Spring 2008 Newsletter - Page 4

Statewide Fatality Review Board Continues Its Work

It has been three years since Governor Kathleen Sebelius established the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board. The Board reviews all adult domestic violence-related fatalities in Kansas, describes trends and patterns regarding the facts and circumstances of these fatalities, recommends improvements to prevent future fatalities, and determines if adequate resources and trainings are in place for those who respond to domestic violence crimes.

Since its inception the Board has released three annual reports. Bob Stephan, former Kansas attorney general and chair of the Board, said he was surprised by a few of the Board's findings so far.

"I frankly have been amazed at the number of fatalities where there have been no reports of domestic violence and also where the family didn't know about it either," Stephan said.

Stephan said the Board will continue the Governor's mandate in 2008 by reviewing more domestic violence fatalities, following through with its recommendations of training criminal justice system personnel, and finding funding for a statewide public awareness campaign.

"It's pretty exciting to have at least the public awareness plan because I've always believed that we won’t cut into the problem and make headway with the legislators without raising public awareness," he said.

A recent domestic violence survey of Kansas women confirms his view that public awareness is needed. Even though more than more than 90% of Kansas women agree or strongly agree that domestic violence is a widespread statewide problem, three out of five victims didn't know where to go to receive services when they first decided to get help.

"That three out of five victims didn't know where to go to get services clearly indicates a need for a statewide public awareness campaign," said Sandy Barnett, executive director of KCSDV and member of the Board.

To find the Board's reports, Stephan’s monthly columns, its press releases, and the Governor’s executive order establishing the Board, visit its website at www.governor.ks.gov/grants/gdvfrb.htm.

To access the Kansas domestic violence survey, visit www.governor.ks.gov/grants/policies/docs/DockingReport.pdf.

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