Towards Thriving Cover

March 29, 2018

Bernie LaSarte is the recipient of the 2017 FBI Director’s National Leadership Community Leadership Award. As the founder of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s STOP Violence Against Women Program, Bernie oversees efforts to prevent and respond to the cycle of violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, stalking, and bullying through education and intervention and developing partnerships within the community. The Coeur d’Alene STOP Violence Against Women Program provides critical and much-needed services for Indigenous women who experience domestic and sexual violence at rates higher than any other population. The STOP Violence Against Women Program is the only victim assistance program on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation and also offers a Domestic Violence Offender Intervention Program to reduce recidivism. Through Bernie’s leadership the program has been able to provide more cohesive and effective response to domestic violence and sexual violence. She is also an advocate for children of suspected abuse or neglect and was the driving force for the creation of the Coeur d’Alene Child Advocacy Center.

Since 1990, the FBI publicly recognizes the achievements of individuals and organizations for their contributions to crime and violence education and prevention within their communities. Bernie will travel to Washington, D.C. in April to attend a formal ceremony, which honors all DCLA recipients selected by each of the 56 FBI field offices. Congratulations to Bernie for her well-deserved recognition for her passion and community to serve survivors.

Omnibus Spending Bill Increases Support for Domestic & Sexual Violence

On Friday, March 23rd, the Fiscal Year 18 Omnibus Spending bill was signed by the President. We are excited to see major increases in spending on services for the prevention and response to domestic and sexual violence, with increases in the Rape Prevention & Education Program (RPE), Family Violence Prevention Services Act (FVPSA), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).

We have been advocating with Senator Crapo’s office on several of the increases – raising the VOCA cap as well as increases in RPE, rural, tribal, and housing funding. Here are the highlights:

  • Significant Commitment to Tribes: First-ever funding stream with a 3% set aside from VOCA for Tribes to address services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, as well as other crimes. The approximately $130 million will meet a pressing need for victims on Tribal lands who disproportionately face violence and often have extremely limited access to services.
  • Investments in Services for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence: $160 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), with more resources allocated to serve tribal victims; $492 million for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), including new resources for transitional housing and rural programs, and $4.4 billion in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds (non-taxpayer funds) that will go to the states to support services for victims of all crimes.
    • RPE: Funded at $49.4 million, a $5 million increase.
    • VOCA: More than $4.6 billion (minus set aside for VAWA) for the VOCA funding cap and a 3% set aside for Tribes.
    • VAWA: $492 million for VAWA funding (the highest funding level ever for VAWA) with an additional $5 million for the rural grant program, and an additional $5 million for the transitional housing grant program.
    • FVPSA: Over $154 million, with a $5 million increase for FVPSA tribal set aside.
  • Domestic Violence-specific Housing Services: A newly created $50 million set-aside in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homelessness services provides specific funding for housing for victims of domestic violence, which will help survivors find safe housing after fleeing abuse.
  • Gun Safety Improvements: The Fix NICS provisions will strengthen the national firearms background check system (NICS) to ensure that domestic abusers do not have access to firearms. This authorizing language will help to decrease domestic violence homicides and keep communities safer.

Unfortunately, we are extremely disappointed to see major increases in spending on ICE and other immigration enforcement programs to increase immigration enforcement, deportation, and funding for border security as well as no fix for the Dreamers (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). While we applaud the increases in resources for survivors, we are disappointed that the budget fails to address the needs of vulnerable immigrant victims. Increased funding for detention beds and immigration agents while failing to allocate resources to address the end of the DACA program and TPS for thousands of individuals, and the over three-year delay in processing “U” crime-victim visas means that immigrant victims will be detained and deported at increased rates. The significant expansion of resources for immigration enforcement continues to exacerbate the fear in immigrant communities, discouraging immigrant victims from seeking help, making our communities less safe. We will continue to work with our congressional delegation to address these urgent needs.

April 25, 2018 is Denim Day

The Women’s and Children’s Alliance (WCA) generously offered to share Denim Day materials to sister programs throughout the state. Below, WCA materials have been shared without distinguishing logos so programs may localize the materials with their information.

What is Denim Day? Denim Day is a day-long awareness campaign that allows us to honor survivors of sexual assault and start conversations about the dangers of victim blaming.

Why denim? In the late 90’s an 18-year-old Italian girl was sexually assaulted by her 45-year-old male driving instructor. While he was initially convicted of the crime and sent to prison, the ruling was later overturned by the Italian Supreme Court because the justices felt that because the victim wore tight jeans, she must have helped remove them thereby making the act consensual.

The following day the women of the Italian Legislature protested this decision by wearing jeans to work. As news of the decision spread, so did the protests. In 1999, an agency in Los Angeles, CA established the first Denim Day in the US—a tradition that has grown and continued since.


Thank you to the WCA for the shared materials and for their list highlighting “ways to get involved”:

  • Wear denim or, if jeans are not an option in your work environment, wear an “Ask Me About Denim Day” sticker, denim ribbon, or bracelet on April 25th, 2018.
  • Start a conversation with your friends, family, and/or coworkers by sharing statistics and definitions surrounding the issues of sexual assault
  • Host an awareness event at your work or within your community
  • Host a fundraising event at your work or within your community
  • Print posters and flyers for Denim Day
  • Post photos, statistics, and info about local resources and share on social media with the hashtag #DenimDay, your program, and #WCABoise. Don’t forget to tag the WCA’s social media pages and they will share your photo as well!

Questions for how to implement Denim Day in your area? Contact the WCA Outreach Team at

Training & Events

Stories of Transformation Poetry Celebration
April 5th | Doors Open at 6:30 | Celebration 7:00 – 9:00 PM | Linen Building
Published author/s and schools will be celebrated at the 9th Annual Stories of Transformation Poetry Celebration.

We invite students, families, and educators to help celebrate all of the winning authors from this year’s writing challenge; admission is FREE!

Idaho Coalition Store Materials

Engaging Voices Website StoreReminder 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 Lacey Sinn.

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