April 6, 2001
Two alerts: Spring really is coming and Silent Witness is moving this month!! And we are getting a new computer--finally. I am going to be without a computer for several days and learning a new system for a few more, so please bear with me for this month. I will send you this newsletter now so you have something to do while I'm off line!!
It is so exciting to think of all the new things we will be able to do when I get a computer that can handle them!! I envision you being able to hear all the Results Mentors talk to you directly about their programs just by the touch of a button on our web site. I would like to have photos of all of our state coordinators and other leaders so you can be familiar with people by face. I would love to add video segments of the March in Washington. I would like to have a chat room so we can meet in real time for small group chats on specific topics and maybe even talk to each other live through our computers. Isn't this exciting?
As of April 20th, you will be able to find us at 20 N.E. Second Street, Suite 1101 Minneapolis, MN 55413 612-623-0999. Until then you can reach me at the old phone and address. My email address remains the same so far.
WELCOME NEW EMAIL CORRESPONDENTS:
Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence (new email address), Tracy Francese (Passaic County Women's Center, Patterson, NJ), Rosalie Canone Mcgill (SW, New Jersey, new email address)
NEWS FROM THE STATES AND COUNTRIES:
Angela Doyle, our faithful contact in the Cayman Islands gives us this very uplifting summary of their current activities:
I am happy to say that we continue with a strong and dedicated committee this year again and will have our plans in place (in cement) over the next few weeks. We had the most successful domestic violence campaign to date in 2000 and we intend to continue this trend in 2001. I am happy to tell you that the local TV station is now running a monthly
program dedicated to domestic violence issues. They have the support of the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the new Minister the Honorable Edna Moyle is a past president of our club so we know that she is totally dedicated to the issue. We are just about to start work on the Court Watch program. We are lucky enough to have a new member Renee Hannas who worked in the area in Canada and she will head up this project for us. I will get her to contact Connie directly if she has any problems but we have the info pack and will adapt it to our needs here if necessary.
We are having our march again on Oct. 18th. Following on last years campaign we have made a commitment to try to get a program into the schools dealing with boys and girls in the age group 10 to 18 years. We are working with a lady named Amy Hunt who oversees the school counselors program here and I am going to have her take a good look at the Owning Up program to see if it would be suitable for us to use. This year we are going to focus on Abuse of the Elderly during our campaign in November and December. We are still working and moving forward with our intent to eradicate domestic violence in our community. We are lucky in that we have the support of Government, the Police, a new group of combined organizations (the NSC for short) working as a unit to eradicate domestic violence and more and more the support of the community at large.
*Angela, there is so much going on in the Cayman Islands. We are thrilled for all the support you are getting. Your passion is apparent. Thanks a lot.
Sarah Follen, our coordinator of SW in Great Britain sends us this news about their latest event:
This Thursday we are going to have an exhibition of our figures at the London Mayor's Press Launch and Reception concerning domestic violence in London. We have 6 women and 2 children figures.
*Thanks Sarah for this update. Tell us how it went. Was it the first time the Witnesses have been presented? This is a major event so fill us in!!
This note from one of our college SW coordinators, Melanie Martin:
I wanted to let you know how things at Goucher College went. Monica and I met with Liora Brosbe and another young woman named Mel. Everything went very well and I was very impressed with both ladies. Liora will be presenting a paper on DV in April and will be using the witnesses from the Baltimore exhibit. They put them around the school as well as have a short program. I can't wait to hear how everything goes. they have so much energy, maturity, creativity, and sense of themselves, I know they will both go very far in this world!!!!!
And this note one week later from Liora, the SW program planner at Goucher College:
Today 7 dedicated women rose at 6:30 am and placed 13 witnesses borrowed from our local Maryland chapter (picked up by one of our dedicated men!). They are around our campus and were present in our "Take Back the Residence Halls" rally and speak out this evening. It was in honor of sexual assault awareness week and the publication of "Hear My Voice" a creative writing compilation from victims, survivors and friends of people who have been sexually assaulted. We read their stories in the first person and marched through every residence hall chanting and reclaiming them as safe places. I am very proud of our school and the witnesses look very powerful on our campus. Thank you again for your support.
*Liora, this sounds like a very powerful event and empowering for those involved. Thank you for all this effort and for involving men as well. And thank you Melanie and Monica for taking the time to go to Baltimore and meet with the organizers at Goucher College. As a result nothing will be the same as it was before. We are proud of all of you.
This note from Jerri Miller, one of our stalwart organizers in Montana:
By the way, Nancy Knight from Mt. Board of Crime Control has invited us to participate in a "Victim Services Fair" being held at the Law Enforcement Academy in Helena on April 20. We will take our ladies, and hope to get some publicity shots, etc., as our website will be up and running sometime
in the next few weeks. We are linking to the National, and hope you will have one to us. Our address will be
www.mtsilentwitness.org. I can't wait to actually see it on the web!
*Yes, yes, yes. This new web site idea for states is wonderful. It helps localize the issues and lets people get more involved. Hurray for Montana, out there once again with creative ideas.
Molly Knoph, an intern with the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence sends this great summary of Silent Witness Activities in her part of the world:
We wanted to update you on what has been happening with the Silent Witness program in North Carolina. The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV) officially took over the Initiative in December 2000. Since then we have been getting the program organized and advertising it to our member programs throughout the state, as well as to local community organizations. The month of March has been completely booked, with all of our witnesses in use.
Men for Change, an organization in Charlotte, North Carolina utilized the Silent Witness exhibit at their committee meeting. At the same time, they invited the public and the press to participate. Three Charlotte television stations attended and aired the segment on the evening news. In addition, the Charlotte Observer ran a picture of the exhibit in the next day's paper. As a result of the Silent Witnesses exposure on television, the Coalition received a phone call from the sister of one of the Witnesses. Her brother had been watching the news and saw their sister's silhouette on television. He was very moved and touched to see his sister honored and remembered at such an event. The family contacted the Coalition to thank us for remembering their sister, and for using their sister's story to help prevent further domestic violence homicides.
Michelle Drake, "Miss Garner" of the Miss North Carolina Scholarship Program, has coordinated Domestic Violence Awareness Week in Garner, North Carolina. As part of the activities, she coordinated a silent witness candle light vigil. Local state representatives also spoke at this event.
We are also pleased to announce that we have received a grant from the Philip Morris Companies, Inc. We will be using the grant money to update and increase the number of silhouettes we have, as well as to create brochures and other Silent Witness materials. We look forward to expanding the Silent Witness program. In doing so, we hope there will be a decrease in the number of domestic violence homicides in the state.
*Molly, what a powerful story about the brother of the Silent Witness calling to thank you. That is so moving. And all your activities are wonderful. Thanks for all your efforts.
Patrick O'Donnell, our newest mentor in the Corrdinated Community Response area, sends us this great summary of their month of activities:
We'll be wrapping up the month of Silent Witness at Borders bookstore. I think there is definately an opportunity for other SW coordinators around the country to approach Borders stores in their locales because the comments people wrote down praised both Silent Witness and Borders for hosting the
exhibit -- great comments that I'm sure will make the marketing people at Borders feel very good!! I will email you the comments so you may share them with the network.
*Thanks, Patrick and Joey, for thinking of this new venue for Silent Witness. So many people come to book stores and this is a great way to reach them. Great new idea. Let's spread it around the country.
This brief note from Nancy Rafi, our Results Projects Coordinator, from RI:
We're also going to have the Witnesses at Salve Regina University in Newport for the RI Awareness Day for Sexual Assault Victims (April 10th), and they'll also be on the campus of Johnson & Wales University in Providence for that entire week. Good thing we have multiple exhibits!
*Great news. And a good idea to use the month of April as another active month for SW because of the close link with sexual assualt.
Ashley Peterson, who is the Communications Coordinator for the Texas Council on Family Violence writes us:
Just wanted to let you know that we have been working with the Junior League to update our Silent Witnesses to reflect Texas women killed in the year 2000. Expected completion of the project is May 2001. We are very excited about the project!
*Thanks Ashley for this news. And we are excited that you are working together to move the Texas SW project forward. Thanks for all your hard work.
NEWS FROM WORLDWIDE HEADQUARTERS:
NEW INFORMATION ON THE SILENT WITNESS WEB SITE FOR OCTOBER EVENTS:
In just a few days we'll have a new section on our web site to help you organize for October Silent Witness events. Nancy Rafi has compiled a whole gamet of different
activities that states have used to highlight the Silent Witnesses during DV Awareness month. She went into the newsletter archives and combed through them to compile this outstanding listing.
Examples include: Memorial vigil, music composed for a SW event, radio presentations, high school assemblies, state capitol assemblies, corporate events, outdoor fairs, Governor's declaration, bagpipers, conferences, government buildings, plays, drumming ceremonies, medical conventions and more.
She lists the state that used that particular type of awareness activity, the contact person, the place they held their event, and the newsletter it was mentioned in so you can go back and get more information. This is a great addition to our web site and I am graeteful to Nancy for this outstanding effort. GO TO
FINAL DETERMINATION FOR NON PROFIT STATUS:
The Silent Witness National Initiative has come through the five year ruling period successfully and is now a full fledged not-for- profit organization. This is wonderful news and we are thrilled. What does it mean? For all practical purposes nothing new, but for us it means that we have now officially passed the government test period and we have been accepted as a not-for-profit organization. Three cheers for you all.
DONATE A PHONE
The web address for this information can be found at www.donateaphone.com
A national program called "CALL to PROTECT" is looking to collect unused wireless phones to benefit victims of domestic violence. CALL to PROTECT distributes new and recycled pre-programmed emergency wireless phones FREE OF CHARGE to domestic violence victims. To these women, the phone serves as an emergency lifeline - one that they might not have access to otherwise. Neither you nor the victim will be charged for any emergency calls made. All airtime is donated by local wireless carriers.
The program is sponsored by the Wireless Foundation, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Motorola.
HOW DO THE PHONES WORK? All CALL to PROTECT phones are pre-programmed to dial 911 and usually one or two non-emergency numbers like a domestic violence shelter. Free emergency airtime is donated by members of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA).
IS THERE A DROP-OFF POINT IN MY COMMUNITY? We are establishing partnerships with hundreds of local businesses across the country to provide drop-off points for donated CALL to PROTECT phones. To
see if there is a local collection point in your area, click here.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE DONATE A PHONE PROGRAM? The goal of the program is to collect old wireless
phones to expand the wireless industry's program to combat domestic violence. Experts estimate there are more than 24 million inactive phones in the U.S. This program is made possible thanks to the generous contributions of CTIA member companies. Since 1996, Motorola has donated over 17,000 phones and 74 wireless service providers have donated free emergency airtime to domestic violence victims.
HOW DO I GET A TAX RECEIPT FOR DONATING MY PHONE? The Wireless Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c) 3
organization, so your phone and associated shipping expenses are typically tax-deductible. If you have
donated a phone and would like a receipt, you can click here to print one. The Foundation makes no
determination of the value of your gift, and you should consult your tax advisor regarding the tax effects of your gift.
Flowers for Battered Women for Mother's Day
Randee, our Jewish Women International contact writes us with this opportunity:
This May, as many as 30,000 women and children in America will spend Mother's Day in a battered women's shelter with their children. Jewish Women International, a 103 year-old non-profit women's organization, is acknowledging the dignity and courage of these forgotten women with its annual Mother's Day Flower Project.
For the third consecutive year, JWI is sending flowers to battered women's shelters across the country to honor and support
victims of abuse. Your generous contribution to this project helps us purchase and deliver flowers and supports and
strengthens our ongoing domestic violence programming. If you would like to be part of this program go to
A Special Summary of another of our Results Projects, the Coordinated Community Response:
RESULTS PROJECT #2
COORDINATED COMMUNITY RESPONSE
Promotes collaboration within the criminal justice and advocacy communities to ensure that women are safe and perpetrators are held accountable.
*Lack of consistency in courts¹ treatment of domestic violence cases
*High level of dismissals
*Lack of coordination among criminal justice professionals and
*Victims fearful of courts, fearful of testifying
Quincy, MA: One domestic violence homicide in 12 years (pop.250,000)
San Diego: Domestic violence homicides down from more than 30 in 1985 to 10 in 1994 and 0 as of August, 1999
Seattle: Domestic violence homicides down from more than 30 in 1994 to 3 in 1998.
Nashville: Domestic homicide rates fell 46% in each of 3 consecutive years.
Decreased recidivism in critical cases. Increased confidence of crime victims. Trying cases without the requirement of victim testimony. San Diego tries two thirds of all domestic violence cases and has a 95% conviction rate.
The mission of all the coordinated community response programs is to streamline the process of investigation and conviction, increase conviction rates, and make the courts more consistent and conscientious in domestic violence cases. Their goals are to make victims safer, hold abusers accountable, make misdemeanors matter, never let a victim die in vain, and prevent the violence from starting.
The programs seek to coordinate the five key players involved in domestic violence cases; the judges, city attorneys (prosecutors), police, probation and advocates. This model was first developed in Duluth, MN. Quincy, MA, made it a national success story. San Diego, CA, and Nashville, TN, have also created successful versions of this model.
Quincy: A user-friendly responsive court program including:
* A special, private office staffed by trained clerks who assist victims.
* A daily group briefing session for all restraining order plaintiffs.
* Two special sessions daily to expedite protection order hearings.
* Six-week education groups and twelve-week support groups for victims.
* Pre-trail probation programs mandating weapon forfeiture, no contact with the victim, psychological evaluations.
* A specially trained probation enforcement team.
* Fast-track court scheduling to ensure speedy trials.
* Routine case coordination with the special domestic violence prosecutor and other assistance district attorneys.
* Strictly enforced sentencing, including intensive supervision, mandatory batterers¹ group treatment, alcohol and drug abstinence monitored through random urine and hair test, and contact with the victim to ensure the defendant is obeying court orders.
* Each Tuesday morning a special revocation session of court.
San Diego: Pro-Arrest, Pro-Prosecution
The heart of this intervention strategy is prosecuting domestic violence cases at the felony and misdemeanor level with or without victim participation.
The mission is to focus on abuser accountability even if the victim is unable to participate with the prosecution. The city attorney¹s office provides the victim advocacy and safety planning whether she chooses to participate with the prosecution or not. The purpose is, in as many cases as possible, to let the victim choose whether to participate.
The highest conviction rate in 1998 was in cases when the victim testified for the defense. The second highest conviction rate was when the victim was not present for trial at all. The lowest conviction rate was when the victim testified in the prosecution's case but recanted some or all of her original statement to the police. Two thirds of all misdemeanor cases were prosecuted, with a 95% conviction rate.
In 1985, 30% of the homicides in San Diego were domestic violence related. This number was very close to the national average. As the city attorney implemented pro-arrest, pro-prosecution policies there was a decline in the domestic violence homicides. San Diego went from 30 homicides in 1985 to 22 by 1990. By 1994, the number was down to 8 domestic related homicides.
Nashville, TN, Police Department: Police Intervention Strategy as part of a coordinated community approach.
Nashville has a police division numbering thirty-five within the Investigative Services Bureau-the largest single investigative unit in the United States dealing with crime within the family as measured in 1996. Nashville takes a multidisciplinary approach involving the entire criminal justice system and social service community. Tactics include early intervention, prevention, counseling, education, training of professionals, investigation, and prosecution. The cultural views of the crime of domestic violence are changing. This is the key to overall success.
As a result, the domestic violence homicide rates in Nashville have fallen 42% on average for three successive years.
Cities with Coordinated Community Response Programs: 18 cities, 14 states
Bloomington, IL Knoxville, TN
Concord,NH Marquette City, MI
Cook County, IL Nashville, TN
Dallas,TX Quincy, MA
Defiance, OH San Diego,CA
Duluth, MN Santa Clara, CA
Durham, NC Seattle, WA
Ft. Wayne,IN West Morris, NJ
Originators: Duluth, MN, and Quincy, MA; Sarah Buel and colleagues at the University Of Texas School of Law, 512-282-9688,
Casey Guinn, San Diego City Attorney email@example.com
Silent Witness Criminal Justice Mentors: Anne O¹Dell (consultant, formerly with San Diego Police Dept.) 800-580-8561
firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Wynn (Nashville Police Dept.) 615-880-3000
email@example.com Patrick and Joey O'Donnell
Investigation Manuals and training available from Anne O¹Dell
Program description, case statement, copy of police orders, sample documents, statistics, organizational charts, news stories, 3 video tapes available from Mark Wynn, Nashville.
**City of Shelter, a highly acclaimed video training guide to a Coordinated Community Response by Joey and Patrick O'Donnell is available from Global Village Communications, 2641 Washington Mill Road, Bellbrook.Ohio 45305.
Quincy Probation Response Guide PID#1F5064 1-800-662-8337 ex 62; Video tape, ³Alive and Well in Quincy² from 60 Minutes available from Ambrose Publishing 1-800-843-0048
**I want to highlight City of Shelter here since it was just written up recently in the Domestic Violence Report and in "Today," the publication of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Here is a summary of City of Shelter content. It is a video training series that can be used by many different components of a community.
Part 1: Starfish:Ddomestic Violence in our Society
Part 2: House of Horrors: The Dynamics of Domestic Violence
Part 3: Herding Cats: Beginning a Coordinated Community Response
Part 4: The Health Care Response
Part 4b: The Law Enforcement Response
Part 4c: The Shelter/Advocate Response
Part 4d: The Procecutors' Response
Part 4e: The Judicial Response
Part 4f: The Batterers' Intervention Respons
Part 5: Coordinating Councils Mature
Part 6: City of Shelter
The producers of this series are our newest SW mentors for this Results Program. They have received letters of endorsement from every conceivable sector of the community regarding this program. It can be used as a whole unit or subdivided as needed. The training series and discussion starter/resource manual are available from Global Village Communications, see above. There is a discount on the materials for battered women's shelters.
I leave you today with a quote from one of my favorite women, whose statue I saw while I was in Washington. And she speaks to me of the principles that Silent Witness supports.
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."