Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Apple App for iPhone or iPad, the iEAA (Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit) created by Intimate Partner Violence Expert Susan Murphy Milano

Created by Susan Murphy-Milano, the EAA was developed into the Apple App format by Wetstone Technologies and Chief Scientist, Chet Hosmer.
Myrtle Beach, SC………The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit is a revolutionary new tool described and detailed in the book, Time’s Up: A Guide on How to Safely Leave an Abusive and Stalking Relationship by Susan Murphy-Milano. Since the release of the book on April 12, 2010, thousands have become aware of a new standard of safety which goes well beyond current planning measures for abuse victims. Used by hundreds of advocates and victims, they are the living testament to the success of the EAA. The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (E.A.A.) combines video taping of the victims actual words attesting to the abuse coupled with creative witnessed and notarized legal documents that successfully satisfy legal hurdles often faced in these intimate partner violence and stalking cases. A unique packaging of testimony + documentation + perpetrator historical profiling + pre-collected evidence delivered to established safe and legal persons = a delicate issue brilliantly wrapped up for successful prosecution. Now, with the Apple App available, victims can do almost everything, including recording their video testimony on their iPhone, iPad or iPod. The Apple App makes it easier, safer and effective to create the documents needed for their specific, individualized safety plan. The easy to use instructions included within the Apple App walk the victim through each step, encouraging them all the way and letting them know their information has been created properly. An all-inclusive website for information about the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit can be found at DocumentTheAbuse.Com which also includes a Lethal Relationship Checklist so abuse victims, as well as law enforcement, first responders, court personnel and attorneys, can recognize often hidden dangers, understand the risk factors, and learn what to do with the information. Taking this assessment to the next level with the EAA is proven to prevent the ultimate abuse, homicide. After working over 20 years in the field of violence and homicide prevention, Susan Murphy-Milano is realizing a dream. Unable to save her own mother in 1989, she has devoted her life and career to making sure the world is a safer place for abuse victims, often using non-conventional methods to keep them alive. The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit is one such method, born out of the Stacy Peterson case. Murphy-Milano says, “Had either Kathleen Savio or Stacy Peterson prepared an EAA, there would be no question of a prompt arrest. It also gives law enforcement and investigators information about the alleged perpetrator allowing the victim to speak from the grave on her own behalf, should that be necessary. Think of the millions saved in taxpayer dollars!” This is the first phase of the iEAA App. Murphy-Milano, Hosmer and Wetstone are working on an advanced version to be released by Apple later in the year, and are also working on a version for Android products for maximum reach in the marketplace as well as being available to as many victims, advocates and first responders as possible. For further information: SusanMurphy-Milano.Com DocumentTheAbuse.Com WetstoneTechnologies.Com

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The White House: 1 is 2 Many Campaign Releases New Public Service Announcement on Dating Violence

1 is 2 Many Campaign Releases New Public Service Announcement on Dating Violence Today, Vice President Biden, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and White House Advisor on Violence Against Women Lynn Rosenthal hosted an event to launch a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) about dating violence as part of the Vice President’s 1 is 2 Many campaign. Due to the fact that young women today ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of violence at the hands of someone they know, the PSA’s target audience is men of this same age group. The PSA, which was produced by the White House, features professional athletes and other male role models who deliver the message that dating violence is unacceptable

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Statement by Vice President Biden on the Eighteenth Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

Eighteen years ago, the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed into law. It was founded on the basic premise that every woman deserves to be safe from violence, and since its passage, we have made tremendous strides towards achieving that goal. We gave law enforcement and the courts more tools to combat domestic violence and hold offenders accountable. We created a national hotline to direct victims to life-saving assistance. And since VAWA passed, annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent. But we still have much work to do. Three women still die every day as a result of domestic violence. One in five women have been raped, many as teenagers, and one in six women have been victims of stalking. While women and girls face these devastating realities every day, reauthorization of a strengthened VAWA languishes in Congress. VAWA is just as important today as it was when it first became law, and I urge Congress to keep the promise we made to our daughters and our granddaughters on that day—that we would work together to keep them safe.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Intimate Partner Stalking 2012

The National Institute of Justice produced a comprehensive document on Intimate Partner Stalking

Research shows that partner [1] stalking is a relatively common form of violence against women, and to a lesser degree men.
  • Partner stalking is the largest category of stalking cases. [2-5]
  • Approximately 1 in 6 women (16.2%) in the United States has experienced stalking at some point in her lifetime, according to the CDC's 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence e Survey. About 4%, or approximately 5.2 million women, were stalked in the 12 months prior to taking the survey. Two-thirds of the female victims of stalking (66.2%) reported stalking by a current or former intimate partner in their lifetime. [6]
  • Approximately 1 in 19 men (5.2%) in the United States has experienced stalking victimization at some point during his lifetime in which he felt very fearful or believed that he or someone close to him would be harmed or killed as a result, and 1.3% of men (about 1.4 million) reported being stalked in the 12 months prior to taking the survey. Approximately 4 out of 10 male stalking victims (41.4%) reported that they had been stalked by an intimate partner in their lifetime. [7]
  • College women appear to experience partner stalking at high rates. Approximately 5.3 percent of female college students from a large national sample of students reporting being stalked by an intimate partner in about a 7-month period.[8] For this study, stalking was defined to include repeated following; waiting outside a classroom, residence, workplace, or other buildings or car; watching; telephoning; writing letters, cards, emails, etc.; and communicating with the respondent in other ways that seemed obsessive and made the respondent afraid or concerned for her safety.
  • Another smaller study of college women found that 6.9 percent of the sample was stalked by a current or former partner. [9]
Relationship Context.Partner stalking overlaps with a history of partner physical and sexual violence and coercive control. [10-24] Several studies have identified a significant association between partner stalking and sexual assault. [25-31]
  • 74 percent of those stalked by a former intimate partner reported violence or coercive control during the relationship, whereas 26 percent did not. [32]
  • 81 percent of women stalked by a former or current partner were also physically assaulted by that partner. [33]
Learn more about:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

When Women Find Love Is Fatal by Erica Goode New York Times

Sadly, nothing has changed in the 12 years since this article was publised in the New York Times

Published: February 15, 2000
They had little or nothing in common. And in the normal course of events, it is unlikely their worlds would ever have intersected.
Kathleen A. Roskot, 19, the daughter of middle-class parents on Long Island, was a star athlete on the Columbia University lacrosse team. Marie Jean-Paul, 39, known to her friends as Carol, grew up in Haiti, and worked as a nurse's aide at a hospital in Brooklyn. Joy Thomas, 18, graduated from Mount Vernon High School in June and was studying to be a teacher at Westchester Community College.
Yet in the course of 48 hours, the lives of these three women were abruptly and horribly linked together: they were, all three, the targets of homicidal attacks by men with whom they had had romantic relationships.
On Feb. 6, Ms. Roskot's throat was slashed in her dormitory room with a kitchen knife, apparently wielded by a former Columbia student she had dated. The next morning in Brooklyn, Mrs. Jean-Paul's husband used a machete to cut his wife's throat, then doused her body and set it on fire.
Ms. Thomas, shot in the head in Westchester hours later, lived, but only through a stroke of luck: her former boyfriend's pistol jammed. In all three cases, the men believed responsible for the attacks committed suicide shortly afterward.
Such events ought to be surprising. In fact, anyone who examines the crime reports knows that they are commonplace.
According to homicide statistics collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 32 percent of the 3,419 women killed in the United States in 1998, the latest year for which data are available, died at the hands of a husband, a former husband, a boyfriend or a former boyfriend.
On the basis of smaller, regional studies and the limitations of the data gathering methods used by the F.B.I., however, many experts believe that the true figure is much higher, perhaps as much as 50 percent to 70 percent. In comparison, 4 percent of 10,606 male homicide victims in 1998 were killed by current or former intimate partners.
And while homicide rates as a whole have sharply declined over the past 20 years, and the rate at which men are killed by intimate partners along with them, rates for women, and particularly for white women, have not declined as sharply, despite efforts by police departments around the country to increase their response to calls involving domestic violence. In some regions, New York City for example, they have not gone down at all.
''We haven't come close to affecting intimate partner violence and homicide the way we have other kinds of violence and assault,'' said Dr. Susan Wilt, director of the New York City Department of Health's Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. ''It remains a shocking issue that this is the main reason that women end up dead and that it occurs within the context of their home and family, where they are supposed to be safe.''
''Women worry when they go out,'' Dr. Wilt said. ''They should worry when they stay in.''
Why are men so much more likely to kill their partners than women? Feminist scholars and domestic violence experts have long contended that such crimes reflect a society in which men feel entitled to exercise power and control over women, and to use physical violence when necessary to assert their dominance.
''We are in a culture that in many ways celebrates male dominance and female submission, and that is in some ways the definition of an erotic heterosexual relationship,'' said Sally Goldfarb, an associate professor at Rutgers School of Law in Camden, N.J., and an expert in family law.
Some evolutionary psychologists who study spousal murders, like Dr. Margo Wilson and Dr. Martin Daly at McMaster University in Ontario, also argue that men as a whole, rather than individual men, are the problem. But they base this assertion not on culture but on biology. Violence, they believe, may have developed as a strategy for men to exert proprietary control over women, and in particular over their reproductive capacities. Many psychologists, in contrast, focus on the personality characteristics and life histories that lead men to batter and kill.
Whatever the validity of such views, social scientists have in recent years begun to investigate homicides by intimate partners in a much more systematic way, hoping to find ways to spot the potential for lethal violence before it occurs, and to develop better tactics for intervention.
What emerges from such studies is a picture as consistent as it is discomforting. Many studies confirm, for example, that women are at particular risk when they are in the process of leaving a relationship, something long noted by domestic violence workers.
In a study of 293 women killed by intimates in North Carolina from 1991 to 1993, Dr. Beth Moracco of the University of North Carolina School of Public Health and her colleagues found that 42 percent had been killed after they threatened separation, tried to separate or had recently separated from their partners. In another study, researchers found that of 551 intimate partner homicides in Ontario from 1974 to 1990, 32 percent were committed in the context of a separation; in another 11 percent, the killer believed that the female partner was sexually unfaithful.
The period just after a woman has left is often the most risky, studies find. In a review of homicides in Chicago, for example, Dr. Wilson and Dr. Daly found that 50 percent of the killings of wives by their husbands took place within two months of a separation; 85 percent occurred within a year.
''The link between separation and murder is more than incidental,'' Dr. Wilson and Dr. Daly observed in their study. ''Homicidal husbands are often noted to have threatened to do exactly what they did, should their wives ever leave them, and they often explain their homicides as responses to the intolerable stimulus of the wife's departure.''
The intensity of emotion that leads men to kill women they once loved is often evident in the crimes themselves.
''It's absolutely a crime of rage,'' said Dr. Wilt, who has been tracking homicides by intimate partners in New York City since 1990. ''There is a sense of 'How dare you think you can live without me?' ''
Of the 379 women known to have been killed by male intimates in New York from 1990 to 1997, Dr. Wilt and her colleagues found, 46.7 percent were killed with guns, 26.6 percent were stabbed, 8.2 percent were bludgeoned, 7.9 percent were strangled, and 10.6 percent were killed by other means, including suffocation and being pushed from a window or the top of a building.
That women killed by a male partner are more likely to be stabbed or strangled than those killed by someone less close to them, Dr. Wilt said, reflects the emotional nature of the crime. ''When you stab or strangle someone to death, it's a lot more intimate than shooting them,'' Dr. Wilt said.
Dr. Donald Dutton, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, who recently completed a study of 50 men in prison for killing their wives, said that ''typically, the murder itself is overkill -- there is more done to the woman than is necessary to kill her.''
Dr. Dutton said men who killed their wives or girlfriends tended to fall into two categories. A minority, he said, are calculating killers, whose motive is instrumental: cashing in on an insurance policy, for example. More common, he said, are killers who suffer from severe personality disturbances. Such men, Dr. Dutton said, often have a terror of being abandoned and express their dependency in extreme jealousy and controlling behavior.
''What's going on deep down is that they believe the woman is leaving them and they can't live without her,'' he said. ''The prospect of her leaving throws them into a downward spiral where they feel like they are staring into the abyss.''
Frequently, Dr. Dutton added, the killer enters a ''dissociated,'' trancelike state after the killing. In one case, he said, a man killed his wife and children in Berkeley, Calif., boarded a plane for New York, and was picked up by the police at La Guardia Airport still wearing his bloody clothes.
Sometimes when a woman is murdered, it appears to come out of nowhere: Thomas G. Nelford, the Columbia dropout who is believed to have killed Ms. Roskot, appears to have had no history of battering, and friends described him as a pacifist.
More often, though, there were many portents of danger. Through a study of completed and attempted murders of women by intimate partners in 11 large and mid-size cities, a group of researchers, led by Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, is trying to put together a list of risk factors for lethal violence.
The study is not yet completed, but Dr. Campbell and her colleagues have published a small part of their findings and have posted some preliminary findings on the Internet.
The study reinforces the findings of other research. For example, Dr. Campbell said in an interview, the researchers are finding that the biggest risk factor is a history of violent behavior by the man in the relationship. Of 250 women in the study who were killed by current or former partners, 65 percent had been assaulted by their partners in the past. Of the 200 victims of attempted homicide, 72 percent had experienced a previous assault.
Past stalking of the woman by her male partner, Dr. Campbell and her colleagues found, also posed a significant risk, occurring in 69 percent of homicides and 84 percent of attempted homicides. When the woman had separated from her partner, the frequency of stalking rose to 88 percent.
In many cases, Dr. Campbell said, stalking occurred even when the couple lived together. A man, for example, might show up unexpectedly at his partner's workplace, beep her repeatedly on a pager, demanding to know where she is, or telephone her dozens of times a day.
Other predictors of lethal violence included an escalation in the frequency or severity of physical abuse, attempts by the man to choke the woman or to force her to have sex, the presence of a gun in the house, the use of street drugs or the abuse of alcohol by the man, verbal threats, and the woman's belief that her partner was capable of killing her.
A history of domestic violence is found less often in men who kill themselves after killing their partners, Dr. Campbell said. Studies indicate that about 25 percent of men who kill their partners commit suicide afterward. Often, they do so with an equal display of emotion: Mrs. Jean-Paul's husband, for example, is believed to have set himself on fire. The man police believe killed Ms. Roskot threw himself in front of a subway train a few hours after she was killed.
Curiously, in the multicity study, men who tortured or killed animals -- long thought to be a sign of potential danger -- were no more likely to kill their partners. But Dr. Campbell cautioned: ''No matter what the research says, what I say to women is, 'If he does something that is terribly frightening, be scared! If it makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck, be scared!' ''
In one case she encountered, Dr. Campbell said, a man slit the throat of his wife's favorite dog and left the dead pet in the bathtub for her to find.
What can women do to protect themselves? At least one study, by the National Center for State Courts, of civil protection orders issued in three jurisdictions, found that contrary to popular belief, such orders are effective in the majority of cases, making women feel safer and reducing incidents of violence. A court order obtained by Ms. Thomas, the Westchester Community College student, however, appears to have done her little good.
Still, in most cases, by the time a court intervenes, the woman's situation is already dire. For young women, said Ms. Goldfarb of Rutgers, an important preventive measure is to be alert for signs that a man is potentially dangerous -- before the relationship grows serious.
''Many of the same types of gestures or comments that we are taught as young girls to view as romantic are, in fact, major warning signs of a serious potential for domestic violence,'' Ms. Goldfarb said.
She gave as examples statements that might appear solicitous but that in reality may indicate extreme jealousy or a controlling nature. A man might say, for example, ''I can't live without you,'' or ''You only need me,'' or ''I can't breathe unless I'm near you.'' Or he might phone her 20 times a day or appear unexpectedly at her door.
''It may sound like Prince Charming,'' Ms. Goldfarb said. ''But in reality that kind of possessiveness is designed to isolate a woman from other sources of support in her life. It is a foreshadowing of violence.''
And perhaps a signal to stay as far away as possible.

Crime Victims Rights Week April 22- April 28, 2012 - making a case for parallel justice

The National Center for Victims of Crime does an amazing job assisting victims of crime.  In 1999 at the suggestion of a Secret Service agent who was attempting to help me with my stalking,  I contacted the NCVC.  I worked with the Deputy Director of Public Policy who helped draft the current NJ Criminal Stalking Law.  The Stalking Resource Center at the NCVC urged me to share my tale of stalking with women to encourage more women to fight back.  Susan Herman, who was the Executive Director of the NCVC, crafted the philosophy of parallel justice. 

The Next Revolution in Crime Victims' Rights: A System of Parallel Justice

During the past 20 years, a sea change occurred in the involvement of crime victims in the criminal justice system.

The far-reaching recommendations of the 1982 Final Report of the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime set the stage for nothing less than a revolution in establishing crime victims’ rights to participate in the criminal justice system. At the time this report was released, only the state of California provided constitutional protection to crime victims’ rights. Furthermore, very few states gave victims what we now consider to be the most basic of rights, including the right to be present in the court room, the right to be notified about and provide input into crucial developments in the criminal justice process, and the right to restitution.

Since 1982, we have seen measurable progress. Currently, every state in this country gives victims of crime the rights to be notified, present and heard during legal proceedings, and more than half guarantee those rights in their state constitutions. The cloak of invisibility has been shattered and victims are now more widely viewed as legitimate participants in the criminal justice system.

And, yet, something critically important is still missing for victims of crime. The criminal justice system was set up, after all, to apprehend, prosecute, punish, and rehabilitate offenders. As a society, we have spent billions of dollars on dealing primarily with the perpetrators of crime. Tragically, however, far too many of the 25 million Americans who become victims of crime each year are left isolated in crime’s wake—fending for themselves and struggling alone with the enormous emotional, financial, and physical consequences of crime.

It’s time to look to the next 20 years and further revolutionize the way we think about and support those who are harmed by crime. It’s time to create a system of parallel justice, a system that tells each crime victim, “what happened to you was wrong and we will help you rebuild your life.”

What would parallel justice look like? A system of parallel justice would run parallel to the criminal justice system. Parallel justice would involve both a governmental and a community response. For every reported crime, our society spends enormous resources responding to the incident and trying to apprehend and prosecute the offender. With parallel justice, there would always be a second—parallel—set of responses that would be designed to help ensure a victim’s safety; to help a victim recover from the trauma of the crime; and to provide resources to help a victim get his or her life back on track.

It would be a system that compensates victims of all crime (violent and non-violent) for all their losses, including pain and suffering—not just immediate out-of-pocket losses as done sparingly in the current system. It would be a system that provides all victims who seek it with emergency, transitional, and ongoing services, including counseling, relocation assistance, and support groups. When crime victims need to relocate for their safety, they would have priority access to housing assistance. Victimization increases substance abuse, so, under parallel justice, crime victims would have priority access to treatment programs. Parallel justice would offer safety planning for all victims to prevent repeat victimization.

Within the criminal justice system, parallel justice would manifest through consistently fair and respectful treatment of crime victims. It would mean victims’ rights are respected and enforced, and when these rights are denied that meaningful recourse is available. It would also mean that when convicted offenders are ordered to pay restitution to victims for harm done, those orders would be enforced.

Within our communities, a system of parallel justice would foster a greater awareness of the impact of crime on its victims and encourage a more compassionate response. For example, businesses would demonstrate concern for their employees’ security by rearranging schedules, if necessary, or by helping to provide different means of transportation to and from work. Universities would assist students who are raped or stalked with transferring to a different school or by allowing time off from classes without being penalized academically. Accountants and financial planners would volunteer their services to help homicide survivors pay bills, attend to financial affairs, and settle estates. Neighbors would help crime victims by running errands, cooking meals, performing household repairs, or babysitting children. There are endless opportunities for our communities to help victims of crime.

Certainly, many jurisdictions across the United States have programs to assist crime victims. But, in most places, these programs and services are inadequate, under-funded, and of only minimal scope. To address shortcomings in the current system and to ensure that victims of crime receive the assistance and support they need to rebuild their lives, communities should be encouraged to draw inspiration from the example of this country’s September 11 response. Our generous altruistic spirit need not lie dormant until a major calamity strikes. It can be exercised daily on behalf of the anonymous, powerless, aggrieved, and often suffering victims of everyday crime.

This is National Crime Victims' Rights Week, an opportunity for us to dream big and envision a more comprehensive and compassionate response to victims. Let’s, once again, revolutionize our response to victims of crime by taking the path of parallel justice.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Breaking the Cycle of Violence Against Women and Children: The Domestic Violence Judicial Support Act

By Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.) and Honorable Patricia Martin
Dr. Amy Castillo's three children could and should be alive today.

Dr. Castillo, a pediatrician, spent the first days of 2008 in Maryland District Court trying to get a protective order against her abusive husband Mark Castillo. Amy testified that her husband had been involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a suicide attempt and manic-like destructive behavior. On January 10, 2008, the court, despite hearing further testimony about Mark Castillo's threats to kill his children, refused to grant a permanent protective order on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
On March 29, 2008, Mark Castillo drowned Anthony, 6, Austin, 4, and Athena, 2, in a hotel bathtub in Baltimore. The justice system tragically failed to protect Amy and her children.

Amy Castillo's tragedy -- and countless more just like it -- are an urgent call to action. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), signed into law by President Clinton in 1994 as a national response to domestic violence, and reauthorized in 2000 and 2005 under President Bush, is now again before Congress for reauthorization. Amy Castillo's case highlights the pressing need for the 2012 iteration of VAWA to focus on essential judicial court-related services that train prosecutors and judges how to handle sensitive domestic violence cases; provide advocates for children trapped in the cycle of violence; and forge efficiencies in the system that allow for timely, consistent rulings.

This is why Congressman Honda is introducing a bill, the Domestic Violence Judicial Support Act of 2012, to highlight and build support for these indispensable programs, ensuring that they are funded in the final VAWA authorization.

The specialized training and resources provided under this bill helps train judges, like the one in Dr. Castillo's case, to understand the dynamics of domestic violence in child custody cases through the Violence Against Women Act Court Training and Improvement Program. Judges trained in these programs would have known that a restraining order against Mr. Castillo, along with strong, court-ordered safety protections like supervised visitation and regular compliance reviews that spot risk and instability, would protect children like Anthony, Austin and Athena. A well-trained judge in a specialized domestic violence court would also have known how to connect Amy Castillo with the multitude of community resources available to her.

None of this happened; instead the court system failed Amy and her children.

One-third of violent felons in state criminal courts are charged with domestic violence; 50 percent of these offenders have killed their victims. Many of these murders occur during the time when couples are waiting to go to trial, highlighting the critical need for efficiency in court proceedings. Similarly, providing special domestic violence courts and court-appointed advocates can save foster children nearly 7 and a half months in the court system; that means they will experience fewer out of home placements and have significantly improved educational performance.

The programs reauthorized in the Domestic Violence Judicial Support Act do just this, allowing courts to specialize, thereby making them more efficient, consistent and able to incorporate a stronger focus on rehabilitation of offenders and deterrence of repeat offenses. These programs are not only the right thing to do, they also save states money. For example, training judges in effective case oversight resulted in significant foster care savings for several states. A 2009 Department of Justice Study found that Kentucky saved $85 million in one year alone through the issuance of protection orders and the reduction in violence resulting from the issuance of such orders.

With the reauthorization of the VAWA before us, Congress must act to ensure that local justice systems are fully equipped to respond to family, domestic, and youth violence cases. Congress can start this crucial work by supporting the programs found within the Domestic Violence Judicial Support Act.

Now is the time to ensure that all families have the resources available that we know saves lives. By ensuring that our nation's courts are well-trained to handle domestic violence cases, we can honor Amy and her three small children. We can ensure that such tragedies are never repeated.
This piece was first published in THE HILL on 2/9/12.

Rep. Honda (D-Calif.) is Silicon Valley's representative in Congress. He is Budget Task Force Chairman for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the author of The People's Budget, and a member of the House Appropriations and Budget committees.

Judge Martin is Presiding Judge of the Child Protection Division, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, has served on the bench since 1996 and serves as President of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).

Follow Rep. Honda on Twitter and on Facebook.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

New Jersey State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy has no advocate or Director

The New Jersey State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy has had no Director who is skilled at being an advocate since Sandra McGowan retired in December of 2007. When Governor Christie was adding staff to his Governor's office payroll he was cutting the staff at the State office of Victim Witness Advocacy. The  NJ State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy website  lists Dolores Blackburn as the Director but Dolores who is a Deputy Attorney General and does not have a background assisting crime victims was transferred to another area of the Attorney General's office two years ago.  Heddy Levine Sabol who is listed as the contact along with Information on Federal Grant Programs to help Victims of Crime and Stop Violence Against Women in New Jersey  retired in 2011.  She did not have a background advocating for crime victims and was also transferred from another area of the Attorney General's office.  Currently, there is no one running the New Jersey State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy.   Crime Victim's in NJ are left to advocate for themselves.

After the suicide of my stalker in Jan 2010, I contacted American Express Corporate Security to determine if there was evidence of fraudulent access to my online American Express Account. Somehow for 12 years, every time I travelled the stalker found me. I believe he did this by following my activity on my American Express Card Statement. In January of 2010, Rudy Cassias at Amex told me that 5 IP addresses were logging into my online Amex account. The Monmouth County Prosecutors office did nothing. Because there was a man using my Amex card fraudulently in NYC (that Monmouth County failed to arrest after apprehending), I appealed for help to the Manhattan DA and in October of 2010, ADA Judy Salwen through a grand jury subpoena obtained the IP address evidence from American Express Corporate Security. On October 15 2010, ADA Judy Salwen told me that 3 of the IP addresses logging into my online Amex account DID NOT belong to me. ADA Salwen issued an order to share the evidence with the Monmouth County Prosecutors office. The clock widget below is counting the days that Monmouth County has had the evidence and not resolved the matter.

Monday, January 23, 2012

ID. Stalked: Someone's Watching; Dangerous Games airing Feb 2 at 9:30 am and 3:30 pm

ID. Investigation Discovery Channel
Stalked: Someone's Watching Television Guide
Stalked: Someone's Watching
Dangerous Games
TV-14 (V), CC

Single mother Karen Welch gets a mysterious call on Christmas Eve. At first, she thinks nothing of it? but before long, she's getting dozens of hang-up calls every day. Follow Dr. Michelle Ward through this shocking game of cat and mouse.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Attorney General Biden Leads Call for Congress to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act

Jan 11, 2012 posted by: Mari Lou-WGMD News

DE AG spearheads push for Congress to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act

Continued federal support essential to protecting families nationwide

Wilmington – Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and Maine Attorney General William J. Schneider led an effort joined by 51 of their fellow state and territorial Attorneys General to call on the U.S. Congress to reauthorize the federal Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) and ensure that vital programs working to keep women and families safe from violence and abuse continue uninterrupted.

“The fight to protect women from violence is an ongoing battle, not a year-to-year issue,” said Attorney General Biden. “I urge congress to reauthorize VAWA so we can build on the lessons and achievements of the past 17 years and reach the millions of individuals and families who continue to need these life-saving services.”

Carol Post, Executive Director of the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, also stressed the importance of reauthorization. “The Violence Against Women Act has been truly transformative and has impacted every level of our society’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking,” Post said. “It is imperative that VAWA be reauthorized so that critical services for victims are maintained and vital partnerships with prosecutors, the courts and law enforcement are continued so that perpetrators are held accountable and victims are better protected from further abuse. The work will not be finished until we end the violence.”

In a letter VAWA-Letter-NAAG.pdf sent today to members of Congress, the Attorneys General state that since the initial passage of VAWA in 1994, the national response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking has been transformed. Crimes that used to be considered private, family matters to be dealt with behind closed doors have been brought out of the darkness and the results have been dramatic. But while national rates of domestic violence have dropped by over 50% in the past 17 years, the issues addressed by VAWA are still very much at the forefront of the crime fight. Tragically, three women are killed each day in the United States by abusive husbands and partners, and for every victim who loses her life, there are nine more who narrowly escape. Attorney General Biden noted a recent tragedy in Delaware in which a young mother was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend while her three children watched.

Citing the need to maintain services to victims and families on the local, state, and federal level, the Attorneys General called on Congress to pass legislation reauthorizing VAWA. They noted that reauthorization would not only allow existing programs to continue uninterrupted, but would also provide for the development of new initiatives aimed at key areas most in need of intervention. These initiatives include:
• Strengthening prevention and intervention programs. Domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault are most prevalent among women aged 16-24. Programs will work to combat attitudes among youth which are tolerant toward violence and break the cycle in which women who experience abuse as teens are more likely to be victimized again as adults.
• Improving the response to sexual assault by ensuring coordination among the healthcare, law enforcement, and legal services a victim encounters after an assault to effectively prosecute perpetrators and help victims heal and rebuild their lives.
• Preventing domestic violence homicides by enhancing training for law enforcement, advocates, and others who interact with those at risk. A growing number of experts and researchers agree that these homicides are predictable – and therefore preventable – if we know the warning signs.

The Attorneys General closed their letter to Congress by recalling that when VAWA was first passed in 1994, it was recognition that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are pervasive issues affecting individuals, families and communities across the nation. They note that the progress that has resulted from strong federal support has been tremendous, but that the struggle goes on. Reauthorizing VAWA, Biden wrote, will send a clear message that this country does not tolerate violence against women and show Congress’ commitment to reducing domestic violence, protecting women from sexual assault and securing justice for victims.

In addition to Delaware and Maine, the states and territories signing on to the letter include: American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming., along with Maine AG William Schneider, led a letter writing campaign among his fellow state and territorial Attorneys General for a re-authorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act. The legislation helps to keep women and families safe from violence and abuse – and a re-authorization of the program allows it to continue uninterrupted. It would also provide for the development of new initiatives to strengthen prevention & intervention programs, improve the response to sexual assault and prevent domestic violence homicides.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

NJ Assembly bill 762 creates a civil cause of action for stalking

The legislation to create a civil stalking statute was prefiled for introduction in the 215th Legislative session that began January 10, 2012.  The new assembly bill number is 762.   Prime sponsor is Assemblyman Barnes with Assemblyman Caputo as a Co-sponsor.  The bill was referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. The legislation is detailed on the following link

Friday, January 13, 2012

National Institute of Justice Funded Study on Custody Evaluations in Domestic Violence Cases to be shared in early 2012

Excerpt from the 2009 NIJ Panel Discussion printed below; to listen or read the panel discussion click here

Bethany Backes: So I’m gonna be very brief and just say that today we’ll be hearing about two ongoing NIJ-funded studies on custody evaluation. Both studies will be concluding within the year, and the final reports will be available and accessible through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
So our panelists today are Dr. Daniel Saunders, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work; Dr. Chris O’Sullivan, who is a research consultant currently working with the New York Legal Assistance Group; and the honorable Dale Koche, Koch, sorry, a senior judge with the state of Oregon. And we hope that today is the start of many discussions on this topic. And at this time I just want to ask everyone to please turn off their cell phones or any electronic devices to vibrate or silent. And we’re gonna begin with Dan.
Daniel Saunders: Good morning, everyone. Hope you’re doing well. It’s good to be here with you. Thank you, Bethany, thank you for putting this panel together and for your introduction. And I wanna commend NIJ for making this move into a new area — the family law side of the law.
In the early days, the focus in helping survivors of domestic violence was to make sure that offenders were arrested just like any other offender and that there were restraining order laws and that we had good stalking legislation. And it’s been only fairly recently that advocates and researchers have become aware of the horrible injustice when survivors finally escape from domestic violence and then are faced with continued stalking, harassment, abuse and then, low and behold, the worst trauma that survivors, I think, can ever go through is to get that piece of paper in the mail that says your partner, your ex-partner wants custody of your children. And so the trauma is multiplied times three where women — it’s usually women — are faced with sometimes losing custody to a person, they believe, will continue their abuse — abuse of the children, abuse of them.

Comment by NJ antistalking advocacy:  Hallelujah for Dr Dan Saunders and the Dept of Justice for documenting and exposing the abuse of the family court system aka stalking through the courts.  For ten years I was repeatedly served with motion papers that accused me of suffering from a multitude of mental illnesses and alleged that I fabricated being stalked.  I had good judges who put a stop to the abuse and I had one awful judge who allowed the abuse to occur inside and outside the family court room for two years because he felt that he should re litigate everything.  This judge allowed an attorney to ask that I be put in jail each time that I did not take my son to a psychiatrist.   My son is not crazy and I am not crazy - and the man who was leaving me threatening voicemail messages 24 hours before and 48 hours after a family court hearing - the same man who interrogated my son for 3 hours at his Eagle Scout Board of Review asking my son if this was a vendetta and quizzing my minor child about family court hearings is dead. 

If you are being stalked through the family court start advocating for yourself and your children.  Not everyone will listen or help but you will be surprised that there are good people who will not stand for the injustice.  File an ethics complaint against the attorney who is filing the vexatious motions.  File a complaint against the psychologist who is writing a report about maternal passivity and parental alienation.  This is a lengthy process and very draining but you are in the fight for your life and the well being of your children.  Fight the good fight and eventually you will win.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

UK launches Stalker Treatment Center at Chase Farm Hospital in North London

Stalker treatment centre launched

Girl writes "Leave me alone" in a text message (generic) Stalking, due to modern technology, is believed to be on the rise

A new medical service for England and Wales specialising in treating stalkers is due to be launched.

The National Stalking Clinic is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

According to the British Crime Survey one-in-five women and one-in-10 men aged 16 or over have been victims of stalking in its various guises.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said until now stalkers were prosecuted but not treated.

Dr Frank Farnham, a consultant psychiatrist who has helped set up the new service, said: "If we can treat stalkers, then we can save lives.

"There is great need for a co-ordinated national service that can provide specialist advice and treatment.

"The psychological impact on victims is corrosive, with many suffering months and, in some cases, years of harassment leading to a variety of illnesses including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.

'Mentally draining'
"Victims live in a permanent state of hyper-alertness which is physically and mentally draining."

Our correspondent said offenders who made unwanted phone calls, sent unsolicited emails, followed or harassed the objects of their affections were usually subject to restraining orders.

But under the new approach courts will be able to refer stalkers for assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.

They will be dealt with by a team of medical experts based at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield, north London.

Doctors running the service say an 18-month course of treatment will cost up to £10,000 but they claim it will be cheaper and more effective than a short prison sentence.

But Dr Farnham said a typical assessment could cost between £1,500 and £2,000 and would be paid for by the court which sentenced the individual.
Alexis Bowater, chief executive of UK charity Network for Surviving Stalking, said: "The launch of this clinic is a groundbreaking move and makes the UK one of the world leaders in tackling this devastating crime.

"The treatment and rehabilitation of stalkers is vital if we are to stop lives being lost to stalking."

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone said: "I'm pleased to support the launch of this unique clinic that aims to prevent stalkers from reoffending.

"I've made stalking one of my priorities and it's included in the government's report Call To End Violence Against Women and Girls.

"We're also asking people for their views on how the police should tackle this devastating crime and whether current laws are adequate," she added