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January 18th, 2002

Dear Friends,

I hope the New Year is treating you well so far. I have a feeling that this year will be filled with healing and light for Silent Witness and everyone associated with it. I can't wait to announce some of the new things on the web site but we're not quite ready so I'll make you wait another few weeks!!

In this newsletter I am highlighting one of our Results Projects. These are projects that we have found across the country that have actually reduced domestic violence. In this case, Court Watch changes the way in which courts deal with domestic violence cases. As a result some cities now have dedicated DV courts and pay much more attention to the issue. Thanks to Connie Fox and Diane Graeter who are our Silent Witness Mentors for this project. Please contact them if you would like to start a program like this in your community. This program is highlighted on our web site too; www.silentwitness.net home page, Results projects, Court Watch.

Ashley Peterson (SW Coordinator, Texas Council on Family Violence, new email address). Hope of Rochelle (new email address), Carole Adler (SW Program, Highland Park, Illinois, new email address), Nancy Hunnicutt (Laura's House DV Shelter, San Clemente, CA),
Angela Goodwine (Program Director, DV programs for minority women, Dayton OH), Melissa Alvarado (NY State Child Advocacy Resource Center and DV Advocate)


Here's a note we got from a participant on another list serve who wanted us to know about research on the success of men's treatment programs.

I am director of Ahimsa (Plymouth, SW England) which is one of the oldest perpetrator programme providers in Europe. We work with both court-mandated and 'voluntary' referrals and we provide support services for partners. I want to respond to some of the comments about intervention programmes with abusive men. 

Whilst perpetrator programme providers should be very cautious about making over-zealous claims about programme success and the risk to women of the very provision of such programmes should not be overlooked, the fact remains that outcome research does show encouraging signs, atleast with those men who complete a programme (most of course don't). The Observer article claiming 'no cure for men who beat their wives' cited by one contributor was completely erroneous and subsequently denied by the Home Office and appears to have been without any
foundation whatsoever. Certainly the two most rigorous research undertakings of UK perpetrator programmes in the UK (Change Project in Edinburgh 1996 & DVIP in London 1998) revealed a significant increase in women's and children's safety. Both evaluation initiatives were undertaken by experienced research teams with well-established feminist pedigree. It is clear that women victim/survivors in general value having perpetrator programmes available (where they also provide partner support) and abusive men fare much better than control groups in terms of eliminating./reducing violent and abusive behaviour.

It should go without saying that perpetrator programmes cannot bring about the far-reaching cultural changes necessary to promote a climate in which violence and abuse are scorned by all but they do have a modest contribution to make albeit with only very small numbers.

Calvin Bell website: www.ahimsa.org.uk

*We are grateful for this report and grateful to the person who brought it to our attention. thanks for being on the look out for the good news.

Training for cosmetologists 
Autumn Franger from A Safe Place in Waukegan has been training cosmetologists about abuse and how to respond when it is disclosed to them. More women talk to their hair dressers about DV than to their clergy, doctors, etc. Autumn is eager and willing to share her material with other DV agencies who may want to offer this service in their community. Call her at 847-249-5147. 

*Wow, what an opportunity to help women in a safe environment. This is wonderful work. Go for it Autumn.

MONTANA SILENT WITNESS Coordinator, Jerri Miller writes us with this great update:

A huge THANK YOU to Lake County AAUW and the Whitefish Foundation for their donation/grant for the funds to purchase a trailer for our Witnesses. A lady who attended the Self-Mastery workshop in Helena in 2000 is going to have a trailer built for us to our specifications. This will be totally wonderful, as it will help to keep the ladies damage free and will provide them with a permanent home. 

In March, Vickie and Jerri will be speaking to the State Mental Health Association meeting about Silent Witness. We are really looking forward to this, especially in light of our upcoming May workshops in Billings. We'll be able to advertise it in person! Additionally, we will hold our annual Board of Directors meeting.

Remember, our workshops will be May 8th and 9th at the Billings Hotel. You don't need to be a therapist of counselor to attend. You just need a commitment to stopping domestic violence murders. 

*Thanks, Jerri for this great work. We are moving forward by leaps and bounds in Montana. Let's hope for wonderful attendance at the training in May.

New Hampshire:
Donna Brennan announces our newest Silent Witness on a college campus:
By the way, We will be opening the Silence witness program here in April from the 24-27 with the Witnesses on display here at the College. I introduced the 5 from this state in December to the community with a great response. I will have the figures made now so we will be up and running in April to start what I hope to be a amazing kick off and awareness raising week. Janet thanks so much for all your help in getting this going for me I will send you more updates as things get closer.

Donna Brennan SAVE Advisor (Sexual Assault and Violence Education) Colby-Sawyer College New London New Hampshire
*Donna, we are really excited about your new Silent Witness display at Colby-Sawyer. The students are so vital to our work. Thanks for all your work on this.

New York:
Aileen Hoffman writes us about a conference coming up in NY:
Happy New Year. The UJA Task Force on Family Violence will be having our annual conference on April 22nd and 23rd which will be held at UJA-Federation 130 East 59th Street, New York City . The conference theme is: Putting the child in Focus: Integrating Domestic Violence and Childrenšs Services. This conference reflects the needs of professionals to work together in order to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to both the child and the family.

*Thanks for this information, Aileen. Please let us know the highlights of the conference content so we can move forward with new resolve.


Web site for books on DV:
I (Janet) met with a delightful woman this week, Ruth Gottstein, from Volcano, California. She publishes books on domestic violence and markets other publisher's books too, on her user-friendly web site. Go visit the site and read the letter from a battered woman or look at the supply of great books she has on hand. www.volcanopress.com There will be more opportunities to connect with her in a future newsletter.

Web site on tolerance:
www.tolerance.org/one_world/index.jsp Tolerance.org is a Web site that seeks to create a national community committed to human rights. Its goal is to awaken people of all ages to the problem of hate and intolerance, to equip them with the best tolerance ideas and to prompt them to act in their homes, schools, businesses and communities.

Conference in San Diego in March, 2002:
SAVE THESE DATES! MARCH 13-16, 2002: San Diego National Conference on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking! SAVE MONEY! Register early and book your room early. Hotel is on the water! Go to www.mvs.ati.com for details! The entire conference agenda, speaker bios and abstracts for each presentation are included on the web site. Anne O'Dell Email: Anne2215@aol.com

Monitors the courts as they try domestic violence cases to ensure victims are safe and perpetrators are held accountable

Issues Addressed: 
Lack of consistency and thoroughness in courts' treatment of domestic violence cases. Survivors fearful of going forward on cases due to court treatment. 

Court Watch has changed the way in which judges and prosecutors treat domestic violence cases. Examples include specialty courts, special days for domestic violence court, more safety for survivors, collaboration with Court Watch to improve the system, automatic orders for protection for domestic violence cases, and improved treatment for perpetrators.

The mission of Court Watch is to make the courts more effective, responsive, and accountable in their handling and sentencing of cases of domestic violence and to create a more informed and involved public through individual and systemic monitoring and public education.

Court Watch's primary activity is to train volunteers who monitor felony or misdemeanor domestic violence cases as they move through the criminal justice system. Volunteers track arraignments, pre-trial hearings, sentencing, and probation revocation hearings. They analyze data to identify patterns and long-term trends within the judicial system and make the system more accountable for its policies and actions. 
This is not an advocacy program, but a program designed to encourage judges and prosecutors to handle these cases thoroughly and respectfully. The result is that Court Watch and judges learn to work collaboratively. 
In addition, Court Watch programs develop community awareness through newsletters, public forums, and testimony on legislative issues. Position papers or periodic newsletters which include factual findings of the courts' actions are powerful tools for community education and have been instrumental in stimulating changes within the court system. 
This is a nine-step guide to establishing a domestic violence Court Watch Project put together by the National Council of Jewish Women in Louisville, Kentucky: 

  1. Establish a committee and elect a chairperson.
  2. Gather information from representatives of your judicial system and community agencies.
  3. Develop a questionnaire for volunteers to use in monitoring
    domestic violence in court.
  4. Publicize and involve your community in the Court Watch Program.
  5. Establish volunteer education.
  6. Organize training sessions.
  7. Train volunteers.
  8. Monitor courts
  9. Debrief volunteers.

Cities with Court Watch Programs: 
Arizona (statewide protocol) Louisville, KY Austin, TX Los Angeles, CA Belleview, IL (dedicated court) Minneapolis, MN Bergen, NJ Montana (statewide training)
Boca Raton, FL Montgomery County, MD Cleveland, OH Nampa, ID Columbus, OH Naples, FL Connecticut North Shore, IL Omaha, NE Dallas, TX Palm Beach, FL
Delray Beach, FL Post Falls, ID Dayton, OH St. Louis, MO Denver, CO Santa Fe, NM El Dorado City, CA Sarasota, FL El Paso, TX Sioux Falls, SD Honolulu, HI 
South Bend, IN Lawton, OK Texas (statewide protocol) Little Rock, AK Tulsa, OK

States with the highest number of Results Projects in place:
California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Texas, Wyoming.

Originators: Jacqueline Hauser/Susan Lenfesty, Watch Minnesota
612-341-2747 watch@mtn.org/~watch

Silent Witness Court Watch Mentors: Connie Fox, Diane Graeter NCJW Court Watch, Louisville, KY, 502-893-8380 conniefbm@aol.com www.ctwatch.com
Jimita Potter, Jr. League, South Bend 219-273-1533 jimitapia@aol.com

Materials / Resources:
NCJW Court Watch Project (Louisville): Training materials and manual (with video) ($30.00) at NCJW Louisville. 502-458-5566 or fax 502-458-5516 www.ctwatch.com
Watch (Minnesota): Brochures, newsletters, editorials, "Watch Dog" customized software for tracking of judicial practices and patterns. 612-341-2747 watch@mtn.org/~watch Start-up manuals available.

I leave you today with a quote from Robert F. Kennedy, that speaks to the courage that it takes to do the healing work of Silent Witness in the world.

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."




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