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New Ground in Gun Control Issues

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in of Hope | 0 comments

Firearms Enthusiasts Practice Shooting At Gun Range

There has been a lot of press recently concerning laws on firearms possession by Domestic Violence offenders.  The coverage has been seemingly prompted by the State of Washington enacting a law which requires offenders under protective orders surrender their firearms to the authorities.  This concept, within the movement to end violence against women, certainly isn’t new; what is new here is that after 10 years of fighting the legislation, the NRA has backed down from their opposition.

The Huffington Post writes: “The NRA’s decision not to oppose the measure was a stark departure from its usual legislative strategy. For over a decade, bare-knuckled lobbying by the NRA has doomed similar bills in state legislatures across the country. Legislators who backed such bills, particularly in states with strong traditions of gun ownership, could practically be guaranteed a challenger after the NRA withdrew its endorsements or backed their opponents.

But over the past year, the NRA has quietly scaled back its scorched-earth campaigns against stricter domestic violence laws. The group has consulted with legislators in states across the country on bills similar to [Washington’s new legislation] HB 1840. With the tacit approval of the NRA, Louisiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota have all passed or advanced bills banning the possession of firearms by those convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse, those served protective orders, or those deemed by the court to pose a physical threat to their families.

On this subject, the New York Times writes: “Only a few states have workable gun surrender laws, and existing federal laws intended to disarm spousal abusers have proved largely unenforceable. Research on the problem by the Times identified patterns of violence in which the issuance of orders of protection seemed to set off gun attacks on women. It is therefore important that laws require that firearms be surrendered when the restraining order is issued — at the most volatile time in an abusive relationship.

According to Georgia’s 10th Annual Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project findings: “Greater than all other methods combined, firearms have been the leading cause of death for victims in both cases we tracked statewide (72%) and cases that were reviewed (56%).  This finding indicates the urgent need to use all legal means possible to remove firearms from the hands of Domestic Violence perpetrators.

As we strive to increase victim safety, we must also stay focused on some of the barriers.  The NRA and its strong lobby, for example, still maintain opposition to expanded background checks and including crimes such as stalking in the definition of Domestic Violence, thus decreasing potential protections afforded to victims.

Offenders who have been convicted of misdemeanor Domestic Violence crimes and those subject to a qualifying Temporary Protective Order are restricted from possessing firearms and ammunition under Federal law and a violation of either of those provisions of the Gun Control Act carries a maximum period of incarceration for 10 years.  Many states have enacted clarifying legislation to aide enforcement of Federal law, but Georgia is not among them.

Here at CFVC, we make every effort to discuss the increased danger that firearms pose to victims as we safety plan with them and we strive to incorporate strict protective language pertaining to firearms in the Temporary Protective Orders we obtain with victims, but there is still work to be done!  We will be keeping our eyes on the news for more on this subject and continue to look for ways to make our voices heard on increasing protections for victims and measures of accountability for abusers.

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A Survivor’s Story: Anonymous

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in of Healing | 0 comments

The following post is excerpted from a letter written by a CFVC client, who graciously allowed us to share her story of survival from abuse and services received from CFVC:

I am a survivor of Domestic Violence.  I spent [many] years living in an unsafe and unpredictable environment.  I lived in constant fear of my spouse and also in great fear of what would happen to myself and our child if I left.  The day came when my fear of my future with my spouse outweighed my fear of leaving.  It was a hard and scary day, but I got through it.  The next day I walked into the Cherokee Family Violence Center.  I needed a restraining order and didn’t have the money or the knowhow to do it alone.  What I found there was so much more than what I could have imagined.  I found kindness, love, and more support than I ever knew existed.

Tommie, one of the Legal Advocates, walked with me every step of the way through getting my restraining order.  She was helpful, supportive, and understanding of my situation.  After that, Niki, another Legal Advocate, helped me get an attorney for my divorce.  Divorcing my husband was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I couldn’t face him without the fear of him shutting me down.  Niki made sure that I didn’t have to.  Every time my fear came back or I felt overwhelmed, Niki and Tommie were there for me.  With their help, I became stronger and more confident.  I always thought that if I left my husband, I would be completely on my own.  This wonderful organization proved me wrong.

My support didn’t end there.  [Recently] I met with a kind lady named Autumn, a Family Advocate who is allowing me to participate in a program called Triple P parenting.  This will help me learn how to open the lines of communication with [my child] about all we have been through.  I have also been invited to participate in a support group at the CFVC.  One of the best parts of my experience has been that thanks to [their programs, my child] and I have been able to receive weekly counseling.  We have a long way to go, but the healing has begun.  If someone had told me how much support we would have in this process, I would have left a long time ago.  I have been so amazed at the kindness and support we found through this organization.  Our lives are being restored and we are beginning to heal.

Thank you so much for walking with me every step of the way through this journey.  Thank you to all who support this organization through grants and donations.  Without the support that is given to the Cherokee Family Violence Center, they would not be changing lives as they are.  I will forever be grateful.

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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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Domestic Violence Law Under Scrutiny

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in of Hope | 0 comments

CFVC’s Executive Director Meg Rogers along with Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Jay Baker are featured along with other professionals in WSB’s recent coverage of issues of firearms removal from Domestic Violence Offenders.

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