Towards Thriving Cover

January 27, 2017

Women's March on Idaho buttonOn Saturday, over ten thousand Idahoans joined one of the eight Women’s March in Idaho – Boise, Driggs, Idaho Falls, Ketchum, Moscow, Pocatello, Sandpoint and Stanley. Signs with messaging from “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” to “Freedom and Equality for All” to “No One if Free Until Everyone is Free” filled Idaho’s streets.

It was a historic moment in time in our state and across the county of people coming together to protect and care for all of our community members. The Idaho Coalition supported and participate in the Women’s March in Idaho – handing out buttons, posters, and calls to action to oppose any laws that discrimination or oppress any community and to encourage everyone to contact our federal congressional delegation to oppose the elimination of the Violence Against Women Act. Idaho Coalition board member Representative Melissa Wintrow opened the panel of speakers with an inspiration and clear call to action. “We march today to support all the survivors of sexual violence and harassment who had to listen to a presidential candidate rationalize sexual assault and then listen to an electorate justify his comments and actions. We will confront sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic comments and actions and create spaces through just policy where everyone is safe and can thrive…. As Dr. King once said, the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. With all our weight and all our strength we must bend that arc and remain vigilant to protect the rights that we and those before us have worked so hard to manifest. So with our hearts pounding and our voice shaking from the courage to speak the truth, remember that today is a demonstration. Tomorrow calls for action.”

Idaho Coalition staff member Jennifer Martinez also spoke powerfully at the Women’s March on Idaho on the importance of protecting funding under the Violence Against Women Act and protecting and caring for our immigrant and undocumented community members. “Our work must be intersectional, and we must keep our focus on this horizon, on liberation for the last girl—meaning that we always Center our work on the person who has the least representation in our communities. In Idaho, the Last Girl could be our refugees or our undocumented family. These are the communities that are most targeted, las comunidades qué necesitan nuestro apoyó mas qué nunca!” All of the speakers made clear that our struggles together need to account for gender, poverty, race, sexuality, physical ability, and refugee and immigration status. We are now at the time for action and need our collective voices to mobilize our communities.

We Choose All of Us,
 

Kelly Miller
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence

 
 
 

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Violence Against Women Act Funding Update

In the last week, national media has been reporting that the President’s budget to Congress will propose eliminating the Violence Against Women Act funding. While the anticipating position of the President is alarming, it is also important to understand the federal budget process. In February, the President sends a budget to Congress for the fiscal year beginning October 1st. Congress goes through several budget processes. The Senate and House Budget Committees write and vote on their own budget resolutions. The Senate and House Appropriations Committees determine spending levels or budget authority for all discretionary programs through a process called appropriation bills. The Senate and House debate and vote on the bills; then the President must sign each appropriation bill. This will be a lengthy budget process and it is important that we are out in the forefront sharing our stories about the importance of this funding.

Earlier this week there was a national call of state coalitions and national organizations regarding the anticipated threats to eliminate or substantially reduce the Violence Against Women Act funding. Lynn Rosenthal and others encourage significant action over the next few months with our Senators and Representatives to ensure that the Violence Against Women Act is funded and does not experience deep cuts in funding.

We have been in contact with Senator Crapo’s office in Washington D.C.. Senator Crapo has been a long standing champion and co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act. As a Senate Budget Committee member and new to the Judiciary Committee. Senator Crapo will be in a good position to see the President’s upcoming budget recommendations to Congress.

We encourage you and your community to visit the local offices, call or email Senator Crapo, Senator Risch, Representative Simpson and Representative Labrador to let them know about the life-saving services funded by both the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA and FVPSA) and VOCA. It is important to share the stories of individual survivors and their families who have accessed life-saving services and how most of Idaho community and tribal domestic and sexual violence programs rely heavily on federal funding in our state.

Sen. Mike Crapo (co-sponsor of VAWA)
DC Office Phone: 202-224-6142
Boise Office Phone: 208-334-1776
Mailing Address: 251 E Front St, Suite 205
Boise, ID 83702
Sen. Jim Risch (voted against VAWA)
DC Office Phone: 202 224-2752
Boise Office Phone: 208-342-7985
Mailing Address: 350 N. 9th St., Suite 302
Boise, ID 83702
Rep. Mike Simpson (voted in support of VAWA)
Congressional District 2
DC Office Phone: 202 225-5531
Boise Office Phone: 208-334-1953
Mailing Address: 802 W Bannock Ste. 600
Boise, ID 83702
Rep. Raul Labrador (voted against VAWA)
Congressional District 1
DC Office Phone: (202) 225 – 6611.
Boise Office Phone: (208)888-3188
Mailing Address: 33 E Broadway Ave,
Ste. 251
Meridian, ID 83642

TALKING POINTS

Senator Crapo – Thank you for your co-sponsorship of the Violence Against Women Act
Rep. Simpson – Thank you for your vote in support of Violence Against Women Act

All –

  • The Trump team wants to eliminate all funding for Violence Against Women Act.
  • Violence Against Women Act was passed in 1994 and again for reauthorization, each time with bipartisan support with Senator Crapo’s leadership, because violence against women or anyone is wrong.
  • Violence Against Women Act funds life-saving services for survivors of violence and their families. Eliminating or reducing the Violence Against Women Act endangers the lives Idahoans.
  • Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence rely on federally-funded direct services such as shelter, rape crisis services, legal assistance, direct counseling, and more.
  • I urge you to act now to protect Violence Against Women Act funding from these and any other proposed cuts. We are grateful for your support in increasing federal investments in these lifesaving programs.

Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative

The Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative (SADI) was a national project created to enhance sexual assault outreach and services in dual domestic violence/sexual assault programs. Six sites across the nation engaged in the project to improve and enhance the response to sexual assault survivors. Throughout the course of the projects, key lessons were learned and are important lessons for those of us who work with survivors of sexual assault to consider.

Those key lessons were:

  1. Comprehensive and meaningful sexual assault services in a dual program requires a clear organizational identity as a dual service organization. Key ways to enhance this identity: online presence, public presentation – specially the name of the agency, communications within the programs, job and program structure, and policies and procedures.
  2. Explicit and agency-wide support for sexual assault services. Specific policies vary but common goals include ensuring all staff have clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the sexual assault program, including: job description, supervision protocols, staff and volunteer orientation and training materials, medical response procedures, self-care and debriefing, and intake procedures and data tracking
  3. A basic tenet was that effective sexual assault services cannot happen if there is not an understanding and direct response to racism and oppression.
  4. Stable and empowering leadership is fundamental to organizational change. Organizations that demonstrated trust and empowerment in their staff experienced the greatest ability to change.
  5. Programs must attend to the well-being of their staff. It is the responsibility of leaders to create structures and an environment that supports their staff.
  6. There was a pervasive lack of knowledge and skills at the start of the project around sexual violence outside of domestic violence. All sites recognized that they lacked both fundamental and advanced understanding and skills about sexual violence. Ways to address this include:
    1. Pro-active sexual assault specific foundational learning
    2. Prioritizing advocacy skills based on active listening
    3. Training on trauma-informed service and anti-oppression frameworks
    4. Requiring vigorous and on-going sexual assault-specific training for staff and volunteers
  7. Many program’s services were not suited to provide the on-going emotional support that sexual assault survivors need.

You can read the entire report here.

The Idaho Coalition would love to work with your program to build your capacity to work with survivors of sexual assault. For more information or for sexual assault specific training, please contact Jennifer. We also are working to bring the authors of the SADI findings here to Idaho this summer to expand upon this endeavor. Stay tuned to these newsletter for training dates!

Idaho Programs’ Stories to be Shared Nationwide

Last week we reached out to programs across the state to hear your stories from the field. Stories of the need for services for parents and children impacted by violence. Stories of progress, of healing, and of resilience. Thank you for answering this call! It’s always inspiring to hear of the work being done across the state to support survivors of violence, and hearing so many stories at once was downright emotional and overwhelming!

This week we are sharing your powerful stories with videographers from Futures Without Violence out in Washington DC. These stories will carry forward and be a powerful reminder to stakeholders, including funders, that this is life-saving, life-changing work. Your stories reflect the need for various and continued services for survivors and their children, due to the pervasiveness of domestic and sexual violence. They also reflect commitment to the highest level of support. Multiple stories of transformation were shared. We must continue to create more meaningful services and spaces for children and families over time. Spaces that create calm “nooks” can calm survivors of all ages and offer a balance of openness and privacy. Enriching, hands-on or developmental activities for children have begun to take the place of limited babysitting during a support group. Respite care for busy or weary parents has provided weary moms some spaciousness. Advocates trained in the impact of trauma on both parent and child has led to more meaningful, compassionate support that lifts up the survivor as a parent, and makes children’s needs more visible and important. Shelters are moving towards fewer rules.

Community partnerships – some that have been challenging or ineffective for many years – are revitalized. Programs are working with underserved and marginalized communities to cover gaps in services and make them much more relevant. Programs continue to providing growth and self-care opportunities for hard working staff.

Though many programs worried about “shortcomings”, these only serve as a reminder that the movement to end violence IS moving! And it won’t happen all at once. It was such an honor to highlight your programs’ tireless efforts to create liberation for all survivors. Acknowledgement for what you all continue to bring and who you are helps propel the forward movement to end violence and create safer, healthier, more equitable communities. It takes all of us, and we are blessed to work alongside all of you.
Melissa Ruth

Training & Events

Violence Against People with Disabilities and Deaf People 101
February 14, 2017
2:00-3:30 pm EST
Register Here

Ethics in Victim Services Training
Thursday, January 26, 2017
12:00 – 1:30 p.m. (Pacific Time)
Register Here

Idaho Coalition Store Materials

Reminder that shipping for all material orders made by Programs on the Idaho Coalition website store is FREE of cost, please use the below coupon for all orders.

Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order. For store questions, please contact Laura Diaz or call 208-807-2799.

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