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Stop Violence Against Women Day 2016

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in of Hope | 0 comments

Earlier this week, four of our Advocates joined hundreds of others at the Georgia State Capitol, to urge Legislators to strengthen Georgia’s existing Family Violence laws.  The 17th annual Stop Violence Against Women Day, drew attention to the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault in Georgia.  The event is sponsored by the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, and Mary Kay, Inc.

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Advocates met with Senators and Representatives under the gold dome, and encouraged them to:

Support House Bill 827, to ensure that rape kits are properly handled and tested across the state.

Support Senate Bill 193, to address repeat domestic violence offenders.

Support House Bill 746 and Senate Bill 242, the Family Care Act, to allow workers to use their sick time flexibly.

Support House Bill 702, to provide sentencing relief for battered persons convicted of violent crimes against their batterers.

Support Governor Deal’s budget proposal, for additional civil legal assistance funding for victims of domestic violence with low incomes.

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Legislators were provided information about their local domestic violence programs, as well as an overview of Georgia’s sexual assault programs and domestic violence programs.  Based on the most recent service statistics of these programs, it is clear the need for services to victims is great.  From October 2013 through September 2014, Georgia’s 46 state-certified domestic violence programs, of which Cherokee Family Violence Center is one, provided services to over 30,404 victims and their children and answered nearly 61,415 crisis calls.  During that same time period, Georgia’s 22 state-funded sexual assault programs served 4,456 victims of rape and sexual assault, including 1,931 child victims, and answered over 8,819 crisis calls.

“Stop Violence Against Women Day gives us a chance to talk with legislators to ensure that the much needed funding remains stable, to ask for necessary changes to our laws to improve victim safety, and to share the incredible, life-saving work these programs do with their constituents,” says Jennifer Thomas, Executive Director of the Georgia Commission on Family Violence.  Thomas adds, “Current Georgia law should be modified to adequately hold repeat violent offenders of family violence accountable.”

Jan Christiansen, Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, agrees, “More and more we are hearing incidents where abusers convicted of a violent family violence felony are being rearrested and charged with misdemeanors. This gap in Georgia law is not increasing victim safety and we urge lawmakers to close this gap.”

GCADV Executive Director Jan Christiansen and GCFV Executive Director Jennifer Thomas on SVAW Day 2016

GCADV Executive Director Jan Christiansen and GCFV Executive Director Jennifer Thomas at the Capitol for SVAW Day 2016

During the day, proclamations about Stop Violence Against Women Day were read in both the Senate and the House.  The group from Cherokee County was present in the House Gallery for the proclamation, which was ready by Cherokee County’s own, Representative Mandi Ballinger, who recognized the attendees of the event.

In an exciting turn of events, the Senate voted unanimously in support of Senate Bill 193, which will strengthen prosecutors’ abilities to hold repeat domestic violence offenders accountable, by closing a gap in existing Georgia law, ensuring that a previous family violence battery conviction against the same victim or any family violence felony conviction against any household member would result in a subsequent family violence battery and would be punished as a felony.  After the vote, cheers erupted in the Capitol, which could be heard on the Senate floor.  The proposed legislation will now move on to the House for their consideration.

If you are interested in following the legislation as it moved through the Capitol this year, check out GCADV’s Public Policy Page and consider joining us for Stop Violence Against Women Day next year.

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CFVC Advocates Complete HSPD Citizens Police Academy

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in of Hope | 0 comments

Police Academy 2015

Brooke Larson, Det. Greg Bettis, Tommie DeGonzague and Lyndsey Little celebrate the completion of Holly Springs Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy on November 9, 2015.

Three Cherokee Family Violence Center Advocates completed the Holly Springs Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy earlier this week.  The Academy focuses on various aspects of law enforcement over a six week period.  The Advocates and nearly 20 other community members, attended weekly sessions intended to offer a historical perspective of American law enforcement and its current applications.  CFVC’s Family Support Coordinator, Brooke Larson, was one of the three Advocates to complete the Academy.  She offers, “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.  Each week we focused on a different topic of police work.  We learned about detective work, the use of force, the functions of law enforcement and the daily risks law enforcement face.  The ride along with the police officer was one of the best parts!  He took the time to educate me about his career and what all it entails.”  Fellow Academy graduate and Legal Program Coordinator, Tommie DeGonzague, says her favorite part of the Academy was the gun safety course and adds, “completing the class gave me a better understanding of, and respect for the Holly Springs Police Department.  This experience will improve my advocacy for my clients because I am now better able to explain the role of law enforcement in Domestic Violence response.  Because of the classes, I also have a better working relationship with the officers in Holly Springs.”  Legal Advocate, Lyndsey Little also completed the course and is pictured here, along with Larson, DeGonzague and Detective Greg Bettis of the Holly Springs Police Department.  “The passionate and courageous men and women of the Holly Springs Police Department deserve to be thanked daily and kept safe by our community,” says Larson.  She continues, “Thank you again Holly Springs Police Department.  This was an unbelievable experience for me and I thank you today and every day.”  Congratulations to our Advocates and thanks to the Holly Springs Police Department for dedicating their time and service to our community.

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National Night Out 2014

Posted by on Aug 20, 2014 in of Hope | 0 comments

CFVC Staff members participated in National Night Out events in both Canton and Woodstock in conjunction with the Cherokee County Domestic Violence Task Force.  CFVC Staff Members used this unique evening, which is designed to bring the community together with law enforcement and supportive service agencies, to drum up new volunteers and spread the word about our programs.  (Someone at Canton Night Out was apparently so impressed, they donated $100 for our programs, on the spot!)

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Thanks to both Canton Police Department and Woodstock Police Department for inviting us to participate in their events.

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Summer Safety Series

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in of Hope | 0 comments

 

Canton PD Badge

This summer we partnered with Canton Police Department in conducting a Summer safety series of workshops for the children of Hearthstone Landing!  Three workshops on topics including who to call for help, basic emergency safety, and internet safety were completed.  Officers even brought a police bicycle, motorcycle, and car for the kids to check out.  The workshops were a huge hit!

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Thanks to everyone at Canton PD for participating, and to Officer Pacer Cordry for organizing the events.

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Law Enforcement Outreach

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in of Hope | 0 comments

Our agency provides outreach materials to local Law Enforcement agencies to provide to victims of Intimate Partner Violence on-scene.  We have found this to be an effective method of reaching more victims, and informing them of our supportive services.  Today, we provided zipper pouches full of materials to the Holly Springs Police Department for use by their Officers.  The pouches include information on Temporary Protective Orders in English and Spanish, pocket-sized “Hero” cards and brochures on CFVC services, as well as laminated cards to assist the Officers in screening for Domestic Violence.

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If your first responders are in need of outreach materials, please feel free to contact us at legal@cfvc.org or (770) 479-1804.

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