symposium: "Shining the Light On Domestic Violence at Home and Abroad"

Date: October 3, 2014
Location: Pennsylvania State Dickinson School of Law, State College
Registration: Check back for more information

Dean’s Diversity Forum: "Violences in America that Wound Women of Color"

Date: October 14, 2014
Location: Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg
Registration: Check back for more information

"Pittsburgh Legal Service Providers and Social Justice Work"

Date: Ongoing
Location: University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh

"Intimate Partner Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Relationships"

Date: October, 2014
Location: Temple University, Beasley School of Law, Philadelphia
Registration: Check back for more information

Closing Celebration

pa statehouse 112x70 Closing Celebration

Date: October 8-10, 2014
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Registration: Check back for more information

Past Events

Film Screening of the HBO documentary, "Sex Crimes Unit"

Date: Friday, March 28, 3:00 pm
Location: Widener Law School, Harrisburg, PA

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Violence against Women Act, and the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this documentary screening seeks to raise awareness about sexual assault violence and help educate communities on how to effectively bring these cases to trial. The documentary follows the first Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in NYC, the first created in the US, providing an in-depth view of the day-to-day challenges faced in prosecuting sexual assault crimes. "Sex Crimes Unit" also tells the story of Natasha Alexenko, whose case was one of the first to be taken on by the Sex Crimes Unit’s cold case division.

Following the screening, Ms. Natasha Alexenko, sexual assault survivor and founder of Natasha’s Justice Project leads a discussion on her personal story along with:

Program: "Violence Against Women as a Human Rights Issue"

Date: March 24-29, 2014
Location: Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh

Keynote Event: March 29 CLE Symposium with a moderated panel of experts and a keynote address by Professor Cheryl Hanna, of Vermont University School of Law. Hanna addresses how the international courts have framed domestic violence as a human rights issue, and compares it to the approach that courts take in the United States.

Drexel's VAWA Events

March 6 - 11, 2013
Location: Drexel University, Earle Mack School of Law, Philadelphia

Conference: "Protection of Native American Women in the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act"

Date: February 17-21, 2014, 4:30 - 6:30 pm
Location: University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia

One of the most controversial aspects of the expanded 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act was the increased protection for Native American Women. Native American victims of domestic violence often cannot seek justice because their courts are not permitted to prosecute non-Native offenders—even for crimes committed on tribal land. VAWA 2013 includes a solution that would give tribal courts the authority they need to hold offenders in their communities accountable. We will host a panel of speakers to discuss the legal issues surrounding tribal governments’ criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit crimes on reservations.

"Abolishing Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Pennsylvania: A Plan for Action"

Date: Kickoff October 18, 2013
Location: Villanova University School of Law, Villanova, PA

Update for Feminist Law Professors, The Twentieth Annual CLE Conference

Date: Friday, December 14, 2012
Location: Temple University Law School

LIKE our VAWA 20th Facebook Page

Thank You To Our Sponsors

Edgar Snyder Firm logo
logo High Swartz Attorneys At Law LLP
logo Kaplan PMBR Bar Review
logo Law Offices of Willig, Williams & Davidson

What Is VAWA?

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Home News Teens Tackle DV1

Students Tackle Teen Dating Violence - In Their Own Words

Congratulations to the winners of PCADV’s 2nd annual “In Your Own Words” Competition to promote awareness and prevention of teen dating violence (TDV).

Video Division

1st Place: Timothy White, Bellefonte Area High School, Centre County
Watch the 1st Place Video on YouTube

Honorable Mention: Brittany Polzella, North Penn High School, Montgomery County
Watch the Video on YouTube

Print Division

1st Place: Carly Loper, North Penn High School, Montgomery County
Read the 1st Place Article

Honorable Mention: Ashlea-Anne Rosnick,Mount Lebanon High School, Allegheny County
Read the Article

Every participating student also was entered in a drawing to win an iPad. Austin Snyder of Line Mountain High School in Northumberland County won the drawing.

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PCADV FILES BRIEF AGAINST DISCRIMINATORY HOUSING ORDINANCE

House Bill 1796 Would Protect Victims of Crime and Abuse From Eviction

Pennsylvania "is now hopefully going to be a model of how the state came together with Representative Stephens’ leadership, recognized an ill, and took action to fix it.” Laurie Baughman, PCADV Senior Attorney, is quoted in this article about the General Assembly's recent vote to prevent domestic violence survivors from being unfairly evicted for calling police for help.

US Senator Robert Casey Urges Federal Action on Nuisance Ordinances

Sen. Casey cites PCADV and the Lakesha Briggs case in urging education about VAWA protections for domestic violence victims

  • Download pdfView the letter

    Letter of July 19, 2013 to the Departments of Justice and Housing from Sen. Casey of Pennsylvania.

    972.92 K | 8/16/2013

Ordinances Force Victims to Choose Between Help and Homelessness

PCADV filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief on May 31 in Briggs v. Norristown in support of Lakisha Briggs. Ms. Briggs' federal lawsuit challenges the Norristown, Pennsylvania, nuisance ordinance that forced her into eviction proceedings after police were called to her residence on three occasions. Peg Dierkers, PCADV Executive Director, explained, "We are fighting this ordinance in Pennsylvania to protect victims in our state and because we know that it has far-reaching consequences. We hope our work helps to end these harmful ordinances across the nation."

PCADV was joined by the PCADV Women of Color Caucus, 17 local domestic violence programs across Pennsylvania, and 4 national programs, including the National Network to End Domestic Violence NNEDV, Futures Without Violence, the National Housing Law Project, and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

NNEDV issued a press release announcing their support for PCADV's Amicus Brief. "No victim of abuse should have to choose between calling the police and becoming homeless" said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of NNEDV. Gandy went on to explain, "This mean-spirited ordinance pits the need for shelter against the need for safety from violence. … Any policy that dissuades victims from reaching out for help will have deadly consequences."

Oral argument in this case is scheduled for August 15, 2013, before the Honorable Eduardo C. Robreno at the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

ACLU files constitutional challenge to Norristown, Pennsylvania ordinance
April 24, 2013
Lakisha Briggs was threatened with eviction when police responded to her home for a third domestic violence call. The local "nuisance" ordinance forces landlords to evict tenants if police are repeatedly called to their homes. Many cities in Pennsylvania have these ordinances, which punish victims of domestic violence with homelessness for calling for help.

The first time Lakisha’s ex-boyfriend showed up at her home and assaulted her, she called for police assistance. But, when police responded to her call for help a second time, they informed her that a local ordinance required her landlord to evict her if she called police a third time. Lakisha was so afraid of eviction that she stopped calling the police for help... even when her ex-boyfriend attacked her. Fortunately, neighbors stepped up and called police and Lakisha was airlifted to the hospital for treatment. After this horrific assault, police informed Lakisha that the neighbor’s call was her third strike and threatened to force her out of her home.

On April 24, 2013, the ACLU-PA, ACLU-Women's Rights Project and the law firm of Pepper Hamilton filed a federal housing lawsuit, Briggs v. Borough of Norristown, on Lakisha's behalf. Both ACLU programs have partnered with PCADV in efforts to address homelessness and domestic violence. PCADV supports their efforts in filing this suit. We believe justice will prevail for Lakisha and other victims who face eviction for calling police. Read the ACLU statement

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DVAM Candle With Heart660x_NRCDV_101120132 Domestic Violence Awareness Month - October 2013

Domestic Violence Awareness Month - October 2013

2013 Events By County

Adams
Throughout October:
The Clothesline Project displayed at the YWCA of Gettysburg & Adams County.
Oct. 4 – 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Gettysburg Square, First Friday Kickoff Event, “Paint the Town Pink and Purple for Women’s Health.” Free pumpkin painting. $1 donation to take your pumpkin with you.
Oct. 6 – 12 – Gettysburg College, The Clothesline Project Display.
Oct. 7 – 11 – Ugly Mug Café, Silent Witnesses.
Oct. 10 – Noon – YWCA of Gettysburg & Adams County, Brown Bag Lunch Discussions: ACE Study: How Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Affect Adult Health and Well-Being.
Oct. 10 – Gettysburg College, Movie Night and Discussion.
Oct. 14 – Noon – YWCA of Gettysburg & Adams County, What Parents Need to Know about Dating Violence Among Teens.
Oct. 14 – 18 – YWCA of Gettysburg & Adams County, Silent Witnesses.
Oct. 20 – 26 – HACC Gettysburg Campus, The Clothesline Project Display.
Oct, 21 – 11 a.m. – HACC Gettysburg Campus, “Paint the Town Pink and Purple for Women’s Health.” Free pumpkin painting. $1 donation to take your pumpkin with you.
Oct. 21 – 25 – HACC Gettysburg Campus, Silent Witnesses.
Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 11:30 a.m. – Robert C. Hoffman Community Room at HACC Gettysburg Campus. Donna Anderson, author and survivor of psychological domestic abuse, will speak. She is the author of Lovefraud.com, a website and blog that teaches people how to recognize and recover from the psychological trauma of unhealthy romantic relationships. She also wrote Red Flags of Love Fraud and the Red Flags of Love Fraud Workbook.
Oct. 24 – noon – HACC Gettysburg Campus, Dating Violence Among College Adults.
Oct. 26 – 9 a.m. – Fairfield High School, Victory Over Violence 5K Run/Walk. Registration at event.
Oct. 28 – Noon – Gettysburg Library, Book Talk: Interpersonal Violence Committed Against Older Adults.

Allegheny County
Throughout October:
Tangible Assistance Program Drive – Items can be dropped at California Pizza Kitchen, Ross Park Mall, West View Bank (all branches), Perry Perk & Turo Chiropractic. Looking for donations of full-sized laundry detergent, softener & dryer sheets; toothpaste, toothbrushes & dental floss; feminine hygiene products, especially tampons; household cleaners; body wash, soap & hand soap; toilet paper, Kleenex & paper towels.
California Pizza Kitchen employees will wear domestic violence awareness T-shirts all month. Patrons who bring in Tangible Assistance Program Donations will get 20% off their bill.
Oct. 5 – 8:35 a.m. – Interview on Saturday Light Brigade. Crisis Center North will be featured for its provision of domestic violence services in the region and ENOUGH Violence exhibit at the Society for Contemporary Craft.
Oct. 5 – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – Society for Contemporary Craft, Saturday Information Session – ENOUGH Violence. Crisis Center North’s volunteer coordinator will present in the gallery and talk to viewers of the exhibition about the resources and services offered by CCN.
Oct. 10 – 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Magee Hospital Auditorium, Annual Community & Professional Intimate Partner Violence Seminar. Topic: “Setback is a Part of the Journey” Harm Reductions as a Tool in IPV Interventions. Co-sponsored with Magee Women’s’ Hospital of UPMC & Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.
Oct. 12 – Noon to 10 p.m. – Social at Bakery Square, free college football tailgating event highlighting DVAM. Food, drinks, raffles, games and college football.

Beaver County
Sept. 30 to Oct. 11 – Beaver Library, “Survivor’s Hope” art exhibit, created by survivors of domestic violence.
Oct. 7 – 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Beaver Library. “From Behind the Mask.” Domestic violence survivor and author Vanessa Ford Taylor will speak about her journey.

Berks County
Oct. 16 – 4:15 p.m. – Berks Women in Crisis Center, 255 Chestnut St., Reading, Silent Witness March begins. 5 p.m. – Reading Area Community College’s Miller Center for the Arts, 4 N. Second St., Reading, Dedication of the Silent Witness Project and scenes from Finding Jenn’s Voice by local documentary filmmaker Tracy Schott. Finding Jenn’s Voice tells the story of Jennifer Snyder, who was murdered by her partner in Lehigh County in 2011. Jennifer also had ties to Berks County. The public is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Christine Gilfillan at BWIC at 610-370-7811.

Clarion County
Oct. 1 to 14 – Haskell Building Window at corner of Main and 5th Avenue, “NO MORE” Campaign display.
Oct. 7 to 11 – Clarion County Courthouse, Silent Witness Display.
Oct. 8 – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Zion Baptist Church, 1142 Zion Road, Clarion, “Bully the Movie.”
Oct. 14 to 31 – Haskell Building Window at corner of Main and 5th Avenue, Silent Witness Display.
Oct. 15 to 18 – Clarion County Administration Building, Silent Witness Display.
Oct. 22 – 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Main Street Center, SAFE’s Annual DVAM Event.
Oct. 22 – All day at Clarion County Hospital, Health Cares About Domestic Violence.
Radio talk show – TBA.

Cumberland/Perry Counties
Oct. 5 – Lace Up For Lisa 5K
Oct. 5 – Perry County, Canal Day
Oct 17 – Cumberland County Candlelight Vigil
Oct. 22 – Newport Halloween Parade
Oct. 26 – Sunflower Ball
Throughout October:
Red Ladies – National Silent Witness Program
Informational placemats in restaurants
Purple wreaths on store fronts of various businesses
An Empty Place at the Table displays at The Ranch House and Expresso Yourself restaurants.
Purple lighting off the Lieutenant Governor’s balcony in the Main Capitol.
Purple fountain water at the Dauphin County Courthouse.

Delaware County
Oct. 4 – 7 p.m. – Upper Darby High School football game DVAM event.
Oct. 7 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of Delaware County Courthouse: All seven Delaware County hospitals will also host the Clothesline Project.
Oct. 9 – 1:30 p.m. Community Action Agency, Family Management Center, Chester, Pa., DVAM event.
Oct. 12 – 3 p.m., Empire Beauty School, Springfield, Pa. DVAM event.
Oct. 25 – 7 p.m., Chester Housing Authority, Booker T. Washington Center, Chester, Pa., DVAM event.

Erie County
Oct. 1 – 7 – Blasco Library, Silent Witness Display and book display with domestic violence-related information.
Oct. 3 – Nov. 1 – Mercyhurst University, Purple foot prints with stop sign and handouts about SafeNet and No More campaign.
Oct. 4 – 6 – For Women Only, SafeNet and No More campaign information displayed.
Oct. 7 – 14 – Erie County Courthouse, Silent Witness Display.
Oct. 9 – Edinboro University, Domestic Violence Awareness Day with table display, handouts and awareness walk around campus.
Oct. 14 – 21 – Millcreek Mall, Silent Witness Display.
Oct 16 – Noon – 2 p.m. – Erie Art Museum, An Empty Place at the Table display with handouts about SafeNet and No More campaign.
Oct. 21 – 25 – Gannon University, Silent Witness Display.
Oct. 25 – 31 – Mercyhurst University Library, Silent Witness Display and book display with domestic violence-related information.

Jefferson/Clearfield Counties
Oct. 19 – 7 p.m. – Presbyterian Church of Punxsutawney, 106 East Union St., Punxsutawney, Out of the Darkness and Into the Light DVAM event.


Lackawanna/Susquehanna Counties
Oct. 9 – IHM Center on Marywood University Campus, An Empty Place at the Table Exhibit.
Oct. 29 – Noon - 2p.m. – Keystone College, Students will hold an event inspired by the NO MORE website. They will prepare personal care packages to donate to Women’s Resource Center Inc., for victims. The items will be packaged in Keystone tote bags with inspirational messages created by the students. Students will also make signs reflecting why they say “NO MORE,” and a photo booth will be available during the event.
Nov. 1 – Philadelphia Convention Center, Pennsylvania Conference for Women, An Empty Place at the Table Exhibit.

Lancaster
Throughout October - Silent Witness Exhibits at: York Technical Institute’s Lancaster Campus. Stevens School of Technology, Lancaster General Hospital downtown location, Women’s & Babies Hospital and the Outpatient Pavilion
Oct. 12 – Brownstown – 5K race sponsoted by Fidelis Mortgage
Oct. 16 – Family Violence Resource Network meeting. DVS volunteer Vickie Davis, who lost her 17-year-old daughter to domestic violence five years ago, will be the speaker.

Lebanon County
Oct. 4 – Purple Scavenger Hunt, a photo scavenger hunt presented in conjunction with LV Arts Council as part of First Friday Art Walk. Proceeds benefit United Way & Arts Council. $10/person or $30/team of four. Register online at www.dviolc.org. Must supply your own digital camera.
Oct. 5 – Purple Fashion Show, presented in conjunction with Online Publishers as part of the Lebanon County Women’s Expo. Free advanced registration, $5 at the door. Register online at www.agreatwaytospendmyday.com.
Oct. 8 – 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Annville Free Library, Relationship Redux: Talking to Your Kids about Healthy Relationships. This free seminar is open to the public. Register at library or call 867-1802.
Oct. 17 – Go Purple Day! Wear anything purple to show you support healthy relationships for everyone!
Oct. 22 – Boscov’s at Lebanon Valley Mall, Friends Helping Friends Day. Visit the informational booth in Boscov’s to learn about healthy relationships.
Oct. 25 – 4 p.m. to10 p.m. and Oct. 26 – 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. – QUEST on Metro Drive, Harvest Moon Fest, proceeds benefit United Way. Visit the Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County, Inc., booth to make your own purple slime.

Lehigh/Northampton Counties
Oct. 5 – Annual Step Out 5k Run/Walk
Oct. 17 – 6 p.m. – Muhlenberg College, Annual Vigil for Victims & Survivors of Partner Violence. Keynote speaker is retired Police Chief Roger Maclean.

Luzerne/Carbon Counties
Every Tues. & Thurs. in Oct. at Wilkes University – Table displays.
Oct. 2 – 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. – Wilkes University, Annual training for local police and sheriff departments in Luzerne County.
Oct. 2 – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Hazleton General Hospital, table display.
Oct. 3 – Noon – Luzerne County Courthouse, An Empty Place at the Table display.
Oct. 8 – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Verizon, table display.
Oct. 9 – 11 a.m.to 1:30 p.m. – Misericordia University, table display.
Oct. 10 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Kingston Armory, senior health fair.
Oct. 10 – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Luzerne County Community College, Pridefest.
Oct. 12 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Laurel Mall, Fall Community Carnival.
Oct. 14 – Gnadden-Huetten Hospital (Carbon County) table display.
Oct. 15 – 10:30 a.m. – Carbon County EMA Building, DV Subcommittee meeting.
Oct. 16 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Geisinger Hospital, table display.
Oct. 17 – 10:30 a.m. – Carbon County, proclamation for DVAM.
Oct. 21 – Palmerton Hospital, Carbon County, table display.
Oct. 25 – 5:30 p.m. – Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, Trunk or Treat.
Oct. 29 – Lancaster, Pa., Family Involvement Conference.

Lycoming County
Throughout October:
– An Empty Place at the Table display in the rotunda of the YWCA Northcentral Pa. at 815 W. 4th St. in Williamsport.
– A portion of all cupcake sales at The Sun Flower Café & Bakery, a gluten-free establishment at 145 W. 4th St. in Williamsport, will be donated to the YWCA/Wise Options in support of DVAM.
– The Boutique, a high-end second-hand store at the YWCA Northcentral Pa., will exhibit T-shirts from the Clothesline Project.
– Savonna Reagan, the chairwoman of Wise Options’ Advisory Board, has recorded a radio PSA that will be broadcast throughout the month.
Oct. 4 – 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. – downtown Williamsport, Heavenly Handbags, a component of the transitional shelter Liberty House where volunteers, staff and others make handbags, totes, wallets and key wristlets, will set up at First Friday and will have one table dedicated to DVAM. Purple key wristlets will be for sale. Two advocates from Wise Options will be on site to talk about DVAM and the No More campaign.
Oct. 4 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Lycoming County Courthouse, An Empty Place at the Table display will be set up and staffed by two advocates.
Oct. 5 – Wise Options clients in the emergency shelter and transitional housing have been invited to participate in the Clothesline Project and create a T-shirt.
Oct. 8 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Valley Inn, 204 Valley St., South Williamsport, An Empty Place at the Table display will be on display. The restaurant will use DV awareness placemats that night.
Oct. 12 – 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – YMCA, 320 Elmira St., Williamsport, a community educational table on DVAM will be set up during the Susquehanna Valley Derby Vixen’s event.
Oct. 17 – 6:30 p.m. – Holiday Inn, 100 Pine St., Williamsport, the YWCA will host its annual Women of Excellence dinner. A speaker will present a short speech on Wise Options and the services it provides. An insert will be placed in the program to promote DVAM.
Oct. 21 – 6 p.m. – 815 W. 4th St., Williamsport, The YWCA and Wise Options will hold a candlelight vigil to remember those who have been affected by, those who have died as a result of and those who have survived domestic violence in Lycoming County.

Montgomery County
Oct. 20 – 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Upper Gwynedd Township Building, 1 Parkside Place, North Wales, 5K DASH Against Domestic Violence.

Philadelphia
Lutheran Settlement House
Oct. 5 – 9 a.m. to noon at Freedom Christian Bible Fellowship Church, 6100 West Columbia Ave. – 100 Men Can: Rally Against Domestic Violence. https://www.facebook.com/events/661976167169256/
Oct. 5 – 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. – QSPOT biweekly “safe space” for LGBTQ youth, ages 18-24. Tony Enos will introduce the community to BVDP’s full-range of LGBTQ domestic violence services and give confidential consultation to those who want it that evening. https://www.facebook.com/qspot.philly
Women Against Abuse Inc.
Oct. 10 – 10 a.m. – City Hall, Room 400, Philadelphia City Council designates October as DVAM.
Oct. 13 – Noon – Ten Thousand Villages, 1122 Walnut St., Philadelphia, “Women Against Abuse Day.”
Oct. 26 – 9:30 a.m. – West River Drive, 6th Annual Walk to End Domestic Violence, hosted by state Sen. LeAnna Washington.
Oct. 26 – 3 p.m. – Freedom Theatre, 1346 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, Voices of Domestic Violence: Dance, Music and Monologues, a soul-stirring, intimate story about faith, hope and victory.

Pike County
Oct. 16 – 1 p.m. – Dingman Delaware Middle School, The Child Abuse Sumposium with PCUW.
Oct. 28 – 7 a.m. – Mt Haven Restaurant, Interfaith Prayer Breakfast to Remember Victims and Survivors of Domestic Violence.

Sullivan County
Oct. 8 – County Commissioners Meeting, Proclaim October as DVAM.
Oct. 15-31 – Sullivan County Library. DVAM display.
Oct. 22 – Sullivan County Victim Services Open House to recognize DVAM.

Tioga County
Oct. 18 – 7 p.m. – Gmeiner Art & Cultural Center, Wellsboro, poetry reading featuring local authors Judith Sornberger and Lilace Mellin Guignard.

Venango County
Oct. 1-31 – Titusville Library, “An Empty Place at the Table” display.
Oct. 1 – Purple ribbon displays representing the number of victims for 2012-13 at the following locations: Venango County Courthouse, Venango College, University of Pittsburgh – Titusville.
Oct. 1 – Titusville YWCA, “Hands Are Not For Hurting” class for preschoolers.
Oct. 1 – Venango College, “Domestic Violence and Its Effects on Children” class for the Venango CASA volunteers.
Oct. 2 – Freedom Center, prevention program and support group during the day.
Oct. 2 – Franklin Area School District, “Too Good for Violence” program will begin for four classes of 7th graders and will continue for nine weeks until Dec. 4.
Oct. 3 – Franklin Child Development Center, “Hands Are Not For Hurting” class for six classes.
Oct. 3 – Titusville YWCA, “Hands Are Not For Hurting” class.
Oct. 3 – Franklin Area School District, “Too Good For Violence” programs will begin for four classes of 7th graders and continue for nine weeks until Dec. 5.
Oct. 5 – Heart 2 Heart resource table with a focus on domestic violence.
Oct. 8 – Hasson Heights Child Development Center, two classes of “Hands Are Not For Hurting.”
Oct. 8 – PPC Violence Free Network’s Advisory Board training on primary prevention efforts.
Oct. 8 – Freedom Center prevention program and support group focused on domestic violence.
Oct. 9 – Oil City Head Start and Titusville YMCA classes on “Hands Are Not For Hurting.”
Oct. 9 – Turning Point prevention program on domestic violence.
Oct. 9 – Venango College presentation for students on dating violence.
Oct. 11 – Franklin Area School District, “Too Good For Violence” program will begin for eight classes of eighth-graders and will continue for nine weeks until Dec. 13.
Oct. 15 – Cranberry Child Development Center, classes on “Hands Are Not For Hurting.”
Oct. 15 – Zonta Club, information on domestic violence.
Oct. 15 – Freedom Center, prevention program and support group.
Oct. 16 – Pre-K Counts class on “Hands Are Not For Hurting.”
Oct. 17 – Seneca Head Start and ECLC in Titusville classes on “Hands Are Not For Hurting.”
Oct. 20 – St. Patrick’s prevention classes for 7th, 8th and 9th-graders who attend their CCD classes.
Oct. 21 – St. Stephens School classes on violence prevention.
Oct. 22 – Freedom Center prevention program and support group.
Oct. 23 – Turning Point violence prevention program.
Oct. 23 – St. Stephens School classes on violence prevention.
Oct. 23 – United Way of Titusville Area mandated reporter training.
Oct 24 – Utica Elementary School “Too Good for Violence” program will begin and continue for seven weeks until Dec. 19.
Oct. 24 – St. Stephens School violence prevention program.
Oct. 28 – Franklin Head Start classes on “Hands Are Not For Hurting.”
Oct. 29 – Freedom Center for Women prevention program and support group.
Oct 29 – Oil City Child Development Center classes on “Hands Are Not For Hurting.”
Oct. 29 – Venango County presentation for staff on elder abuse, PPC Violence Free Network Services, PFAs and crisis intervention.

Washington County
Oct. 16 – 6 p.m. – Double Tree Hilton, 8th Annual Peace Begins at Home dinner.
Oct. 26 – 2 p.m. – Petco, PAWS for DV.

Wayne County
Throughout October:
Red silhouettes representing victims of domestic violence displayed in local businesses.
Oct. 12 – 18 – Paint the town purple. Incorporate purple in your business. For example, design a window display using purple clothing or create a purple food special.
Oct. 13 – 7 a.m. – 95.3 WDNH radio show on domestic violence.
Oct. 17 – 6 – 8 p.m. – The Chamber of Commerce, Honesdale. Free seminar on Workplace Response to Domestic Violence. To register call the Greater Honesdale Partnership at 253-5492.
Oct. 18 – Wear purple to honor victims of domestic violence.
Oct. 18 – 6 p.m. appetizers & cocktails – 7 p.m. buffet dinner – Erhardts Waterfront Resort. Jeans and Jewels Benefit Dance and Silent Auction. Please call 253-4401 for tickets and information.

York County
Oct. 1 to 31 – Throughout county and on www.ywca.york.org, Purple ribbon/purple purse campaign, “Violence Is Not Strength” T-shirt sale.
Oct. 1 to 31 – Bell Socialization, York City Library and Child Care Consultants, window displays of child survivors’ artwork.
Oct. 3 to 5 – Old Main Building, York Fairgrounds, WeeUsables outreach and fundraising event (www.weeusablesevent.com/locations/york/)
Oct. 4 – 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – New Grounds Café, 284 West Market St., York, Raising Our Voices poetry/spoken word event hosted by Edquina Washington. (https://newgroundscoffee.com/cafe/events.)
Oct. 5 and 6 – York Expo Center, Women’s Show outreach booth.
Oct. 9 to 20 – 6:30 p.m. – Culinary Arts School, 1063 North George St., York, Dine-Out fundraiser for ACCESS with musical guests Sabrina Duke and Rick Azzaro. Register at www.ywcayork.org under Events.
Oct. 12 – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Empire Beauty School, 2592 Eastern Blvd., Kingston Square Shopping Center, York, Day of Beauty with proceeds benefitting ACCESS.
Oct. 18 – 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. – New Grounds Cafe, 284 West Market St., York, Singing for Survivors music show, a concert to benefit ACCESS-York/VAC/YWCA York (see https://newgroundscoffee.com/cafe/events)
Oct. 25 – 7 p.m. – Asbury Church, 340 E. Market St., York, REACH performance, a play performed by teens about the complex issues of their lives, including abuse, violence, relationships, and hope.


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Domestic Violence Counts

PCADV´s 60 community-based programs assisted 2,308 women, men and children during the 24-hour period of the national census of domestic violence services conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Pennsylvania ranked seventh highest among states in total number of people served on the census day.

"The numbers for this one day alone show just how hard our programs work with limited resources and how great the demand is for these lifesaving services," PCADV Executive Director Peg Dierkers said.

Read more about the census in the full PCADV press release.

Read the full NNEDV report.

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Congress Approves Stronger Violence Against Women Act

For nearly 20 years this bipartisan legislation has been the cornerstone of a comprehensive response to violence against women, bringing sweeping legal reforms and critically needed funding for services for victims of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking here in Pennsylvania and across the nation.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER

The information provided on the PCADV website is intended to help domestic violence victims and advocates better understand and use the legal resources in their communities.

The information provided under this topic is not legal advice, does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is not a substitute for contacting an experienced attorney. While PCADV strives to ensure that all information on this website is current and accurate, PCADV is not legally responsible for the accuracy of the information on the website and/or the various linked websites. PCADV is not responsible for any actions a website user takes as a result of accessing information on the website. Under no circumstances does any information contained in or obtained from any part of PCADV’s website or links to other websites constitute legal advice or form an attorney/client relationship.

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two female advocates

Victim Services Advocates

PCADV and its member programs are here to help victim services advocates assist victims of domestic violence and their families. Call us at 800-932-4632.

Victim services professionals may contact our Legal Department at 888-235-3425 for information about family law and domestic violence law. (This is not a helpline for victims.)

PCADV offers training and technical assistance to Pennsylvania victim services professionals, law enforcement, prosecutors and on the PFA Act, PFA processes and procedures, firearms, domestic violence research, working with domestic violence victims, and other domestic violence-related issues.


Technical Assistance

Technical Assistance (TA) provided to advocates is specialized and tailored to the unique characteristics of each victim/survivor and each county.

  • Systems-Based Victim Advocates: For resources, training or assistance, contact PCADV's Legal Department at 1-888-235-3425 or 717-671-4767.
  • STOP (Services. Training. Officers. Prosecutors.) Teams: contact PCADV's Legal Department at 1-888-235-3425 or 717-671-4767. STOP Funding encourages the development and improvement of effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies to address violent crimes against women and the development and improvement of advocacy and services in cases involving violent crimes against women.

Helping Victims

Victims get better advocacy and access to services when systems-based professionals routinely collaborate with other community programs and refer victims based on specific program strengths. Generally there are two types of advocates who traditionally work with victims/survivors:

  • Community-Based Advocates (also known as Domestic Violence Program Advocates)
  • Systems-Based Victim Advocates (also known as Victim/Witness Advocates)

Each has distinct roles and responsibilities. Understanding these distinctions is essential when assisting victims to navigate the justice system as well as to access comprehensive community services.

Advocacy Approach

Victim-centered advocacy is a team approach recognizing differing roles and responsibilities in a collaborative process. Advocates from domestic violence and victim-witness programs can talk through the needs of a victim (with the victim's consent), collaborate on providing services, and help victims work through the civil and criminal justice systems.

"Domestic Violence Counselor/Advocate" is defined in the Protection From Abuse Act as "an individual associated with a community-based domestic violence program, the primary purpose of which is the rendering of counseling or assistance to victims/survivors of domestic violence."

Autonomy and self-direction by the victim are cornerstones of the domestic violence advocacy approach. Some domestic violence programs also have staff attorneys to offer PFA filing and other comprehensive civil legal services such as custody, divorce and support to victims.

"Victim Witness Advocates" (V/W Advocates) help victims navigate the criminal and juvenile justice systems and advocate for victims within these systems. The V/W advocate's role includes notification of and accompaniment to court-related proceedings, case status updates, and opportunities to comment on case outcomes, as well as victims' rights and offender movement notifications. V/W advocates also have training and tools like victims' compensation and restitution at their fingertips to help victims move toward financial stability and autonomy.

V/W advocates who work within the Office of the District Attorney are bound by their responsibilities to the District Attorney and the Court - which means the justice system outcome may not be the same as that which the victim anticipates. In such cases, the ability of V/W advocates to provide explanations about the criminal and juvenile justice system responses and remedies is critical.

Sometimes, the tools of the justice system may not satisfy the victim and the support of a domestic violence advocate may move victims toward an alternate resolution that better meets their needs. V/W advocates can help victims get comprehensive services by referring to a community-based domestic violence program when a V/W agency is not able to advocate in a way the victim wishes. Making appropriate referrals to the local domestic violence program for confidential counseling, housing, assessment and safety planning helps to build a network of support for domestic violence victims.

Systems advocacy is an incredibly powerful tool that V/W advocates offer to victims. Systems advocacy within the criminal justice system can improve system-wide responses to crime victims through changes in policy and procedures. When there is a foundation of victim-centered practices in a county system and a network of cooperative professionals, positive systems change can occur. It is important that advocates take advantage of every opportunity to build and sustain relationships between justice system advocates, community-based service providers, the business community and local government.

Domestic Violence and Victim/Witness Advocates Help With:

Civil Remedies (Custody, Divorce, Protection From Abuse Order, Support)
There are many civil remedies available to victims of domestic violence and stalking. Local Domestic Violence Programs can provide assistance, information and advocacy about the remedies that best resolve victims' situations. V/W advocates build relationships with neighboring DV Programs to provide the victim with a support system to help them navigate the civil legal system.

Confidentiality
There are differing levels of confidentiality based on training, statutory protections and professional licensing. Domestic Violence and V/W advocates are trained to understand the limits of confidentiality, the protection it provides victims, and when a victim's written consent is necessary. V/W advocates can be honest with victims about the limits of confidentiality.

Counseling
Confidential counseling services are provided by trained counselors at every local domestic violence program at no cost. As systems-based victim services professionals, V/W advocates have the responsibility to offer support to victims navigating the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Victims of domestic violence and stalking often benefit from short-term counseling and sometimes longer-term counseling from the domestic violence program. Collaborating with the domestic violence program can be an opportunity to assist victims in building a network of support.

Housing
Victims of domestic violence and stalking may not feel safe in their homes. This is a very basic need for safety and security that will need to be met before moving forward in any criminal or civil legal proceeding. Domestic violence advocates offer comprehensive, confidential safety planning. All domestic violence programs in Pennsylvania offer short-term housing options (either within county or via an agreement with a neighboring county) to victims of domestic violence and stalking (including men) and their children. Some have longer-terms housing options as well.
The Address Confidentiality Program can also provide options for victims to keep abusers from finding them and their families.

Notification of Offender Status
PA SAVIN (Statewide Automated Victim Information & Notification)
1-866-9PA-SAVIN is a free, confidential and automated service that helps victims, law enforcement, advocates and community members keep up to date on the status of an offender housed in a county jail, state prison or under state parole supervision within the Commonwealth. Registration for automated notifications should only be one part of a comprehensive safety plan for victims of crime.

Safety Planning
Referral is key. Domestic violence and stalking victims need individualized safety plans that meet their needs, which can change over time. At the local domestic violence program, victims work with specially trained professional advocates who can help meet their safety and counseling needs. Domestic violence advocates also have access to comprehensive resources for domestic violence and stalking victims.

Victims Compensation
Pennsylvania Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) 800-233-2339. VCAP can remunerate victims for costs incurred as a result of a crime. Financial awards from compensation programs can reimburse victims for out-of-pocket losses, services required as a result of injuries, counseling fees, as well as a variety of other eligible expenses.

Victims of domestic violence file fewer VCAP claims and receive the smallest dollar amount of award than any other eligible group of crime victims. This is a highly under-used tool for domestic violence survivors, especially those who never access the criminal or juvenile justice systems, that can help them financial compensation and independence from their perpetrators. The filing of a Protection From Abuse order meets the VCAP reporting requirement, a change that opened the door for many more victims/survivors of domestic violence to apply for VCAP. All agencies and individual advocates should provide VCAP information. Different advocates may frame distinct ways in which VCAP can be helpful so it's appropriate for more than one advocate to present it as an option.

Benefits the VCAP program can provide: medical services and prescriptions; counseling; loss of earnings; relocation expenses; and benefits regarding children. Domestic violence victims must know about this resource early (and ongoing) to be able to access all of the potential benefits. Victims also should have the opportunity to consider VCAP benefits as their circumstances may change as well.

Through familiarity with VCAP - the process, rules, and language - V/W advocates can make the VCAP program more readily accessible to victims. Advocates can attend the VCAP Basics Clinic as well as the Domestic Violence Clinic. Office of Victim Services Training Opportunities

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social worker and client

Social Services Professionals

Social services personnel can assume a significant percentage of their client population is or has been affected by current or past abuse.

PCADV and its member programs are here to help social services professionals assist victims of domestic violence and their families.

Call us at 800-932-4632.

Many abused women initially reach out to a variety of other social services providers as they take steps towards alternatives to the abuse, but often do not identify themselves as victims of domestic violence. Yet practitioners seldom screen for abuse or, more importantly, assess the safety needs of the people they see. A fuller understanding of domestic violence, its devastating effects and effective forms of intervention and assistance helps both social services personnel and their clients.

Request staff training on working with children exposed to domestic violence or working with domestic violence survivors.

Get assistance with developing protocols for inter-agency referrals or specific procedures for screening for domestic violence.

Contact our Legal Department at 888-235-3425 for information about family law and domestic violence law. (This is not a helpline for victims.)

Trauma and Mental Health

Lifetime experiences of abuse and violence are common among women seen in mental health settings. The National Association of Social Workers, in The Social Work Response to Domestic Violence suggests that:

"In mental health settings, including substance abuse services, universal domestic violence screening of women and girls should be routine. Abuse has significant, lasting mental health effects that, if left undetected, would hinder care. Domestic violence is a significant risk factor for depression, PTSD, anxiety and substance abuse in women."

Coordinating with Domestic Violence Services

Local domestic violence programs are equipped with an array of free and confidential services. These may include assisting victims in reviewing their options, providing access to legal alternatives for addressing abuse, short and long-term safety planning, providing emergency shelter, peer and/or facilitator-led support groups and/or one-to-one advocacy-focused counseling.

These programs can also be of assistance to social services personnel seeking to provide support to their clients who are victims of abuse.

  • Work with the local domestic violence programs to enhance services and safety for victims in your community:
    • discuss ways to work with a victim who may not be ready to reach out to domestic violence-specific services
    • request cross-training between the domestic violence program and the social services agency to clarify roles and provide opportunities for meaningful, long-term collaboration
    • develop protocols that address referrals and outline each agency's role

Universal Screening

In recent years, universal screening has been embraced by sectors of the medical and social work communities. The concept is simple - routinely ask questions of each of your clients about whether they feel safe at home/in their relationship or if anyone has threatened, abused or made them fearful in some way. PCADV has put together some has simple guidelines and sample questions. Integrating these questions into the conversation may take some practice but is highly effective in reducing the isolation many victims feel and provides the opening for referral to domestic violence services. If a client's response is affirmative, practitioners can engage in some basic safety planning and be prepared to offer referrals to local domestic violence services.

A Word About Couples Counseling

Couples counseling should never be offered if there is violence or the threat of violence present in a relationship. It has proven to be inappropriate, ineffective, and may even heighten the risk of further abuse in relationships where one partner is abusing the other.

For the same reasons, cases where there is domestic violence are NOT cases where Family Group Decision Making should be used. If a practitioner is providing couples counseling, even if both parties request it, best practice in assessing the relationship includes interviewing each party separately and screening for abuse. Contact PCADV at 800-545-6400 or your local domestic violence program for more information.

Couples counseling is beneficial to work on marital problems. Wife battering, however is a violent criminal act, not a marital problem. It is illegal. It is a behavior that is solely the responsibility of the violent person, is chosen by him, and he alone is capable of changing it. This is true regardless of the alleged provocation, since the behavior of one family member cannot compel another family member to be violent. Violent behavior must be addressed and stopped before couple counseling takes place. FaithTrust Institute, Excerpt from A Policy Statement on Domestic Violence Couples Counseling,

Confidentiality

Domestic violence program advocates have an absolute privilege of confidentiality that is outlined in the Protection from Abuse Act. Understanding these constraints and their implications will assure confidential, safe coordination of services can be accomplished through the use of a Release of Information and with the explicit permission of the client.

Working with Batterers

Social services personnel are likely to encounter clients who are the perpetrators of abuse. Successful interventions with batterers will hold them accountable for their behavior and address the safety of the victim of the abuse. Anger and/or stress management do not address the power and control issues batterers often use to justify their abuse and their effectiveness is usually short-term. The abuser can be referred to another mental health professional equipped to work with batterers or to a specialized batterer's treatment program. The local domestic violence program can provide information about batterer intervention services in your area. Contact your local domestic violence program or PCADV at 800-545-6400 for technical assistance or more information about working with batterers.

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Policy Makers

Coming Soon.

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Media

Coming Soon.

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STOP teams in PA

Law Enforcement and Prosecutors

Technical Assistance 1-888-235-3425 or 717-671-4767

PCADV encourages all Pennsylvania law enforcement, prosecutors and victim services providers to contact our legal department for research and resources regarding domestic violence-related civil and criminal laws, enforcement, victim safety and policy/protocol development.

PCADV has assisted Pennsylvania justice system personnel with questions about:

  • Inter-agency coordination of firearms surrender
  • PFA Act enforcement and violations
  • Inter-jurisdictional service of protection orders
  • Stalking and stalking with technology prosecution
  • Custody enforcement and Amber Alert
  • Policy and protocol development

Training and technical assistance is funded by a grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, using funds originating from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

STOP (Services. Training. Officers. Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Program.
The Legal Department's attorneys and advocates provide training and technical assistance to counties in Pennsylvania that receive STOP funding. The STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program encourages the development and improvement of effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies to address violent crimes against women and the development and improvement of advocacy and services in cases involving violent crimes against women. STOP teams generally consist of members of law enforcement, prosecutors, court personnel and victim services providers.

Training

Contact PCADV's Legal Department at 1-888-235-3425 or 717-671-4767 about customized training for your county, region or professional conference.

Recent training topics for Pennsylvania justice system audiences:

  • Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act and Case Law
  • Stalking and Technology
  • State and Federal Firearms Prohibitions
  • Responding to Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Abuse and Stalking in Schools and Through the Justice System
  • Strangulation
  • Primary Aggressor Determination
  • Probable Cause
  • Full Faith and Credit For Protection Orders

Tools from PCADV

Courtroom Evidence: A Resource for the Prosecution of Domestic Violence Cases

Designed in consultation with prosecutors from across Pennsylvania to address important evidentiary issues that are regularly encountered by prosecutors who specialize in domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking cases: 

  • Relevance of Prior Abuse
  • Witness Competency
  • Spousal Privilege
  • Hearsay
  • Confrontation
  • Child Witness Statements
  • Social Media Evidence
  • Experts
  • Special Evidentiary Concerns in Stalking Cases
View this manual in your browser

Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse Order Enforcement Project Manual

The Manual includes research based upon the realities of working with domestic violence victims in Pennsylvania counties. Each chapter represents an area of law that has a significant impact on victim safety and offender accountability. The Manual is designed to provide guidance to those seeking to create a seamless network of responses, resources and services to victims of domestic violence and their children. The Manual is not available electronically, but is available upon request. Please contact PCADV's Legal Department at 1-888-235-3425 or 717-671-4767 to request a copy.

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judge with gavel

Judges and Court Personnel

Technical Assistance 1-888-235-3425 or 717-671-4767


Judges and court personnel are invited to call with questions regarding:

the PFA Act, procedure, forms, enforcement, state and federal firearms law, child custody and domestic violence, domestic violence information and statistics, domestic violence fatalities, court interpreters, compliance with the Federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and other domestic violence statutes and case law.

Recent questions include

  • Custody modification in PFA orders
  • Violation of no-contact PFAs through social network web sites
  • VAWA prohibitions against posting PFA records on government web sites
  • ICC when defendant does not relinquish firearms as ordered
  • Filing of out-of-state protection orders
Training and technical assistance is funded by a grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, using funds originating from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

Training

Contact us about customized training for your county, region or professional conference. Recent training topics:

  • Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act and Case Law
  • Stalking and Technology
  • State and Federal Firearms Prohibitions
  • Responding to Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Abuse and Stalking in Schools and Through the Justice System
  • Strangulation Prosecution and Evidence
  • Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL)
  • Working with Victims, Vicarious Trauma and Burnout

Tools from PCADV

Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Benchbook

Written under the direction of a group of judicial leaders from across Pennsylvania, the Benchbook addresses evidence, pro se litigants, emerging practices in addressing domestic violence, criminal court concerns, teen dating violence and a variety of civil court issues including PFA and custody cases. The Benchbook is intended to provide substantive legal information and tools for trial court judges, and to be a concise and thorough compilation of statutory and case law related to domestic violence. Revisions as well as new chapters are written to keep the Benchbook current with Pennsylvania and federal laws. The Benchbook is not available electronically, but is provided to Pennsylvania trial and appellate court judges upon request. Contact jswiontek@pcadv.org.

The Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse Act Annotated

The PFA Act Annotated contains the full text of the Act, 23 Pa.C.S. sections 6101 - 6123, and appellate case law annotations within the applicable sections. The PFA Annotated also describes cases relevant to the PFA Act's relationship with other proceedings: custody, divorce, dependency. Cases are also indexed by relevant section.

The Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse Act

The full text of the Act, 23 Pa.C.S. sections 6101 - 6123

Newsletters

  • Download pdfMay 2013

    Safety in the Courtroom, for Court Personnel, for Litigants, Jurors, Witnesses and the Public - Best Practices for Court Safety - Safety Outside the Courthouse - Unified Judicial System Safety Recommendations for PFA Hearings - Can a Defendant Violate a No Contact Order By Speaking With the Plaintiff at the Courthouse?

    7.35 Meg | 10/1/2013
  • Download pdfApril 2013

    In Camera Review Ruled Unconstitutional - Altering Temporary Protection From Abuse Procedure to Meet Due Process: Ferko-Fox v. Fox Ruling and Implementation

    2.74 Meg | 4/26/2013
  • Download pdfApril 2013

    In Camera Review of Temp PFA Ruled Unconstitutional - Ferko-Fox v. Fox, 2013 PA Super 88 (April 17, 2013). - Map of TPFA procedures by county

    2.7 Meg | 4/26/2013
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looking at xray

Health Care Providers

Domestic violence is both a personal and community health issue. Domestic violence affects all ages, encompassing child abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse.

1. As many as 40% of all women who seek care in hospital emergency rooms for violence-related injuries have been injured by a current or former partner.
2. Estimates of the prevalence of domestic violence against pregnant women range from 7% to 20%.
3. Children of mothers who experience prenatal physical domestic violence are at an increased risk of exhibiting aggressive, anxious, depressed or hyperactive behavior.
4. People and children with disabilities are significantly more likely to become victims of violence, abuse, or neglect than people without disabilities.

Cites: (1) T.M. Nappi et al. 2004. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women's Health. Domestic Violence: A Guide to Screening and Intervention. 3. (2) Id. (3) Whitaker, RC, Orzol, SM, Kahn, RS. 2006. Maternal Mental Health, Substance Use, and Domestic Violence in the Year After Delivery and Subsequent Behavior Problems in Children at Age 3 Years. Archive of General Psychiatry. 63: 551-560. (4) http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/relatedconditions.html.

PCADV and its member programs encourage health care providers to take steps to address domestic violence - and we are here to help. Call us at 800-932-4632.

  • Find brochures or palm cards for the waiting areas.
  • Request training for providers on healthcare and domestic violence.
  • Locate state and local resources for victims of domestic violence.
  • Contact our Health Education Specialist at 800-932-4632 to find a domestic violence medical advocate in your county for information, support and training.

Acute and Long-Term Consequences

Medical emergencies and ongoing abuse can lead to long-term health problems. Some issues include, but are not limited to, physical, emotional, and mental trauma; anxiety, depression and other mental health issues; neglect; special risks associated with pregnancy; child abuse; drug and alcohol addiction; rape, sexual coercion, and non-consensual pregnancies; sexually transmitted infections; traumatic brain injury; withholding, delaying, or misusing needed equipment and medication; and health issues that stem from homelessness or a significantly compromised quality of life.

Be a Pro-Active Provider

Health care providers can play a critical role in preventing and intervening in the dangerous, even fatal, patterns of domestic violence. The Pennsylvania Department of Welfare's 2010 Domestic Violence Task Force acknowledges:

The health care system has a vital role to play in bringing about social and institutional changes to end domestic violence.

A brief screening process for every patient regardless of gender, race, age, sexuality, religion, nationality, profession, or economic status can make a critical difference for adults, teens, and children who live with or are at risk for abuse.

Health care providers are usually the first and sometimes last contact a victim of violence encounters. Talking with patients about domestic violence provides a valuable opportunity for providers to learn about their experiences with abuse. Battered women report that one of the most important aspects of their interactions with a physician was being listened to about the abuse. July 2010 Report of the Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Task Force, Pennsylvania Department of Welfare,

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that physicians screen ALL patients for intimate partner violence by making the following statement and asking these three simple questions:

"Because violence is so common in many women's lives and because there is help available for women being abused, I now ask every patient about domestic violence:
1. Within the past year -- or since you have been pregnant -- have you been hit, slapped, kicked or otherwise physically hurt by someone?
2. Are you in a relationship with a person who threatens or physically hurts you?
3. Has anyone forced you to have sexual activities that made you feel uncomfortable?"

Use the acronym RADAR, as explained below.
R = Routinely Screen Patients
A = Ask Direct Question - So the patient can answer "yes" or "no"
D = Document Your Findings
A = Assess Patient Safety
R = Review Options and Referrals

Documenting signs of abuse in a patient's medical record provides information for future visits that may cast light on chronic conditions and behavioral health issues.

Providers can refer patients who are abused by their intimate partners or family members to their local domestic violence program, hospital or clinic domestic violence medical advocate, to discuss safety planning and options.

One barrier to screening that practitioners report is a feeling that their intervention will not be effective or the patient will not leave the abuser. Leaving an abuser is a process, one in which a victim assesses safety, financial and legal resources, timing, family and other support before successfully separating. A year after separating finds most victims safer, but retaliatory violence (even homicide) is a documented concern. Education about abusers' behavior, as well as training on recognizing, screening and appropriately referring patients for domestic violence, help to boost staff confidence in their interventions.

PCADV offers a Health Care Provider Training Evaluation Tool Kit for those who would like to assess training needs in the area of domestic violence.

Trauma-Informed Approach

A trauma-informed model for health care services acknowledges the complex and overlapping circumstances in the lives of many patients, and PCADV supports this methodology as the Best Practices approach.

The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health has information and technical assistance for working with those who live with intimate partner, family, or dating abuse.

PCADV Works to Assist Providers to Care for Families Affected by Violence

  • PCADV is an active supporter of legislation to protect women's and children's healthcare options.
  • PCADV serves on the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare Domestic Violence Task Force with other statewide entities to develop a coordinated, integrated response to domestic violence in the Commonwealth.
  • PCADV domestic violence medical advocates provide technical assistance and training to healthcare providers helping domestic violence victims and their families. To find a medical advocate near you, call 800-932-4632.
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religious symbol rainbow

Faith Leaders

"If the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being of the woman is intact, so too is that of the family, community and society."
Indigenous Proverb

How Faith Leaders Can Help

When religion and faith are part of deeply held beliefs, the support of a faith leader is vital to the safety and overall well being of domestic violence victims. Sometimes, helpers feel as though they are not doing enough, but they fail to realize that a non-judgmental kind word or gesture is often the key to making another person feel valued and cared for. Linking victims to the local domestic violence program is of critical importance and may be offering them a lifeline.

Plan for addressing abuse in your faith community

  • Learn about the issues around battering and domestic violence. It is essential to know the dynamics, facts, barriers to leaving/getting help, impact on children and the roots of the violence. The domestic violence program in your area is an excellent resource.
  • In speaking to your congregation and others, encourage serious reflection on why and how domestic violence is a religious problem.
  • In shaping your approach for addressing domestic violence with your congregation, keep in mind:
    • Most people are not aware of the obstacles victims face when they seek help. Nor do they understand the legal, financial, and emotional traps that bind someone in the violent relationship.
    • Resources for abusers who seek counseling to change their abusive behavior are limited. You can contact the local domestic violence program (Find_help/in_pa) for assistance in locating one near you.
    • It is important to consider the impact of witnessing domestic violence and the extent of emotional and perhaps physical violence on children in these relationships.
    • Domestic violence happens in same gender relationships too.
    • Pursue collaborative leadership. People need vision and guidance and it can be provided best by those who have knowledge and experience in the field. The local domestic violence program (Find_help/in_pa) offers a variety of FREE and CONFIDENTIAL services to victims, as well as support, education and materials for non-abusing family members or others in the community. Religious leaders can in turn offer education about the tenets of their faith to domestic violence advocates so they are fully prepared to provide support to victims who draw comfort from their beliefs.

Don´t Wait To Take Action

Don't wait for someone to be in crisis. Directly address domestic violence as an issue of concern for your faith community. Make it clear that anyone can talk with you about violence in the family or relationship.

(1) Help the entire religious community be more aware of the issue.

(2) Make a library of books available to your church, temple or mosque. (Ask the local domestic violence program for suggestions.)

(3) Abusers often use scripture and religious tenets to justify their actions. Faith leaders can be prepared in advance with excerpts from areas of scripture that neither support nor justify abuse.

(4) Invite a speaker from the domestic violence program to offer a program on domestic violence at your church, temple or mosque.

(5) Incorporate this issue into sermons, religious school and other classes.

(6) Share applicable areas of scripture throughout your congregation and religious community.

(7) Post information about domestic violence resources in your buildings, mailings and videos.

(8) Provide resources, pamphlets and information from the local domestic violence program.

(9) Collaborate with the local domestic violence program in serving as a spiritual resource to victims needing that form of support.

(10) Encourage members of your congregation to volunteer or support the local domestic violence program.

Some Considerations for Faith Leaders about Domestic Violence in Rural Communities

Victims of domestic violence who live in rural areas face special challenges. While all batterers tend to isolate their victims from friends and options, for victims in rural areas, this isolation is often even more severe. They may live miles from their nearest neighbor, friend or family member. Lack of available child care, few job opportunities, inadequate public transportation, distance from shelters and services, poverty and economic dependence are just some of the barriers that can make escaping a violent relationship even harder for rural women.

Faith leaders can help lessen the isolation and facilitate contact with a local domestic violence program by developing a safe home network, where victims in crisis can go temporarily, until they can make contact with the local domestic violence program. Providing childcare while they make phone calls or offering transportation to court hearings or counseling sessions are other ways to mitigate some of the challenges. Addressing the issue of economic dependence on the abuser is vital.

In small towns, it can seem as if everybody knows everyone else, especially the faith leader, congregation members and legal system personnel. The lack of anonymity and confidentiality makes it more difficult for victims of abuse to come forward and seek help. It is important for faith leaders to recognize this and create an environment that offers maximum privacy and unwavering support to the victim. In rural communities, faith leaders can be the first to take a strong public stance against domestic violence.

A close relationship between faith leaders, law enforcement and domestic violence program staff is essential, especially taking into consideration the limited resources often found in rural communities. If these professionals are continually working together, they will be better prepared to assist victims of domestic violence through the difficult process of dealing with the violence in their lives.

The following issues often arise and are inherent in situations of domestic violence:

  • Escalation of abuse and violence, possibly life-threatening
  • The victim's sense of shame and humiliation
  • Issues of trust and betrayal, particularly as they relate to our capacity for a relationship to a Higher Power
  • The need for others to provide and for victims to accept help in healing the wounds.
  • The need for abusers to accept responsibility and be accountable for the violence.
  • Time and space for a victim to mourn the end of a relationship
  • The need to integrate the experience of battering with religious beliefs

Adapted from "A Theological Perspective on Sexual Assault" by Mary D. Pellauer, In Sexual Assault and Abuse: A Handbook for Clergy and Religious Professionals, 1991.

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Diverse group of people

Employers

Not Just At Home

The workplace is one more place where abusers attempt to stalk, harass, threaten and injure victims. Even abuse that occurs off-site affects the workplace in terms of reduced productivity, health care costs, absenteeism, and worker safety. Violence at the workplace is a safety risk to victims and co-workers.

Perpetrators use workplace resources to express remorse or anger, check up on, pressure, or threaten the victim. Sabotaging a partner's job performance is one strategy abusers use to keep victims economically dependent and under their control. Work may be the only resource an employee has left, particularly if the abuser has succeeded in cutting off other sources of support.

21% of full-time employed adult respondents (one in five) to a 2005 survey identified themselves as victims of intimate partner violence and most indicated that their ability to work was affected by the violence.

More facts and stats on the workplace impact of domestic violence

Statistics: The Impact of Interpersonal Violence on the Workplace (Legal Momentum)

Prevent Hidden Costs

By choosing to proactively address domestic violence in the workplace, employers can:

  • Enhance workplace safety
  • Increase employee productivity and morale
  • Decrease absenteeism and turnover
  • Create a powerful, positive impact in the community
  • Implement effective prevention and intervention strategies

It´s too personal.

Employers and supervisors don't want to lose valued workers, but they often fear getting involved in their employees' personal lives. Yet, addressing domestic violence doesn't mean opening a counseling service.

Responding to domestic violence means raising awareness and establishing policies:
- adopting domestic violence policies and procedures,
- coordinating with the Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) (likely already in place)
- sponsoring training on domestic violence for staff.

By planning in advance, and learning how and when to intervene, business can build a safe place for employees to concentrate on the job. In many cases, early intervention can prevent an incident of violence that could devastate the entire workplace.

Employers can make a difference.

Numerous corporations, government agencies, and individual employers are already addressing domestic violence and making the tools they have used available to other employers.

Organizations helping employers to address domestic violence:

PCADV and its member programs encourage employers to take steps to address domestic violence in the workplace - and we are here to help. Call us at 800-932-4632.


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Educators

One in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime.

What this means is that there can be many more children who witness, experience and in some cases perpetrate this violence.

Teachers, guidance counselors, and school administrators are in a unique position to observe, guide and influence children's learning experiences and perceptions of the world around them. For children experiencing or witnessing domestic violence, home is not a safe place. Behaviors among children witnessing or experiencing domestic violence can vary, and for many there can be no outward signs. Some children, however, may act out the stress and fear they experience at home.

Behavioral signs of violence in the home may come out as oppositional, anxious, bullying or people pleasing. Teenagers may also experience battering in a dating relationship. At the very least, children and teens are often compromised in their ability to fully experience school life.

Educators can raise their knowledge, awareness and skill in assessing and screening for domestic violence by developing educational partnerships with their local domestic violence program. This can include opportunities to:

PCADV and its member programs encourage educators to take steps to assist children and families affected by domestic violence - and we are here to help. Call us at 800-932-4632.

  • Request professional training on working with children exposed to domestic violence, teen dating violence and other topics.
  • Locate state and local resources for victims of domestic violence.
  • Contact our Legal Department at 888-235-3425 for information about family law and domestic violence law. (This is not a helpline for victims.)
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Intense Young Professionals

Attorneys

Technical Assistance 1-888-235-3425 or 717-671-4767

The Legal Department's attorneys and trainers provide training and technical assistance to any attorney who is assisting a survivor of domestic violence. Topics can include the Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act and procedures, PFA case law and updates, child custody, support, divorce, housing, appellate practice, safety and technology, state and federal firearms laws and cases, compliance with the Federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and domestic violence resources.

Attorney training and technical assistance is funded by a grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and the Office on Violence Against Women Legal Assistance to Victims. Our services are confidential.

Attorneys may call with any question related to representation or assistance to a victim of domestic violence. For legal resources, training or assistance, contact PCADV's Legal Department at 1-888-235-3425 or 717-671-4767. (This is not a victim helpline.)

Scroll down for Upcoming Training & Webinar Announcements

Training

Contact PCADV's Legal Department at 1-888-235-3425 or 717-671-4767 about customized training for your practice, law school or professional conference.

Recent training topics for Pennsylvania law audiences:

  • Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act and Case Law
  • Stalking and Technology - Evidence
  • State and Federal Firearms Prohibitions
  • Appellate Practice and Custody Appeals
  • Advocating for Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence

Tools

The Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act PCADV, 2010 contains the full text of the Act, 23 Pa.C.S. sections 6101 - 6123.

The Pennsylvania PFA Act Annotated contains the full text of the Act, 23 Pa.C.S. sections 6101 - 6123, and appellate case law annotations within the applicable sections. The PFA Annotated also describes cases relevant to the PFA Act's relationship with other proceedings: custody, divorce, and dependency. Cases are also indexed by relevant section.

STOP Newsletters

STOP (Services. Training. Officers. Prosecutors) e-Newsletter
The STOP Program encourages the development and improvement of effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies to address violent crimes against women and children. PCADV is awarded grants to provide training and technical assistance to STOP team members, including law enforcement, prosecutors, courts and victim services providers. The STOP Newsletter contains articles about the Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act, technology and safety advocacy, stalking, firearms, primary aggressor and related issues. It is distributed free to email subscribers on a quarterly basis.

Sign up to receive the STOP e-Newsletter
Visit STOP Newsletter archives

Addressing Discriminatory Housing Barriers For Victims of Domestic Violence: A Toolkit for Attorneys

This toolkit provides information, tips, and referrals for attorneys helping domestic violence survivors to:

  • Establish grounds to challenge an actual or threatened eviction
  • Obtain or prevent the loss of public housing or assistance
  • Institute a federal or state action for damages on behalf of a client

Conference: Developing Trauma-Informed Systems Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trauma Informed Systems Meet Survivors' Needs

Host: The Women’s Resource Center and Barbara J. Hart Justice Center, a project of the WRC Announces Conference 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:30 A.M. – 3:30 P.M.
At Marywood University, Scranton PA

Audience: Counselors, Educators, Lawyers, Social Workers, Legal Professionals

Brochure with Registration Information

Survivors of trauma and childhood adversity have social service, health, mental
health, and criminal and civil justice issues that bring them into all of our human service delivery systems. But these systems are not well-prepared to address the
implications of this new scientifically-grounded knowledge about the impact
of trauma and adversity.

This seminar will bring together Dr. Sandra Bloom, a psychiatrist with expertise in the development of trauma-informed systems; Carol Tracy, Esq., Executive
Director of the Women’s Law Project; and Robert Reed, Esq., Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney to, describe what it means to have a trauma-informed system.

CLE’s and CEU’s available to Judges, lawyers, law enforcement, educators, social workers, advocates and counselors.

Related Documents

Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges, National Institute of Justice, June 2009. Describes to practitioners what the research tells us about domestic violence, including its perpetrators and victims, the impact of current responses to it and, more particularly, the implications of that research for day-to-day, real-world responses to domestic violence by law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges.

Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Research Reviews by Joan S. Meier, VAWnet National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, 2009. This Applied Research Forum paper provides a historical and research overview of PAS and PA, identifies strategic issues for advocates working with abused women and children, and offers guidelines to improve courts' treatment of these issues.

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Professional Resources

PCADV and its member programs encourage professionals to take steps to assist children and families affected by domestic violence and we are here to help. Call us at 800-932-4632.

Request professional training or contact Tracy Griffith, Training Institute Manager, at 1-800-932-4632 or training@pcadv.org to discuss how PCADV can customize training for your group.

Find state and local resources for victims of domestic violence

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STATE PLAN

Coming Soon.

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Videos

These videos address dating or domestic violence prevention, gender and media, LGBTQ issues and digital/online abuse.

Most blend issues of:

Primary prevention: stopping violence before it starts - examining healthy relationships and gender stereotypes with

Secondary prevention: addressing dating violence as it happens - examining bystander behavior and how to get help.

Dating Violence/Relationships

1 is 2 Many

Target Audience: General Public
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden join with Eli Manning, Jeremy Lin, Jimmy Rollins, Eva Longoria, David Beckham, Joe Torre and Andy Katz in this June 2012 PSA to raise awareness about dating violence. Despite the real progress made in reducing violence against women, young women continue to face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault. This campaign focuses on reducing violence against women specifically on teens and young women ages 16-24. View PSA

Break The Cycle (BTC) – Assorted PSAs and videos

Target Audience: Teens, Early College, Professionals
BTC has several PSAs and other short video clips available to assist young people to build lives and communities free from domestic and dating violence. Can be used with Respect Works! curricula (Combines Hazelden’s Safe Dates with BTC’s School Policy Kit -Ending Violence and Speak.Act.Change!: Youth Advocacy Kit)
Video List
Video Clip
When You See Something, Should You Say Something? Video View

The Dating Bill of Rights

Target Audience: High School, Early College
Dating is an important part of becoming an adult. But it can also be confusing and frightening. This Emmy Award-winning program looks at common myths, such as "no" really means, "yes." Abuse and respect, sexual stereotypes, how to break up, and preventing violence are all discussed, along with what love is … and is not. Purchase info

Relationships That Hurt

Target Audience: 6th Grade +
This program explores how abusers use violence and separate their partners from friends and family in order to gain complete control. Real teens talk about what they think abuse is and why they may be at risk for abuse in romantic relationships. Experts explain how teens often don't tell anyone if they are victims of abuse because they are ashamed, or they don't want their parents stepping in to tell them what to do. Teens are told how to get help for themselves, and how to help a friend who is being abused. While girls are by far the most often abused, the fact that boys also can be victims of dating abuse is discussed. Purchase info

Digital & Online Abuse

A Thin Line

Target Audience: Parents and other influential adults
Shows, contests and online tools are aimed at halting the spread of sexting and cyberbullying. A Thin Line can be used as a talking tool to open up a conversation on digital abuse, test awareness, and help encourage action on the issue at home or in school. Offers access to additional resources and curricula that can be paired with the videos and PSAs (in the Start A Conversation section). Website for teens Resources for grownups

That’s Not Cool Education Campaign – Futures Without Violence

Target Audience: Teens/Tweens
This campaign uses examples of pressure and control that occur online and via cell phone. It then encourages young people to draw their own lines about what’s okay, or not okay, in relationships. View website

Domestic Violence

Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America

Target Audience: Allied Professionals, Advocates, Law Enforcement, General Public
These domestic violence videos cover a broad range of topics, touching on most of the important aspects of domestic abuse. Most interviews run about five minutes. The transcripts are also available either as a web page or PDF document. Scores of people whose lives have been touched by domestic abuse were interviewed. While most of the story takes place in Minnesota, filming also occurred in New York and Baltimore. Those interviewed included survivors and batterers, cops and prosecutors, doctors and nurses, advocates and early leaders of the battered women’s movement. Browse/view

Gender & Media

Game Over: Gender, Race and Violence in Video Games

Target Audience: High School, College
This educational documentary addresses the fastest growing segment of the media. Viewers look at video games while discussing questions about gender, race and violence. ?It offers conversations about the difficult topic of video game violence, and is set up to encourage high school and college students to think seriously about the video games they play. Purchase info

Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes

Target Audience: 9th Grade +
This film provides a look at manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. Director Byron Hurt uses the documentary to evaluate alarming trends in the world of rap music. He honors hip-hop while challenging the rap music industry to take responsibility for encouraging destructive, deeply conservative stereotypes of manhood. Mr. Hurt is a former star college quarterback, longtime hip-hop fan, and gender violence prevention educator. View

Killing Us Softly 3

Target Audience: 9th Grade +
Jean Kilbourne continues her groundbreaking study of advertising's images of women in this most recent update of her Killing Us Softly series. She picks apart a number of print and television advertisements to show a pattern of negative gender stereotypes. Viewers are challenged to consider the relationship between advertising and broader issues of culture, identity, sexism, and gender violence. Purchase info

Media Education Foundation

Target Audience: Varies
This exciting new media literacy tool, uses videos about racially diverse issues and examples. Students (both males and females) are led to evaluate for themselves how they participate in maintaining cultural expectations that can lead to violence. Browse

Spin the Bottle: Sex, Lies and Alcohol

Target Audience: 9th Grade +
This film shows that current culture highly encourages extreme drinking and high-risk behaviors. Jackson Katz and Jean Kilbourne show how drinking alcohol affects the lives of real young men and women. They show the power and influence that media images have in shaping gender identity, which is linked to the use of alcohol. Purchase info

Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity

Target Audience: 9th Grade +
Jackson Katz argues that male violence needs to be understood and addressed as part of a larger cultural context about what it means to be a man. Whether he's looking at bullying and school shootings or gay bashing, sexual assault, and violence against women, Katz makes a powerful case that male violence, misogyny, and homophobia are linked to how we define manhood. Purchase or streaming info

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ)

It Takes a Team: Making Sports Safe for LGBT Athletes and Coaches

Target Audience: Teens, Early College, Coaches and other professionals in a school setting
This educational "kit" includes a 15-minute video, a discussion and resource guide, an informational poster, and colorful "Safe Space" stickers. It can help coaches/teachers, parents, and school administrators educate students and athletes about the harmful effects of homophobia. It asks the question, "How can we make sure that people in athletics are valuated, not based on their sexual orientation or gender expression, but on their individual character and accomplishments?" The DVD includes the video and digital versions of the educational materials for easy printing. Purchase info Can be used with Coaching Boys Into Men curricula

Ugly Ducklings - Hardy Girls, Healthy Women (HGHW)

Target Audience: Young women, Teachers, Counselors, Parents or other adult influencers, General Public
This multi-media resource is designed to educate and inspire people to take action against the bullying of LGBTQ youth. The documentary film highlights homophobia, bullying and harassment. It weaves together scenes from a play along with interviews with female actors, parents and local experts on gender issues. The play also focuses on issues that lead some to suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. Purchase info
Can be used with these curricula: HGHW From Adversaries to Allies and On Becoming a Muse

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Resources About Prevention Curricula

There are many different types of curricula and campaigns for dating and domestic violence prevention in schools and communities. Primary prevention curricula offer information and activities that can help change social norms and stop violence before it happens. Secondary and Tertiary curricula offer information and activities that address the effects of violence once it has occurred or attempts to stop violence from happening again.

Prevention curricula can be brought to communities for teens, youth, young adults, educators, school staff and parents. Several resources are designed to be used specifically in workplaces, faith communities, neighborhoods and sports settings, to name a few.

PCADV’s prevention team conducted thorough curriculum reviews that took into account evidence-based research and identifies guiding principles for effective programs. Curriculum and campaigns targeted toward youth in schools and non school-based settings and materials designed to engage men and boys were prioritized for review. Please see PCADV’s curriculum page for more information on prevention curricula, guiding principles as well as literature and program reviews.

Prevention Curricula for Engaging Men and Boys
Prevention Curricula for Youth
Prevention Curricula for School-Based Settings

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Resources About Healthcare and Primary Prevention

Many healthcare providers understand the impact of domestic violence from screening patients and treating the aftermath of relationship abuse. Relationships affect your patients' health. How can healthcare providers help to prevent domestic violence from happening in the first place?

Invest in Prevention During Routine Office Visits

It can be as simple as talking to youth and young adults about healthy relationships and fostering a norm that relationships should not be violent. According to the Prevention Institute, it’s a matter of adding an emphasis on primary prevention.

  • During routine healthcare visits, do a “health and lifestyle survey,” ask - What do you and your friends like to do? Are you dating someone? What do you and that person enjoy doing? What do your friends think about the person you’re dating?
  • Engage expectant fathers as well as mothers about healthy families, good communication and support for each other.
  • Have materials about healthy relationships, such as posters and palm cards in the office.
  • Make sure the office is a safe and reliable place to talk about healthy relationships as well as unhealthy ones.
  • Create an ongoing relationship with the local domestic violence program, and their medical advocate, for referrals and staff questions and training on primary prevention strategies.
  • Invite the local domestic violence program advocates to train and prepare staff to discuss questions about relationships.
  • Partner with the local domestic violence program, family planning organization, and school nurses on a community task force dedicated to youth programs and campaigns that engage men and boys, expectant fathers, and send healthy relationship messages.

Resources

The Violence Prevention Page at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has more information on primary prevention strategies for violence as a public health problem, including definitions, survey and research summaries, as well as a Teen Dating Violence Factsheet.

Futures Without Violence has innovative projects, toolkits and many resources to assist healthcare practitioners including posters, handouts, policy papers and recommendations:
Is Your Relationship Affecting your Health? guides patients to assess their relationships. (Palm card in English, Spanish and Chinese)
Hanging Out or Hooking Up Clinical Guidelines on Responding to Adolescent Relationship Abuse: An Integrated Approach to Prevention and Intervention, focuses on potential for the adolescent health care provider to prevent, identify and address adolescent relationship abuse. It is a great resource for pediatricians, family practices, and family planning clinics.
Hanging Out or Hooking Up Palm Card for patients. This card encourages all teens to consider how their boyfriend/girlfriend treats them, identify dynamics of healthy relationships and signs that may indicate abuse. The card also explores how teens can handle excessive text messaging, pressure to have sex and ability to use birth control. Tips are provided to those wanting to support a friend who may be facing relationship abuse.
More tools for health practitioners from Futures Without Violence

Men Can Stop Rape has a variety of tools and resources on engaging men and boys. The website has information on the Strength Campaign, MOST Clubs and other tools for engaging young men to prevent violence against women. “My Strength Is Not For Hurting” and other handouts and posters are appropriate for rooms where providers see young men who are dating and sexually active.

Recommended Readings: Health Consequences of Domestic Violence

Assessing, Intervening, and Preventing Children’s Exposure to Violence, Davis, M & Dempsey S. (2012). Family Violence Prevention and Health Practice, An E-Journal of Futures Without Violence.

Basile, K.C. & Smith, S.G. (2011) Sexual Violence Victimization of Women: Prevalence, Characteristics, and the Role of Public Health and Prevention Violence Prevention and Lifestyle Medicine: An Imperative for All Healthcare Practitioners, 5(5), 407-417.

Recommended Readings: Implementing Primary Prevention Strategies in Healthcare Settings

Before It Occurs: Primary Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, Prevention Institute

Clinical Preventative Services for Women: Closing the Gaps:

Black, M.C. Intimate Partner Violence and Adverse Health Consequences: Implications for Clinicians in Violence Prevention and Lifestyle Medicine: An Imperative for All Healthcare Practitioners, September/October 2011, vol. 5 no. 5 428-439.

Opportunities for Prevention: Addressing IPV in the Healthcare Setting, Ann L. Coker, PhD

Violence Prevention and Lifestyle Medicine: An Imperative for All Health Care Practitioners, special edition of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, September/October 2011.

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religious communities can prevent domestic violence coexist

Faith-Based Programs

Faith-Leaders Play a Key Role in Stopping Domestic Violence

Faith leaders have a unique opportunity to promote primary prevention messages throughout their community. Fulfilling the responsibility for the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of members, a faith-leader can:

  • Speak out against domestic violence – make it a part of a sermon
  • Address behaviors that help condone violence against women and girls
  • Promote attitudes that contribute to equality in relationships

Faith communities have a tremendous influence in people’s lives and can use it to engage in prevention strategies:

  • Challenge behaviors that lead to domestic violence
  • Offer a framework for social justice – a culture free of violence
  • Partner with the local domestic violence program to assist with their prevention efforts
  • Use holidays and special events to raise awareness of domestic violence and send messages that counter it and promote peace and equality within relationships

The Support of a Faith Leader is Key to the Safety of Victims

When religion or faith is a deeply-held belief, faith leaders can be a resource for victims who are trying to understand what is happening to them and plan for their future safety. A faith leader can:

  • Help victims explore ways to escape a partner's violence and abuse.
  • Help those who abuse take responsibility for their actions.

Resources (Primarily Intervention-Focused)

It seems that many domestic and sexual violence prevention programs for religious and spiritual settings are focused on Intervention (after the violence has happened), rather then Primary Prevention (before the violence occurs). Such intervention efforts also tend to engage the faith leader rather than the entire faith community. But some organizations are also working toward ending the violence before it starts.

American Jewish World Service – Their Advocacy Work is inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, and works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world.

Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC) focuses on the unique circumstances and life experiences of African Americans as they seek resources and remedies related to the victimization and perpetration of domestic violence in their communities. IDVAAC recognizes the impact and high correlation of intimate partner violence to child abuse, elder maltreatment, and community violence.

Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls – through economic literacy; community training; healthy relationship education; and the proliferation of women’s leadership. Innovative programs, advocacy and philanthropic initiatives protect the fundamental rights of all girls and women to live in safe homes, thrive in healthy relationships, and realize the full potential of their personal strength.

The Faith Trust Institute has an extensive bibliography (search for "primary prevention." It is a resource for congregations, clergy and other religious leaders, secular and faith advocates, counselors, victims and survivors or others seeking understanding of religious issues and sexual and domestic violence. The Institute can also provide faith leaders with guidance on sermon content.

The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women (VAWnet) Special Collection, Religion and Domestic Violence contains numerous resources for use by faith-leaders.

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence has its Religion and DV: Let's Talk About God resource for use by advocates.

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How to evaluate your program

Evaluation

Evaluation is an important way to sustain and grow prevention work. Unless you can find ways to evaluate and measure your program’s impact, your success may be ultimately unproven, and it may be harder to obtain future funding. Evaluation can measure intended outcomes that may ultimately benefit both funder and grantee.

Evaluations can prove to funders that the:
• Work builds data and creates results
• Projects are high quality
• Grantee is invested in building a case for future social change

It is important to choose evaluation strategies that can accurately measure the program's intended outcomes. As you can see from the resources below, program evaluation is a science in and of itself.


Contact the PCADV Prevention Team for help planning or conducting a program evaluation at 800-932-4632

Basic evaluation includes the following components:

  • Needs Assessment – determine what needs existed before the program began and describe how the program served those needs. Be sure to consider the needs in the context of the characteristics of the group/community served. (Theoretically, the needs assessment should be done before the start of the program and would determine appropriate strategies and approaches.)
  • Process – Describe the strategy any why it was the best way to the reach the target group(s).
  • Outcome – Establish whether the process worked. Describe how the strategy worked or what factors presented challenges to it. Measure and/or describe the outcomes – what happened and how you can prove it. Determine if anything should be changed to improve future outcomes.

Resources

Academy for Educational Development Center for Community-Based Health Strategies (2002). Process Evaluation as a Quality Assurance Tool.

Balzer, L. (n.d.). The Evaluation Portal

Center for Theory of Change Assorted Resources

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention A Framework for Program Evaluation (2012)

Cox PJ, Keener D, Woodard T & Wandersman, A. (2009) Evaluation for Improvement: A Seven Step Empowerment Evaluation Approach for Violence Prevention Organization

Fisher D, Lang KS & Wheaton J. (2010). Training Professionals in the Primary Prevention of Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence: A Planning Guide (Rev.)

Thompson MP, Basile KC, Hertz MF & Sitterle D. (2006) Measuring Intimate Partner Violence Victimization and Perpetration: A Compendium of Assessment Tools. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

Thornton TN, Craft CA, Dahlberg LL, Lynch BS & Baer K. (2002). Best Practices of Youth Violence Prevention: A Sourcebook for Community Action (Rev.)

Chapman, A. (2013). Experience-Based Learning - Guide to Facilitating Effective Experiential Learning activities.

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. (2009) Strategic Prevention Framework

Davis R, Fujie Parks L & Cohen, L. (2010) Sexual Violence and the Spectrum of Prevention: Towards a Community Solution. Enola: National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Free Resources for Program Evaluation and Social Research Methods

Fullwood C. (2002) Preventing Family Violence Lessons From the Community Engagement Initiative. Family Violence Prevention Fund (now Futures Without Violence)

Imm, P, Wandersman, A, Rosenbloom, D, Guckenburg, S and Leis, R. (2007). Preventing Underage Drinking: Using Getting To Outcomes™ with the SAMHSA Strategic Prevention Framework to Achieve Results

Lavoie F, Vezina L, Piche C & Boivin, M. (1995). Evaluation of a Prevention Program for Violence in Teen Dating Relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Retrieved May 15, 2013.

Point K Learning Center Advocacy Evaluation Resources

Reisman, J, Gienapp, A and Stachowaik, S. (2007). A Guide for Measuring Advocacy and Policy

Surveygizmo – Online survey templates

The California Endowment Evaluation Toolbox. (2010). Storytelling Approaches to Program Evaluation: An Introduction

University of Iowa Extension (2004). Focus Group Fundamentals: Methodology Brief

University of Wisconsin Extension – Evaluation Resources
Questionnaire Design
Program Development and Evaluation
Course on logic models

W. K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Resources

Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas. (2013). The Community Toolbox

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Resources About Engaging Men and Boys

How can men and boys make a difference in the global movement to prevent dating and domestic violence against women and girls? How can they step in when they witness violence or hear negative talk about women in their families, schools or communities?

Many people are reaching out to boys and men to influence their behaviors. It’s important for boys and men together to talk about and learn ways to get involved in preventing dating and domestic violence.

Engaging men and boys means learning:

• What healthy relationships and healthy communication look like
• Respect for women and girls
• Skills and knowledge for modeling respectful behavior with other men and boys
• “Responsible bystander” skills and behavior
• Skills for becoming a leader in a community or in a school to create programs and policies that can change behaviors and attitudes
• Effective campaign strategies and messages that create lasting change in a community – by changing the norms that allow domestic violence to happen

Explore these organizations and people

working in the US and across the globe to reach out and get boys and men involved in preventing and ending domestic and dating violence:

A Call to Men: National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women A leading national men's organization addressing men's violence against women, and the eradication of sexism, committed to organizing communities in order to raise awareness and get men involved in ending violence against women.

Bell Bajao! (Ring the Bell!) is Breakthrough's newest international campaign, asking men and boys to bring domestic violence to a halt. 124 million people reached and still going strong, Bajao! uses television, radio, mobile video vans, press, leadership training and the internet to spread the word about how to put an end to violence in the home. Be sure to check out the media campaign (rings true in any language)

CONNECT NYC: Founded in 1993, CONNECT is a leading, non-profit training, educational and advocacyorganization dedicated to the prevention and elimination of interpersonal violence in New York City.

CURRICULA WITH REVIEWS BY PCADV

The Dad Man: Dads and Daughters (DAD) is the national advocacy nonprofit for fathers and daughters created by Joe Kelly. DAD inspires fathers to actively and deeply engage in the lives of their daughters and galvanizes fathers and others to transform the pervasive cultural messages that devalue girls and women.

Ending The Violence: Ending The Violence is committed to addressing domestic, sexual and other forms of interpersonal violence. Our activities include educational programs for batterers and sex offenders; community education and training; research and other collaborative projects. Scott Hampton, Director

Founding Fathers: Founding Fathers is an initiative of the Family Violence Prevention Fund and is a group of men who are working in partnership with women, to create a new kind of society - one where violence is no longer part of the human condition.

Futures Without Violence (Formerly the Family Violence Prevention Fund): The Futures Without Violence works to prevent violence within the home, and in the community, to help those whose lives are devastated by violence because everyone has the right to live free of violence. Coaching Boys Into Men is a key resource for engaging men and boys.

Gloucester Men Against Domestic Abuse: Building a Strong, Local Men’s Voice Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault

Healthy Masculinity Action Project The Healthy Masculinity Action Project (HMAP) is a national grassroots movement to eradicate the harmful expectations and stereotypes our society teaches boys about what it means to be a man. A two year initiative, HMAP aims to build a new generation of male leaders who will model strength without violence and serve as positive change makers in society.

HomeFront Calgary: Canadian group working to stop violence against women.

Jackson Katz: One of America's leading anti-sexist male activists. He is widely recognized for his groundbreaking work in the field of gender violence prevention education with men and boys, particularly in the sports culture and the military. He is well known for his ground-breaking video “Tough Guise.” He has also recently published his new book “The Macho Paradox.”

Joe Ehrmann: Coach for America: works to inform, inspire and initiate individual, communal and societal change that will empower men and women to be their very best – personally, professionally and relationally.

Lundy Bancroft: an author, trainer, counselor, and activist on issues of abuse and recovery. His current work focuses particularly on men who abuse women and the impact those men have on the lives of both women and children.

MasculinityU: a coalition of individuals working together to bring change to our communities, colleges, states and country. The mission of MasculinityU isn’t to define masculinity; its to free men up to define it for themselves. Sacchi Patel and Marc Peters (Co-Founders)

Men and Women as Allies Initiative: Allied against workplace and domestic violence, Men and Women as Allies Initiative was started as a way to bring about social change and a commitment to help communities identify and develop their own responses to domestic violence, bullying and workplace violence.

Men Against Sexual Violence: The Men Against Sexual Violence initiative began in July of 2001 with the goal to gather pledge support from one million of Pennsylvania’s male residents. Efforts to include men in Pennsylvania’s anti-sexual violence movement have ranged from awareness campaigns locally in communities around the state, to rallies and pledge signing events at many of our commonwealth’s colleges and universities.

Men Against Violence Against Women (MAVAW): began in 2000 as a small group of individuals, both male and female, whose mission was to affect social change in the community by making men aware of the prevalence of violence against women. The concept was to develop creative and targeted marketing, education and communication tools to deliver the message that the issue was indeed a man's issue as much as a woman's, since the majority of all violent crimes against women are perpetrated by men.

Men Can Stop Rape: empowers male youth and the institutions that serve them to work as allies with women in preventing rape and other forms of men's violence. Through awareness-to-action education and community organizing, they promote gender equity and build men's capacity to be strong without being violent.

Men For Change: The members of Men For Change are dedicated towards promoting positive masculinity and ending sexism and violence. We are a men's group based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada that started after the Montreal Massacre in 1989.

Men’s Initiative for Jane Doe, Inc.: Massachusetts statewide clearing house and networking resource for men working to end violence against women, facilitating collaborations between men's associations, rape crisis centers and resources for domestic violence intervention.

Men’s Nonviolence Center: a project of the Texas Council on Family Violence has a great web site of resources, links, and other information.

Men’s Resources International: Their mission is to promote positive masculinity and end men’s violence and to support the development of men’s programs in diverse communities, and build a global network of these organizations working in alliance with women to prevent violence and promote peace.

Men Stopping Violence: A social change organization dedicated to ending men's violence against women. Men Stopping Violence works locally, nationally, and internationally to dismantle belief systems, social structures, and institutional practices that oppress women and children and dehumanize men themselves.

MensWork was formed in 2007 by a small collective of men who wanted to create more ways for more men to be more actively and proactively involved in ending men’s violence against women.

Michael Kaufman: Michael Kaufman is the co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign. On December 6, 1989, Canada changed forever with the murder of fourteen women engineering students. Until that day, thousands of women in our country suffered violence with little recourse. A woman beaten was a woman ignored. A woman raped was a woman who asked for it. A woman harassed at work was a woman who couldn’t take a joke.

MyStrength: a project of the California Department of Health Services and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a statewide coalition of rape crisis centers and prevention programs founded in 1980. Their mission is to provide leadership, vision and resources for rape crisis centers, individuals and other entities committed to ending sexual violence.

National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) is an activist organization of men and women supporting positive changes for men. NOMAS advocates a perspective that is pro-feminist, gay affirmative, anti-racist, dedicated to enhancing men's lives, and committed to justice on a broad range of social issues including class, age, religion, and physical abilities.

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) : was founded in 1993 as a key component in a national network of domestic violence resources. The NRCDV provides support to all organizations and individuals working to end violence in the lives of victims and their children through technical assistance, training and information on response to and prevention of domestic violence. Search their Special Collections for materials on men and boys.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Their Mission is to organize for collective power by advancing transformative work, thinking and leadership of communities and individuals working to end the violence in our lives.

NO! The Rape Documentary: is committed to ending rape, sexual assault, and other forms of violence against women. Almost since the conception of the idea/vision for the feature-length documentary that has evolved into NO!, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, an incest and rape survivor, has been on the international road raising awareness about rape, sexual assault, and other forms of violence against women; and the critical non-negotiable need to end it.

Paul Kivel: Paul Kivel's work grows out of three decades in community education, engaged parenthood, political writing, and practical activism all focused on one overriding question: “How can we live and work together to nurture each individual and create a multicultural society based on love, caring, justice, and interdependence with all living things?”

Pip Cornall: provides workshops in Australia and the United States on male gender issues including violence & sexual assault prevention, on positive communication and gender reconciliation. His goal is “to educate, inspire and seed concepts of sustainable masculinity in order to create a safe and equitable world."


Rus Ervin Funk: an organizer and trainer for social, gender, sexual and racial justice for the past 25 years and just recently published his latest manual, Reaching Men: Strategies for Preventing Sexist Attitudes, Behaviors and Violence.

Schenectady Stand Up Guys: The mission of Schenectady Stand Up Guys is to raise awareness about men’s violence against women and girls and to promote gender equality in our community. They accomplish this mission through education, community projects and by holding events and activities that raise awareness.

Stand Up Guys: Started in 2004 in Rochester, New York, to motivate and encourage men to listen, learn, and speak up about men’s violence against women and girls. The mission of Stand Up Guys is “to raise awareness about men’s violence against women and girls and to promote gender equality in our community.” Pete Navratil and Jack Brennick (Co-Founders)

Stop Family Violence: Their mission is to organize and amplify our nation's collective voice against family violence. They are a catalyst for social change - empowering people to take action at the local, state and national level to ensure safety, justice, accountability and healing for people whose lives are affected by violent relationships. They have one simple goal is “family peace.”

StopViolence.Com: StopViolence collects resources about non-repressive responses to a variety of violence, including school shootings, sexual assault, and hate crimes. The underlying belief of StopViolence is that punishment after a crime is not effective crime prevention; a safe and peaceful society requires justice, not overdoses of prison, chain gangs and executions.

The Girls, Women and Media Project: a non-profit initiative and network working to increase awareness of how pop culture and media represent, affect, employ, and serve girls and women---and to advocate for improvement in those areas. They promote more positive images of girls and women in the media.

UN Women. In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women brings together resources and mandates for greater impact, such as UN Women Working with Men and Boys

Voices of Men: Ben Atherton-Zeman has created an educational comedy routine that uses humor and celebrity male voice impressions to bring the topics of sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual harassment, dating violence and the objectification of women to audiences in a way that minimizes male defensiveness.

Voice Male Magazine: Rob Okun, Editor. Voice Male chronicles the social transformation of masculinity. Since its modest beginnings in 1983 as a newsletter for the pioneering Men’s Resource Center for Change, Voice Male has evolved into a magazine exploring critical issues relevant to men’s growth and health while cataloging the damaging effects of men’s isolation and violence.

White Ribbon Campaign: In 1991, a handful of men in Canada decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out against violence against women. They decided that wearing a white ribbon would be a symbol of men's opposition to men's violence against women. Today the White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort in the world of men working to end men's violence against women.

XY: men, masculinities, and gender politics: XY is a website focused on men, masculinities, and gender politics. XY is a space for the exploration of issues of gender and sexuality, the daily issues of men's and women's lives, and practical discussion of personal and social change.

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Resources About Dismantling Oppression

Domestic violence work, at its core, is about empowering people who are victimized by their intimate partners and assisting them to access the resources that will help to connect them to safety and justice.

Oppression and Injustice Make Domestic Violence Possible

Systems of oppression keep injustices like domestic violence in place. Dismantling or taking apart such systems is an important part of our work as advocates. To create a just society for victims of domestic violence, advocates and allies must seek to create a just society for everyone. This creative work allows all of us to address problems that result from violence and change community norms that allow violence to happen.

Unequal treatment may be based on or referred to as "isms:"

Age/Ageism/Adultism
Disability/Ableism
Gender/Sexism
Lookism
Nationality/Nationalism
Race/Racism
Religion/Christianism (Anti-Semitism)
Sexual orientation/Heterosexism
Socio-economic class/Classism

Unequal treatment may be based on other identities, too.

Intersectionality of Oppression

People may fit into more than one group, and be subject to more than one type of oppression. This is referred to as the "intersectionality of oppression.” One group may have power and advantages over another, leaving some people with access to fewer resources and at higher risk for abuse, including domestic violence.

Communities can organize to address violence. People can learn to address the “isms” and inequalities within their community.

The following resources provide more information on what dismantling oppression means within our collective work to prevent violence.

Resources

Faith-Trust Institute: Faith-Trust Institute is an international, multifaith organization working to end sexual and domestic violence. The institute provides communities and advocates with the tools and knowledge they need to address the religious and cultural issues related to abuse. FaithTrust Institute works with many communities, including Asian and Pacific Islander, Buddhist, Jewish, Latino/a, Muslim, Black, Anglo, Indigenous, Protestant and Roman Catholic.

Girls Transform the World Campaign is a collection of voices from thousands of girls, women and male allies around the world who are interested in improving girls' access to education and other opportunities to unleash their potential. The effort to gather these voices was led by World Pulse. World Pulse is an action media network powered by women from 190 countries. They believe that when women are heard, they will change the world. Through a growing web-based platform, women are speaking out and connecting to create solutions from the frontlines of today’s most pressing issues. Their programs nurture community, provide media and empowerment training, and channel rising voices to influential forums.

Paul Kivel’s website has a variety of social justice, community organizing and anti-oppression resources, particularly for working with youth. This social justice educator, activist and writer has been an innovative leader in violence prevention for more than 35 years.

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond is a national and international collective of anti-racist, multicultural community organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social transformation. The People’s Institute, through training, technical assistance and consultations helps individuals, communities, organizations and institutions move beyond addressing the symptoms of racism to undoing the causes of racism so as to create a more just and equitable society.


Recommended Readings

"White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," by Peggy McIntosh. Published in Peace and Freedom, pages 10-12, July/August, 1989.

"Adultism," Paul Kivel.

"Are You Mentoring for Social Justice?" Paul Kivel. 2004.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire. Published in New York, New York by Continuum,1970.

Pedagogy and the Politics of Hope: Theory, Culture, and Schooling, by Henry Giroux. Published by Westview Press, 1997.

"In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning," by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer. Published in Phi Delta Kappan, pages 593-599, May 1996.

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Resources About Community Organizing

A Shared Vision of Change

Community organizing is a process in which community members come together, define their visions and values, and build collective strength to make their vision a reality. Community organizing refers to a variety of strategies that can change harmful social norms and promote healthy, positive, non-violent social norms.

There are many “models” of organizing and lessons to be learned from communities that have had success in changing social norms on the community and societal levels. The Social Ecological Model (see sidebar) is one example.

Community Organizing for the primary prevention of domestic violence might include

  • Holding planning meetings to discuss what causes violence in that particular community
  • Deciding on activities that might address and prevent it
  • Inviting community leaders to join the group
  • Holding a series of public events

Social Norms Change

Social norms change through community organizing can be achieved by:

  • engaging community leaders and other people who have influence
  • exposing a community to multiple messages from various sources over time
  • reaching many types of people in various settings
  • teaching active bystander skills
  • generating lasting change throughout a community by influencing attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and behaviors.

Activities are designed to give community members the skills they need for collective action. As a group, they work to change the community level and societal level norms and structures that make violence normal.

Assessing Community Readiness

Community Readiness Model This model was developed at the Tri-Ethnic Center to assess how ready a community is to address an issue. The basic premise is that matching an intervention to a community’s level of readiness is absolutely essential for success. Efforts that are too ambitious are likely to fail because community members will not be ready or able to respond. To maximize chances for success, the Community Readiness Model offers tools to measure readiness and to develop stage-appropriate strategies that include:

  • Addressing community readiness for change
  • Increasing community capacity
  • Creating a climate that makes change possible


Community Organizing: Theories, Tool and Techniques

Transforming Communities: Creating Safety and Justice for Women and Girls - Community Mobilization Toolkit is a great tool to use with domestic violence or sexual assault staff in their quest to plan and carry out community mobilization campaigns. Features of the Kit include the TC Case Statement, a sound framework for preventing violence against women, as well as five practical sections of tips and tools for organizing. Technical Assistance, Training and Resource Center

Multicultural Alliance Building is a beneficial tool to use when forming and working in culturally diverse endeavors. This publication examines the benefits and the difficulties of creating multicultural partnerships. It also provides practical steps designed to assist in the creation of effective alliances. Technical Assistance, Training and Resource Center

Training for Change has been increasing capacity around the world for activist training since 1992. Their training helps groups stand up more effectively for justice, peace and the environment. They specialize in training trainers to create a ripple effect in quality activist training.

The Change Agency is an independent social movement education initiative that works with community organizers and activists in the Australia Pacific region to help people win social and environmental change.

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond is a national and international collective of anti-racist, multicultural community organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social transformation. The People’s Institute, through training, technical assistance and consultations helps individuals, communities, organizations and institutions move beyond addressing the symptoms of racism to undoing the causes of racism so as to create a more just and equitable society.

Recommended Readings

Principles of Community Engagement, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was first published in 1997, and filled an important vacuum, providing community members, health professionals, and researchers with clear principles to guide and assess their collaborative efforts. The need for such guidance has not lessened in the subsequent years. Our health challenges continue. Support for collaborative work has grown, but with this growing support has come an increasing volume and diversity of initiatives, terminology, approaches, and literature. This new edition adheres to the same key principles laid out in the original booklet. It distills critical messages from the growing body of information and commentary on this topic. At the same time, it provides more detailed practical information about the application of the principles, and it responds to changes in our larger social context, including the increasing use of “virtual communities” and the growing interest in community-engaged health research.

Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements Bill Moyer provides both a theory and working model for understanding and analyzing social movements, ensuring that they are successful in the long term. Beginning with an overview of social movement theory and the MAP (Movement Action Plan) model, Doing Democracy outlines the eight stages of social movements, the four roles of activists, and case studies from the civil rights, anti-nuclear energy, Central America, gay/lesbian, women's health, and globalization movements.

Power and Possibilities, Ms. Foundation and Collaborative Fund for Youth–led Social Change: Launched in 2000, the Collaborative Fund for Youth-Led Social Change (CFYS) grew out of an effort of funders and youth practitioners to support work at the intersection of youth development, youth organizing, and gender. The Ms. Foundation was known for understanding the importance of gender in the lives of young women and men. It was one of the first foundations to promote the merging of youth development and youth organizing strategies. And, it was ready to learn and share stories about how youth organizations were combining youth development, youth organizing, and gender-based programming in their work.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Malcolm Gladwell The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

Integrating Social Marketing, Community Readiness and Media Advocacy in Community–based Prevention Efforts, Slater, M.D., Kelly, K., and Edwards, R.W. This study examines the role of key informant community readiness assessments in a randomized group trial testing the impact of a participatory community-media intervention. Social Marketing Quarterly, 6 (3), p 125- 137, (2000).

Paul Kivel: Getting Together for Social Justice This social justice educator, activist and writer has been an innovative leader in violence prevention for more than 35 years. Paul Kivel has authored a variety of social justice, community organizing and anti-oppression resources, particularly for working with youth.

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Articles

article research prevention

These articles cover a wide variety of issues that relate to prevention work, and

  • provide advocates with a deeper understanding of effective strategies
  • help make the case for prevention to community members, funders and other partners and allies

Barker, G, Ricardo, C & Nascimento, M. (2007). Engaging Men And Boys In Changing Gender-Based Inequity In Health: Evidence From Programme Interventions. World Health Organization, Geneva

Berkowitz, A, Jaffe, P, Peacock, D, Rosenbluth, B & Sousa C. (ND). Young Men as Allies in Preventing Violence and Abuse: Building Effective Partnerships with Schools

Center for American Progress (2013). LGBT-Inclusive Sex Education Means Healthier Youth and Safer Schools

Concept Paper (ND). Expanding the Paradigm: Community Coordination of Domestic Violence Services. Ohio Domestic Violence Network

Fleck-Henderson, A. (2012). Beyond Title IX: Guidelines for Preventing and Responding to Gender-based Violence in Higher Education. Futures Without Violence and Avon Foundation for Women

International Center for Research on Women (2012). The Girl Effect: What Do Boys Have to do with it? Meeting Report. Nike Foundation

Miller, E, MD, PhD, Tancredi, D, PhD, McCauley, H, ScD, Decker, ScD, Virata, M , MPH, Anderson, H, BS, O’Connor, B, MS, Silverman, J, PhD (2013) One-Year Follow-Up of a Coach-Delivered Dating Violence Prevention Program A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Nagle, A, Wignaraja, M, Fullwood, C & Hemple, M. (2003). Collaborative Fund for Youth-Led Social Change: Power and Possibilities. MS. Foundation

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2003). Costs of Intimate
Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Puddy, R. W. & Wilkins, N. (2011). Understanding Evidence Part 1: Best Available Research Evidence. A Guide to the Continuum of Evidence of Effectiveness. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Research Brief (2013). Measuring Associations Between Symptoms of Depression and Suicide on Adolescence and Unhealthy Romantic Relationships on Young Adulthood. Child Trends

Waters H, Hyder A, Rajkotia Y, Basu S, Rehwinkel JA & Butchart A. (2004). The Economic Dimensions of Interpersonal Violence. Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention. World Health Organization, Geneva

Wolfe, D & Jaffe P. (2003). Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. VAWnet: The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women

Women for Women International (2007) Engaging Men In “Women’s Issues”: Inclusive Approaches To Gender And Development. Critical Half, Vol. 5 No. 1

Numerous on-line articles are available from:

The following Journals (search Violence Prevention):

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Teens playing bridge building game

image courtesy of CAMPpeaceworks

RESOURCES RELATED TO PREVENTION WORK

Resources include prevention information, statistics, toolkits, articles and materials. Advocates and allies can also find curriculum reviews on the PCADV webpage. Keep in mind that prevention efforts are a ‘work in progress.’ Every effort is made to include up-to-date materials, as well as tried and true materials in use.

Articles
Community Organizing
Dismantling Oppression
Engaging Men and Boys
Evaluation
Faith-Based Programs
Healthcare
Videos


Please note that the inclusion of links does not necessarily imply that PCADV recommends or endorses all of the views expressed. They are provided to offer a range of approaches and options for offering prevention program that meet the needs of your community. No representation as to completeness or accuracy of these website links is made.

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RESEARCH

Coming Soon.

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DELTA PREP

Coming Soon.

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Definitions

Ableism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of people living with a disability.

Adultism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of young people by adults.

Anti-Semitism – prejudice, discrimination, and violence directed against people who are Jewish.

Christianism - the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of faith groups who do not hold the beliefs and practices of Christians.

Classism - the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of people based on their economic background. The Poor/Front-line workers/Unemployed/Welfare/Homeless are powerless. The Middle/Professional/Managerial have both power and are powerless. Rich/Owners are raised to be in (wealth is often passed from generation to generation) or rise to positions of power; consequently they are the ones with power.

Gender – (as different from “sex”) refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. "Male" and "female" are sex categories, while "masculine" and "feminine" are gender categories. (Also see Sex)

Gender Expression - the outward expression of a person’s gender identity, usually expressed through clothing, behaviors, mannerisms, and chosen names.

Gender Identity – how a person self-identifies, their own internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or as someone outside of gender limits). The gender identities one may choose from include: male, female, both, somewhere in between (third gender), or neither. It is not necessarily based on biological sex, nor is it always based on sexual orientation.

Heterosexism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender people. Homophobia is the fear of homosexuals and the fear of being gay or thought to be gay.

Homophobia - the fear of homosexuals, and/or the fear of being gay oneself, and/or of being thought to be gay by others. (Also see Heterosexism, Transphobia)

Lookism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of people based on their physical appearance. This relates to preconceived societal notions of beauty.

Muse - Someone who inspires girls, who recognizes and draws out their strengths and potential (Amy Sullivan, From Mentor to Muse, p. 243.)

Misogyny - the hatred or dislike of women and/or girls. Misogyny can show up in many ways, including discrimination and physical, emotional and psychological violence against women. (also see “Sexism”).

Nationalism – the policy or doctrine of insisting the interests of one's own nation should be viewed as separate and superior to the interests of other nations or the common interests of all nations.

Oppression - working definition of oppression for the purpose of advocacy is keeping someone down by the cruel or unjust use of authority. Oppression is an action against a person or a group of people. It can occur interpersonally (between people) or though systems (institutionalized).

Racism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse by one group of people by another based upon race. In the United States, this usually refers to exploitation of people of color by white people.

Sex - refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. "Male" and "female" are sex categories, while "masculine" and "feminine" are gender categories. (Also see Gender)

Sexism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of women by men.

Sexual Orientation - an emotional, romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of the opposite sex or gender (heterosexual), the same sex or gender (homosexual), to both sexes (bisexual) or more than one gender (pansexual, omnisexual).

Stereotype - an exaggerated or distorted belief about characteristics of a group. Stereotyping results in lumping all members of that group together and refusing to acknowledge differences among members of the group.

Transgender – an umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. For transgender people, the sex they were assigned at birth and their own internal gender identity do not match.

Transphobia - the term often used to describe fear of people who are transgendered or whose gender expression (appearance, behavior, name, etc.) does not fit what is considered “normal” for their biological sex.

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Young Women’s Lives: Building Self-Awareness for Life

By M. Neil Myhand and Paul Kivel. Published by Hazelden

This curriculum helps young women ages 14 – 19 to:

  • Find personal strength and self-confidence
  • Find better ways of addressing challenges
  • Develop skills for staying safe in their lives
  • Get resources to help end violence
  • Connect to others in positive ways
  • Get involved in community efforts to reduce violence against women

While this is an intervention tool, a few of the sessions and exercises have a prevention focus. It is a flexible curriculum that can be presented in

  • 21 sessions
  • 12 sessions with a violence focus
  • 10 sessions as a general program

Order Young Women’s Lives Facilitators Guide, Teen Handbook and Video

For a more detailed review or ideas for implementation, please contact a member of the primary prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

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Young Men’s Work: Stopping Violence and Building Community -By The Oakland Men’s Project; Allan Creighton and Paul Kivel. Published by Hazelden

Young Men’s Work: Stopping Violence and Building Community is a curriculum for young men aged 14-19, designed to teach alternatives to violence and to celebrate and enhance their strength, experience, creativity and intelligence. Its purpose is to reinforce alternatives to destructive behavior and enable young men to

  • support each other’s success
  • become stronger allies to their peers
  • join the ongoing struggles for greater equality and social justice

Background of the Curriculum

The material grows out of the work of the Oakland Men’s Project (OMP), which was begun in 1979 to address male violence. OMP was shaped by the voices of women working as advocates to prevent domestic and sexual violence and child sexual assault. While providing services to women, these advocates were also demanding a community response to male violence. As a result, OMP began this program for young men in their teens.

Learn More

  • Download pdfPCADV Young Men's Work Review

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact our prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

    52.93 K | 3/27/2013
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Stand4Respect

Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Stand4Respect's website urges adults to work for and with kids in preventing teen dating violence and sexual abuse. Strategies for warning kids about red flags and risks for dating violence and abusive relationships have limited success. Stand4Respect believes adults must work to eliminate those risks rather than trying to teach kids how to avoid them.

"By working together, we can use our knowledge, partnerships, resources and determination to ensure that the spaces that our kids occupy are safe, and to establish respectful relationships as the expected norm."

4 website sections/tabs contain concrete approaches and resources:

  • Talk With Us
  • Listen To Us
  • Show Us
  • Stand 4 Us

Staff members at the Indiana Coalition are eager to answer questions and to provide support. For more information on their efforts, contact Colleen Yeakle.

Hunger Games - Catching Fire Lesson Plans

For a more detailed review or ideas for implementation please contact a member of the primary prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

Learn More Prevention Curricula Youth Safer Place /Learn-More/Prevention/Curricula/Youth/Safer-Place/Default.asp
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I Can Make My World A Safer Place -by Paul Kivel

I Can Make My World A Safer Place is a kid's cartoon workbook about stopping violence. The new release includes topics such as teasing and bullies, fights, gangs and weapons, anger, drugs and suicide, child abuse, domestic violence, and war.

It engages young people (ages 6-11) to think about what they can do to encourage peace at home, in their neighborhood and in the world.

Learn More

  • Download pdfPCADV Safer Place Review

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact our prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

    48.3 K | 3/27/2013
Learn More Prevention Curricula Youth On Becoming A Muse /Learn-More/Prevention/Curricula/Youth/On-Becoming-A-Muse/Default.asp
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On Becoming a Muse -by Hardy Girls Healthy Women

On Becoming a Muse should be used with the Hardy Girls Healthy Women curriculum, From Adversaries to Allies, and is an excellent resource for anyone who works with groups of girls.

The guide identifies six core skills that will help someone build and improve facilitation skills, and support them in their role as a muse to girls.

It also offers a basic understanding of group process and dynamics. Finally, the guide provides some common language and expectations that are important to HGHW programs.

Background of Hardy Girls Healthy Women

Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW) is a national organization focused on the health and safety of girls and women. Their goal is for all girls and women to experience equality, independence, and safety in their everyday lives.

HGHW believes in the importance of developing “hardiness” - a health psychology concept. It is a form of resilience that focuses on the kinds of relationships and communities that girls need to be able to grow and thrive. HGHW provides strength-based programs for girls from 2nd-12th grade.

At the heart of this work is the view that girls can be loyal and compassionate to each other and that they can understand and question stereotypes and media messages that divide them. Another view is, given a chance, girls will choose to support rather than criticize each other.

Learn More

  • Download pdfPCADV Becoming a Muse Review

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact our prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

    52.38 K | 3/27/2013
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Jewish Women International - Curricula for Boys and Girls

Jewish Women International offers separate curricula for boys and girls, allowing each gender to explore Jewish and popular cultural definitions of healthy relationships. In co-ed groups, the boys and girls are brought together at the beginning and then again at the end of the program - ideas for a co-ed discussion are in the facilitator’s guide.

For GIRLS Strong Girls, Healthy Relationships: a Conversation on Dating, Friendship and Self-Esteem

Helps give young women the confidence and knowledge to make healthy relationship choices. While not all young girls are dating, they are always receiving messages from friends, family, the media and pop culture about what it means to be in a relationship. They need time to talk about these messages and to discuss what they want and imagine for themselves. This is done within a Jewish context.

  • Provides a safe place for teens to talk and think about the important relationships in their lives.
  • Brings up dating abuse in the discussion of healthy relationships
  • Activities stress the importance of surrounding themselves with strong support systems

2 Versions:
Original: six two-hour, girl-only sessions, with female leader(s)
Shortened: three one-hour, girl-only sessions, with female leader(s)
The longer curriculum provides a safe place for teen girls to talk about dating and friendships, their fears and the pressures they face. Longer version includes:

  • Journal/workbook with exercises for a girl to record her thoughts during the program
  • DVD: When Push Comes to Shove….It’s No Longer Love helps with discussion questions

For BOYS Good Guys: Partnership & Positive Masculinity

The program’s activities and discussions help boys understand what it means to “be a man” in Judaism. Boys are able to talk about the kind of man they want to be and recognize the pressures boys face to be a ‘strong’ male.

  • Explores issues of power and control, gender, self-esteem and relationships
  • Teaches boys about the role they play in having a healthy relationship
  • Activities stress skills needed to make healthy relationship choices
  • Three one-hour, boys-only sessions, and should be led by a male

Order either Curricula, DVD and other materials

Jewish Women International website
For topic specific resources go to:
Dating Abuse Resources
Healthy Relationships Resources

For a more detailed review or ideas for implementation, please contact a member of the primary prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

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How’s Your Relationship?

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence

This card series was created to educate adults on how to talk with teens about healthy relationships. The colorful, laminated cards feature eye-catching graphics. They’re stacked on an easy-to-carry ring.

The cards are divided into categories:

  • Introduction - why having conversations about healthy relationships is important
  • Young Kids (2–7)
  • Older Kids (7–10)
  • Tweens (10-14)
  • Older Teens (14-18)
  • Adults (18 and up)
  • Resources - for youth and adults
  • Stumped - tips for when an adult is feeling nervous or for addressing awkward moments

View the cards

For a more detailed review or ideas for implementation please contact a member of the primary prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

Learn More Prevention Curricula Youth From Adversaries To Allies /Learn-More/Prevention/Curricula/Youth/From-Adversaries-To-Allies/Default.asp
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From Adversaries to Allies: A Curriculum for Change -by Hardy Girls Healthy Women

Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW) has a focus on the health and safety of girls and women. Their goal is for all girls and women to experience equality, independence, and safety in their everyday lives.

Hardy Girls programs, resources and services have been informed by the latest research in girls' development. This curriculum is designed to create a safe and supportive space for girls to develop ideas, take action and experience the challenge of improving their schools and communities. The goals of the curriculum are to:

  • Create and active coalition of girls
  • Provide activities and facilitation for group discussion
  • Supply girls with a foundation for social change

HGHW believes in the importance of developing “hardiness” - a health psychology concept. It is a form of resilience that focuses on the kinds of relationships and communities that girls need to be able to grow and thrive.

At the heart of this work is the view that girls can:

  • be loyal and compassionate to each other
  • understand and question stereotypes and media messages that divide them
  • choose to support rather than criticize each other

Learn More

  • Download pdfPCADV Adversaries to Allies Review

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact our prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

    56.44 K | 3/27/2013
Learn More Prevention Curricula Youth Expect Respect /Learn-More/Prevention/Curricula/Youth/Expect-Respect/Default.asp
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Expect Respect -By SafePlace, Austin, Texas

SafePlace's Expect Respect Program engages youth and adults in building healthy teen relationships and preventing dating and sexual violence.

The materials include a curriculum for school-based support groups and counseling, a curriculum for developing youth leadership, resources to launch a school wide prevention campaign as well as educational programs in schools and community settings.

Learn More

  • Download pdfPCADV Expect Respect Review

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact our prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

    65.16 K | 3/27/2013
Learn More Prevention Curricula Youth Days Of Respect /Learn-More/Prevention/Curricula/Youth/Days-Of-Respect/Default.asp
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Days of Respect: Organizing a School-Wide Violence Prevention Program -By Ralph Cantor with Paul Kivel and Allan Creighton and the Oakland Men’s Project


Days of Respect is a step-by-step organizing guide enabling students, parents, and teachers to come together to create a school-wide violence prevention event that is

  • Successful
  • Affordable
  • Repeatable (replicable)

Learn More

  • To order the Days of Respect guide, visit Paul Kivel’s website
  • The Days of Respect guide compliments the lessons in the books Making Allies, Making Friends and Making the Peace.
  • Download pdfPCADV Days of Respect Review

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact a prevention team trainer at 1-800-932-4632.

    53.3 K | 2/24/2013
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Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) -By Futures Without Violence

Why do so few men take action against domestic violence? Polls indicate that the majority of men supported anti-violence efforts, but said they didn’t know what to do and had never been asked.

Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) is a comprehensive violence prevention curriculum for coaches and their athletes. The CBIM Card Series equips athletic coaches with strategies, scenarios, and resources needed to build attitudes and behaviors that prevent relationship abuse, harassment, and sexual assault. CBIM’s core goal is to inspire men to teach boys the importance of respecting women and that violence never equals strength.

Background of CBIM

Futures Without Violence, formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF), understands that it is important to engage men in ending violence against women and girls. In 2000, the Waitt Family Foundation, created by Gateway Computers founder Ted Waitt, partnered with the FVPF to find out why so few men were taking action against domestic violence. The results were eye-opening: the majority of men supported anti-violence efforts, but said they didn't know what to do and had never been asked.

The Futures Without Violence CBIM program invites men to utilize their influence to prevent domestic and sexual violence. First launched in 2001 in partnership with the Advertising Council, CBIM’s core goal is to inspire men to teach boys the importance of respecting women and that violence never equals strength. CBIM began as a national public service announcement campaign and included TV, radio, print, and online components. Since then, it has been transformed into a comprehensive violence prevention curriculum for coaches and their athletes.

Learn More

  • Download pdfPCADV Coaching Boys Into Men Review

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact the prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

    48.2 K | 3/27/2013
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preteen soccer team cheers

Curricula for Youth

A wide range of curricula are being used to involve youth in violence prevention. Many will work in a variety of settings such as clubs, community projects, or classrooms. Young people learn leadership and healthy relationship skills, while also exploring the roots of violence within their relationships, families and communities.

Involve youth in violence prevention

Primary Prevention

Primary prevention curricula for youth may encourage classroom participation or encourage developing skills to make youth the leaders. Such programs works best when done through regular and frequent contact within a community and school.

  • Youth participation may mean joining a club or project with an adult as the facilitator.
  • Youth leadership means placing teens or young adults in a position of authority to use and develop their knowledge, skills and experience to create change in their school and/or community.
  • In order to preserve youth leadership, the role of adults is to assist with resources (such as meeting space, transportation, funding) and to act as role models.

Secondary and Tertiary Prevention

Other programs address dating violence as it happens. Curricula content teaches youth and young adults important skills, such as how to watch out for dating violence and ways to find help for themselves and others.

  • Work to change violent attitudes and behaviors on an as-needed basis.
  • Recognize that youth and young adults often experience different forms of violence in their dating relationships.

PCADV’s Curriculum Reviews

PCADV based the reviews on the growing body of evidence-based research about prevention work. In particular, the Nine Principles of Prevention were used to create an internal tool. This tool helped reviewers assess the effectiveness of the curricula, materials or campaigns listed below.

As a result, the reviews may offer some suggestions to broaden the impact. It is highly recommended that advocates review a number of curricula. This will help make sure a well-rounded prevention program is used that meets the needs of a community. Advocates should attempt to include as many of the nine principles as possible for each program offered.

SEE SIDEBAR AT RIGHT FOR LINKS TO CURRICULA REVIEWS

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White Ribbon Campaign

In 1991, after the brutal mass shooting of 14 female students at the University of Montreal, a handful of men in Canada decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out against violence against women. Since then this campaign, run by and aimed at men, has grown into an international effort.

Wearing a white ribbon is a symbol of men's opposition to men's violence against women. It is a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

Each year, men and boys are asked to wear a ribbon for one or two weeks, starting on November 25, the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women. However, the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is also an educational organization that consistently works “to encourage reflection and discussion that leads to personal and collective action among men.”

Throughout the year, they encourage men to:

  • do educational work in schools, workplaces, places of worship and communities about the problem of violence
  • support local women's groups
  • raise money for the international educational efforts of the WRC

To support this effort, the WRC distributes Education and Action kits to schools and maintains a website of resources. In addition, WRC members routinely speak out on issues of public policy.

White Ribbon Campaign website

  • Download pdfWhite Ribbon Campaign

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact the prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

    45.56 K | 7/10/2013
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Ugly Ducklings Campaign: A Resource for Adults and Youth -By Hardy Girls Healthy Women, Greater Waterville Community for Children & Youth and Carolyn Gage

This multi-media resource is designed to educate and inspire people to take action against the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

The resource is the result of a 2006 partnership, when the creators teamed with playwright Carolyn Gage to stage her award-winning play, Ugly Ducklings.

The documentary film highlights homophobia, bullying and harassment. It weaves together scenes from the rehearsal and play with interviews with the female actors, parents and local experts on gender issues. The play also focuses on issues that lead some to suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

The Community Action Kit includes:

  • Documentary film
  • Tips
  • Discussion questions
  • Activities
  • Resources for creating safe, equal space for LGBTQ youth

The goals for Ugly Ducklings are to:

  • Educate and inspire people to take action against bullying
  • Protect children from the violence that can lead to self-harm, including suicide

To order an Ugly Ducklings Kit

Ugly Ducklings Website

Hardy Girls Healthy Women Website

Greater Waterville Area Communities for Children & Youth Website

Carolyn Gage Website

  • Download pdfUgly Ducklings Campaign

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact the prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

    47.51 K | 7/10/2013
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Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships

By Futures Without Violence

The Start Strong initiative works to prevent teen dating violence and abuse by stressing that “middle school matters.” It models how to bring together a whole community to teach 11 to 14-year-olds about healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence. Start Strong is the largest initiative to take this approach and was tested in 11 communities from 2008 - 2012. The Start Strong website includes a broad range of inspiration, resources and links to other successful Start Strong programs.

Beliefs Behind the Initiative

  • Middle school is a key time to engage youth in prevention efforts. See why.
  • Teen mentors and peers are crucial to prevention efforts. Youth-informed and youth-led programs are needed to build healthy teen relationships.
  • Parents, teachers, mentors and other adults play a critical role in helping young people to understand healthy relationships.
  • Community-based approaches are essential and schools play a main part in young people's lives.

Public Health Approach

Start Strong takes a public health approach to preventing teen dating violence and abuse. It is based on 4 Elements of Success
1. Educating Middle School Students. The Safe Dates curriculum features lectures, student activities and peer mentoring during and after school. The Fourth R curriculum works well with school educational requirements.

2. Engaging Communities. Start Strong educates and engages teen influencers such as parents and caregivers, older teens, teachers and other mentors. Webinars and resources give strategies for talking to younger teens early and often about the importance of healthy relationships.

3. Changing School Policies. The website includes tips and model policies for student, staff and parent involvement, to create positive school climates. As a result, healthy relationships are valued and violence prevention is promoted.

4. Exploiting Social Marketing. Start Strong uses social media to reach teens online to spread the message that relationship violence and abuse should never be tolerated. Start Strong programs also connect to teens through TV, movies, music, and video games.

For a more detailed review or ideas for implementation please contact a member of the primary prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

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Shifting Boundaries: Lessons on Relationships for Students in Middle School -By Nan Stein, Ed.D, Wellesley Centers for Women, with Kelly Mennemeier, Natalie Russ and Bruce Taylor, Ph.D

Shifting Boundaries has both a classroom component and a component for school-wide programming. Created in 2001, it is designed to reduce dating violence and sexual harassment among middle school students. It highlights the consequences for abusers of dating and sexual abuse behavior. It also points out unsafe areas within the school that teachers can watch more closely.

This program aims to:

  • Increase knowledge and awareness of sexual abuse and harassment
  • Promote pro-social attitudes and a negative view of dating violence and sexual harassment
  • Promote nonviolent behavioral intentions in bystanders
  • Reduce the occurrence of dating and peer violence
  • Reduce the occurrence of sexual harassment

Shifting Boundaries is available from major booksellers.

  • Download pdfShifting Boundaries

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact the prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

    45.16 K | 7/8/2013
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RESPECT WORKS! -by Break The Cycle

Break the Cycle (BTC) is a leading, national nonprofit organization working on teen dating violence. BTC believes people of all races, genders and sexual identities have the right to safe and healthy relationships. BTC creates prevention education programs and public campaigns. They also work on laws and policies to help young people get the information they need to prevent abuse and leave unhealthy relationships.

Respect WORKS! uses a “four step approach” to preventing dating violence.

Step 1: Develop a school policy on teen dating violence. Break the Cycle’s School Policy Kit can be used to guide a school through this process.

Step 2: Educate students about dating abuse and how to recognize healthy relationships. Hazelden’s Safe Dates is an evidence-based program that reduces incidents teen physical and sexual dating violence.

Step 3: Reinforce student learning with Break the Cycle’s interactive
Ending Violence program designed to educate students about their rights and responsibilities in a dating relationship. Ending Violence builds on key prevention skills from Safe Dates.

Step 4: Activate student leadership on the issue of dating violence. Break the Cycle’s Speak.Act.Change: Youth Advocacy Kit is a service-learning program that engages students through youth activism and peer-leadership. The goal is to address teen dating violence in schools and communities. Designed for students ages 13 and over, it trains the next generation of anti-violence advocates.

Learn More

  • Download pdfRespect WORKS! Review

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact the prevention team at 1-800-932-4632

    77.39 K | 6/25/2013
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Boy with dreadlocks, girl with headphones

Dating Abuse Among Students -Research Findings

Start Strong Study - 7th Graders

A study of 1,430 7th-grade students reveals that many are dating and experiencing physical, psychological and electronic dating violence. 75% of students surveyed have had a boyfriend or girlfriend.

In the 6 months before the survey, students reported:

  • more than 1 in 3 was a victim of psychological dating violence
  • nearly 1 in 6 was a victim of physical dating violence
  • nearly 1 in 3 was a victim of electronic dating aggression
  • more than 1 in 3 witnessed boys or girls being physically violent to persons they were dating
  • nearly 2 out of 3 strongly agree with a harmful gender stereotype, such as “girls are always trying to get boys to do what they want them to do,” or “with boyfriends and girlfriends, the boy should be smarter than the girl.”
  • nearly half were victims of sexual harassment, such as being “touched, grabbed, or pinched in a sexual way,” or the subject of sexual jokes
  • nearly 3 in 4 “sometimes or often” talk with their parents about dating topics such as “how to tell if someone might like you as a boyfriend or girlfriend.”

This study, released in March 2012, was conducted by RTI International on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Blue Shield of California Foundation as part of an independent evaluation of their Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships (Start Strong) initiative.

Love Is Not Abuse Poll - College Students

A survey of dating college students shows dating abuse is more common than people believe:

  • nearly half experienced violent or abusive dating behaviors
  • more than 1 in 5 report actual physical abuse, sexual abuse or threats of physical violence
  • more than 1 in 3 say they would not know how to get help on campus if they found themselves in an abusive relationship.

Knowledge Networks conducted the survey, “Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love Is Not Abuse 2011 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll.”

Learn More Prevention Curricula School Based Red Flag Campaign /Learn-More/Prevention/Curricula/School-Based/Red-Flag-Campaign/Default.asp
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Red Flag Campaign -a project of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance

The Red Flag Campaign is a public awareness campaign designed to address dating violence and promote the prevention of dating violence on college campuses. The campaign was created using a “bystander intervention” strategy, encouraging friends and other campus community members to “say something” when they see warning signs – red flags – for dating violence in a friend’s relationship.

Learn More

  • Download pdfPCADV Red Flag Review

    PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact a prevention team trainer at 1-800-932-4632.

    52.74 K | 3/28/2013
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Beat the Punch

A project of the Women’s Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo and the Domestic Violence Task Force of San Luis Obispo. Funded by the DELTA California Project.

The Beat the Punch campaign works to prevent intimate partner violence (IPV) and create lasting community change. The goal of the program is to create a culture of “courageous bystanders” in college settings where students and staff:

  • Encourage respect for women and equality in intimate relationships
  • Interrupt situations that lead to IPV
  • Safely respond to IPV when it occurs
  • Respond in a way that is helpful

The campaign works to:

  • Reduce risk factors
  • Strengthen protective factors linked to IPV committed by young men. The campaign addresses these factors on the individual, relationship and community levels in line with the Public Health Approach Social Ecological Model

PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact the prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

/Learn-More/Prevention/Curricula/School-Based/Agent-Of-Change/Default.asp
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Agent of Change

By We End Violence

Agent of Change uses an online game to put students in situations where they think about how violence impacts their daily lives. Players interact with digital characters in situations that might occur in a college setting.

In each three-minute to five-minute scene, the player takes part in conversations with digital characters about:

  • Sexual assault
  • Relationship violence
  • Sexual harassment
  • Stalking

During conversations, the player makes choices about what to say and how to respond to other digital characters. As players make their choices, the digital characters respond to them by:

  • Supporting their choice
  • Modeling better responses
  • Challenging their choice

As players move through the game, they are placed onto a path that is equal to their knowledge about violence prevention. This allows players to learn, develop, and practice the skills needed to prevent violence before it happens.

The game uses evidence-informed approaches from the field of violence prevention like:

  • Myth acceptance
  • Norms challenging
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Feminist and social norms theory
  • Bystander intervention

Agent of Change pairs with educational materials and programs from We End Violence that help continue the work beyond the online game.

Agent of Change Website

PCADV's primary prevention team is available to provide ideas for implementation or a more detailed review. Contact the prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

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group of teens with backpacks sit on school steps

School-Based Curricula

Educators can implement these curricula in their schools and communities. Teachers and students can be shown better ways to learn about and model healthy relationships.

Why Teach Prevention in Schools?

It’s where teens gather.
It’s where their friends are found.
It’s where their boyfriends and girlfriends may be.
It’s where teens (and tweeners) will learn about relationships.
Schools can help them learn what healthy relationships look like.

For more thoughts on why schools can make a difference visit the Futures Without Violence Toolkit.

Schools Can Teach Healthy Relationships

School-based activities for abuse prevention can help build skills for healthy relationships and benefit a teen’s emotional development. In healthy relationships, both partners give and get respect, make decisions and have some freedom.

Pennsylvania has a model policy for schools to use to address teen dating violence, but it is not mandatory that schools adopt it. Not all Pennsylvania schools have a policy to bring prevention programs to schools. They also may not have staff trained to educate or help students on this topic.

Prevention work through the community can include teens, youth, young adults, educators, school staff and parents. It can also include local businesses and media. Some of the school curricula also share activities for outside of school that engage boys and men. This work can build healthy relationships and prevent dating violence.

Dating Abuse Happens

It can happen from middle school through college. Both males and females can be victims of dating abuse (also called relationship abuse). Research shows that more young women than men may have serious injuries as a result of such abuse. Abuse at the hands of a dating partner can cause short-term and long-term problems. Teens who have been abused by a dating partner may have:

  • Low grades
  • Social problems
  • Physical and mental health problems
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Suicide attempts
  • Sexual abuse
  • Fights
  • Patterns of abuse or trauma into future relationships

Research Among School Students

Researchers ask students to find out how many of them are affected by dating violence. A study of 1,430 7th-grade students reveals that most are dating and many experience physical, psychological and electronic dating violence. A survey of dating college students finds that nearly half experience violent or abusive dating behaviors. Read more

PCADV´s Curriculum Reviews

PCADV based the reviews on the growing body of evidence-based research about prevention work. In particular the Effective Principles of Prevention were used to create an internal tool. This tool helped reviewers assess the effectiveness of the curricula, materials or campaigns listed below.

As a result, the reviews may offer some suggestions to broaden the impact. It is highly recommended that advocates review a number of curricula. This will help make sure a well-rounded prevention program is used that meets the needs of a community. Advocates should attempt to include as many of the nine principles as possible for each program offered.

SEE THE RIGHT SIDEBAR FOR LINKS TO THE CURRICULA REVIEWS

Learn More Prevention Curricula Prevention Curricula /Learn-More/Prevention/Curricula/Prevention-Curricula/Default.asp
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Prevention Curricula

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Exploring Dimensions of Masculinity and Violence

(from the International Center for Research on Women)

Modules deconstruct masculinity and determine how gender norms and male socialization lead to inequitable attitudes and behaviors toward women and girls. Based on work with young men between the ages of 13 and 19 in the Balkans, this groundbreaking international program aims at the reduction and elimination of gender-based violence:

  • “...by addressing personal attitudes about gender equity and a broader definition of sexuality for men, there will be positive effects on a range of cognitive, behavioral and health outcomes for both specific gender norms and expectations that contribute to violent behavior among young men.”

Modules can be used with young men in a variety of settings to address 5 questions:

  • What are the current social constructs, attitudes and experiences for young men, especially with regard to how masculinity is defined?
  • How do social institutions such as media, school, religion, family and peers influence social constructs of masculinity?
  • What are young men’s attitudes and behavior toward women and their relationship with women?
  • How are social constructs of masculinity related to men’s violent use of power?
  • For men who are not violent, what are the influencing factors and consequences?

Download the Report for educational purposes

For a more detailed review please contact a member of the primary prevention team at 1-800-932-4632.

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man and boy greet the wide ocean

Curricula for Engaging Men and Boys

Preventing violence must include a change in the social norms that make violence acceptable.

Why Include Boys and Men?

Men and boys have the power to make a difference in the global movement to prevent violence against women and girls. Men and boys can

  • Unlearn and refuse to adopt behaviors and actions that put women and girls down
  • Intervene when they witness violence or hear degrading talk about women in their family, school or community
  • Start or join a community or school campaign to prevent violence
  • Raise sons to know what healthy communication and relationships look like

Examples of community leaders include:

  • Athletes
  • Class presidents
  • Coaches
  • Principals
  • Counselors
  • Board members
  • Directors
  • Business owners
  • Politicians

Studies show that men and boys use violence against women at much higher rates than the opposite.1 Like girls and women, boys and men sort through the messages about relationships, violence and power they see and hear every day. As a group, men and boys enjoy certain privileges and advantages, such as greater access to certain jobs and higher wages. Individually though, like girls and women, they experience forms of oppression such as racism , classism, ableism, heterosexism and homophobia.

Not all boys and men are violent; however, they may have the power to get involved when they witness violence. Brothers, fathers, sons, nephews, grandchildren, friends, co-workers and neighbors may be positive role models. They may stand up against violence as it is happening. They may show masculinity that is non-violent and respectful of others.

1. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control. 2010. National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance.

Consistently modeling how to respect women and girls is a primary and clear way to teach boys respect for women and girls from early on in life. Men and boys already in leadership positions can implement programs and policies that change behaviors and attitudes through a community.

Primary Prevention Approach For Men and Boys

Goal: prevent first time perpetration of dating or domestic violence. Many of these curricula challenge boys and men to look inward to:

  • Educate themselves about the root causes of violence against women and girls.
  • Change their behaviors that puts down or harm girls and women and to challenge other boys and men to do so, as well.
  • Show their sons that healthy manhood includes kindness and displaying affection.
  • Openly express all of their emotions – including sadness, fear and hurt.

Secondary and Tertiary Approaches For Men and Boys

Goal: address short-term consequences for abusive behavior and try to hold boys and men accountable for the violence.

These approaches to address men and boys can include:

  • Educational workshops that meet one or more times.
  • Public awareness campaigns directed at boys or men.
  • Batterer intervention programs, which are for boys and men who have already been violent.

PCADV´s Curriculum Reviews

PCADV based the reviews on the growing body of evidence-based research about prevention work. In particular the Nine Principles of Prevention on the Prevention page were used to create an internal tool. This tool helped reviewers assess the effectiveness of the curricula, materials or campaigns listed below.

As a result, the reviews may offer some suggestions to broaden the impact. It is highly recommended that advocates review a number of curricula. This will help make sure a well-rounded prevention program is used that meets the needs of a community. Advocates should attempt to include as many of the nine principles as possible for each program offered.

SEE THE RIGHT SIDEBAR FOR LINKS TO THE CURRICULA REVIEWS

More Resources for Engaging Men and Boys

Explore these organizations and people working in the US and across the globe to reach out and get boys and men involved in preventing and ending domestic and dating violence.

Learn More Prevention Curricula /Learn-More/Prevention/Curricula/Default.asp
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CURRICULA

PCADV’s prevention team bases its thorough curriculum reviews on research that identifies effective program principles, as explained below.

Prevention Curricula for Engaging Men and Boys
Prevention Curricula for School-Based Settings
Prevention Curricula for Youth

Effective Principles of Primary Prevention Programs

Comprehensive Services

A goal of any prevention program should be to address the full range of risk and protective factors present within a community. To do so means to offer programming on several levels. Strategies can be directed at individuals to impact their behaviors when engaging with others. Activities can be designed to change environments in communities. Finally, changing societal or cultural norms can involve partnering with the media or implementing policy/procedural changes.

Varied Teaching Methods

In teaching, it is important to recognize that each person learns in a unique way. Prevention messages may be delivered in a variety of ways such as: lecture; small group work; discussions; surveys; role-plays; games; skill building activities/exercises; assemblies; personal testimonies; poster contests; poetry readings and theatre/musical performances. Ideally, school or community-wide events should be incorporated. The goal is to facilitate a group process of discovery and change. The options are endless, but should be tailored to the needs of the participants.

Sufficient Dosage

This principle refers to the idea that participants (our target of change) need to be exposed to information with enough quantity and intensity to have a positive long-term effect. One-time events or occasional activities are less effective in changing attitudes and behaviors over time. Sufficient dosage highlights the importance of following up and providing booster sessions to maintain the impact. This principle is sometimes may also be called “saturation” and describes the importance of saturating a setting with information and prevention messages along with opportunities to learn and practice skills rather than one time events (yearly school assemblies) with low duration (exposure to messages once for fifty minutes.) Sufficient dosage can occur in a 50-minute class that students attend over the course of 12-26 weeks, but can also be achieved in a class or session that occurs all day for four or five days. Whatever the dosage, the most effective programs help participants acquire the skills they will need to act differently.

Theory Driven

The most effective prevention programs rely on proven strategies that have been evaluated or researched as well as theories of how people change. Effective programs present some theory of change about why the activity or strategy will decrease participants' risk for perpetration.

Positive Relationships

Prevention programming should seek to foster and strengthen positive relationships among peer groups and between children/youth and adults. Facilitators must be prepared to continuously model the positive and healthy relationships we want participants to adopt, and to be an ally to youth.

Appropriately Timed

Programs should be delivered in a manner that is tailored to the intellectual, cognitive and social development level of the participants. It is important to proactively address risk and protective factors and model healthy relationships.

Socioculturally Relevant

Programs must be relevant to the community that is being engaged. This cannot be achieved without input from individuals who represent all segments of the community. Making the connection between all forms of oppression and understanding how they affect cultural norms is important to prevention programming.

Outcome Evaluation

This is becoming a necessary component of any service delivery - funders expect positive change to occur as a result of our efforts. A systematic evaluation can help determine program successes and challenges.

Well-Trained Staff

All staff should be expected to internalize and model prevention attitudes and behavior. Teaching staff must become fluent in prevention material use and have competence with the issue. Efforts should be made to retain trained staff in order to continue programming. Staff training includes knowledge, attitude and behavioral change in order to provide an environment that does not tolerate violence and embraces the spirit of prevention.
Nation, M., Crusto, C., Wandersman, A., Kumpfer, K. L., Seybolt, D., Morrissey-Kane, E., & Davino, K. (2003). What works in prevention: Principles of Effective Prevention Programs. American Psychologist, 58, 449-456

For more detailed information on applying the Principles of Effective Prevention Programs, visit mentoring.org

Messages that only promote awareness of teen dating violence and offer suggestions for risk reduction will not do enough to change the climate of a school, group or community. While there are many approaches to delivering curricula, utilizing the principles outlined above is a best practice for preventing violence before it starts.

Learn More Prevention /Learn-More/Prevention/Default.asp
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PREVENTION

PCADV believes domestic violence is preventable. The evidence is mounting that efforts to respond to domestic violence alone will not stop perpetration. Domestic violence programs across the country are adopting a public health approach to preventing first-time perpetration of interpersonal violence.

Why Prevention?

Over the past three decades domestic violence advocates have successfully created programs and policies that effectively respond to domestic violence after it has happened. Numerous best practices exist that include: offering shelter and support to victims and their families, safety planning, support groups, legal and system advocacy, and more. Advocates work closely with police, judges, attorneys and health care providers to ensure that victims and their children receive the care and the services they need. Coordinated community responses across the country include strengthened policies in schools, work places, courts and other organizations and agencies that work with people who have been victimized each day.

Yet, with all of these programs and services in place to respond to the needs of victims once violence has already happened, we have not stemmed the tide of domestic violence occurring in our communities. Advocates across the nation recognize it is time to dedicate as much time, staff and funds to stopping violence before it starts. This means changing the norms in our communities that allow this violence to thrive by adopting an important set of strategies called “primary prevention.”

Three Levels of Prevention

There are three levels of prevention:

  • Primary: Takes place before domestic violence has occurred to prevent first time victimization or perpetration
  • Secondary: Intervention and response to deal with short-term solutions for survivors and consequences for abusers. Meant to prevent violence from happening again.
  • Tertiary: Ongoing support to victims and ongoing accountability to abusers.

Primary prevention activities can work with intervention strategies that are already in place in community-based domestic violence programs.

Secondary prevention activities can include shelter, counseling and legal and medical advocacy, safety planning, arrest and Protection From Abuse Orders.

Tertiary prevention activities can include support groups for survivors or batterer intervention services that work to address the long-term consequences of domestic violence.

People often confuse public awareness campaigns and risk reduction with prevention. Examples of risk reduction efforts used in schools and community initiatives include recognizing warning signs, self-defense courses, and tips for personal safety, (e.g., "don’t walk alone at night"). Risk reduction strategies are important but will not prevent people from being victimized.

What is Primary Prevention?

Primary Prevention goes beyond raising awareness of domestic violence and works to promote the behaviors we want to see adopted. Strategies are often focused on stopping potential perpetrators before they commit their first act. This is a relatively new concept for many working to end domestic violence whose primary focus has been on responding to the needs of people who have been victimized.

Growing up with or living with violence (sometimes called “exposure”) causes personal and community health problems, according to a strong and growing body of research. This same research shows that violence is also preventable.

Primary prevention strategies include:

  • working with children, their parents or caregivers to set expectations for healthy communication
  • working with schools, workplaces and other community settings (faith-based organizations, neighborhoods, athletic associations, etc.) to change social norms
  • saturating the community with healthy relationships messaging and promoting responsible bystander behaviors
  • encouraging policies and leaders that set an expectation for healthy relationships and communities

What Does Primary Prevention Change?

Knowledge: For change in knowledge – provide clear information. Awareness can be raised in a one-time brief (up to one hour) session.

Attitudes: For change in attitudes – provide information and appeal to emotions or personal impact. Some practice is necessary, takes time and occurs over multiple sessions.

Beliefs and Behaviors: For change in beliefs and behaviors – people need to show and practice new skills and communicate with others during the learning process. This occurs over multiple sessions.

Awareness + Action = Change
Awareness alone will not change conditions and cultures that allow domestic violence to exist.

Lasting Success Through A Public Health Approach
The public health approach has produced safer, healthier communities from a variety of legislation and public awareness campaigns: seatbelts, car seats, helmets and smoking cessation are all good examples. The public health model works because it uses methods and measures from a variety of fields with multiple positive messages delivered over time by role models and leaders.

The movement to end domestic violence can be more effective by using the same principles and practices to address domestic violence. More information on the public health model

Social Change

Adopting community level strategies that can stop violence before it occurs is important social change work. A social change framework works with the public health model by seeking to uncover root or underlying causes of behaviors at all levels of the social ecology. It asks “What conditions in the community condone and/or promote domestic violence? What strategies might change those conditions? What decreases a person’s risk of perpetrating domestic violence?” It also recognizes that oppressions are related within a social structure – racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, adultism, ableism. Challenging where power and resources exist is key to creating a healthy community that values all members and views violence, including institutional violence, as intolerable.

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Page 99 of 251

Newsletter Archives

Court Access Newsletters

  • Download pdfSeptember 2013

    New Rules of Civil Procedure for Family Courts - Attachment A - Unrecorded PFA Orders Endanger Lives

    3.51 Meg | 4/7/2014
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    Safety In and Beyond the Courtroom - Can Defendant Violate a PFA in the Courthouse - Unified Judicial System Safety Recommendations for PFA Hearings

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    In Camera Review Ruled Unconstitutional - Altering Temporary Protection From Abuse Procedure to Meet Due Process: Ferko-Fox v. Fox Ruling and Implementation

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    Applying Full Faith and Credit to Pennsylvania PFA Orders - PFA Violations by Minors - PFA: Consanguinity and Affinity

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    Due Process Requirements of the PFA Act - Teen Dating Relationships and the PFA Act - Dealing With Compassion Fatigue

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Jurist Newsletters

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    In Camera Review of Temp PFA Ruled Unconstitutional - Ferko-Fox v. Fox, 2013 PA Super 88 (April 17, 2013). - Map of TPFA procedures by Pa County

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    PFA Act Amendments

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    Minor PFA Litigants and Domestic Violence

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STOP Violence Against Women Newsletters

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    How Courts Can Reduce Gun Violence, PCAR's Campus Law Enforcement Trainings on Sexual Violence

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    Sexual Assault Evidence Standards - No PFA Fees for DV Victims - Responding to Teen Dating Abuse -

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    Courtroom Evidence: A Resource for The Prosecution of Domestic Violence Cases - Cambria County's Sexual Assault Response Team

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    Expert Testimony in Sexual Abuse Cases - Judicial Notice of Firearms Prohibitions - Introduction to the Violence Against Women Act Certifications

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    Introduction to the VAWA Certification Requirements - Tools to STOP Intimidation of Domestic Violence Victims/Witnesses - VAWA Compliance & Polygraphing Policy in Pa.

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    Using Technological Evidence of Sexual Abuse, Indirect Criminal Contempt of PFA Orders

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PCADV Manuals

manual copy1

Domestic Violence and Welfare Benefits: Family Violence Option Advocacy Manual - 2008 -(click here to open)

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PCADV PUBLICATIONS

get_adobe_reader

Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free and widely-used application, will allow you to open the pdf documents on this site.

Brochures

Are You or Is Anyone You Know a Battered Woman? English and Spanish

Are you or is anyone eng span Are You or Is Anyone You Know a Battered Woman? English and Spanish

Basic information and hotline to find help in Pennsylvania. Suitable for DV Programs, physicians and other helping professionals to make available to their clients. English on one side and Spanish on the other. 2 color. Space available to stamp local domestic violence program contact information. Available as a free download or to order.

Stalking - What Every Victim Should Know

stalking victim guide Stalking - What Every Victim Should Know

Basic information and list of hotlines by Pennsylvania county. Suitable for DV Programs, physicians and other helping professionals to make available to employees and clients. B&W. Space available to stamp local domestic violence program contact information.

Information for Completing the PFA Petition

Info for PFA form

Applying for a PFA Order can be a confusing and even scary process. This paper is meant to provide a victim of domestic violence who is asking the court for protection with guidance about how to complete a PFA petition.

The Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse Act: A Guide for Victims of Domestic Violence

PFA brochure 2010

Basic information and list of hotlines by county. Suitable for DV Programs, physicians and other helping professionals to make available to employees and clients. Formatted for desktop printing. Full color. Space available to stamp local domestic violence program contact information. PFA brochure available as free download.

Things to Know if You Want to Move With Your Children

Brochure Cover Custody Relocation

Basic information about Pennsylvania’s child custody law for survivors who may be thinking about moving with children, whether it's across the street, down the block, to another county or state. Note: Getting advice from an attorney is necessary when thinking about moving so survivors can understand how the law will affect their plans.

Helping Battered Women and Their Children in Rural Communities: A Guide for Family and Friends

rural women help family fri Helping Battered Women and Their Children in Rural Communities: A Guide for Family and Friends

Basic information about the special barriers that victims face in rural areas, suggested ways to help possible victims, sources for further reading. Formatted as 26 page booklet. Space available to stamp local domestic violence program contact information. Free download only.

Family and Friends Professional Printer Version

PF guide fam friends Family and Friends Professional Printer Version

Black & White. Space available to stamp local domestic violence program contact information. Free download only.

Helping Battered Women and Their Families in Rural Communities: A Guide for Faith Leaders and Religious Communities

guide for clergy Helping Battered Women and Their Families in Rural Communities: A Guide for Faith Leaders and Religious Communities

Many victims and their families turn to the faith community for guidance and comfort. Developed to help faith leaders recognize and understand domestic violence and guide possible victims. Basic information about the special barriers that victims face in rural areas, suggested ways to help, sources for further reading. 84 page booklet. Space available to stamp local domestic violence program contact information. Free download only.

Helping Battered Women and Their Families in Rural Communities: A Guide for Cosmetologists

cosmetologist guide to prev Helping Battered Women and Their Families in Rural Communities: A Guide for Cosmetologists

Clients often share very personal information with their stylists. Developed to help hair stylists, barbers, nail or tanning salon employees and other cosmetologists recognize and understand domestic violence and guide possible victims. Basic information about the special barriers that victims face in rural areas, suggested ways to help possible victims, sources for further reading. 26 page booklet, Space available to stamp local domestic violence program contact information. Free download only.

Manuals

Courtroom Evidence: A Resource for the Prosecution of Domestic Violence Cases

Designed in consultation with prosecutors from across Pennsylvania to address important evidentiary issues that are regularly encountered by prosecutors who specialize in domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking cases. 
• Relevance of Prior Abuse
• Witness Competency
• Spousal Privilege
• Hearsay
• Confrontation
• Child Witness Statements
• Social Media Evidence
• Experts
• Special Evidentiary Concerns in Stalking Cases
View this manual in your browser

Domestic Violence and Welfare Benefits: Family Violence Option Advocacy Manual
Understanding benefits available through Department of Public Welfare ( DPW) may be critical for victims who must figure out how to live independently from the batterer. This 400 page resource provides an overview of TANF (cash assistance), SNAP (food stamps), Medical Assistance, General Assistance, and Child Care with supporting DPW materials. The section on the Family Violence Option (which allows for DPW program waivers) is especially helpful to advocates working with battered women but the entire resource is valuable to any social services agency serving low income individuals. Formatted for professional or desktop printing. NOTE: Revised in 2008, however, some forms and information may have changed. Advocates may contact PCADV for more information.
Download this manual

Mission-Focused Management & Empowerment Practice: A Handbook for Executive Directors of Domestic Violence Programs
Created for new Executive Directors of domestic violence programs to encourage critical thinking about our work and to illustrate how our work can best be accomplished through mission-focused management, empowerment management and empowerment practice. This handbook is not so much about what we do, but why and how we do it. 76 pages
View this manual in your browser

Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse Orders: Enforcement for Safety and Accountability
PFA Enforcement is a necessarily collaborative effort. The culmination of over two years of work in six Pennsylvania counties, the manual explores a component of the Project to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders, also known as the PFA Enforcement Project. Each county represented a unique approach to domestic violence, issuance of Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders and enforcement of the orders. Chapters include empirical research, the realities of working with domestic violence victims in Pennsylvania counties, and the promising practices identified by project staff that maintain the focus on victim safety and offender accountability. Aimed at agencies and individuals who understand that piecemeal efforts to prevent, police and punish domestic violence are less effective and potentially more harmful than a coordinated, intersecting chain of responses. Suitable for domestic violence programs, STOP teams, coordinated community response task forces. CD format or 500-page insert, suitable for a 3-ring binder. To order this manual, call 1-800-932-4632

Traumatic Brain Injury As a Result of Domestic Violence: Information, Screening and Model Practices - Participant's Manual
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) among domestic violence survivors is a particularly prevalent issue in need of immediate and direct attention. When working with domestic violence survivors, medical and other program advocates often encounter compounding issues such as compromised mental health, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and addiction, cognitive or behavioral issues. However, TBI, often called the Silent Epidemic for domestic violence survivors, has been significantly overlooked as a domestic violence survivor injury, with immediate consequences and possibly long-term repercussions. Through key information and encouraging cultural competency, this Participant’s Guide facilitates ways to better equip domestic violence program staff to recognize, understand and respond more effectively to the specific needs of those living with TBI as a result of domestic violence. View this manual in your browser

Traumatic Brain Injury As a Result of Domestic Violence: Information, Screening and Model Practices - Trainer's Manual pdf version. Includes participant's guide key, pre-test, post-test, answer key, handouts and exercises.View this manual in your browser

  • Download x-zip-compressedTBI Trainer's Toolkit Zip File

    Download the Trainer's Guide, Participant's Guide, Appendices, Handouts, Tests and PowerPoint slides as separate pdfs or pptx files.

    25.13 Meg | 4/18/2013

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PCADV LIFELINE

April 2014 - Legislative Advocacy Day - Census Reveals Urgent Need for Domestic Violence Services - Allegheny County Giving Circle - 2013 Domestic Violence Fatality Report


February 2014 - Gov. Corbett’s proposed increase to domestic violence and rape crisis funding - New PCADV store has handmade jewelry and artwork, plus NO MORE logo clothing and items - Vice President Biden's $50K donation - Rep. Stephens' bill battles discriminatory nuisance ordinances

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Court personnel may be the "first responders" to domestic violence victims in the court system. Court Access keeps key workers in PFA offices, court administration, judicial support, and domestic relations offices informed about working effectively with domestic violence victims and PFA litigants. Court Access is distributed to email subscribers twice yearly at no charge. See previous issues

  • Download pdfNovember 2013

    Domestic Violence in Later LIfe - Courts Address Elder Abuse - Elder Abuse Webinar Link - Elder Abuse Resources

    492.67 K | 3/31/2014
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Through a free email subscription, the courts have access to case law updates, articles about domestic violence, national and local training opportunities and helpful tools such as judicial bench cards and web resources. See previous issues

  • Download pdfSeptember 2013

    New Rules of Civil Procedure for Family Courts - Sample Pro Se Entry of Appearance Form - Sample Petition to Modify - Unrecorded PFA Orders Endanger Lives - Attachment A

    3.87 Meg | 4/7/2014
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The STOP Program encourages the development and improvement of effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies to address violent crimes against women and children. PCADV is awarded grants to provide training and technical assistance to STOP team members, including law enforcement, prosecutors, courts and victim services providers. The STOP Newsletter contains articles about the Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act, technology and safety advocacy, stalking, firearms, primary aggressor and related issues. It is distributed free to email subscribers on a quarterly basis. See previous issues

June 2013: Appellate Case Changes PFA Process, Resource for the Prosecution of Domestic Violence Cases, Admitting Expert Testimony on Victim Behavior in Sexual Assault Cases

Training Curriculums

Crime Victims Compensation Training Curriculum - intended for use by advocates when working with volunteers and survivors.

Learn More How To Help /Learn-More/How-To-Help/Default.asp
Page 102 of 251

HOW TO HELP

Be Part of the Solution

To stop domestic violence, we all need to be part of the solution. Helping a friend who is being abused, speaking up about abuse, educating yourself and others, and supporting your local domestic violence program are all examples of things we can do to help.

Friends or family members who are being abused:

  • Call police if you see/hear abuse
  • Ask if they're safe or need someone to talk to
  • Explain that FREE and CONFIDENTIAL help is available help for victims and 
  • their children at local domestic violence programs 
  • Offer a ride to a local shelter, a place to make a phone call or to baby-sit while they attend appointments
  • Carry the number of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), in your wallet in case you meet someone who needs it.

Friends or family members who are abusers:

  • Call police if you see/hear abuse
  • Tell them there are no excuses for abuse and they may lose their families, friends, homes and jobs if it doesn't stop
  • Hold them accountable for their behavior
  • Support their efforts to locate and obtain appropriate batterer intervention treatment

Help for Friends and Family Members

Family members and friends may feel overwhelmed or frightened if they are abused by a partner. These materials may help you determine if your friend or family member is in danger and help you offer your support.

How can I raise awareness in my community?

To stop domestic violence, we all need to be part of the solution. Helping a friend who is being abused, speaking up about abuse, educating yourself and others and supporting your local domestic violence program are all examples of thinkgs we can do to help.

How Can I Raise Awareness In My Community?

materials listed below highlight simple steps that individuals and communities can take to help end domestic violence.

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Page 103 of 251

WORKPLACE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Pattern of Power and Control At Home and Work

Domestic violence doesn't only happen at home. Abusers often use workplace resources to express remorse or anger, check up on, pressure, or threaten their victims. Sabotaging a partner's job performance is one way that abusers keep victims dependent on them for money and under their control. Work may be the only resource a domestic violence victim has left, particularly if the abuser has succeeded in cutting off other sources of support. Some behavior that takes place at a workplace rises to the level of a crime recognized under state and/or federal law. While some harassing or threatening acts might not rise to the level of criminal behavior, employers can refuse to tolerate this type of conduct from employees or against employees.

Employers Can Make a Difference

Most employees believe that businesses should be a part of the solution to addressing domestic violence. Domestic violence can happen to anybody: businesses need their experienced and valuable employees, and victims need ways to keep their jobs.

Employers can make a difference. Many corporations and government agencies are already addressing domestic violence with great success.

Putting in policies to help domestic violence victims can:

  • Make workplaces safer
  • Keep valuable employees on the job
  • Raise awareness of domestic violence in the community

If you are an employer looking to take action on domestic violence, we encourage you to contact PCADV at 800-932-4632.

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Teen Dating Violence /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Teen-Dating-Violence/Default.asp
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TEEN DATING VIOLENCE

READ MORE and KNOW MORE Say NO MORE to Teen Dating Violence

Do you know where to go for help if you suspect a teen is in an abusive relationship?
KNOW MORE about the National Dating Abuse Helpline
READ MORE about what you can do if you think you are in an abusive relationship
SAY NO MORE to teen dating abuse

Check out our Teen Dating Violence Booklet for teens, parents and anyone working or coming in contact with teens and/or their parents.

What Is Teen Dating Violence?

Teen dating violence is a pattern of actions or threats of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse by a teen (between the ages of 13 and 18) against a current or former dating partner. Any of these and more can be part of teen dating violence:

  • insults and put downs
  • coercion and control
  • peer pressure
  • sexting and texting
  • posting insults or threats online
  • threats
  • forced sex
  • hitting and hurting

Abusive teens use these kinds of behavior to keep power and control over a dating partner. Teen dating violence occurs in straight and gay (LGTBQ) relationships.

Recognizing that the person you love is controlling, abusive or violent is hard even for adults. Even when teens recognize that they are being abused, they may hesitate to turn to adults for support, understanding, and protection.

Teen Dating Violence is Common and Serious.

According to teens themselves in a 2009 survey:

  • 80% of teenagers who have experienced abuse have talked to a friend about the abuse.
  • 32% talked to a parent.
  • 15% talked to a school counselor or social worker.
  • 21% visited websites or other online resources, and
  • 5% called an abuse hotline.

How do you know what to do when someone confides in you?
Loveisrespect.org has some great ideas for helping friends, family, your child, and even a stranger.  Also check out Break The Cycle's website.

Consequences can be fatal
PCADV's Domestic Violence Fatality Reports for 2008 through 2010 identify eight victims of dating violence: four were between ages 13 - 18, and four were 19-year-olds.

Dating relationships and the Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act.
Teens (with some adult help) can go to a judge to get a Protection From Abuse order.

Safety planning is an important step
The local domestic violence program can help teens, parents, and schools fit safety plans to individual families. There are even online tools to help teens get started.

Many local domestic violence programs also have prevention educators who work in the schools to:

  • provide information about dating violence to students, teachers, guidance counselors and other school personnel
  • work extensively with schools to make sure that trained counselors are available on-site to assist students struggling with controlling or abusive relationships.

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

PCADV Works to Educate Communities about Teen Dating Abuse

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to gain safety and stability. 
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims facing teen dating abuse legal issues.
  • PCADV regularly sponsors training for teachers, school administrators and other community partners on how to recognize and respond to dating violence. 
  • PCADV monitors legislation around teen dating abuse and technology abuse.

High School Students Tackle Teen Dating Violence for PCADV's "In Their Own Words" Contest

Congratulations to the winners of PCADV’s 2nd annual “In Your Own Words” Competition to promote awareness and prevention of teen dating violence (TDV).

image from 2013 contest winning video

VIDEO DIVISION
1st Place: Timothy White, Bellefonte Area High School, Centre County
Watch the 1st Place Video on YouTube

Honorable Mention: Brittany Polzella, North Penn High School, Montgomery County
Watch the Video on YouTube

PRINT DIVISION
1st Place: Carly Loper, North Penn High School, Montgomery County
Read the 1st Place Article

Honorable Mention: Ashlea-Anne Rosnick, Mount Lebanon High School, Allegheny County
Read the Article

Every participating student also was entered in a drawing to win an iPad. Austin Snyder of Line Mountain High School in Northumberland County won the drawing.

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Technology And Safety /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Technology-And-Safety/Default.asp
Page 105 of 251

TECHNOLOGY AND SAFETY

Electronic technology - such as computers, cell phones, the internet - can help domestic violence victims learn about community services, find housing and employment opportunities, or research protection orders. However, there is a dangerous side to electronic technology that also gives domestic violence batterers new ways to harass, stalk, inflict fear and control their victims.

The Safety Net Project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence has resources to help be aware of ways abusers use technology and of ways to be safer using technology:

Technology Power and Control Wheel NNEDV Safety Net Project

Tips - Be aware and protect yourself against abuse through technology
Spanish version - Un Plan de Protección de la Tecnología para las(os) Sobrevivientes
Also available in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Somali and Russian

Tech Savvy Teens: Choosing Who Gets to See Your Info
Adolescentes Tecnisabios: Escoge Quién Pueda Ver Tu Información

PCADV Works to Make Victims and Law Enforcement Aware of Technology Stalking and Abuse.

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain financial stability and independence. 
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Stalking /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Stalking/Default.asp
Page 106 of 251

STALKING

What is Stalking?

Stalking can happen to anyone. It is serious, dangerous, and can get worse over time. Stalking involves following someone in a way that causes the victim to be afraid or upset, for instance:

  • Following someone on foot or by car
  • Watching someone at work or at home
  • Sending unwanted letters or emails
  • Making unwanted telephone calls or
  • Leaving unwanted cards, flowers or gifts

There are many ways that victims are stalked. Many abusers use the Internet and other high-tech methods to follow and contact victims. Some of these methods include spyware, GPS devices, webcams hidden in the victim's home and unwanted emails.

Most of the time, a stalker is a current or former intimate partner of the victim. According to the Stalking Resource Center's Stalking Fact Sheet:

  • 66% of female stalking victims are stalked by their intimate partner
  • 41% of male stalking victims are stalked by their intimate partner

Stalking by an intimate partner is dangerous.

Stalking by an intimate partner - current or former spouse, boy/girlfriend, lover - is especially dangerous. Unlike a stranger, an intimate partner often has access to the victim's home, property, friends, and family. Someone a victim lived with, was married to or dated knows things about them that others do not, like routines, habits, fears, and weaknesses. The local domestic violence program has advocates who can help victims plan for their and their families' safety.

Defiant Trespass Letter

A defiant trespass letter is a letter to the stalker from or on behalf of the victim that tells the stalker not to come near the victim's home, work, or school. It clearly tells the stalker that the victim does not want to have contact with them. The defiant trespass letter can be a powerful tool because it gives the stalker and the police written notice that contact by the stalker is unwanted. This kind of letter is most effective if the victim can prove the stalker received it and if the police are given a copy. A victim can prove the stalker received the letter by mailing it "certified mail with return receipt requested" at the U.S. post office. (The victim pays a small charge - a few dollars, and fills out a special card for this service.) The copy to the police can be sent by regular mail or hand delivered.

While this strategy may work to end the stalking, a victim must be careful not to reveal more information to the stalker than is necessary. An attorney or local domestic violence advocate can provide more information.

Stalking is a Crime in Pennsylvania.

Stalking is a serious crime in Pennsylvania. There are two basic elements to the crime:
• The stalker must complete at least two acts of unwanted stalking behavior, no matter how close or far apart in time they are, and
• The victim must experience reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or substantial emotional distress.

The county District Attorney makes the final decision whether to file criminal charges in any criminal case, including stalking.  It is possible that the District Attorney may choose not to file criminal charges in a stalking situation.

Protection from Abuse (PFA) Orders and Stalking

Although stalking is a crime victims may be able to get another form of protection against the stalker. A PFA Order is an important tool for many stalking victims. A PFA Order allows the police to arrest the stalker even if the police did not see the stalking behavior. The process for getting a PFA differs in every county. The PFA law requires the court to accept a victim's PFA petition without charging a filing fee. 

Victims must prove the following two things in order to get a PFA
1. The victim is either related to the stalker, is/was married to the stalker, has child(ren) with the stalker, or has/had an intimate relationship with the stalker (either sexual or dating), and
2. The victim was followed or contacted by the stalker for no lawful reason and is afraid that the stalker will cause the victim serious bodily injury. 


Victim/Witness Protection Orders and Stalking

If a criminal complaint is filed against the stalker, a victim may be eligible for a victim/witness protective order. This is a type of order that prosecutors may request for victims and witnesses in any criminal case, including stalking cases. A victim/witness protective order will allow police to arrest the stalker more quickly. The court may order the stalker to stay away from your home, work, school or even your neighborhood altogether. The requirements for a criminal victim/witness protective order are:

  • A criminal complaint must be filed;
  • The prosecutor must request the protection from the court; and
  • The court must find there is substantial evidence that the victim/witness has been or is likely to be intimidated.

Stalking victims should know that victim/witness protective orders are sometimes hard to get and the order only lasts until the criminal case is decided. If criminal charges are not filed or if the prosecutor does not ask the court to issue a victim/witness protective order, there are still the other options previously described:

  • A Protection From Abuse Order - your relationship with the stalker must meet certain legal definitions in order to qualify for a PFA.
  • A Defiant Trespass Letter - Formal notice that you do not want to be followed or contacted. It should be sent to the stalker and to local police.

PCADV Works to Fight Stalking

PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain financial stability and independence. 

PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims facing stalking-related legal issues.

PCADV offers training and resources about stalking policies and protocols for law enforcement, attorneys and courts.

Stalking Brochures to distribute are available from PCADV.

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Rural Communities /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Rural-Communities/Default.asp
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RURAL COMMUNITIES

Women in rural areas are just as likely as women in cities and suburban areas to report being the victims of domestic violence, even though rural areas are far less likely to have other violent crime. Domestic violence crosses all geographic lines, but many factors within rural communities affect how abused women get services, or how services are provided.

Frequency of Domestic Violence

Pennsylvania's local domestic violence programs offer free and confidential services to victims of domestic violence in every county, but rural women may find it hard to ask for and get to help.

Barriers to Leaving

A common tactic used by many batterers is to isolate their victims from any type of support. Abusers also limit access to information about help that may be available. For women living in rural areas, this isolation is worsened because they may live far from services, shelter, jobs, health care, neighbors, families and friends. There is little access to public transportation or childcare. There may not be an extra vehicle. Cell phone coverage is spotty and many victims may not have access to a landline phone. 

A "rural culture" often includes everyone working together and knowing what is going on in each other's lives. It is likely that law enforcement, judges, social service and health care workers, faith leaders and others know both the victim and the abuser. As a result, it may be more uncomfortable to share what is happening behind closed doors. Victims may feel that people won't take their situation seriously. In addition, there may be strong ties among extended families that mean breaking up the family is frowned upon. 

Those living in rural areas may feel that abuse is not a topic to be freely talked about. "Outsiders" aren't to be trusted and problems are worked out within the family (or not). Keeping things "the way they have been for years" is preferred to making changes. 

Women who own, live or work on a farm are faced with even harder decisions since their personal and business lives are often tied together. Do they leave behind their home, business, animals and job to go to a shelter in a unfamiliar town? Is their money tied up in the farm? It is one thing to worry about whether or not your batterer will feed the cat, dog or fish; it is another to worry about who will milk the cows, muck the stalls or tend to the daily needs of horses, goats, chicken and pigs. And if farm life is all they know, where will their next job be? Are there any local opportunities for school or job training?

Going to court or to the police may be harder in rural areas. The closest courthouse could be more than two hours driving time. Public transportation is scarce. Friends and family may hesitate to "get involved" and provide a ride. Police can take longer to arrive in emergencies because of the distance they need to travel. It is harder to get a free attorney. These barriers make it challenging for victims in rural areas to get away from the abuse, find a place to live, and support themselves with a living wage, but are necessary to leave an abusive partner and be able to stay away. 

PCADV Works to Increase Rural Resources for Domestic Violence Victims and Families

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain financial stability and independence. Rural programs may offer satellite offices, help with transportation, or use teleconferencing to connect victims to important services and courts.
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to rural advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims. 
  • PCADV sponsors a rural task force for advocates to compare challenges and solutions for working in rural areas.
  • PCADV offers training about working with domestic violence victims.

Recent Research and Resources

The Kentucky Civil Protective Order Study: A Rural and Urban Multiple Perspective Study of Protective Order Violation Consequences, Responses, & Costs TK Logan et al., (2009).
The results of this study show clearly that civil protective orders are an effective intervention in addressing partner violence. For approximately half the women, all it took to stop the violence was a protective order. For the other half, the violence and abuse was significantly reduced. Challenges remain in rural areas with access and enforcement.

OVW's Rural Pilot Program was designed to reach out to small faith-based and community organizations not addressing domestic violence, to expand domestic violence services in rural areas for underserved populations. A. Klein et al. (2009)

Rural Victim Assistance: A Victim/Witness Guide for Rural Prosecutors
The guide is designed to help prosecutors, victim advocates, and policymakers understand the state of victim/witness assistance in rural communities. American Prosecutors Research Institute, 2008.

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Protection From Abuse /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Protection-From-Abuse/Default.asp
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PROTECTION FROM ABUSE

Protection from Abuse Orders

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What is a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order?

A PFA order from a court gives protective "relief" for a victim (and sometimes children) for up to three years. A person can file for a PFA order from the court for themselves or on behalf of their children who are under age eighteen. A PFA order describes certain things the abuser must do or is forbidden to do in regard to a victim, and can include many kinds of protection. For example, a PFA order can make it illegal for the abuser to contact, harass and abuse the victim and the victim's children. The PFA order can order the abuser to give back keys, papers, toys, clothes and other items. If the abuser does not follow the order, there can be criminal charges.

For a domestic violence victim, getting a PFA is just one part of a larger plan to be safe from the abuse. An advocate at the local domestic violence program can help a victim create a safety plan for the family.

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Who Can Obtain a PFA Order?

A victim of abuse may file for a PFA order against an intimate partner or a family member, such as:

  • Spouses or ex-spouses;
  • Persons who have lived as spouses;
  •  Domestic partners;
  • Same sex couples;
  • Parents;
  • Children;
  • Persons related by blood or marriage (including bothers/sisters); or
  • Current or former sexual or intimate partners (including dating relationships).

The PFA Act does not cover abuse by a stranger or a roommate that the victim is not intimately involved with.

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How To Get a PFA Order

Although the PFA Act is a Pennsylvania law, every county has a different process to get a PFA order. The local domestic violence program has information about the PFA process in each county and the rights of victims of abuse or other crimes. The PFA Act says that an advocate from the domestic violence program can also go with victims to PFA hearings, and may not reveal anything that is talked about with victims.

Even though each county is different, the legal process follows the same general pattern. The PFA process usually starts by filling out a form called a "petition" at the local county courthouse. The questions in the petition ask victims to explain why they want protection and to describe the abuse they suffered. In legal terms, the person who wants the PFA is called the "petitioner" or the "plaintiff". The PFA petition also asks the petitioner to tell what they want the PFA to do. Usually, there are employees at the courthouse who can help to complete PFA petitions, and give information about free or low-cost legal services in the county or region. The PFA Act says that courthouse information and assistance to PFA petitioners should be provided in both English and Spanish.

After the petition is filled out, a judge will read it and may ask the plaintiff to answer a few questions. The abuser will not usually be present in the court for this. The judge may grant or deny a temporary PFA order and will schedule a date for a final hearing. A temporary PFA order will protect a victim and/or children until the date of the final hearing. This hearing will take place within 10 business days. Even if the judge does not grant a temporary protection order, the judge will schedule a final order hearing.

Next, the local sheriff's office will deliver a copy of the petition, any temporary PFA order and notice of the upcoming final hearing to the defendant. The defendant may become angry or try to contact the victim after getting the notice. It is important for victims to see an advocate at the local domestic violence program to make a safety plan for the period of time before the final hearing, especially if the judge does not give a temporary PFA order.

On the date of the PFA hearing, the plaintiff/victim and defendant/abuser will come before a judge. Both are allowed to have attorneys to represent them at this hearing. A domestic violence advocate may also come with the victim. If both the plaintiff and defendant agree on the terms of an order, the judge will make it official. If either does not agree, the judge will give the victim and abuser the chance to talk on the record about the abuse described in the petition.

After listening to the testimony, the judge may grant the plaintiff a final PFA order. Final orders can be in place for any period of time up to and including 3 years.

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What Can a PFA Order Do?

A plaintiff can ask for any or all of the following forms of relief in the PFA petition. The judge will consider the requests and may grant all or some of them in the final PFA order:

  • ask the judge to order the abuser to stop threatening, abusing, harassing or stalking the victim and the victim's children.
  • ask the judge to make the abuser leave the home or household (even if both parties own it or are on the lease)
  • request that the victim's new address or location remain confidential.
  • ask the judge for temporary custody of the children.
  • ask for temporary spousal or child support.
  • ask to be paid back for expenses that the victim had as a result of the abuse.
  • ask the judge to prohibit the abuser from contacting the victim, victim's children, or family members.
  • ask the judge to order the abuser to turn over any firearms or other weapons.
  • ask the judge to order "any other appropriate relief" like the return of a pet, car keys, important papers, or other personal property.
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How Much Does a PFA Order Cost?

The PFA Act says that PFA orders are free for the person seeking protection. In most cases, the defendant will have to pay for all or part of the PFA process. Otherwise, the county must pay.

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How Can a Domestic Violence Advocate Help?

A domestic violence advocate can help victims with many services. They may be able to help victims fill out a PFA petition or go with the victim to court. Advocates can give victims information about the county PFA process and help victims to make a safety plan.

What a victim says to a domestic violence program advocate is confidential. By law, an advocate cannot repeat what victims tell them, even if called into court by a judge. The only exception is that the advocate must report it if the victim reveals that a child is in danger of being abused. Confidentiality between victims and advocates means that victims can speak freely about their circumstances and plan for their future safety.

Domestic violence programs and advocates do not charge for their services. Victims can reach a domestic violence advocate anywhere in the country by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 800-787-3224. Every county in Pennsylvania is served by a domestic violence program

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What If an Abuser Violates the PFA Order?

In most cases, the victim should immediately call the police if the abuser doesn't keep to ("violates") the terms of the PFA order. According the PFA Act, the police can and should arrest the abuser for any violation of the PFA order. The only exception is that the police cannot arrest an abuser for not paying expenses and support as ordered.

A defendant who violates a PFA order can be arrested and charged with a crime called indirect criminal contempt. The victim may be asked to testify about the violation at a court hearing. If the court finds the defendant guilty of violating the PFA order, the court can give jail time, probation, and/or fines.

Even though the police may arrest and charge an abuser for indirect criminal contempt, the abuser may be released before the hearing. Victims should consider talking to a domestic violence advocate about steps to take to stay safe.

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Are PFA and Protection Orders Valid Across State Lines?

Yes, a PFA order from Pennsylvania is valid in every county in Pennsylvania, every state across the country, and on tribal lands. Protection orders from other states or tribal courts are also valid in Pennsylvania. This is because the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a federal law that protects victims of domestic violence, makes all states honor other courts' protection orders. There are law enforcement databases that make it easier for police to electronically check protection orders, but they are not foolproof. It is important for victims to have their PFA orders with them whenever they are traveling or if they move to a new address, especially out of state.

A plaintiff who has a PFA order does not have to register it in a different county or state for it to be valid, but registering it with the local courthouse may be helpful. On the plus side, registering an order allows police to quickly verify the order and respond faster to if an abuser violates it. On the downside, some states will notify the defendant when the victim registers a PFA order in a new county or state. If the victim does not want an abuser to know where they are, they may not want to register the PFA. Procedures for registering a PFA order vary from state to state.

A domestic violence program (Find Help) or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 800-787-3224 can give more information on how to register a PFA order in a new state.

It is good for a victim to have a certified copy of the order along at all times, especially if a victim decides not to register a PFA order after moving. (A certified copy is one that is stamped with a raised seal and initialed by the court.) It is also a good idea to have multiple copies of the order for work, home, and/or school.

PCADV Works to Help Victims Get Legal Protection From Abuse 

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain safety and independence. 
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims facing PFA legal issues.
  • PCADV offers training about the PFA Act and case law, enforcement and violations of PFAs, and working with domestic violence victims.

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Language Access /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Language-Access/Default.asp
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Interpreters in Pennsylvania Courts

"No one should be put at a disadvantage in court by reason of race, ethnicity, or gender."
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 2003

It is a basic right to be able to understand what is happening in court. The fairness of Pennsylvania courts depends on everyone being able to know what is going on in court, whether a person is the victim, the accused, or a witness. It is unfair to a person who cannot speak or understand English, because they have not learned it (commonly referred to as people with limited English proficiency-LEP), or because they are deaf or hard of hearing, unless the court has ways to provide interpreters for them.

Sometimes courts have used family and friends of the victim or abuser to interpret during legal proceedings. Volunteer interpreters can be a poor choice for many reasons. Family members or friends can have feelings in favor of or against the victim or abuser. Even when volunteer interpreters understand and speak English better than the parties, they can misunderstand important legal terms.

Interpreters who are not certified may insert advice or extra language into their translation. Certified interpreters must keep conversations that they translate between a victim and domestic violence advocate confidential, meaning that they can't testify about it in court. A volunteer interpreter does not have to, which can compromise a victim's legal rights.

Pennsylvania Laws About Interpreters

Pennsylvania law makes sure that courts are fairer for people who are deaf or hard of hearing or who do not speak English well. The Court Interpreter Act says that the court can appoint certified interpreters for LEP or deaf parties, witnesses and certain others for court proceedings. Such interpreters are certified in the language and, most importantly, their understanding of legal terms. Certified interpreters also agree to other ethics rules, such as translating word-for-word rather than summarizing what someone says.

Pennsylvania's Interpreter Statute and Regulations list when and how courts should use interpreters for arrests, trials, hearings, and other reasons. They describe how courts can to find qualified and certified interpreters.

Administrative Offices of Pennsylvania Courts - Court Interpreter Program

Language Flashcards

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Insurance Discrimination /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Insurance-Discrimination/Default.asp
Page 110 of 251

INSURANCE DISCRIMINATION

Pennsylvania´s Unfair Insurance Practices Statute

Pennsylvania's Unfair Insurance Practices Statute does not allow insurance companies to deny coverage or benefits to victims of domestic violence for life, health, disability, homeowners, or auto insurance. PCADV and the Women's Law Project of Philadelphia worked with the insurance industry and policy leaders for more than 12 years to make changes to this law.

Health, Life and Disability Insurance

Until 1996, insurers in Pennsylvania could deny health, life and disability insurance to domestic violence victims. Women who had been injured or who had received counseling as a result of abuse were deemed high risk, just like people with other "pre-existing conditions" like heart disease and diabetes. Sometimes women would stay in abusive relationships for fear of losing coverage for themselves and their children. Or women would not report abuse to doctors, even when injured, because they could be dropped or denied coverage in the future if the doctor's report to the insurance company mentioned "abuse."

Abuse has short and longer-term effects on the physical and mental health of victims and their children. However, it is doubly unfair to punish the person who received the abuse, and not the person who caused it. Keeping insurance from victims makes it harder for them to get free and remain free from the abuse. 

Auto and Homeowners Insurance

Until 2006, domestic violence survivors could be denied auto or homeowners insurance because insurance companies feared having to pay money for replacement and repairs. Abusers often claim that they "own" the victim and damage a victim's property to show that they "own" that too. Or, they may sabotage a car to keep their victims from escaping, especially in rural areas far from public transportation or nearby neighbors. Blaming a victim for damage caused by their abuser does not prevent future damage, although it may keep a victim from making an insurance claim. It is hard to escape abusive relationships without a vehicle or a place to live.


Federal Health Care Reform

In 2014, federal laws take effect that will make it illegal in all states for insurers to discriminate in health care insurance because a person is or was a victim of domestic violence. Specifically, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (health care reform) prohibits coverage denials and exclusions for women with "pre-existing conditions" such as pregnancy; having had a C-section, breast or cervical cancer; or being a survivor of domestic or sexual violence. 

The practice of health insurance providers discriminating against domestic violence victims will be illegal throughout the United States. 

PCADV Works to Make Insurance Discrimination Illegal 

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain financial stability and independence. 
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims who face insurance discrimination legal issues.
  • In 1996, PCADV and the Women's Law Project were successful in efforts to enact Act 24, amendments to Pennsylvania's Unfair Insurance Practices Statute, to address discrimination against victims of domestic violence in life, health, and disability insurance matters. In 2006, PCADV succeeded in further amending the Unfair Insurance Practices Statute through Act 78 to address discrimination against victims of domestic violence in property and casualty insurance (homeowners and auto). PCADV continues such critical public policy work.
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Immigration U Visa /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Immigration/U-Visa/Default.asp
Page 111 of 251

U Visas

Visas for nonimmigrants

HOW A U VISA CAN HELP FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The first step is to get the certification from law enforcement. Many individuals in law enforcement are eligible to certify cooperation. Advocates in the local DV program (find_help/in_pa) can be helpful because they know who can certify in the county. Once the cooperation has been certified, the U Visa application is filed with the Vermont Service Center, along with the signed certification form, and identification documents of the crime victim. The victim must write a supporting statement. After three years in the U.S., the U Visa holder files for adjustment of status to get the green card. They must file the adjustment of status form and file an updated certification of cooperation form.
A successful U visa applicant must show the following:

  • The applicant suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of one of the listed crimes;
  • The person had information about the criminal activity that victimized her;
  • The person assisted federal, state or local law enforcement in investigating or prosecuting the criminal activity; and
  • The criminal activity violated U.S. Law or occurred in the U.S. or its territories.
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Immigration T Visa /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Immigration/T-Visa/Default.asp
Page 112 of 251

T-Visa

Visas for victims of human trafficking.

OW A T VISA CAN HELP FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

In order to get a T Visa, the victim must show the following:

  • The person has been the victim of a severe form of trafficking;
  • The victim has assisted with reasonable requests for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of their case, or the victim is under 18 years of age;
  • The victim is in the U.S. because of the trafficking; and
  • The victim would suffer severe hardship if he or she were sent back to the home country.

The law also permits law enforcement officers to assist the victim of trafficking to complete the T Visa paperwork. A law enforcement agent may certify that the victim assisted in the prosecution or investigation of the case. Certification is not required, but it is very helpful to the petitioner.
Some petitioners may qualify for certain benefits during the time the Service Center is looking over their petition. Also, the victim can ask for a work permit for the duration of the T Visa. About three months before the T Visa expires, the visa holder can file a petition to adjust his or her status. This is when the person is granted the green card.

Back to Immigration

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Immigration Self Petition /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Immigration/Self-Petition/Default.asp
Page 113 of 251

VAWA Self-Petition

For spouses or former spouses of US citizens or permanent residents

The Service Center will not disclose information about applicants to anyone other than government officers and only for legitimate purposes. The Service Center will not rely on information or evidence provided by the abuser unless it is confirmed by another source.

Back to Immigration

HOW A VAWA SELF PETITION CAN HELP FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Eligibility
In order to file a VAWA Self-Petition, the survivor petitioner must be a spouse or former spouse of a U.S. citizen or an legal permanent resident. If the survivor is divorced or thinks she may be divorced soon, she must file the self-petition within two years of the date the divorce was granted. The survivor may file for legal permanent resident status for her children even if the children were not abused and are not the children of the abuser. Abused children may file for themselves, and for their children. Un-abused spouses can file for themselves and their children if those children were abused.

Process
The Self-Petition process is described below but it is best to talk to an immigration attorney and your local domestic violence advocate before beginning the process. Many resources are listed at the bottom of this page. If an immigrant is eligible to self-petition, the first step is to fill out the self-petitioning papers and file them with the Vermont Service Center. This Center deals with all self-petitions. The people who work there are trained in domestic violence. After filing this paperwork, the survivor fills out a form to adjust her status. This is the form that will get her a green card, if it is approved. The survivor can also apply for a work permit at the same time.

No fee is required to file the self-petition, but some fees may apply for other forms and filings. The Service Center may waive the fees if it would be difficult for the person to pay. There are other forms that must be filled out and filed as well. If the abuser is a U.S. citizen and the self-petition is approved, the petitioner will likely get her green card quickly, although there may be an interview required. If the abuser is a legal permanent resident and the self-petition is approved, the survivor may have to wait until an immigrant visa is available, due to backlogs for immigrant visas. However, once the self-petition is approved, the petitioner may apply for a work permit and may stay in the U.S. until the waiting period is over. Then the petitioner will apply for adjustment of status, the form that leads to the green card.

To succeed in a self-petition, the petitioner must show several things. The Vermont Service Center will consider lots of different items and documents (evidence) when considering a self-petition case. Generally a petitioner must prove the following:

  • Marriage to the U. S. citizen or the LPR; or parent/child relationship;
  • Good faith marriage; even if the spouse was already married to someone else, if the self-petitioner can show that they married in good faith, that will fulfill this requirement;
  • Lived with the abuser during the marriage for some period of time;
  • Battery or extreme cruelty during the marriage; and
  • Good moral character.
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Immigration /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Immigration/Default.asp
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IMMIGRATION

Many immigrants do not understand that there may be a way to get status without the abuser´s help

Victims Who Are Immigrants

Domestic violence victims who are immigrants can be open to abuse when their sponsor uses the complex immigration process to intimidate and threaten them. If the sponsor is a family member or spouse, the abuser can use fear of deportation or isolation from family abroad to keep the victim from telling about the abuse or leaving the relationship. Abusers try to keep victims dependent upon them for getting victims' and their families' immigration status to let them stay in the U.S.

Many immigrants do not understand that there may be a way to get status without the abuser's help. The most common ways to get status include the VAWA self-petition, WAWA cancellation of removal, conditional residence and battered spouse waiver, U visas and T visas. This page will discuss these various ways an abuse survivor might get status. Immigration is very complicated, and an immigration attorney can be very helpful in the process.

Many undocumented aliens (often called illegal immigrants) have options for gaining status (permission to be in the U.S.). Examples of status include visas and green cards. No one should assume that a particular alien should be removed (deported). Immigration law is nearly always federal law because under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government controls immigration.

Local domestic violence programs provide free and confidential help to domestic violence victims, without asking about immigration status.

Immigration Status

Anyone who is not a U.S. citizen is called an "alien." There are many different types of immigration status in the U.S. 

  • Lawful permanent resident (LPR): has the right to work and live in the U.S. permanently. An LPR has a green card. 
  • Nonimmigrant visas permit the holder to stay in the U.S. for a given period of time (student visas, work visas and tourist visas), T visas (for trafficking victims) and U visas (for victims of crime). 
  • Undocumented people are those who have overstayed a visa or those who came into the U.S. without any visas at all.

PCADV Works to Make Options Known to Immigrant Survivors

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county (find_help/in_pa) to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain safety and independence. 
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates (Resources_For_Victim_Advocates.docx) and attorneys (Resources_For_Attorneys.docx) helping domestic violence victims who face immigration legal issues.
  • PCADV offers training (training institute page) about working with domestic violence victims, immigration law, and laws that require public access for those with limited English proficiency.
  • PCADV partners with HIAS (http://www.hiaspa.org/aboutus/contact.htm) to provide information for attorneys on full legal rights for immigrant domestic violence victims.

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) Status

Most often, a U.S. Citizen or an LPR sponsors a family member for immigration to the U.S. Not all family members qualify for sponsorship. Often there are long waiting times before the relative can come to the U.S. The sponsor must also fill out a lot of paperwork. Abusers try to block their immigrant victims' from gaining status and becoming independent.

  • They tell the survivor they have filed the paperwork, but did not do so. 
  • They file the papers, but then withdraw the papers. 
  • Often they threaten to withdraw the papers if the survivor refuses to do something the abuser tells them to do. 
  • The abuser refuses to file follow-up paperwork. 
  • The abuser refuses to attend interviews with the Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS). 
  • The abuser refuses to file the paperwork to sponsor the survivor's children.
  • The abuser threatens to turn the survivor over to CIS to be deported. 

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self-Petition

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides several ways for immigrants who are victims of domestic violence to get legal residency (legal status) in the U.S. The major way is the VAWA self-petition. Under the WAVA self-petition, the survivor sponsors or files the papers for herself and sometimes for her children. The abuser is not part of the process.

Read more

What is a U Visa?

U Visas are non-immigrant visas. That means they are not permanent visas, and the visa holder must do something else to gain status. U Visas are available to victims of certain serious crimes. Included in the list are rape, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, prostitution, kidnapping, abduction, extortion, manslaughter, murder, witness tampering, and attempt or conspiracy to commit any of those crimes. This is not the complete list of crimes; there are many others.

The U Visa requires that the victim must be helpful, have been helpful or is expected to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. A qualified law enforcement official must certify that the victim cooperated on the special Law Enforcement Certification Form. For this visa, there is no relationship requirement between the victim and his or her abuser. The victim can be a victim of a random crime and still be eligible for a U Visa. It can also be helpful for someone abused by a person who is not a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, or a survivor who was not married to the citizen or legal permanent resident.

Read more

What is a T Visa?

T Visas are granted to victims of human trafficking. Trafficking means providing people for labor or other services by using fraud, force or coercion that forces the person into slavery or servitude. It covers forced labor such as domestic, factory or farm work. It also covers providing people for commercial sex acts by force, fraud or coercion, and it applies to people under 18 years of age who are forced into commercial sex acts. Sometimes this happens when a victim is smuggled into the U.S. and the smuggler forces the victim to work to pay his or her fees for getting the victim into the country.

In 2000, Congress passed a law called the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. This law creates immigration relief for victims. The law provides for the T Visa for trafficking victims. To get a T Visa, the victim files a self-petition. If the self-petition is granted, the victim can stay in the U.S. for up to three years.

Read more

As with most immigration cases, approval of self-petitions under VAWA, U Visas, and T Visas can take time. Sometimes the process can take a year or more. When seeking legal immigration status, it is very important that an immigrant have an attorney to help. And it is very important that everyone be honest and truthful to CIS. 

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Identity Change /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Identity-Change/Default.asp
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IDENTITY CHANGE

There are many ways to find personal information about someone. Abusers can use the information to harass, harm and locate survivors or their children.

Changing identity may not be easy, or even possible

It is important for survivors to protect personal information because an abuser can use it to continue the abuse or to locate a victim who does not wish to be found. Often survivors think that they will completely change their identity - name, social security number, address, job - to avoid being found by their abusers. However, changing one's identity may not be an easy or permanent fix. Victims may not be able to change all of the details of their lives that an abuser could use to find and harass them.

Personal Information is Everywhere

Many official records are considered public information and are on file at courthouses, licensing bureaus, and state agencies. More and more agencies are making records available on-line. Online shopping, banking and bill-pay systems, discount cards and rebates collect information that may be revealed through computer tampering or hacking. Charitable contributions, social networking Internet sites, voting records and address change forms from the Post Office contribute to the information available. Information brokers take all the information about a person, combine it into a data profile and sell the profiles to other companies for marketing purposes. There are very few legal restrictions on using and sharing this data. Even if it is meant for use by companies trying to sell items, abusers might be able to get it.

Relocation and Information Protection

Leaving an abusive situation is a long, fearful process for many victims, and the threat of violence does not go away even after separation. Abusers use intimidation, fear and violence to keep power over victims and to control the family. Abusers know the intimate details of their victims' lives -  friends, families, favorite places to go, employers, doctors, and more. To prevent more abuse, victims often must keep their whereabouts secret after escaping.

A domestic violence advocate can help victims make a safety plan that works for their lives. Whether victims must flee in panic or strategically plan the time to leave, a safety plan identifies important items, papers and preparations a victim and children will need. Part of the safety plan may include moving or relocating to another city or even another state.

In some cases, when a victim with children relocates, the court's permission to leave Pennsylvania may be necessary.

Plan for Safe and Confidential Relocation

Employers, landlords, business contacts, coworkers, even family and friends, may give personal information about a victim without realizing that it could be dangerous. With the help of a counselor/advocate at the local domestic violence program, victims can learn how to teach family and friends to help keep them safe. For instance, family and friends should never give out any information, no matter how innocent it seems, to anyone asking for information about the victim. Victims can coach their family and friends to repeat the phrase, "All I can do is take your number." The victim can then decide whether or not to call, and call from a location with a blocked caller ID.

Pennsylvania has an Address Confidentiality Program that can give victims a confidential address to list on forms, applications and legal records. The program can also forward mail from the confidential address to the victim's new address. Victims may apply at the local domestic violence, sexual assault or victims' services office

Name Change

Pennsylvania law covers when and how a person can get a legal name change. The person must explain the reason for the name change to a judge in a legal hearing. The judge may not allow the name change during a divorce, custody, bankruptcy or criminal case, or if the person has a criminal record. Domestic violence is a good reason for a judge to allow the name change. That means victims have to be willing to admit that they're being abused in front of a judge, and some victims are not ready. For legal reasons, name-change requests have to be published in a local newspaper and in other places. However, because this could tip off an abuser, the law says that a domestic violence survivor may not have to publish. After a hearing, the judge will decide whether to allow the name change. Because court documents are usually open to the public, victims can ask the judge to seal the file so that an abuser cannot ask to see them. The victim can request that the file be sealed whether or not the name change was granted. Getting access to sealed files requires the judge's permission, and it's harder for an abuser to see them.

An advocate at the domestic violence program and/or an attorney can help survivors think about the good or bad consequences of the name change process.

Social Security Number Change

It is possible to get a new social security number. However, changing a social security number will not guarantee safety from an abuser. Many times, victims are tracked through family and friends. It is possible that an abuser using certain types of technology may be able to find out a new social security number. There are many myths and realities of identity change that domestic violence victims should know.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not delete the old social security number. The old and the new number are cross-referenced and the SSA limits the number of times it will allow people to change their numbers. SSA maintains confidentiality of records and does not give out information without the consent of the person. However, the SSA must provide information to other some federal and state government agencies. 

Survivors should talk with an advocate from the local domestic violence program about a safety plan, as well as an attorney, before starting the identity change process. 

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Housing /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Housing/Default.asp
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White house in the fall with colored leaves

HOUSING

Up to 50% of homeless women report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness. And nearly all homeless women report experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault in their lifetime.
Source: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

A Choice Between Abuse and Homelessness

Housing can be a big obstacle when a victim of domestic violence tries to leave an abuser. A victim often must decide between returning to an abuser or risking extreme poverty or homelessness.

Abusers use a range of tactics to control victims. In addition to physical and emotional abuse, an abuser may use financial abuse to stop a victim from leaving. To control the victim’s finances, an abuser may:

  • Control household income, and give small “allowances” for essential needs
  • Ruin a victim’s credit by maxing out credit lines and credit cardes
  • Forbid the victim from working outside the home
  • Sabotage the victim’s employment

The result of these tactics mean that it's difficult for a victim to find housing after leaving an abuser.

Domestic Violence Victims Denied Affordable Rental Housing

It is often very difficult for victims of domestic violence to rent an affordable housing unit. Landlords and housing providers often turn away or try to evict domestic violence victims for reasons that are related to the abuser’s behavior:

  • Police may be frequently called to the home
  • An abuser may cause damage to the property
  • A victim may be unable to pay rent because of economic abuse
  • An abuser may show up at the property and causes a disturbance

In some communities, local "nuisance" ordinances force landlords to evict tenants if police are repeatedly called to their homes. Many cities in Pennsylvania have these ordinances, which punish victims of domestic violence with homelessness for calling for help.

When a rental victim is evicted in Pennsylvania, it shows up on her or his rental history. As a result, the victim may be denied housing elsewhere.

State and Federal Laws Protect Victims From Discrimination

Housing Protections in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

VAWA is a federal law that protects victims who receive public housing assistance, such as Section 8 Project-Based housing or Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher assistance.

VAWA prohibits the Public Housing Authority and public housing providers or landlords from denying an application for assistance or evicting a tenant for reasons that are directly related to their abuse. VAWA also provides additional protections for victims that receive housing assistance, such as emergency transfers.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA)

The FHA protects against discrimination based on sex, which some courts believe applies to victims of domestic violence because the majority of victims are women. The FHA covers all housing providers, including landlords of privately owned residences.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA)

Like the FHA, the PHRA protects against discrimination based on sex, which may include victims of domestic violence. The PHRA covers all housing providers, including landlords of privately owned residences.

Co-Owning a Home With An Abuser

Separating from an abuser when the victim owns or co-owns a home can be difficult. Legal assistance is often needed. Abusers may:

  • Withhold mortgage or tax payments
  • Force foreclosure or bankruptcy actions
  • Manipulate concerns about adequate housing for children, school districts, and even after school activities for domestic violence victims who are parents

See the Economic Justice and Restoration Page for more information

Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders Can Have Housing Protections

When filing for a PFA order, victims can request that the court evict or “exclude” an abuser, so the victim and children can feel safe in their home. See the Protection From Abuse page for more information.

Child Custody Laws Complicate Relocating With Children To Escape Abuse

Finding new housing in another town, county or state can be complicated when children are involved. When a victim has children, there are laws that she or he must follow before moving. The consequences for not following the laws for relocation and child custody are severe: If a victim does not follow these rules, she or he may lose custody or face state or federal kidnapping charges. See the Custody and Relocation page for more information.

  • Download pdfThings to Know If You Want to Move With Your Children

    Brochure for Domestic Violence Survivors. You may be thinking about moving with your children. Whether you are moving across the street, down the block, to another county or to another state, you need to know about Pennsylvania’s child custody law.

    410.43 K | 11/11/2013

PCADV works to increase safety and access to affordable housing for victims of domestic violence

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain financial stability and independence.
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims.
  • Request training from PCADV or your local domestic violence program
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Healthcare /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Healthcare/Default.asp
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HEALTHCARE

In a victim's words:
"The doctor's office is a good place to go because it's neutral and it's confidential. It's not like telling your husband you're going to the police department."

Healthcare and Domestic Violence

Most people are seen at some point by a health care provider - a nurse, family doctor, chiropractor, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, obstetrician, or other health care provider. Medical visits can provide a critical opportunity for early detection, education, referrals and even prevention of abuse.

The direct medical and mental health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking, and homicide by intimate partners total nearly $4.1 billion each year, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

(Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, US Centers for Disease Control. Report released April 28, 2003)

Healthcare Services Connect Victims with Help

Screening during medical visits (asking questions of all women clients in order to find those victimized by a partner or family member) is an effective way to raise awareness and connect victims with information and services. More information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on effective screening for domestic violence.

Health care providers can break the deadly cycle of domestic violence by screening patients, identifying domestic violence-related injuries and ailments, documenting in the medical record, providing services and referring patients who are being abused by their intimate partners or family members to domestic violence programs and other services. 

Domestic Violence Is A Public Health Problem

Even though many people think of domestic violence as happening in private, domestic violence is a public health problem. 

PCADV Works to Assist Providers

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other programs to help victims gain stability and independence.
  • PCADV's medical advocate provides technical assistance and training to health care providers helping domestic violence victims and their families. Call 1-800-932-4632.
  • PCADV tracks legislation around health care issues that affect abuse victims and their families. 
  • PCADV provides a Domestic Violence Health Care Provider Training Evaluation Toolkit to help providers improve staff training on the screening, identification, and response to victims of domestic violence.
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Firearms /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Firearms/Default.asp
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FIREARMS

In Pennsylvania, firearms are the weapon used most often by abusers who murder intimate partners and family members. In 2010, firearms were used in 61 of Pennsylvania's 169 domestic violence deaths -more than 60% of the total number of homicides.

PA and Federal Law Prohibits Abusers from Having Firearms

Both federal and Pennsylvania law prohibits known domestic violence abusers from having firearms in their possession.

Pennsylvania Firearm Prohibitions

In Pennsylvania, the Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act allows a domestic violence victim to ask the judge to order that the abuser turn over firearms to the court (usually via the county sheriff's office). The judge can also order the abuser to turn over firearms involved in the abuse of an intimate partner or family member. When a PFA orders the abuser to turn over firearms, it is illegal for an abuser to have any firearms in his or her possession. (PFA Act, 23 Pa. C.S. § 6108(a)(7)). 

The PFA Act covers both short and long guns, including handguns, hunting rifles, and even antique firearms. (23 Pa. C.S. § 6102). An abuser who has any of these weapons may be arrested and prosecuted for a criminal offense (18 Pa. C.S. § 6105). 

Other Pennsylvania criminal laws may prohibit certain persons from possessing firearms. For example, under the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act, persons who have ever been convicted of felonies or involuntarily committed under the Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedural Act are not allowed to have firearms. (18 Pa. C.S. § 6105).

Pennsylvania tied with Texas for the most murder-suicides from January through June 2005. 18 murder-suicide events left 41 people dead. American Roulette: Murder-Suicide in the United States, Violence Policy Center, 2006.

Federal Firearms Prohibitions

Federal law, 18 U.S.C. 922 makes it a crime for an abuser to have a firearm while there is a qualifying PFA order and/or criminal protection order in place, even when the order does not say anything about guns. This type of firearm "prohibition" only lasts for the duration of the PFA order.

It is also a federal crime for an abuser to have a firearm if they are convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence by a state court. This type of firearm prohibition lasts a lifetime. 

In a national study of murder-suicides from January through June of 2005, 92% were committed with firearms: 44% unspecified gun; 29% handgun; 9% shotgun; 4% rifle, 6% firearm plus another weapon. American Roulette: Murder-Suicide in the United States, Violence Policy Center, 2006.

Pennsylvania does not have a simple "domestic violence crime" on its books, because many crimes can be part of a pattern of domestic violence. In Pennsylvania, it is necessary to look to the state criminal code for guidance on which crimes can be considered misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. There are some exceptions to the federal firearms prohibitions. However, if an abuser violates any of these prohibitions, it is a federal offense and is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

PCADV Works to Increase Victim Safety and Hold Offenders Accountable to the Law

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, legal options and other services to help victims gain safety and independence. 
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims with firearms-related legal issues.
  • PCADV offers training, technical assistance and resources to law enforcement and courts about firearms laws related to protection from abuse orders and domestic violence crimes. 
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Fatalities DV Fatality Risk Factors /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Fatalities/DV-Fatality-Risk-Factors/Default.asp
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DV FATALITY RISK FACTORS

The factors below may help domestic violence victims assess the dangerousness of their abusive partners. It's also important to contact a domestic violence advocate for help in making a personal safety plan.

Caution: Comparing any abuser's behavior to the list below might help victims realize if their safety is at risk. But, the presence or absence of any or all these factors is not a guarantee of lethality or safety. These risk factors are not ranked in any order. Trained domestic violence advocates are available in every county to discuss safety and options.

  • Threats of homicide or suicide
  • Stalking
  • Previous physical assaults
  • Access to firearms
  • Separation/estrangement
  • Strangulation during previous assaults
  • Access to victims
  • Public display of violence toward victim
  • History of sexual violence
  • Destruction of property
  • Jealousy and possessiveness
  • Controlling of victim's daily activities and contacts with others
  • Drug or alcohol consumption
  • Depression
  • Prior calls to police
  • Pet abuse
  • Lack of respect for the law
  • Obsessed with partner or family
  • Intimidation/threats
  • Witnessed intimate partner abuse as a child
  • Acute mental health problems
  • Unemployment
  • Victim has children who are not the abuser's
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Fatalities /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Fatalities/Default.asp
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67 Pa Victims Killed by Current or Former Partners in 2012

FATALITIES

Each year, PCADV tracks and reports on domestic violence-related fatalities in Pennsylvania. "Fatalities" includes both victims killed by the perpetrators and perpetrators who committed suicide or were killed by law enforcement. "Victims" includes all the innocent victims: the intended victims as well as bystanders, children and other family members, and law enforcement officers killed by the perpetrator.

A Grim Toll in Pennsylvania

As diverse as the victims are - from all corners of the Commonwealth and of all ages, races, incomes and educational levels - their struggles often share eerie similarities. Many were attempting to end abusive relationships, seeking legal protections and hoping to obtain custody of their children, while trying to stay safe.

So many of the perpetrators' stories also share eerily similar elements - intimidation, obsession, possessiveness, revenge and refusal to accept the end of a relationship. Firearms are the predominant choice of weapon in domestic violence fatalities in Pennsylvania.

PCADV produces an annual domestic violence fatality report as a chilling reminder of the consequences of unchecked violence and the suffering and loss experienced by families, friends and communities.

In Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2009, at least 1,455 people died as a result of domestic violence-related incidents, a rate that has spiked 49 percent in recent years - from 121 in 2007 to 180 in 2009.

Law enforcement, health care providers, and advocates may use risk factors to help domestic violence victims assess the dangerousness of their abusive partners and create an appropriate safety plan. Fatality review is also a valuable tool for developing coordinated community responses to domestic violence.

Remembering the Victims

PCADV invites family members who have lost loved ones to domestic violence to add their photo and name to the Remember My Name memorial.

Fatality Reports


Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Faith And Religion /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Faith-And-Religion/Default.asp
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Faith and Religion

  • “None of us as helpers should ever put a battered woman in the position of having to choose between her safety and the support of her religious community. She needs both... and it’s up to us to provide that.”
Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune, Director, FaithTrust Institute

Religion and faith are deeply held beliefs for many people. They can play a major role in how victims deal with domestic violence. Victims may look to faith leaders for help. Or they may turn to people with similar religious beliefs. Often victims use these supports before, or instead of, traditional domestic violence services. Having knowledge about the impact of domestic violence and the help available can aid faith communities in offering the proper support to victims.

If people believe that their faith community will blame victims instead of abusers, or ask victims to return to dangerous situations, they may steer them away from this as a source of help.

Any helper not trained to support victims with ties to faith may, without realizing it, add to the victims’ feelings of rejection, loneliness and guilt. Fortunately, faith leaders and domestic violence program staff have been working together more closely to provide the best help possible for victims.

See Professional Resources for Faith Leaders

What Abusers May Do

Abusers may cite some religious teachings to excuse abusive behavior. Religion also may be used to justify their ideas about who should have the power within a relationship. They may try to make the victim feel guilty for not following those teachings.

Abusers may keep their victims from going to church, temple, mosque or other houses of worship in order to prevent them from asking for help from others. Or they may beat them so the victim is too embarrassed to go and have others see the bruises.

Victim Safety

Responding to violence between people can be difficult, especially when it involves a family that everybody seems to like. Sometimes the victim will lie about what is happening if someone asks about the abuse. There are many reasons why this may happen. The safety of the victim and her children may depend on whether the abuser knows if she is attempting to get help. If the abuser finds out and punishes the victim, it makes it harder to reach out again.

PCADV Works to Support Families and Communities

  • PCADV’s member programs work in every county to provide emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help domestic violence victims and their families obtain safety and justice.
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Elder Abuse /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Elder-Abuse/Default.asp
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN LATER LIFE/ELDER ABUSE

The abuser was a family member in more than half of the approximately six million reported U.S. cases of elder abuse and neglect. 2004 Survey of State Adult Protective Services: Abuse of Adults 60 Years of Age and Older

Like many younger victims, older victims often choose not to reveal abuse by intimate partners and family members. This can be due to fear, shame, isolation, and their ideas about options. It can also include concerns about the person who hurts them. If victims have health problems that limit their freedom and the abusers are also their caretakers, they may worry about who will provide the care or if they will be moved to a nursing home. Abuse in later life is often a continuation of on-going domestic violence as partners age. This is referred to as "domestic violence grown old".

Estimates show that one million Americans 60 years of age or older are abused in their homes each year. Only one case in 14 is ever reported to authorities. Elder Abuse Prevalence and Incidence, National Center on Elder Abuse, 2005

The abuse that older victims describe is similar to the experiences of other victims of domestic violence; abusers control their victims through intimidation, isolation, threats and violence. However, for older victims, abuse can be made worse by age, poor health and other age-related needs. Abusers may limit access to medical care, give too much medicine or take away assistive devices. Older victims are also less likely to call a local domestic violence program or the police, so they don't show up as often in reports about crimes.

Older people have the right to make their own decisions. This can present challenges to others concerned about their safety.

If you suspect an older person is being abused you can

  • Support the older victim.
  • Listen and give them information.
  • Avoid telling them what they SHOULD do.
  • Contact the domestic violence program in your area for information and guidance.

To report suspected elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation in Pennsylvania: Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-490-8505. In Pennsylvania, elder abuse does not carry a mandatory reporting requirement except in certain institutional settings.

If you see abuse or fear for someone's immediate safety, call 9-1-1 or your local police.

PCADV works to increase safety and access to services for older victims of domestic violence

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain financial stability and independence. 
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims facing elder abuse legal issues.
  • PCADV collaborates with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to cross-train aging and domestic violence advocates, guide direct service providers and law enforcement, and create a coordinated response to meet the needs of victims age 50 and older.
  • Request training from PCADV, your local domestic violence program, or the county Area Agency On Aging
  • Get brochures on Elder abuse

Related Tools


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Piggyback young Asian woman girl

Financial Empowerment Tools

Domestic violence survivors most often cite financial stability as the reason driving their decision to stay with or return to their abuser.

These tools can be used with survivors to help overcome immediate economic barriers and secure long-term financial independence and safety.

Allstate Foundation Moving Ahead Through Financial Management Curriculum

  • Comprehensive package of tools and information designed to empower survivors to understand and manage their finances.
  • Strategies for addressing the complex financial and safety challenges of ending a relationship with an abusive partner
  • Information on how to protect personal and financial safety in and after leaving an abusive relationship
  • Long-term financial empowerment resources, including budgeting tools, step-by-step planners and more
  • Techniques for resolving debt and credit report disputes
  • Resources for working through the financial and safety challenges of identity change

Taxpayer Advocate Services – Your Voice At the IRS

by phone 877-777-4778
Helps survivors resolve IRS issues and disputes, such as

  • Innocent Spouse Relief
  • Fraudulent tax returns
  • Failure to File Taxes

Federal Student Aid

Agency and website that provide help with financial aid information and applications, student loan plans and repayment problems

Pennsylvania 2-1-1 Phone Information

Dial 2-1-1 to locate local community resources

  • customized health, housing and human services information in one place
  • FREE, accessible phone number
  • Links PA residents with human services throughout Pennsylvania
/Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Economic-Justice-And-Restoration/Career-Empowerment-Tools/Default.asp
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Women walking outside

Career Empowerment Tools

Domestic violence survivors, like anyone else, need family-sustaining wages, benefits, and opportunities for advancement along with support and encouragement during the process of finding or keeping a job, and making a career.

These tools can be used to help survivors locate jobs and investigate education and career paths.

Federal Student Aid

Survivors can use this website to apply for student aid and get information on loan repayment programs. Provides answers to questions such as:

  • how do I apply for financial aid?
  • what types of aid can I get?
  • do I qualify for aid?
  • how do I apply for aid?
  • how do I manage my loans?

Allstate Moving Ahead Career Empowerment Curriculum

Allstate Foundation Logo

designed by Women Employed and The Allstate Foundation particularly for survivors of domestic violence, to help them feel safe and confident throughout the process of getting a job, to help them elevate their thinking from "just getting a job" to "starting a career," and to do so in a way that fully acknowledges the particular challenges that survivors often face. The curriculum refers to many different career types - blue collar and white collar - and is relevant for survivors with any skill set.
The curriculum covers five key topics:

  • Being Safe During the Job Search and at Work
  • Choosing and Planning for the Career You Want
  • Getting Started in Your Career
  • Preparing for Your Job Search
  • Sharing Information and Communicating throughout the Job Search and at Work

Dress for Success Worldwide

is an international non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women. Through professional clothing, employment retention programs and ongoing support, Dress For Success empowers women to be self-sufficient and successful in their careers.

Pennsylvania CareerLink

Offices provide career services to job seekers and employers. Services range from General Education Development (GED) preparation, Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes designed to teach clients job skills for today’s competitive job market, and online job searches.

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW)

WOW promotes the empowerment, equity and economic security of women through financial education and career preparation, technical and non-traditional skill training and career development. WOW also advances equal education and employment opportunities, freedom from financial abuse and secure retirement through its advocacy, research, training, and technical assistance.

Responsible Decision Making Curriculum

Developed by YWCA Northcentral PA/Wise Options/Liberty House, the Curriculum is designed to help survivors develop healthy decision making skills and teach women about options on how to utilize different skills to cope with difficult situations and emotions. (used with permission)
Ethical Decision Making
The Roots of Decision Making
Managing Time and Making Decisions About Priorities
Understanding Decision Making Characteristics
The Game of Life
Empowered Decision Making
Sample Mock Interview Questions
Questions are designed to help survivors determine their employment interests, anticipate interview questions, and address how to answer sensitive questions during an interview that relate to a criminal background.

Keystone Education Yields Success Programs (KEYS)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) clients, who enroll in a Pennsylvania Community College, may be eligible to participate in the KEYS program. KEYS helps participants pursue a degree or credit or noncredit-bearing certificate. Research demonstrates that TANF participants who earn a certificate or degree are better able to get jobs with family-sustaining wages, benefits, and opportunities for advancement.

KEYS is operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare working in partnership with Pennsylvania's Commission for Community Colleges.

Domestic violence survivors are encouraged to speak with their County Assistance Office caseworker for details.

Students enrolled in KEYS may be eligible for financial assistance to cover:

  • Child care
  • Transportation
  • School/training registration fee (not tuition)
  • Books and school or training supplies
  • Test fees
  • Clothing
  • Equipment/tools needed for school/training
  • Car purchase
  • Car repair
  • Motor vehicle operator fees
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ECONOMIC JUSTICE AND RESTORATION

To escape a violent relationship, victims of domestic violence need economic security - the availability of a steady and reliable source of income to sustain daily living and allow planning for the future.

Gaining Financial Security is the #1 Obstacle

Survivors of domestic violence most often cite financial stability as the reason behind their decision to stay with or return to abusers.

It is difficult for domestic violence victims to gain financial security and stability unless: they have access to the following:

  • Social and economic supports such as child support, child care, housing, transportation, public benefits, trained and experienced attorneys
  • Jobs that pay a living wage (with benefits and opportunities for career advancement), educational and job training programs
  • Longer-term means of support such as savings plans or retirement accounts.

No Escape without Resources

Abusive partners want victims to be under their control, so they often sabotage survivors' efforts to become more financially independent by:

  • Causing upset and injury before key events, such as tests or job interviews 
  • Threatening or harassing partners at work
  • Preventing them from going to work or school
  • Failing to provide child care or transportation as promised
  • Refusing to pay bills

Consequently, these forms of power and control by abusers can interfere with victims' education, job training and ability to keep steady work.

PCADV´s Economic Justice & Empowerment Initiative

The PCADV Economic Justice & Empowerment initiative offers comprehensive support and assistance to member programs, to make them more able to help survivors overcome immediate economic barriers and secure long-term financial independence and safety.

PCADV provides Technical Assistance to advocates who help domestic violence victims. Advocates may contact Arlene Marshall-Hockensmith, Project Manager, for more information.
amarshall-hockensmith@pcadv.org

Allstate Foundation Logo

The Allstate Foundation Partners with PCADV -for Job Training and Readiness Skills for Domestic Violence Victims

By preparing victims for the workplace and teaching them budgeting and financial planning skills, this initiative gives them the tools to obtain employment, save money and start new lives free from abuse.

The Allstate Foundation’s 2014 grant expands and enhances PCADV’s Investing in Survivors’ Financial Independence Initiative. The grant funds four pilot job readiness and training programs at Wise Options in Lycoming County, the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, AWARE in Mercer County and the Victims’ Intervention Program in Wayne County.

In addition, victim advocates from across Pennsylvania are learning to use The Allstate Foundation’s “Moving Ahead Through Financial Management” curriculum with their clients.

For more information, please contact Arlene Marshall-Hockensmith, Esq., project manager at PCADV, at 1-800-932-4632.

Financial Independence Initiative Helps Domestic Violence Survivors in Northeast Region

Williamsport, PA, SunGazette, Dec. 29, 2013: YWCA Northcentral Pennsylvania's Wise Options program will use a $10,000 grant to help steer domestic violence survivors toward financial independence. The Allstate Foundation and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) selected Wise Options as one of among four pilot sites for the program that trains victims in any number of areas related to job readiness.

Online Economic Empowerment Resources -for Advocates Working with Domestic Violence Survivors

Career Empowerment Tools
Financial Empowerment Tools

PCADV Works to Secure Economic Justice and Restoration

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain safety, financial stability and independence.
  • PCADV provides technical assistance and training to advocates, social workers, and others who help domestic violence victims, on topics such as financial education, job skills training, higher education opportunities, working with the welfare system, navigating the Victims Compensation Assistance Program, and working with the child support enforcement system.
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys who help domestic violence victims with housing, employment, custody, and other legal challenges.
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics DV Fatality Review /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/DV-Fatality-Review/Default.asp
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DV FATALITY REVIEW

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Custody Custody Relocation /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Custody/Custody-Relocation/Default.asp
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CUSTODY RELOCATION

Each relocation case is unique and the outcome depends on the facts of the case.

Moving with a Custody Order

When parents of minor children separate and have a custody order, either parent's ability to move becomes limited. If one parent decides to move away and wants the child(ren) to move too, that parent must get approval from the other parent and/or any other person with custodial rights before moving. If the other parties do not approve the move, the moving parent must get permission (a court order) from the court.

Notice Required

Pennsylvania's custody law requires the moving parent to do several things before relocating. First, the moving parent must notify the other parent and/or other people with custodial rights of their plan to move. The notice must be sent by certified mail with return receipt requested. Notice usually needs to be sent at least 60 days before the planned move. The moving parent must also provide a form, called a "Counter-Affidavit Regarding Relocation," to the other parent and/or other people with potential custodial rights. The other parent and/or other people with custodial rights can use this document to consent or object to the relocation. Providing correct notice and filing the correct documents with the court can be complicated. It is best to consult with an attorney to be certain to comply with any legal requirements.

If the other party objects to the move, a court may give approval for the move. A judge will make a decision about the relocation after hearing all the relevant facts in the individual case. Ultimately, the parent who wants to move must convince the judge that moving will be in the child(ren)'s best interests. 


What The Judge Considers

The judge will consider many factors when making its decision. The court will look at: 

  • The child's relationship with each parent, siblings, and other people in the child's life;
  • The age, developmental stage, and special needs of the child;
  • The ability for the parent who is not moving to have a relationship with the child;
  • The child's preference;
  • Conduct of either parent to help or hurt the child's relationship with the other parent;
  • If relocating will improve the child or the parent's quality of life;
  • The reason for moving and/or opposing the move;
  • Present and past abuse by a party or member of the party's household; 
  • If there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused parent; and
  • Any other factor affecting the child's best interests.

Penalties for Moving Without Consent or Court Approval

It is very important for moving parents to understand that there can be harsh penalties if a parent relocates without getting proper consent or court approval. For instance, the court might change the custody order to give the other parent physical custody of the child. Or, if the moving parent violates a custody order by relocating without approval, the court could find the moving parent in contempt and order legal penalties or fines against that parent. The moving parent might also face criminal charges if they move without getting proper approval. 

Convincing a judge to permit a move can be challenging. Each custody case is different, so the moving parent must consider their circumstances carefully. A parent wishing to move should discuss their plans with an attorney as soon as a parent thinks they might want to move. An attorney can help the parent through the legal steps for relocation and can help organize the facts of the case to help the judge make a decision. 

PCADV Works to Increase Custody Options and Safety

  •  PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, legal options and other services to help victims gain financial stability and independence. 
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims who face custody-related legal issues.
  • PCADV offers training about custody, Protection from Abuse, and working with families affected by domestic violence.
  • PCADV provides technical support to community leaders to develop Supervised Visitation Centers in their counties.
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Custody Custody Relief /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Custody/Custody-Relief/Default.asp
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CUSTODY RELIEF IN PFA ORDERS

Protection Orders May Include Temporary Custody

A parent can request short-term custody relief in a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order. Before making a decision, a judge must decide if custody with the requesting parent is in the best interests of the child. The judge will examine the safety of the child and the parent to make this decision. Custody in a PFA order will be granted based on the safety needs of the child and the parent.

A judge may order any "relief" or custody arrangements to try to reduce the threat of harm to the child or parent. For example, the order may include supervised visitation (where someone else is present during the other parent's visits with the child) or supervised exchange (where the parents have no direct contact during transfer of the child for visits). The judge may also give the requesting parent sole legal and physical custody if the threat of harm to the child or parent is severe.

A PFA order is an important tool for victim safety. It is not, however, a substitute for formal custody proceedings. Custody relief in a PFA order is short-term; it expires when the order expires. It may be crucial for a domestic violence victim's long-term safety to seek a more permanent custody order. The local domestic violence program offers help with long-term safety planning for domestic violence victims and their children.

The main custody page has more information and helpful legal terms about custody.

PCADV Works to Increase Custody Options and Safety

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide emergency shelter, legal options and other services to help domestic violence victims secure safety and justice. 
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims who are dealing with custody-related legal issues.
  • PCADV offers training about custody, Protection from Abuse, and working with families affected by domestic violence.
  • PCADV provides technical support to community leaders to develop Supervised Visitation Centers in their counties. 
Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Custody Custody Process /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Custody/Custody-Process/Default.asp
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CUSTODY PROCESS

Potential custody problems and tips for solutions.

Relocation Difficult for Domestic Violence Victims & Their Children

Domestic violence victims may seek to relocate to try to keep themselves and their children safe from an abuser. However, the custody process can make it difficult to relocate. Custody begins with a custody complaint, which can be filed as part of a divorce or on its own. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (abbreviated UCCJEA and in Pennsylvania law as 23 Pa. C.S. § 5401 et seq.) says where the complaint can be filed, usually in the county and state that has been the child's home for the past six months.

In the eyes of the court, children keep their old home county and/or state until they have been in a new state or county for six months. Custody jurisdiction (whether a local court can consider a custody complaint) can be very complicated: in some instances a court can assert temporary emergency jurisdiction; in some instances a court will choose to decline jurisdiction if it was obtained by fraud or wrongdoing of the person seeking to access the court for help in the custody matter. It is extremely important to consult an attorney about custody jurisdiction questions. The Legal Resource Center on Violence Against Women may be a place to start. The Custody page has other resources and legal definitions for custody.

Order Can Add Provisions for Safe Custody Exchange

In cases involving domestic violence, victims may be afraid of violence during custody exchanges. Safety provisions such as supervised exchange or limited contact between the parties in the custody order can be added to keep the parties from coming into contact when transferring the child for visits.

Mediation Not Allowed in Domestic Violence Custody Cases 

Each county in Pennsylvania has its own manner of processing custody complaints. Some counties routinely require parenting education classes or mediation. However, mediation is not appropriate and can be dangerous in cases involving domestic violence. Pennsylvania law states that a court may not order mediation where it is disclosed that domestic violence or child abuse occurred within two years of the custody complaint (23 Pa. C.S. § 3901(c); Pa. R.C.P. 1940.3(b)).

Most counties use a custody conciliation or conference process. Generally, a custody officer will set up an informal meeting with the parents in an attempt to help the parents reach an agreement about custody. Many times the custody officer can help parents reach an agreement, which the officer will have written up and signed by a judge. Both parents get copies of the order. Orders that are specific about visitation times and locations, holiday schedules, and other arrangements are more easily enforced by the court and tend to limit conflict between the parties. 

Judge Decides When Parents Can´t Agree

If the parents cannot agree to an order at the custody conference, the conference officer will try to get them to agree to a temporary order and will then send it to court to be assigned to a judge for a trial. Other than the parents, only a judge can make a final decision on primary custody. A judge must make a decision about custody based on the child(ren)'s best interest. 

During a custody trial, there is no jury. The judge will listen to the parents and their witnesses' testimony, and make a decision. 

Factors Guiding Judges Include Domestic Violence

Pennsylvania law tells judges what to look for and what factors to consider in making a decision for custody, ultimately based on what is in the child(ren)'s best interests. Once a judge makes a decision, it will be written into a court order and both parents will get copies. 

Custody orders may be modified as the needs of the child change as long as any changes serve the best interest of the child(ren). Either parent may ask for a change in the custody order, and, generally, the whole process starts again. Parents who do not follow the custody order may be held in contempt. If a parent is found in contempt, he or she may be fined or could go to jail for up to six months. Custody can also be changed as part of a contempt order, if the other parent asks to modify the current order.

Third Parties Seeking Custody

Occasionally, third parties such as grandparents, aunts, uncles or step-parents seek custody. It is very difficult for third parties to obtain custody, but under certain conditions, they may be able to get custody or visitation. This is because the law says that parents have a superior right to have custody of their children, and other people should not be able to interfere.


PCADV Works to Increase Custody Options and Safety

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide emergency shelter, legal options and other services to help domestic violence victims secure safety and justice.
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims who are dealing with custody-related legal issues.
  • PCADV offers training about custody, Protection from Abuse, and working with families affected by domestic violence.
  • PCADV provides technical support to community leaders to develop Supervised Visitation Centers in their counties. 


Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Custody /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Custody/Default.asp
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CUSTODY

Current Pennsylvania custody law

Current Pennsylvania custody law requires courts to make their decisions based on the best interests of the child. (See the list of Key Words and Phrases below.) A court decides what is in a child's best interest on a case-by-case basis. The court will look at all of the important factors that affect the child's physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual well being.

To decide what is in a child's best interest, the court is required to consider 16 best interest factors and must give "weighted consideration" to any factor that affects the safety of the child:

  1. Which party is likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact with the child and another party;
  2. The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party's household, whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party and which party can better provide adequate safeguards and supervision of the child;
  3. The parental duties performed by each party on behalf of the child; (Note: "Parental Duties" is defined as "the physical, emotional and social needs of the child." 23 Pa. C.S. § 5322.)
  4. The need for stability and continuity in the child's education, family life and community life;
  5. The availability of extended family;
  6. The child's sibling relationships;
  7. The well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child's maturity and judgement;
  8. The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence where reasonable safety measures are necessary to protect the child from harm;
  9. Which party is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child adequate for the child's emotional needs;
  10. Which party is more likely to attend to the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child;
  11. The proximity of the residences of the parties;
  12. Each party's availability to care for the child or ability to make appropriate child-care arrangements;
  13. The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another. A party's effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party;
  14. The history of drug or alcohol abuse of a party or member of a party's household;
  15. The mental and physical condition of a party or member of a party's household;
  16. Any other relevant factor.  23 Pa. C.S. § 5328(a).

The order of the factors is not important. It is up to the judge to decide how much influence each factor will have on his or her decision. For instance, the judge may not give much weight to the child's preference if the child in the case is very young. But, the judge is required to give added weight to any factor that may affect the safety of the child. An attorney can help you think about what factors to bring to the judge's attention. Collectively, the factors are designed to help the judge determine which parent is better suited to care for the child based on past, present, and potential future behavior of each party.

Court Must Consider Criminal Convictions and/or Charges

Another issue judges must consider is whether a parent or household member has been convicted of certain crimes. There are many crimes that the court must consider, including violent or sex-related crimes, terroristic threats, stalking, drug and alcohol related crimes, violation of a Protection From Abuse Order, and crimes related to the welfare of children. (See the official statute for a full list of criminal convictions.) 23 Pa. C.S. § 5330. If a party or household member has a prior conviction, the judge must provide for an evaluation to determine if that parent or household member will pose a threat of harm to the child before the judge can award any custody to that person. The judge can also order the offender to attend counseling with a counselor experienced in dealing with people who have committed that particular crime.

The judge will also consider whether a party in the custody action has certain criminal charges. The list of crimes considered for criminal convictions is the same as when there is a criminal charge. If a party has a criminal charge, the other party can ask the court for temporary custody or to modify an existing custody order. The court will then examine whether the party poses a risk of harm to the child and will rule accordingly.

In custody cases, the court also has the power to order the parties to go to counseling, have an evaluation, attend informational parenting programs, or give access to certain records. Also, the court can appoint an attorney to act on behalf of the child in the case, either as a "guardian ad litem" (best interests attorney) or counsel for the child.

Custody law is complex and has a lot of requirements. It is best to contact an attorney to discuss the specifics of a particular case.

Domestic Violence and Custody

Most parents who are separating or divorcing are able to agree on a custody arrangement that works best for their child. In those instances, the court will typically enter an order that records the parents' arrangement. In about 20% of custody cases, parents need the judge to determine the best custody arrangement. These are referred to as contested custody cases. Domestic violence often creates unique problems in these contested custody cases.  See the Custody Process webpage for more information about custody process in Pennsylvania.

For many families troubled by domestic violence, custody proceedings arise just after the abused parent leaves the abusive relationship. This is the most dangerous time for victims and their child. Research shows that the risk of increased violence against the adult victim skyrockets when he or she attempts to leave the abuser. There are many reasons why a victim stays for varying periods of time.

The risk of violence against the child also may increase after separation. While the family is intact, the abused parent often goes to great lengths to protect the child from the abuser and buffer the impact. After separation, the abuser may use the child to further exercise control over the victimized parent. And, if the abuser has parenting time with the child, the victimized parent is no longer present to shield the child from the abuser. The victimized parent's inability to intervene and buffer the violence may lead to an increased risk of child abuse. In many instances, a victimized parent stays in the home with the abusive parent out of concern for the safety of the child. 

Pennsylvania law now requires the court to include safety provisions in a custody order in any case where there is an ongoing risk of harm to either the child or a parent.

Specific equals enforceable

In custody matters involving domestic violence, a custody order that lists specific details about the custody arrangement may help to limit problems between the parents. The more specific the order is, the more easily that order can be enforced. 

A typical order will address 

  • How much physical and legal custody each parent will have. 
  • Specific pick-up and drop-off times for custody exchanges. A good order should also be clear about the locations for pick-ups and drop-offs. 
  • Each parent's custodial time on holidays and summer vacations. 

Court Must Include Safety Provisions If Ongoing Risk of Harm to Party or Child 

Custody orders can also include provisions to maintain the safety of an abused parent and the child. A court can include provisions that limit contact between the parents or specify when and what type of contact may occur

  • reflect any specific conditions (if a Protection From Abuse order is in effect) forbidding contact or allowing only limited contact between the parents 
  • order supervised or third party exchange to limit or avoid contact between the parents 
  • order that the abusive parent's visits with the child are supervised by someone

The court is required to include safety provisions in any order where it finds an ongoing risk of harm to either the child or a party.

Supervised Physical Custody, Supervised Exchange and Third Party Exchange

If the abusive parent is going to have regular contact with the child, supervised exchange or third party exchange may reduce the amount of contact between the abusive parent and victimized parent.

Supervised Physical Custody:

In many situations, the victimized parent worries that the child will not be safe if left alone with the other parent. If so, the concerned parent may request that the other parent have supervised physical custody with the child. Depending on the safety issues involved, the court may order visits with the child to be supervised by a third party, like a relative or friend. Where available, visits with the child may be supervised by a court or an organization equipped to provide this service. If a third party is ordered to supervise a custody visit, this person should be carefully chosen. The supervisor should be someone who will not be intimidated, manipulated or coerced by the abusive parent.

Supervised Exchange:

A judge also may order the abuser's visits to be supervised by a court agency or held at a supervised visitation center. Supervised visitation centers have staff who are trained in domestic violence. Center supervisors observe and record the visiting parent's behavior with the child, and report back to the court. They also schedule visits to prevent contact of one parent with the other. If there are centers in the area, parents can get referrals from the courts, Family Services, or Child Protective Services.

Third Party Exchange:

In a third party exchange, one parent delivers the child to another person who then exchanges the child with the other parent. Third party exchange can limit contact between the abusive parent and the victimized parent to provide safety. The abused parent should choose a third party who is reliable and will not be intimidated, manipulated or coerced by the abusive parent.

Key Words & Phrases from Pennsylvania Custody Law

Best Interest of the Child - This is the legal standard that a judge must use to make custody decisions. The best interest of the child standard requires a judge to consider "all relevant factors." 23 Pa. C.S. § 5328(a). Pennsylvania law currently lists 16 factors that may be relevant to the best interest of the child. This list includes a "catchall" factor that allows the court to look at "any other relevant factor" when making its determination. 23 Pa. C.S. § 328(a)(16).

In Forma Pauperis -  In civil actions, like custody, when a court decides that a party cannot afford to pay the cost of litigation, the court can waive those costs. In order to proceed "in forma pauperis," the parent must show the court he or she cannot afford to pay by filing a financial affidavit with the court. Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 240.

Legal Custody -  "The right to make major decisions on behalf of the child, including, but not limited to, medical, educational and religious decisions." 23 Pa. C.S. § 5322.
        Shared Legal Custody - "The right of more than one individual to legal custody of the child." 23 Pa. C.S. § 5322.
        Sole Legal Custody - "The right of one individual to exclusive legal custody of the child."

Physical Custody "The actual physical possession and control of the child." 23 Pa. C.S. § 5322.
       Partial Physical Custody - "The right to assume possession of the child for less than a majority of the time." 23 Pa. C.S. § 5322.
       Primary Physical Custody "The right to assume physical custody of the child for the majority of time." 23 Pa. C.S. § 5322.
       Shared Physical Custody "The right of more than one individual to assume physical custody of the child, each having significant periods of physical custodial time with the child." 23 Pa. C.S. § 5322.
       Sole Physical Custody "The right of one individual to exclusive legal custody of the child." 23 Pa. C.S. § 5322.
       Supervised Physical Custody "Custodial time during which an agency or an adult designated by the court or agreed upon by the parties monitors the interaction between the child and the individual with those rights." 23 Pa. C.S. § 322.

Learn More Domestic Violence Topics Child Support /Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Child-Support/Default.asp
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CHILD SUPPORT

PCADV Works to Make Child Support Safe and Available

About PA Child Support Law

Pennsylvania law requires both parents to financially support their children. Parents generally must support their children until a child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last. Support includes payments of money and may also include providing health insurance and reimbursement for medical expenses. Sometimes, it includes paying a contribution for day care expenses. Pennsylvania's official child support website can provide more information.

Safety Considerations for Domestic Violence Victims

A parent who is the victim of domestic violence should talk to a domestic violence advocate to discuss how filing for support may affect her/his safety. A parent is not required to file for support. However, there is a federal law requiring people who apply for welfare cash assistance and other benefits to cooperate with child support enforcement agencies. Domestic violence victims may be afraid to file for support because the abuser will get angry or the victim's and family's safety depends on the abuser not knowing their address. Domestic violence victims may qualify for the good cause waiver of cooperation. If so, they can receive cash and other benefits but not be forced to cooperate with child support collection efforts.

Where to File For Child Support

A person who wants to receive child support may file papers called a Support Complaint with the county domestic relations section (DRS) (also known as the domestic relations office). Local domestic relations office can be found online or by calling 1-877-727-7238. If the child lives with someone else, such as a grandparent, an adult brother or sister, or a foster parent through a Children and Youth Services action, that person or agency can file for support against both parents. A support complaint can be filed with the DRS in one of three places:

  • The county where the parent who should pay support lives or works,
  • The county where the parent who wants support lives (if that county is the last place where the parents lived while they were married) or
  • The county where the child lives.

Temporary Child Support through Protection From Abuse Orders

Child support can be ordered in a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order. However, if a person wants child support through a PFA to continue, that person must file a Support Complaint with the DRS within two weeks of the date when the PFA was issued. If a support complaint is not filed, the support ordered in the PFA ends. (Note: the other PFA provisions remain in place). The county DRS will enforce the PFA support if the support complaint is filed during the two-week period.

Determining Paternity

Determining paternity means finding out who the child's father is. If the child's parents are not married, the man may request a DNA test (also called a paternity test) to find out if he is the father. The man may also sign a paper, called an acknowledgement of paternity, stating that he is the father. Acknowledgement of paternity forms are provided by the hospital after the child is born, or can be obtained online from the County Assistance Office, the County Domestic Relations Section, or by contacting the Department of Public Welfare, Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, Paternity Coordinator at 1-800-932-0211, option number 4.

Support Obligations

The amount a parent pays for child support is based on the Support Guidelines issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The DRS will determine the amount of support based on each parent's income. Income means wages, but can also include bonuses, rents, pensions, lottery winnings and many other things. It does not include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or public assistance (TANF). Parents can agree to a specific amount of support. The calculated amount or the agreed amount will be written up by domestic relations office. Then the paper with the amount of support is sent to the support judge. The Judge signs the order, and that makes it a court order. That means that the DRS can make the person pay the support amount. See the Enforcement Section, below.

Sometimes the support order may not follow the guideline amount. This may happen if one or both parents have a low income. It can also happen if the parents have other children from a different relationship to support or if one parent has other unusual expenses to pay every month.

Sometimes a parent may quit a job to avoid paying support. Quitting a job does not excuse a person from having to pay support. In this situation, the DRS will look at what the person earned when he or she did work. This is called the earning capacity. The DRS will use the earning capacity to calculate the support the person should pay.

For questions about the amount of support a person should receive or owe, call the Pennsylvania Child Support Program at 1-877-727-SCDU (7238).

Appeals Process

If either parent believes that DRS made a mistake in calculating the amount of support, he or she can ask for a hearing to recalculate the amount of support. In some counties, an attorney who acts as a hearing officer hears the appeal. In other counties, a judge hears the appeal.

Enforcement

The DRS and the Court of Common Pleas will enforce support obligations. Even a parent who moves to another state must continue to pay the support obligation. Failure to pay may result in a prison stay of up to six months.

Modification

Support orders may be modified, or changed, for a good reason. Either party may request modification simply by filing for a modification with the DRS. The support order will be recalculated based on the new information. The parent receiving support may decide to drop the support order, but she or he may refile at any time. A parent is not required to file for support. If the person who should pay support is in jail, he or she may ask the support judge if he or she can stop paying support. The judge will have a hearing to see if the parent does not have any way to pay the support owed. If not, the judge may order that the person in jail does not have to pay. If that person gets out of jail, support can be filed again.

PCADV Works to Make Child Support Safe and Available

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims obtain safety and justice.
  • PCADV's legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims dealing with child support legal issues.
  • PCADV offers training to organizations, agencies and professionals working with domestic violence victims.
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Children Exposed to Domestic Violence PCADV

CHILDREN EXPOSED TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Children living in homes where domestic violence happens are exposed to the physical and emotional abuse of the adult victim (for example, their mother, father, parent's partner or grandparent). They may see the abuser yelling at, punching, slapping or stabbing the adult victim. They may see the abuser threaten the adult victim with guns, knives or other weapons. Even if they don't see the actual physical assault, they are often exposed to the aftermath - broken furniture, lamps or plates broken, food strewn about, or smashed pictures. It is not uncommon for them to see the adult victim upset or crying or see bruises, scratches or marks resulting from the violence.

The Home Can Be a Dangerous Place

Children may be intentionally hurt or physically injured by the abuser. Close to 50 percent of men who abuse women are abusive towards their own children or children living with them. Some children get hurt when they are standing close to the adult victim during an incident. Even though the abuse was not specifically directed at them, they are injured anyway.
More information on the overlap between child maltreatment and domestic violence from the U.S. Child Welfare Information Gateway

Domestic Violence Take Its Toll on Children

Exposure to domestic violence can impact children's educational, social, emotional and behavioral growth. The impact is different for each child. Some children may act out. Others may withdraw from friends and family. Common reactions to exposure include problems with sleeping or eating, anxiety, depression, and attention problems.

Factors such as the child's age, relationship with the abuser, type of abuse, and access to other support can determine the impact that exposure will have on a child. Each factor can work as either a protective or a risk factor for certain developmental problems. For instance, older children often can often cope with exposure to domestic violence better than younger children. As a result, younger children are more likely to experience emotional and psychological distress. The child's non-abusive parent, relatives, neighbors and teachers, older siblings, friends, extended family members or members of church, sports or social clubs can act as buffers to support or help the child during stressful periods. The more that children have these supports in their lives, the fewer problems children seem to have as a result of exposure to domestic violence.
Learn more about helping a child - Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children's Exposure to Violence from the Safe Start Center

Early Intervention is Essential

Early intervention is the best way to ease the impact of exposure to domestic violence on a child's development. The best intervention plans work with the abused parent and the child to create a safety plan and to connect them with helpful resources like counseling and support groups. This helps children gain stability. It also weakens the impact of the exposure. Successful intervention methods include safety planning with both the non-abusive parent and the child, identifying other supportive adults in the child's life, and providing counseling and support for the child and the abused parent.

Domestic Violence Programs Offer Counseling, Support, Education

Pennsylvania's local domestic violence programs have staff members trained to help children exposed to domestic violence. Child advocates work directly with children. They use counseling and support groups to help children understand their experience and plan for future safety. Child advocates can also help abused parents understand the impact that the abuse may have had on their children. This helps the abused parent to consider the needs of their children into a family safety plan.

Many local programs across the state offer education programs to schools, universities, civic organizations, and others. By learning about the impact of domestic violence on children, the community can respond to children's needs more effectively.

PCADV Works to Increase Options for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services toward safety, financial stability and independence.
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims and their children dealing with domestic violence-related legal issues.
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Address Confidentiality

Pennsylvania´s Address Confidentiality Program (ACP)

Pennsylvania's Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) is a program that provides a confidential substitute address for a victim to use. An applicant must be a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or a person who lives in the same household as the victim. The local domestic violence program can help determine if a person is eligible, or if the program is right for them. Victims can also apply at sexual assault or victim services programs.

The ACP helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking hide a new home, work or school address from an abuser. The ACP is a limited tool for victim safety. It does not replace in-depth safety planning with a domestic violence advocate. It should only be considered when an abuser does not know where the victim lives. It is important to work with a domestic violence advocate to make a safety plan that will take varied lives and families into account.

How does the Address Confidentiality Program work?

The ACP is a free service that gives participants a substitute mailing address when a victim moves to a location unknown to the abuser. The victim uses this mailing address to send and receive mail so that the abuser does not discover the victim's street address. The program forwards first class mail from the substitute address to the victim's true address within five to seven days. Magazines, packages and junk mail cannot be forwarded to the substitute address.

Once accepted into the ACP, the participant receives information and an identification card. The card includes the participant's name and signature, the substitute address, and the participant's ACP identification number. This identification number must be used on all mail sent to or from the ACP for the participant. Participants should use the substitute address as an official mailing address.

State and local government agencies are required to accept the substitute address. This means that all court and government records must use the victim's substitute address as their primary address. Court and government agencies must accept the victim's substitute address for:

  • drivers' licenses,
  • library cards,
  • traffic tickets,
  • vehicle registrations,
  • employment and school records,
  • workers' compensation records, and
  • court petitions.

The substitute address will not automatically appear on the victim's documents. Participants are responsible for telling each state and local government agency that they are enrolled in the ACP. Participants must ask the agency to change their address on all applicable documents and to send their documents to the substitute address.

Private businesses, like utilities including electricity and phone companies, can accept a victim's substitute mailing address but are not required to do so. Your local domestic violence program may be able to help you convince a private business to accept this substitute address.

How do I enroll in the Address Confidentiality Program?

To participate, a victim should complete an application in person at any local domestic violence, sexual assault or victim services program in Pennsylvania. Advocates can assist victims complete the paperwork and explain the victim's rights and responsibilities under the Program.

How Do I Change My Identity

Some victims of domestic violence may wish to change their name and their social security number in an attempt to create a whole new identity. A complete identity change is difficult to achieve and should be well thought out ahead of time. For more information about name or social security number changes talk to your local domestic violence advocate. The ACP does not change the victim's identity.

PCADV works to provide options and safety to families

  • PCADV's member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain financial stability and independence.
  • PCADV legal department attorneys provide technical assistance to advocates and attorneys helping domestic violence victims facing legal issues.
  • PCADV offers training about working with domestic violence victims.
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TOPICS

Woman Walking Into Keyhole

A "Word" About Domestic Violence

Other words used to talk or write about "domestic violence" include:

  • Wife battering
  • Domestic abuse
  • Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
  • Family violence
  • Relationship violence
  • Spousal violence
  • Dating violence

These terms don't necessarily mean the same things and can describe varied behaviors and relationships. However, each term can bring to light a different aspect of domestic violence.

Other Places to Find Information, Statistics and Research About Domestic Violence:

  • VAWnet, the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, is funded through a Cooperative Agreement with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is housed within the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV). VAWnet is an easily accessible and comprehensive collection of full-text, searchable electronic resources on domestic violence, sexual violence and related issues.
  • Mincava e-lectronic clearinghouse provides an extensive pool of up-to-date educational resources about all types of violence, including higher education syllabi, published research, funding sources, upcoming training events, individuals or organizations which serve as resources, and searchable databases with over 1000 training manuals, videos and other education resources.
  • National Criminal Justice Reference Service Library, is administered by the Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. NCJRSP provides access to reports, statistics, and research from many federal government agencies, including the FBI, National Institute of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, FBI and census bureau.
  • WomensLaw.org, a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, provides legal information and support to victims of domestic violence.
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Learn More

“Domestic violence represents serious violent crime: …there is nothing the victim can do to stop the violence, nor is there anything she does to deserve the abuse.”

-from Fifty Obstacles to Leaving a.k.a., Why Abuse Victims Stay by Sarah M. Buel

Domestic violence includes a wide range of acts by one person against an intimate partner or within a family. It is a pattern of behavior that is used by a partner or family member to get and keep power and control.

Understanding Domestic Violence

Behaviors that make up “domestic violence” may be

  • physical violence
  • verbal abuse
  • sexual, emotional and psychological pressure
  • stalking
  • financial control

Any of these can be part of domestic violence in a relationship or family:

  • Breaking objects
  • Insults name-calling
  • Hurting/killing pets
  • Yelling
  • Forced sex
  • Recklessly endangering or scaring the victim or children
  • Isolating the victim from friends and family members
  • Controlling resources like money and credit
  • Denying use of vehicles
  • Withholding food and medication
  • Keeping a victim constantly fearful and preoccupied
  • In same gender relationships, it can include threats to “out” the victim – let others know that the victim is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered.

Abusers (also called batterers, perpetrators, or offenders) use any ways they can to be the boss, wear the pants, call the shots and make the rules in a family or relationship. Victims learn not to go against the rules or make any moves without the abuser’s permission, because of fear of how the abuser will react and act out.

Domestic Violence Can Happen To Anyone

Domestic violence can happen to people from all backgrounds and neighborhoods. While both men and women may be victims of domestic violence, research shows that

  • women are the overwhelming majority of adult victims
  • domestic violence is a major cause of injury to women

Understand Why Abuse Victims Stay - Ask Why Abusers Behave The Way They Do

Disagreements develop from time to time in relationships. Domestic violence is not a disagreement. Abusers learn how to (through observation, experience, reinforcement, culture, family, community) and repeatedly act to dominate and keep power and control over their partners.

Substance abuse, genetics, stress, illness or problems in the relationship, do not cause domestic violence, but are often used as excuses and can lead to increasingly violent behavior. Without intervention, the violence can become more destructive and sometimes deadly over time. PCADV collects media reports about domestic violence-related fatalities that occur in the Commonwealth. In 2011, there were 166 fatalities in 124 incidents: 118 victims killed and 48 killers.

Abusers are the only ones who can stop the abuse. Friends and family members who want to help encourage them can use these resources from LoveIsRespect.org

Other Words About Domestic Violence

Some other words used to talk or write about domestic violence are
interpersonal violence (IPV), family violence, relationship violence, spousal violence, dating violence and other terms. These terms don’t necessarily mean the same thing and can describe varied behaviors and relationships. However, each term can bring light to a different aspect of domestic violence.

Other places to find information, statistics and research about Domestic Violence:

  • VAWnet, the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, is funded through a Cooperative Agreement with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is housed within the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV). VAWnet is an easily accessible and comprehensive collection of full-text, searchable electronic resources on domestic violence, sexual violence and related issues.
  • Mincava e-lectronic clearinghouse provides an extensive pool of up-to-date educational resources about all types of violence, including higher education syllabi, published research, funding sources, upcoming training events, individuals or organizations which serve as resources, and searchable databases with over 1000 training manuals, videos and other education resources.
  • National Criminal Justice Reference Service Library, is administered by the Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. NCJRSP provides access to reports, statistics, and research from many federal government agencies, including the FBI, National Institute of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, FBI and the Census Bureau.
  • WomensLaw.org, a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, provides legal information and support to victims of domestic violence.
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Tell a Friend

Children growing up in violent homes are at risk of becoming abusers themselves as adults, finds a study that followed more than 500 families for 20 years.  

Ehrensaft et al., Intergenerational transmission of partner violence, 71 Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 741-753 (2003).

SHARE OUR MESSAGE

Share with your friends how they can join you in

  • saving lives
  • breaking the cycle of violence in your neighborhood

Move your mouse or finger over the share method of your choice in the Right Column. Thanks for your support!

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PCADV Special Events

Special Events

Many children who witness domestic violence show anxiety, depression and anger, blame themselves for the abuse and act out aggressively.

Support PCADV and our local Domestic Violence Programs by attending one of these upcoming events!

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How Do I Help Someone Domestic Violence

How Do I Help Someone?

To stop domestic violence, we all need to be part of the solution. Helping a friend who is being abused, speaking up about abuse, educating yourself and others, and supporting your local domestic violence program are all examples of things we can do to help.

When friends or family members are being abused:

  • Call police if you see/hear abuse.
  • Ask if they're safe or need someone to talk to.
  • Explain that FREE and CONFIDENTIAL help is available help for victims and their children at local domestic violence programs
  • Offer a ride to a local shelter, a place to make a phone call or to baby-sit while they attend appointments.
  • Carry the number of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), in your wallet in case you meet someone who needs it.

When friends or family members are abusers:

  • Call police if you see/hear abuse.
  • Tell them there are no excuses for abuse and they may lose their families, friends, homes and jobs if it doesn't stop.
  • Hold them accountable for their behavior.
  • Support their efforts to locate and obtain appropriate batterer intervention treatment.

Family members and friends may feel overwhelmed or frightened when they are abused by a partner. These materials may help you determine if your friend or family member is in danger and help you offer your support.

How Can I Raise Awareness In My Community?

Materials listed below highlight simple steps that individuals and communities can take to help end domestic violence.

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Giving Circle Kickoff Celebration April 2, 2014

Giving Circle Allegheny County

Giving Circle Debut

A Giving Circle to combat domestic violence in Allegheny County held its kickoff event April 2 at the Rivers Club in downtown Pittsburgh. The event was co-sponsored by Highmark and Pittsburgh Magazine.

Proceeds from the event will benefit PCADV and its four member programs in Allegheny County: Alle-Kiski Area Hope Center Inc.; Center for Victims; Crisis Center North; and Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.

Among the attendees were, from left, WTAE-TV anchor and reporter Sally Wiggin, host; Allen Kukovich, board president of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Mary Anne Papale, community affairs director of Highmark, a corporate sponsor; Judy Greenwald Cohen, executive director of the Jewish Women's Foundation; Peg Dierkers, PCADV executive director; and Michelle Bond, executive director for Alle-Kiski Area Hope Center.

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A Giving Circle to end domestic violence in Allegheny County

Click Here to Become A Member!

Working together, we can build safer communities in Allegheny County. We can end domestic violence in our homes, our schools and our neighborhoods by strategically directing our combined gifts.

Giving Circle members gathered in Pittsburgh for the kick off celebration.

Membership Value

  • Collaborate and create new solutions with like-minded women and men to prevent domestic violence in Allegheny County.
  • Members will direct Giving Circle funds to Allegheny County-based initiatives to change attitudes and beliefs in order to end domestic violence.
  • Enjoy a personal connection with the organizations that the Circle funds and network with fellow members.
  • See first hand the impact of your local investment.

Membership Levels

Member - $300 per year for 3 years
Supporter - $600 per year for 3 years
Advocate - $1,200 per year for 3 years
Believer - $2,400 per year for 3 years
Beacon - $5,000 per year for 3 years
Visionary - $10,000 per year for 3 years
Luminary - $25,000 per year for 3 years

Membership

Luminaries

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Beacons

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Advocates

Georgia Berner - Jane Grebenc - Dodi Walker Gross - Cheryl A. Parzych - Rochelle R. Sufrin

Supporters

Deborah W. Linhart - Deborah A. Moses

Members

Sara Davis Buss - Judy Greenwald Cohen - Peg J. Dierkers, in honor of Dee Baker
Jewish Women's Foundation - Allen Kukovich - Lynette Lederman - Elizabeth Miller
Jane Moravitz - Mary Anne Papale - Amy Platt - Cindy Shapira

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A Life Saved Stories of Survival Domestic Violence

A Life Saved

25% of women experience domestic violence in their lives.

The following stories are true, only the names have been changed.

A Life Saved: Heather´s Story

I did make a difference in my life to better myself and my children.

My name is Heather. I am a 36-year-old single parent of two children.
I have been married twice: once to my son's father, which was not an abusive relationship, it just didn't work out; and once to my daughter's father, which was the worst mistake of my life.

During the 9 and a half years of my second marriage to Sean, he lied, beat, cheated, threatened, stole and made my life a living hell. The physical and mental abuse of me was enough, but my kids had to weather these storms as well. This was just the life I had hoped to avoid for my kids! I had grown up in a violent home and I didn't want my children to suffer the same things that I had.

I was introduced to staff from my local Domestic Violence Program in a courtroom. I learned that they could help me! I wasn't alone! It took weekly meetings with them for 18 months, but I was able to break free! I have been through numerous court hearings and multiple stressful situations along the way. Only experienced and educated mentors could fully understand and direct me through this correctly.
My son is now 19 and starting to discover his own relationships, which I will try to lead and support him in making good, positive decisions. My daughter is a vibrant 9 year-old that is very smart and happy.

Me? I am a successful business woman with a job that I enjoy!

I am incredibly grateful for the help I received at my local Domestic Violence Program. I encourage anyone who feels hopeless and is afraid of changing her life because of hurtful people, call your local DV Program. They can help!
I can. I will. I did make a difference in my life to better myself and my children.

Survivor, Women In Need, Franklin/Fulton Counties, PA

A Life Saved: Molly´s Story

Molly had been scared about coming to a shelter, afraid that it would be a big room with cots and that people would judge her.

Molly was only 19 years old when she arrived at her local Domestic Violence Shelter. She had been living with her abusive boyfriend for a year. Molly decided to leave after he woke her out of a sound sleep by punching her and choking her. He then dragged her outside and threw her off of their front porch.

Molly had been scared about coming to a shelter, afraid that it would be a big room with cots and that people would judge her.

She was pleased to find a homey atmosphere with women who were understanding, supportive and encouraging to her. She knew she wanted to stay away from her boyfriend, and with the help of the DV Program, she did just that.
Molly began feeling a confidence that she had not felt before. She attended GED classes, accepted tutoring from one of the shelter volunteers who was a teacher, attended support groups, and learned a great deal about domestic violence. She also received needed medical checkups because her boyfriend had not let her see her doctors.

Molly has received her GED, landed a job, started her own savings account, and is now living in her own apartment. Her next goal is to get her driver's license and buy herself a car. Molly admits she never thought she would be able to function on her own, but today she is completely independent and happy!

Survivor, Washington Women’s Shelter, Washington County, PA

A Life Saved: Shannon´s Story

After her husband began stalking her, Shannon got legal protection with a Protection From Abuse Order.

Shannon says often that her family and friends would never believe that she was in an abusive relationship. Shannon is college educated, well-dressed, with a highly responsible job. Her husband is successfully self-employed and was always worried about the social implications of a divorce.

Shannon was referred to her local domestic violence program by a police officer after she ran out of her house trying to get away from a violent beating from her husband. She began weekly counseling sessions to learn about the forms and effects of domestic violence. She was sad to realize how insidious the emotional, mental, physical and sexual abuse had been in her marriage.

Shannon learned to safety plan. She kept a bag with her important papers and extra clothing in her car. She made sure that her car was always parked so that she would be able to leave quickly and not be blocked by her husband’s car. She made sure that her husband’s handgun was more difficult for him to find.

In time, Shannon realized that her husband was not going to change, that she deserved more, and did not deserve to always worry and be frightened whenever he would come home. She moved out and got her own apartment.

After her husband began stalking her, Shannon got legal protection with a Protection From Abuse Order. Fearing a jail sentence, her husband left her alone.

Shannon has started a new life and has said “it feels wonderful to just get up and go for a walk and not worry what I’ll be coming home to!”

Survivor, Victim’s Resource Center, Wyoming County

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Support Our Work PCADV Domestic Violence Prevention Advocate

10 Ways to Support Our Work

The first National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, released on December 14, 2011, reveals the alarming magnitude of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence in America.

Among states, Pennsylvania tied for 15th place for women, and ranked 25th place for men, in the lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner.

This is why we need your help.

10 Ways To Support Our Work

  1. Call the police when you see or hear domestic violence. Your call can save a life and help a victim start on the road to safety. 
  2. Volunteer at your local domestic violence program. There are lots of things you can do in your community!
  3. Find out what’s on your local domestic violence program’s wish list, and organize a collection among your friends, neighbors or co-workers.
  4. If you are having a birthday, wedding or anniversary celebration, ask your guests to donate to PCADV or your local domestic violence program instead of bringing gifts.
  5. Invite someone from your local domestic violence program to speak at your church, service club or workplace. 
  6. Carry the number of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) in your wallet in case you meet someone who needs it.
  7. Get brochures from your local domestic violence program, and place them in lounges and rest rooms at your workplace, gym, and place of worship.
  8. Organize a fundraiser for PCADV (contact dbaker@pcadv.org) or your local domestic violence program.
  9. Ask candidates for public office and elected representatives how they plan to address the crime of domestic violence in your community.
  10. Donate to our work today! Your online donation or mailed check  makes a difference.

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Bystander Intervention_IsA_Superpower

Get Involved

Take Action to End Domestic Violence In Your Community

Do Something - for Intervention

  • Call the police when you see or hear domestic violence. Your call can save a life.
  • Recognize that domestic violence is a crime that can happen in any neighborhood, and all victims deserve safety and justice.
  • Carry the number of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), in your wallet in case you meet someone who needs it.
  • If you suspect someone is being abusive in a relationship, encourage them to get help. Your local domestic violence program can provide referral information.

Learn About Domestic Violence - for Prevention

Talk About Domestic Violence - for Change.

  • If you have children, talk to them about what's appropriate and healthy behavior in relationships. Encourage them to come to you if they are ever afraid in a relationship.
  • Encourage your local middle and high school to bring in speakers from your local domestic violence program to talk about teen dating violence.
  • Ask your faith leader to talk about ending family violence during a worship service. Share resources designed to help faith leaders offer support and address abuse with the community. 
  • Place posters or brochures from your local domestic violence program, and place them in your workplace common areas. Share these resources for employers.
  • Call or write your legislator! Voice your concerns about domestic violence and ask for their commitment to fund local services. Ask them what they do to support victims of domestic violence and their children. Find out about issues that could affect domestic violence victims, their families and services that support them. Sign up to stay informed about Coalition activities.
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Domestic Violence and Victim Resources in Pennsylvania

Domestic Violence Victims

Crime Victims

  • Victims Compensation Assistance Program The Victims Compensation Assistance Program helps victims and their families through the emotional and physical aftermath of a crime, with financial help for a variety of expenses: medical and counseling expenses, loss of earnings, loss of support, stolen cash, relocation, funeral, or crime scene cleanup.
  • Pennsylvania Crime Victims This site speaks directly to all crime victims and victim service professionals with information about the criminal and juvenile justice systems, victim's rights in Pennsylvania and victim's compensation.
  • PA SAVIN (Statewide Automated Victim Information & Notification) 1-866-9PA-SAVIN is a free, confidential and automated service that helps victims, law enforcement, advocates and community members keep up to date on the status of an offender housed in a county jail, state prison or under state parole supervision within the Commonwealth.

Animal Abuse

  • National Link Coalition 856-627-5118 The Link is a coalition of professionals who see animal abuse as "the tip of the iceberg" and often the first sign of other family and community violence. They call this interconnectedness of different forms of violence The Link. They have compiled a list of domestic violence shelters in Pennsylvania that accept or refer victims' pets for protection against abuse.

Legal

Immigration

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Domestic Violence and Victim Resources Nationwide

Victim Resources

Animal Abuse

  • National Link Coalition 856-627-5118 is a coalition of professionals who see animal abuse as "the tip of the iceberg" and often the first sign of other family and community violence. They call this interconnectedness of different forms of violence The Link.

Dating Violence

  • The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 866-331-9474 and TTY 866-331-8453 - A 24-hour resource that uses telephone and web-based interactive technology to reach teens and young adults who experience dating abuse. The website also offers peer-to-peer online chat.
  • Break the Cycle Break the Cycle is a leading non-profit that works with youth, educators, service providers, and lawmakers to prevent and end dating violence. This national organization develops and operates programs designed to ensure that no young person is excluded from receiving the help, tools and information they need to live free from violence.

Elder Abuse

  • Administration on Aging This federal website provides an overview of a variety of topics, programs and services related to aging.
  • Eldercare Locator Nationwide service to assist in finding local services for seniors.
  • National Center on Elder Abuse The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) serves as a national resource center dedicated to the prevention of elder mistreatment. The NCEA offers fact sheets, resource lists, and general education on abuse in later life.
  • National Association of Adult Protective Services Administrators This site contains resources for assistance in finding publications, data, information and answers about elder abuse.
  • Older Women's League OWL is the only national grassroots organization to focus solely on issues unique to women as they age.

Immigration

Persons With Disabilities

Rural Issues

  • Rural Assistance Center An information guide from the Rural Assistance Center with frequently asked questions and resources related to rural domestic violence.
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