Monthly Archives: November 2010

Project PAVE’s creative club raises alert on dating abuse
Five hundred is a lot of flags.

The students in the Angels Against Abuse club at East High School know, because that’s how many of the fluttering emblems they plant on the school’s lawn each year to symbolize the number of teens at East who will experience dating violence.

“When you look at all the flags, it’s kind of overwhelming,” says East junior and club member Sarah Berman. “It’s not just some random, out-there thing; it’s right there.”

According to Anne Ngamsombat, the adviser for Angels Against Abuse and East’s school-based counselor, the number of flags equals the national statistical average. “One in four teens,” Ngamsombat says. “With a little more than 2,000 students at East, 500 is about right.”

Ngamsombat’s work at East and Angels Against Abuse are but two of the many services offered by Project PAVE, one of a number of agencies applying for funds from this year’s Season to Share campaign. PAVE, which stands for Promoting Alternatives to Violence Through Education, has a clear mission, according to program director Adam Evans.

“We want to stop relationship violence at its earliest possible point,” Evans says. “And the way to do that is through education.”

To accomplish its goals, PAVE works with schools in the seven- county Denver metro area. Three schools — East, Morey Middle School and Whittier K-8 School — provide school-based counseling, which means there’s a counselor available at all times to work with any victim of violence. Evans says that all of the schools could offer counseling if the funding were available.

“We have been adamant about expanding only when we can absolutely offer the programming,” Evans says. “We don’t want a situation where we start a program and then have to end it.”

In addition, PAVE goes into the schools’ health classes for a week at a time to discuss the warning signs of abuse and share ways to foster healthy relationship habits through age-appropriate activities. Evans says this is where teens often find themselves feeling more comfortable opening up.

“That’s an area where we’ll get a lot of referrals,” Evans says. “After class, someone will stop a counselor and say, ‘You know, this is happening to me,’ or ‘I have a friend who this is happening to. What should I do?’ Adults might think, ‘Oh, no, this isn’t happening here, not in my area,’ but it’s just more hidden in some places.”

PAVE also has two full-time therapists, including one Spanish speaker, at its headquarters at East 21st Avenue and York Street, where children can access a large, “safe” play area to spend time with counselors while adults receive assistance in a neutral, homelike space. The program offers a website (projectpave .org) with resources too, as well as a comprehensive “Just for Teens” site with a clickable “hide me” button that allows them to get information without fear of negative consequences.

“When people are in an abusive relationship, it’s really degrading,” says East junior Ellie Ciccarelli, a member of Angels Against Abuse. “We want to come up with things that help their self-esteem and make them feel included.”

In the three years these Angels have been giving up their lunch periods to brainstorm ideas for promoting dating violence awareness through creative events, they believe they’ve made a difference.

“We definitely make an impact,” Berman says. “It may not be huge. We’re not going to be able to counsel people, obviously, we’re kids; we don’t have that kind of authority. But we can make people aware. That’s our goal.”

Read more: Project PAVE’s creative club raises alert on dating abuse – The Denver Post

Turn the town purple for domestic violence awareness

Three rural domestic violence programs turned the town purple during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

SHARE, Inc., Help for Abused Partners, and New Directions Domestic Violence programs cover Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma Counties in rural northeast Colorado, an area about the size of Massachusetts with a scattered population averaging 4 persons per square mile. The three programs are based in the larger communities of Fort Morgan, Sterling, and Yuma, and have outreach offices and circuit riders in more remote areas.

 The “Turn the Town Purple” activities in the region included candlelight vigils, flowers in the lake memorials for victims, purple porch lights and purple windows in downtown businesses, purple ribbons, purple balloons, purple wristbands and ribbons on car antennas.  

Community members participated in events to send the message that “there is no place for domestic violence in our homes, neighborhoods, farms, schools and workplaces.” Educational programs included an Intimacy Checkup Workshop at the community college, a brown bag luncheon, and outreach through local church congregations and school health and safety fairs.

 The programs collaborate through a domestic violence advocacy team to provide access to standardized bilingual (English and Spanish) services that include crisis intervention, confidential counseling and advocacy, court advocacy, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and support groups for women and children.

Rural Women’s Health Project’s Tomando Accíon

The Rural Women’s Health Project created a program called Tomando Acción (Taking Action) which uses fotonovelas to raise awareness among Spanish-speaking immigrant women in Florida about domestic violence. 

Rural Women’s Health Project’s Tomando Accíon

Rural Women’s Health Project

Rural Women’s Health Project on Facebook

No international geographic boundaries to Family Court Act, NY panel decides

New York Law Journal, November 09, 2010

In a case of first impression, a New York state appellate panel has ruled that the Family Court may have subject matter jurisdiction over acts that occur out of state — in this instance, a woman’s alleged assault of her daughter and grandchildren on the Caribbean Island of Anguilla.

In affirming a Long Island judge’s order granting three orders of protection, a unanimous Appellate Division, 2nd Department, panel concluded that the Family Court Act sets no geographic boundaries for family offenses.  Complete article from

HUD Strengthens Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

November 2, 2010

Washington, D.C. – infoZine – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced new, stronger affordable housing regulations that protect victims of domestic abuse as the nation concludes National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To read the final regulatory requirements under the Violence against Women Act (VAWA), visit HUD’s website.

“This rule recognizes the need to protect victims of domestic abuse from being evicted just because they were victimized. No one should be afraid of losing their home if they report abuse” said Donovan. “The Obama Administration has strengthened the existing interim regulation to further protect victims and ensures that current or former victims of domestic violence will not be turned down from HUD programs.”

“The 2009 U.S. Conference of Mayors annual report on Hunger and Homelessness identified domestic violence as the third leading cause of homelessness among families,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Sandra Henriquez. “This regulation protects victims housing so they are not forced to choose between staying with their abuser and becoming homeless.”

VAWA, which was enacted in 2005, provided legal protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These protections apply to families receiving rental assistance under HUD’s public housing program, Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, and multi-family project-based Section 8 program. 

The rule announced today addresses many concerns advocates raised with the 2008 interim rule by clarifying and aligning HUD’s statutory language with VAWA; providing more detailed guidance to housing authorities and Section 8 property owners on how to implement VAWA and making a commitment to provide further guidance in the future. For example, guidance in the new rule requires that housing authorities or management agents exhaust protective measures before eviction. Evictions can only take place after the housing or subsidy providers have taken actions that will reduce or eliminate the threat to the victim, including, transferring the abuse victim to a different home; barring the abuser from the property; contacting law enforcement to increase police presence or develop other plans to keep the property safe; or seeking other legal remedies to prevent the abuser from acting on a threat.