Fall 2005 Newsletter
This October marks the 19th year of observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year KCSDV is participating in a nationwide public awareness campaign.
This marks the first time that multiple coalitions across the country are simultaneously featuring the same materials.
The campaign, which is co-sponsored by KCSDV and the Governor’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, features the tagline, “Domestic Violence: It’s closer than you think,” and focuses on reaching out to bystanders such as the friends, family, and co-workers of victims. Member programs will receive posters, palm cards, and a radio public service announcement for local distribution. (See more campaign pieces on pages 5 and 6.)
In addition, during October PBS stations will air the new documentary, “Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories,” about domestic violence and how legal proceedings often fail to keep children safe from abusers. It chronicles the devastating impact custody court rulings have on children and features real-life accounts of children and women caught in custody battles with their abusers.
The documentary also explores Parental Alienation Syndrome, a controversial theory that many abusive fathers use in court to attain custody of their children. The film was created by Emmy-winning producers Catherine Tatge and Dominique Lasseur, the team who produced the 2001 documentary, “Breaking the Silence: Journeys of Hope,” about women and domestic violence.
While working on what was initially a documentary about the impact of children witnessing domestic violence, the producers began hearing many stories about batterers gaining custody of children after a divorce. The focus of the film quickly shifted to that topic.
“Children’s Stories reminds us that a lot needs to be done to better protect our children from the long-term effects of living with violent abusers,” Lasseur said.
“Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories”
Scheduled airings in October
KCPT Ch 19 – Kansas City
9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20
Coverage: KC metro, northeast Kansas
KPS Ch 8 – Wichita
9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20
Coverage: south central Kansas
Smoky Hills Public TV – Bunker Hill
8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25
Coverage: western Kansas
KTWU Ch 11 – Topeka
11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23
Coverage: northeast Kansas
The latest government figures demonstrate that domestic violence and domestic homicides are still major problems in Kansas.
According to data recently released by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), 25 people were murdered in domestic violence-related incidents in 2004—a 66% increase from 2003. This marks the highest increase since 1998 in those years in which all Kansas law enforcement agencies fully reported domestic violence incidents to the KBI.
In 2004, all 16 women killed in domestic violence homicides were killed by their current or former intimate partner, and four men were killed by their current intimate partner.
The KBI report titled, “A Report on Domestic Violence and Rape Statistics in Kansas, 2004”, includes data based on those domestic violence incidents (including domestic homicide) reported to law enforcement.
As in previous years, more than 80% of reported domestic violence incidents occurred at home. In addition, in nearly 60% of the reported incidents, the offender was the victim’s current or former intimate partner. Also, in nearly 70% of the incidents the offender used a “personal” weapon such as his hands, feet, and fists.
It is generally accepted that domestic violence crimes are underreported. Only 25 to 50% of domestic violence victims ever reach out to law enforcement or domestic violence advocacy programs, so these reported incidents don’t fully account for the extent of the problem.
KCSDV member program statistics also demonstrate the magnitude of the problem.
In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004, nearly 17,000 domestic violence calls came into the crisis hotlines throughout the state. KCSDV member programs sheltered 3,280 women, children, and men, for a total of nearly 63,500 nights of shelter provided.
To view the KBI report, visit the Kansas Governor’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board website at www.ksgovernor.org/grants/gdvfrb.shtml
Domestic Violence Incidents
- Reported incidents – 18,042
- Use of “personal” weapons – 69%
- Incidents occurring at home – 82%
- Offender was current or former intimate partner – 60%</li.
Domestic Violence Murders
- Number of women murder victims – 15
- Suspected murderer was current or former intimate partner – 100%
- Number of men murder victims – 9
- Suspected murderer was current or former intimate partner – 44%
- * Source: KBI
October marks the first anniversary of the creation of Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board.
Governor Sebelius created the Board in order to review all adult domestic violence-related fatalities in the state. The two goals of the Board are to inform and motivate the public to find solutions to prevent domestic violence, and to identify systemic changes within organizations and agencies that work with victims, offenders, and families in order to better identify risk factors and to find new ways of reducing the number of fatalities.
“We must find ways to protect our Kansas families from the horrors of domestic violence,” said Governor Sebelius. “I believe this Board will make a difference in how we respond to domestic violence victims.”
“The Governor could not have put together a better group of people,” said Bob Stephan, former Kansas Attorney General and chairperson of the 14-member Board. “When I call on one of the members, they respond immediately, each member has unique expertise and experience on domestic violence issues.”
The Board has completed six reviews of domestic violence-related fatalities that occurred in 2003. These reviews will be included in its first annual report to be released in October.
Stephan said he hoped that the Board will eventually develop a methodology or procedure that will assist institutions to better serve the needs of victims and hopefully to save lives.
“The whole area of domestic violence is such a tragedy,” Stephan said. “It’s an unseen terror in most instances.”
Governor’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board
- First annual report released in October
- Visit www.ksgovernor.org/grants/gdvfrb.shtml for more information.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) recently released its yearly data on rape in its “A Report on Domestic Violence and Rape Statistics in Kansas, 2004.” This data is based on incidents of rape reported to law enforcement throughout the state.
It’s important to recognize, however, that rape is arguably the most underreported violent crime. It’s generally agreed upon that 20 to 25% of rapes are ever reported, so these reported incidents don’t fully account for the extent of the problem.
The number of rapes reported to law enforcement increased 1.8% from the year before. As in previous years, approximately one in five of reported rapes resulted in an arrest.
In at least 70% of the reported rapes, the victim knew the offender. However, this percentage may be even higher because in 17% of the rapes, the relationship between offender and victim was classified as “unknown” at the time the law enforcement officer completed the report. Many victims report later that they knew the offender.
In nearly one-third of the incidents, an acquaintance of the victim was the rapist. In addition, the victim’s current or former spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend was the offender in 14% of the incidents.
Nearly 70% of the rapes reported occurred at home.
The report also includes statistics on stalking in Kansas. The Kansas Legislature enacted the Protection from Stalking Act during the 2002 session. The Act became effective July 1, 2002.
A protection from stalking order is a court order issued in an effort to prevent stalking behavior against the victim. These behaviors include harassing, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the victim.
There were 3,036 protection from stalking orders filed in 2004. This was in increase of 18% from the year before.
Reported Incidents – 1,153
Incidents occurring at home – 68%
Incidents in which the offender knew the victim – at least 71%
Incidents which led to an arrest – 21.3%
* Source: KBI
Number of orders filed – 3,036
Percentage increase from 2003 – 18%
* Source: Kansas Office of Judicial Administration
Victims in one Kansas town are finding their needs met even if they aren’t residing in the local shelter.
That’s because staff at the Harvey County DV/SA Task Force, a KCSDV member program in the south central Kansas town of Newton, has been providing advocacy services to non-sheltered families through its outreach program.
“Our outreach program is exactly the same thing we do within the shelter, but it’s done outside of the shelter,” said Jan Jones, Coordinator of Victim Services. “Since our safe house has limited space, the outreach program helps us provide advocacy to more people.”
As part of the program, Jones and members of the staff organize casual activities designed to break isolation, such as family fun nights and picnics, as well as a facilitated support group. They make the shelter available to outreach program participants and their children to watch television and educational videos, to play with other children in the shelter’s yard, or to visit with others whose lives have been affected by domestic violence. Individual advocacy and confidential crisis intervention are provided as well.
Jones says the program is ideal for those families who can’t stay or don’t need to stay in shelter to network with other families and to receive feedback and resources in the process.
“Our goal is for families to know they have options, whether they learn about them from staff or through other families they network with within the program,” Jones said.
The program began as a result of the staff realizing that shelter is not always the best option for victims. The program continues to run based on the families’ requests.
“We’re more the resource gurus,” Jones said. “It’s the victims’ program.”
The two-year-old program is funded entirely by community donations. Forty-five families are currently participating. Those families are referred to the program through word-of-mouth, the local OARS advocate, or via the crisis line.
For more information, contact Jan Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this hi-tech information age, the collection and distributing of information via companies and the Internet potentially can help and hurt victims of domestic violence.
“For survivors fleeing abuse, keeping their information private can mean keeping themselves and their children alive,” said Sarah Thomas, KCSDV OARS Advocacy Coordinator who also specializes in technology safety. “Survivors may move several times, cross state lines and navigate many systems – it is especially important that all of the new information about their location is kept safe.”
The potential dangers of the collection and distribution of information were the focus of a July training in California sponsored by the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s (NNEDV) Safety Net Project.
With funding from the Wireless Foundation, NNEDV’s Safety Net project provided a four-day intensive workshop, including advanced topics like network security, digital forensic evidence, data mining, stalking, and web accessibility.
“It was the best conference I have ever attended,” Thomas said, adding that the training provided information about new projects and trends, workgroups, caucuses and networking. “We came away with ideas for new initiatives and contacts to support us.”
In his workshop titled “Privacy and Data Mining,” Chris Hoofnagle, Director and Senior Counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, discussed in detail the practice of information brokering, which is how personal information is collected, sold, and used by companies.
Primarily a few companies control information brokering, Hoofnagle said. The largest are Lexus-Nexus and Choice Point, and both have had major security breaches in the last year. Hoofnagle also explained that both collect information from government databases, and both sell information to anyone who can be approved for access, such as businesses, banks, law enforcement, private investigators, and attorneys.
According to Hoofnagle, opting out of databases is no longer a perfect solution. Data is shared, sold, updated and re-entered continuously. Many companies use computer matching to combine partial information into matched records. Many information brokers now hire people to retrieve information from courthouses and other repositories of public records available in print, such as deeds, utility records, marriage licenses, divorces, birth records, and arrest reports.
The following safety tips address issues that affect many people, especially women and children who are in immediate danger.
“Even for individuals who are not in a dangerous situation, the same techniques can be used to keep new information about them from becoming public and accessible,” Thomas said.
Keeping Track of Your Information
- Find out what information about you is out there. Try www.zabasearch.com and www.searchsystems.net. Both offer some information for free.
- Because of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), everyone has a right to request any information held about them by any federal government agency – even from the FBI or CIA.
- Look at court and government sites, directories and search engines like www.google.com and individual and organization web pages.
- Get a credit report every year – it is now available for free. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
Keeping Your Information Private
- Avoid supplying social security numbers for anything other than tax, banking, and credit purposes.
- Avoid filling out sweepstakes cards, product warranty cards, or consumer surveys.
- Avoid using supermarket or pharmacy loyalty/discount cards. Purchases made with credit cards and loyalty cards can be matched to your record and sold for other marketing.
- Be aware of where to use a credit card. For example, catalog sales and online retailers may collect clothing sizes, and other sites may collect information on sexual identity, health issues, religious or political affiliations or any other information that could be useful to someone. That information can be and often is sold.
- Try paying with cash when you can; if you can’t, pay using gift cards purchased with cash, or pay using a safe online payment center like Pay Pal.
Sources: Chris Hoofnagle, Electronic Privacy Information Center (www.epic.org) and Sarah Thomas, KCSDV.
The importance of understanding how abusers can misuse current technology to manipulate, monitor, and mistreat survivors of abuse with disabilities was the topic of an August workshop in Hutchinson.
Sixty people attended the interactive two-day training, titled “From Radio Scanners to Screen Readers to SpyWare: Technology Safety Issues for Survivors of Abuse with Disabilities.”
“We are seeing more perpetrators use accessible, inexpensive technology to monitor, track, locate, harass and abuse victims,” said Sarah Thomas, KCSDV staff member who attended the training. “Sharing information about technology has to become one more element of the way we safety plan and assess risk for victims and potential victims.”
Trainer Cynthia Fraser from the Safety Net Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence addressed safety concerns relating to those assistive technologies used by survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who have disabilities.
Fraser used survivors’ experiences to demonstrate safety risks that can occur when a survivor or abuser uses phone, imaging, Internet, computer, multimodal or assistive technologies including TTY/relay devices and services, web cams, Internet-based phone services, wireless networks, screen readers, PDA’s, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), SpyWare, instant text messaging, bulletin boards, and e-mail.
“Assistive technologies open new doors for many of us, by providing new ways to communicate, access information, work, and connect with other people,” Thomas said. “But as with any technology, they can be misused.”
The Prairie Independent Living Resource Center and Independent Connection/OCCK Inc. sponsored the training with a grant from the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas.
Prairie Independent Living Resource Center www.pilr.org
Independent Connection/OCCK www.occk.com
Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas www.silck.org
National Network to End Domestic Violence www.nnedv.org
Sarah Thomas, KCSDV, at 785-232-9784 or email@example.com
Palm cards with English on one side, Spanish on the reverse
Domestic violence is a crime. If you believe a family member friend, neighbor or co-worker is a victim of domestic violence get involved. Chances are, they may deny the abuse or be afraid to take the first steps in getting help. Reach out.
Some warning signs of an abusive relationship:
- Name-calling and put-downs
- Extreme jealousy
- Making excuses for the abuser
- Constant monitoring by the abuser
- Uncontrolled anger
- Unexplained injuries
- Isolation from friends and family
How you can help:
- Listen without judging, express your concerns
- Help the victim recognize that abuse is more than just physical – it can be emotional, verbal or sexual
- Help the victim see that they are not to blame for the violence and that changing their behavior will not stop the abuse
- Help the victim develop a safety plan
- Make it clear to the victim that violence is not acceptable
- Assist in getting legal and other protection
- Ask “What can I do to help you?”
For more information, call the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence hotline at 888-END-ABUSE
Friend – Victim of Abuse
It’s closer than you think.
Help yourself or someone you know.
Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
Kansas Governor’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board
La Violencia Doméstica es un crimen. Si usted cree que un miembro de su familia, un amigo(a), un vecino o un compañero de trabajo es víctima de Violencia Doméstica, involúcrate. Las posibilidades son que ellos pueden negar el abuso o pueden tener miedo a tomar los primeros pasos para obtener ayuda. Apóyalo(a).
Algunos signos de precaucion de una relacion abusiva:
- Llamar con sobre nombres y humillaciones
- Celos extremos
- Vigilación constante por el abusador
- Enojos incontrolables
- Heridas inexplicables
- Aislamiento de amigos y familares
- Dar escnsac, por el abusador
Como puedes ayudar:
- Escucha sin Juzgar, expresa tus preocupaciones
- Ayuda a la víctima a reconocer que el abuso es más que un golpe físico – Este puede ser emocional, verbal o sexual
- Ayudar a la víctima que vea que no es la culpable por la violencia y que el cambio de comportamiento no detendrá el abuso
- Ayuda a la víctima con un plan de seguridad
- Poner en claro con la víctima que el abuso no es aceptable
- Asistir en obtener protección legal u otra protección
- Preguntar ¿Qué puedo hacer para ayudar”?
- Para más información, llame a la Coalición de Kansas Contra la Violencia Sexual y Doméstica, al 888-END-ABUSE
Coalicion de Kansas Contra la Violencia Sexual y Domestica
Junta Gubernamental de Revision de Fatalidades de Violencia Domestica de Kansas
Amiga – Victima de Abuso
Está más cerca de lo que usted piensa.
Ayúdese o ayude alguien que usted conozca.
Other posters and bumper stickers depicting:
Mom – Abuse Victim
Executive – Abuse Victim
For further information and registration for KCSDV and other trainings, visit our Trainings page.
This newsletter and KCSDV brochures are available online at: www.kcsdv.org/learn-more/resources/newsletters/
Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. The safest way to find information on the internet is to use a computer at a local library, a friend’s house, an Internet Cafe or at work. For more information about internet and communication technology safety, go to: www.kcsdv.org/safetynews/
This newsletter is published quarterly, hard copy and online, JAN, APRIL, JULY, and OCT. Deadlines for calendar and article submissions are DEC 1, MAR 1, JUNE 1, and SEPT 1. Submissions will be reviewed for content and space availability.
Please send submissions to:
KCSDV, 634 SW Harrison, Topeka, KS, 66603
FAX: 785-232-9784, or firstname.lastname@example.org attn: Publications Specialist.
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KANSAS CRISIS HOTLINE: 888-END-ABUSE | 888-363-2287