Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

RCASA’s Saturday Prevention: How to reduce your risk of becoming a victim

In Advocacy, Outreach, Prevention on July 31, 2010 at 8:00 am

While statistics say that most sexual assaults are premeditated, in some instances it is a “crime of opportunity,” such as a date rape. The victim and suspect, for whatever reason, are at the same place at the same time. Whether the assault is one of opportunity or premeditation, there are simple precautions a person can follow to reduce, avoid, and even eliminate their chances of becoming a victim.

While Driving

  • Keep your car in good working order and the gas tank at least half full.
  • Park in well-lighted areas and lock the doors, even if you’ll only be gone a short time.
  • Before returning to your car look around the parking lot for suspicious persons.
  • When you return to your car have your key ready and check the front and rear seats and floor before getting in.
  • Drive with all the doors locked.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • If your have a flat tire, drive on it until you reach a safe well-lighted, and well-traveled area.
  • If your car breaks down, put the hood up, lock the doors, and put on the flashers. Use flares if you have them and tie a white cloth to the antenna. If someone stops to help, don’t get out of the car, but roll down the widow slightly and ask the person to call the police or a tow service for you.
  • If you see another motorist in trouble, don’t stop. Help by going to a telephone and calling the police for assistance.
  • Exercise extra caution when using underground and enclosed parking garages. Try not to go alone.
  • If you are being followed, don’t drive home. Go to the nearest police or fire station and honk your horn. Or drive to an open gas station or other business where you can safely call the police. Don’t leave your car unless you are certain you can get inside the building safely. Try to obtain the license plate number and description of the car following you.

At Home

  • Make sure all windows and doors in your home can be locked securely, particularly sliding glass doors. Use the locks. Keep entrances well-lighted.
  • Install a peephole in the door and use it.
  • Check the identification of any sales or service person before letting him in.
  • Don’t let any stranger into your home when you’re alone–no matter what the reason or how dire the emergency is supposed to be. Offer to make an emergency phone call while they wait outside.
  • Never give the impression that you are at home alone if strangers telephone or come to the door.
  • Get to know your neighbors — someone you can turn to if you’re worried.
  • If you live in an apartment, avoid being in the laundry room or garage by yourself, especially at night.
  • If you come home alone and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, don’t go in. Go to the nearest phone and call the police.

While Walking

  • Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you. Keep your head up and look alert.
  • Stay in well-lighted areas
  • Walk confidently at a steady pace on the side of the street facing traffic.
  • Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes, and alleys.
  • Wear clothes and shoes that give you freedom of movement. If your wear high heels at work, carry them with you and wear athletic shoes to work. You can change when you get there.
  • Don’t walk alone at night if possible. If you have to, be alert.
  • Be careful when people stop you for directions. Always reply from a distance, and never get too close to the car. If you are in trouble, attract help any way you can. Yell something other people will understand, “Help”, “Police”, “Fire!”

If You Are Attacked

  • Keep your head. Stay as calm as possible, think rationally and evaluate your resources and options.
  • It may be more advisable to submit (this does not mean you consent) than resist and risk severe injury or death. Everyone has different strengths and abilities. You will have to make this decision based on the circumstances. But, don’t resist if the attacker has a weapon.
  • Keep assessing the situation as it is happening. If one strategy doesn’t work, try another.
  • Possible options in addition to nonresistance are negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming to attract attention and physical resistance.
  • If you think fighting back/struggling may discourage the attack, remember you have to hurt the rapist bad enough to create the time your need to escape. Consider scratching with your fingernails, biting, poking in the eyes, kicking in the knee or groin, hitting on the nose, or jabbing the eyes or throat.
  • Weapons such as guns, knives, and chemical sprays can easily be turned against you unless you are trained to, and are not afraid to use them. You must be prepared to possibly kill the attacker.
  • If you are determined to carry some type of weapon, a chemical spray (such as pepper spray) is your best choice. It’s non-lethal if used against you. Remember, you already have weapons with you, your keys, pens, pencils, etc. You also have your most important weapon, your brain.
  • You may be able to turn the attacker off with bizarre behavior such as throwing up, urinating, or defecating.

RCASA Upcoming Event: National Night Out

In Advocacy, Outreach on July 30, 2010 at 9:02 am

National Night Out is a community-police awareness-raising event held the first Tuesday of August. The event has been held annually since 1984 and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in the United States and Canada.

The event is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch/Neighborhood Watch, and other anti-crime efforts.

Initially communities held lights-on vigils. Now, many communities hold block parties, festivals, and other events to help bring neighbors together.

National Night Out was developed by Matt Peskin of the National Association of Town Watch in 1984. That year there were 2.5 million participants in 400 communities. In 2006 there were over 35.2 million participants in 11,100 communities.

National Night Out is a unique community event, celebrated in the United States and Canada, that focuses on prevention of crime and drug activity, and is held the first Tuesday of August every year.

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to:

  • Heighten community awareness of crime and drug prevention;
  • Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs;
  • Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
  • Send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back
  • Promote emergency preparedness awareness

Head to the Target parking lot in Massaponax for the 27th annual National Night Out hosted by the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. The event is from 6 to 8:30  p.m. There will be free food (hotdogs, barbeque and chicken sandwiches) provided by Famous Dave’s and Chick Fil A, and Pepsi’s and water.

There will be barrel train rides and face painting for the kids, and representatives from Spotsylvania County fire and rescue system, the motorcycle unit demo, K-9 unit, VA State Police, Neighborhood Watch, Crime Solvers, Victim Witness and other volunteer organizations.

Go have some fun and meet some local law enforcement officials, fire and rescue volunteers and other folks in the community.

RCASA’s Friday Facts: Sex Trafficking, Part 2

In Sexual Assault Awareness on July 30, 2010 at 9:00 am

How are women trafficked?

Women and girls are ensnared in sex trafficking in a variety of ways. Some are lured with offers of legitimate and legal work as shop assistants or waitresses. Others are promised marriage, educational opportunities and a better life. Still others are sold into trafficking by boyfriends, friends, neighbors or even parents.

Trafficking victims often pass among multiple traffickers, moving further and further from their home countries. Women often travel through multiple countries before ending at their final destination. For example, a woman from the Ukraine may be sold to a trafficker in Turkey, who then passes her on to a trafficker in Thailand. Along the way she becomes confused and disoriented.

Typically, once in the custody of traffickers, a victim’s passport and official papers are confiscated and held. Victims are told they are in the destination country illegally, which increases victims’ dependence on their traffickers. Victims are often kept in captivity and also trapped into debt bondage, whereby they are obliged to pay back large recruitment and transportation fees before being released from their traffickers. Many victims report being charged additional fines or fees while under bondage, requiring them to work longer to pay off their debts.

Trafficking victims experience various stages of degradation and physical and psychological torture. Victims are often deprived of food and sleep, are unable to move about freely, and are physically tortured. In order to keep women captive, victims are told their families and their children will be harmed or murdered if they (the women) try to escape or tell anyone about their situation. Because victims rarely understand the culture and language of the country into which they have been trafficked, they experience another layer of psychological stress and frustration.

Often, before servicing clients, women are forcibly raped by the traffickers themselves, in order to initiate the cycle of abuse and degradation. Some women are drugged in order to prevent them from escaping. Once “broken in,” sex trafficked victims can service up to 30 men a day, and are vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy.

RCASA’s Wednesday Outreach: Virginia Leads The Way In The Elimination of Rape Kit Backlog

In Advocacy, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on July 28, 2010 at 12:41 pm

90,000 women reported they were raped in the United States last year. It’s estimated another 75,000 rapes went unreported. But while rape convictions are up questions have been raised  about just how many rapists are actually being brought to justice.

Despite advancements in DNA identification and forensic technology, it still remains difficult to prosecute rape crimes.

Rape in this country is surprisingly easy to get away with. The arrest rate last year was just 25 percent – a fraction of the rate for murder – 79 percent, and aggravated assault – 51 percent.

A five month CBS News Investigation has found a staggering number of rape kits — that could contain incriminating DNA evidence — have never been sent to crime labs for testing.

Police departments say rape kits don’t get tested due to cost – up to $1,500 a kit — a decision not to prosecute, and victims who recant or are unwilling to move forward with a case.

In New York City, prosecutors are very aggressive – testing every rape kit, even in cases of acquaintance rape – over 1,300 last year alone. The results are stunning. Today New York City’s arrest rate for rape is 70 percent – triple the national average. Testing kits in acquaintance cases can tie suspects to other attacks.

Nearly a decade ago, the Justice Department launched a $600 million effort to eliminate the backlog of untested DNA evidence sitting in crime labs and police departments nationwide. But at the same time, the Justice Department, along with Congress and state legislatures, began a push to have law enforcement collect more DNA, including from people convicted for nonviolent crimes— or simply arrested for — nonviolent crimes, including shoplifting. Because of these changes, underfunded and understaffed crime labs are now flooded with DNA samples. At least 350,000 DNA samples from murder and rape cases remain untested, according to the federal government’s best estimates.

Virginia’s government was among the first to require DNA samples from arrestees and has no arrestee sample backlog. Advocates for expanded DNA testing point to the Virginia lab as a model: a lab that can handle samples from wide swaths of the population where the arrestee samples are prioritized so they can be analyzed before a suspect is released. Its case backlog includes several dozen cases in a Virginia post-conviction DNA testing project that involves decades-old evidence. The program’s goal  is to identify people who may have been wrongfully convicted.

The lab doesn’t have a target date for eliminating the backlog.  The lab is working consistently to minimize the number of cases affected so they can best serve the citizens of the Commonwealth.

RCASA’s Tuesdays with Traci: Stopping Victimization

In Education, Prevention, Sexual Assault Awareness on July 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

Before recovery, many of us lacked a frame of reference with which to name the victimization and abuse in our life. We may have thought it was normal that people mistreated us. We may have believed we deserved mistreatment; we may have been attracted to people who mistreated us.

We need to let go, on a deep level, of our need to be victimized and to be victims. We need to let go of our need to be in dysfunctional relationships and systems at work, in love, in family relationships, in friendships. We deserve much better. It is our right. When we believe in our right to happiness, we will have happiness. We will fight for that right, and the fight will emerge from our souls. Today is the day; break free from oppression and victimization.

RCASA’s Saturday Prevention: Sexual Assault Prevention at UMW

In Advocacy, Awareness Campaigns, Education, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on July 24, 2010 at 8:00 am

The Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility works with issues of student conduct, wherever they arise on campus. The Office educates students about their responsibilities within the UMW community, as well as about their rights, should they be accused of violating behavioral expectations, or should they believe that they have been victimized or otherwise negatively impacted by another student’s conduct.

Behavioral expectations at UMW are based on several factors, including local, commonwealth, and federal law; student well-being; the development of interpersonal skills necessary for successful relationships with other individuals; and the development of citizenship skills necessary for successful relationships with society as a whole.

Sexual Misconduct Policy

The University of Mary Washington community will not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form, including acquaintance rape and stalking. Nor will it tolerate aiding another in the commission of any form of sexual misconduct. These are serious violations of the Mary Washington Statement of Community Values and constitute violations of University regulations, which are punishable through the judicial system. This policy will also apply in any situation where the University has reasonable cause to believe that the safety and welfare of the University community requires action pursuant to this policy.
Sexual misconduct includes: rape; forcible sodomy; forcible cunnilingus or fellatio; sexual penetration with an inanimate object; fondling or touching an unwilling person’s genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks (covered or uncovered); or forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts (genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks). More specifically, sexual misconduct includes acquaintance rape/sexual misconduct, defined as any of the aforementioned acts undertaken by a friend or acquaintance without consent, or when the victim is incapable of giving consent such as when the victim is physically or mentally incapacitated by alcohol or other drugs. Sexual misconduct occurs when a person is subjected to any of the above acts against his/her will, either by force, threat, intimidation, or through use of the victim’s mental or physical helplessness of which the accused was aware or should have been aware. Aiding another in the commission of any of the aforementioned acts, whether by physical restraint or otherwise rendering a person incapacitated, shall also be a violation of this policy. The recording or broadcasting of sexual activity without the consent or knowledge of parties involved shall be considered a violation of this policy.
Sexual misconduct also includes stalking. Stalking is defined under Section 18.2-60.3 of the Virginia Code and includes any behavior, directed at another person, on more than one occasion, that the actor intends, knows, or reasonably should know, places the other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault or bodily injury to that person. Examples of stalking behaviors include but are not limited to the following: non-consensual communication, including face-to-face, telephone calls, voice messages, email, written letters, unwanted gifts, threatening or obscene gesture, pursuing or following, surveillance or other observation, trespassing, vandalism, and non-consensual touching.

Campus Services

A tragic outcome of campus sexual assault is that most students remain silent. In fact, because the act is often perpetrated by a trusted acquaintance, many students do not recognize that they have been assaulted. These silent victims can experience profound and long-lasting changes in their lives – psychologically, socially, developmentally, and academically.
The University of Mary Washington recognizes the need to be responsive to the problem of sexual assault on campus and is committed to providing programs/services that are both educational, preventive, and remedial in nature. The goal is to increase awareness and educate the entire campus community as well as to provide an environment which assists the victim in the recovery process.

Remedial Services

The University provides services to students who are victims of sexual assault. The written protocol for responding to sexual assault cases will guarantee that victims receive needed information and access to treatment, and that appropriate personnel are notified when a sexual assault occurs. These services assist the student in dealing with the medical, psychological, judicial, and academic implications of the assault.

Residence Life: If a residence hall staff member is notified of an assault, he/she can assist the victim in obtaining necessary services (Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Police, Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault). The Residence Life professional on-call will accompany the student to the Health Center, where any services needed may be initiated. Residence Life professional staff can also provide follow-up as the student returns to the residence hall. All Residence Life staff will maintain strict confidentiality. Resident Assistants are required to notify the Residence Life professional on-call if a student has been assaulted so that the student will receive professional assistance in accessing services. RCASA may be accessed through Residence Life staff, the Residence Life Office (654-1058) or by calling 371-1666 at any time.

Health Center: For immediate medical attention, a student may be taken to the campus Health Center during regular operating hours, or to the Mary Washington Hospital Emergency Room if the Health Center is closed. At that time a determination will be made as to immediate medical needs and whether or not further treatment is required. In the event the student wishes to have physical evidence collected for possible future legal action, this exam must be performed by specially trained hospital personnel. Health Center staff can discuss with the victim the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. They will also ask the victim if he/she would like to speak with someone from the University of Mary Washington Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) or  RCASA and arrange contact with an advocate.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): The University of Mary Washington CAPS staff provides on-call services to the Health Center and Residence Life in the event of a sexual assault or other crisis situation. A victim may also initiate contact directly with CAPS to obtain help in dealing with the aftereffects of the assault. The staff can provide support as the victim deals with the emotional/psychological impact of the assault, as well as assist him/her in decision-making regarding reporting of the assault, contacting parents/significant other, handling academic schedules/commitments, etc. The CAPS Center can provide follow-up services to the student or help him/her connect with an advocate from Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault and/or a mental health referral in the local community. Services are also provided to students who come to CAPS for other reasons and in the course of treatment disclose a rape or sexual assault. Strict confidentiality is maintained throughout the process.

University Police: A rape that occurs on the University campus is both a criminal violation and a violation of University codes of student conduct. Students are encouraged to report the assault to University Police, and may do so anonymously, even if they do not intend to press charges. Members of the University of Mary Washington community other than the victim may also file an anonymous third party report of the assault which does not name the victim or alleged perpetrator. This report increases police awareness of crimes on campus and helps them to focus prevention efforts on these areas. The University Police will assist the victim in filing a police report of the assault as well as provide information about the procedure for criminal prosecution and will coordinate meetings with the local Commonwealth Attorney and Victim Assistance Director. The police will conduct an investigation of the alleged crime and keep the victim informed as to the findings. The University Police Office will also make any necessary referrals to campus and/or local agencies to assist the victim.

Dean of Student Life: The Dean of Student Life or designee will provide information to the victim about options for pursuing a charge against the assailant through the University judicial process. In addition, in conjunction with the Director of Residence Life, options for modification of living arrangements will be provided if the victim and accused live in the same residence hall or in close proximity to one another. The Vice President for Student Affairs, Dean of Student Life, or Director of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility may also issue a “no contact” order to help ensure that the victim is not harassed by the alleged assailant.

All information from:

Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility
University of Mary Washington
Office: Marye House, 2nd floor
Mailing Address: 1301 College Avenue, Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Phone: 540.654.1660

RCASA’s Friday Facts: Sex Trafficking, Part 1

In Education, Friday Facts, Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on July 23, 2010 at 9:00 am

What is sex slavery/trafficking?

Sex trafficking or slavery is the exploitation of women and children, within national or across international borders, for the purposes of forced sex work. Commercial sexual exploitation includes pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking of women and girls, and is characterized by the exploitation of a human being in exchange for goods or money. Each year, an estimated 800,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders—though additional numbers of women and girls are trafficked within countries.

Some sex trafficking is highly visible, such as street prostitution. But many trafficking victims remain unseen, operating out of unmarked brothels in unsuspecting—and sometimes suburban—neighborhoods. Sex traffickers may also operate out of a variety of public and private locations, such as massage parlors, spas and strip clubs.

Adult women make up the largest group of sex trafficking victims, followed by girl children, although a small percentage of men and boys are trafficked into the sex industry as well.

Trafficking migration patterns tend to flow from East to West, but women may be trafficked from any country to another country at any given time and trafficking victims exist everywhere. Many of the poorest and most unstable countries have the highest incidences of trafficking, and extreme poverty is a common bond among trafficking victims. Where economic alternatives do not exist, women and girls are more vulnerable to being tricked and coerced into sexual servitude. Increased unemployment and the loss of job security have undermined women’s incomes and economic position. A stalled gender wage gap, as well as an increase in women’s part-time and informal sector work, push women into poorly-paid jobs and long-term and hidden unemployment, which leaves women vulnerable to traffickers.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Thailand, China, Nigeria, Albania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine are among the countries that are the greatest sources of trafficked persons. The UNODC cites Thailand, Japan, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the United States as common destination countries of trafficked women and girls.

Who trafficks women and girls?

Organized crime is largely responsible for the spread of international human trafficking. Sex trafficking—along with its correlative elements, kidnapping, rape, prostitution and physical abuse—is illegal in nearly every country in the world. However, widespread corruption and greed make it possible for sex trafficking to quickly and easily proliferate. Though national and international institutions may attempt to regulate and enforce anti-trafficking legislation, local governments and police forces may in fact be participating in sex trafficking rings.

Why do traffickers traffic? Because sex trafficking can be extremely lucrative, especially in areas where opportunities for education and legitimate employment may be limited. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the greatest numbers of traffickers are from Asia, followed by Central and Southeastern Europe, and Western Europe. Crime groups involved in the sex trafficking of women and girls are also often involved in the transnational trafficking of drugs and firearms, and frequently use violence as a means of carrying out their activities.

One overriding factor in the proliferation of trafficking is the fundamental belief that the lives of women and girls are expendable. In societies where women and girls are undervalued or not valued at all, women are at greater risk for being abused, trafficked, and coerced into sex slavery. If women experienced improved economic and social status, trafficking would in large part be eradicated.

Therapy Thursday: New Support Groups and Workshops at RCASA

In Sexual Assault Awareness, Therapy on July 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Summer seems to be in full swing but we are still working hard here at RCASA to provide the community with Support and Information related to Sexual Violence and the issues that can arise after a traumatic event.

On Thursday July 29th RCASA will be launching  new groups for the community. All groups and Workshops are FREE!

The first is an Educational Group focusing on Sexual Violence Advocacy.  The purpose will be to provide basic information about Sexual Violence and services in the community that Victims may utilize. This group will occur on the 2nd and 4th thursday of each month. The first meeting, Thursday July 29th, will focus on the services we offer here at RCASA. Anyone interested can contact our office at 757.371.6771 for detailed information about the time and future meeting dates.

The second new group we will be offering is a Healthy Relationships Workshop for Young Women. The group is for young women 14 to 18 years old. It is an interactive workshop that will help young women learn about and identify healthy vs unhealthy relathipships as well as understand the warning signs for abusive relatinships. The workshop will be held over two sessions; July 29th from 1pm to 330 pm, and July 30th from 4pm to 630pm. Light refresments will be offered. Please RVSP to Stephanie Lane 540.371.6771  if you or your teen would like to attend.

We will be offering another Workshop in August for Young Women, focusing on Risk Reduction and Identifying Coersion. The group is  for young women 14 to 18 years old and will be in an interactive format. The workshop will be held over two sessions; August 12th from 1pm to 330 pm, and August 13th from 4pm to 630pm. Light refresments will be offered. Please RVSP to Stephanie Lane 540.371.6771  if you or your teen would like to attend.

We will Continue to offer the following Weekly Support Groups:

Womens Stabilization Group: Women 18 and older, Monday’s 630- 730pm

Secondary Survivors Group: Family or Spouse of Assult or Abuse Survivors, Sundays 3pm-4pm

RCASA is Located at 2601 Princess Anne Street  Suite 102, Fredericksburg 22401. Main Office Phone:540.371.6771. Counseling Office Phone 540.371.5502.

RCASA’s Wednesday Outreach: Action Alliance 2010 Dating Violence State Law Report Card

In Advocacy, Outreach on July 21, 2010 at 8:00 am

Access to Protective Orders

Dating Violence Protective Orders in Virginia

Access to Protective Orders

People in Dating Relationships: Virginia has two types of Protective Orders (PO): 1) Family Abuse Protective Orders; and 2) Stalking, Sexual Battery, and other Acts of Violence Protective Orders. People in dating relationships may be eligible for one or both of these POs. If they have a child in common or have lived together in the past 12 months, they may be eligible for a Family Abuse PO. If not, she or he may be eligible for a PO in cases of stalking, sexual battery, and/or acts of violence (VA Code 19.2-152.8, 152.9 & 152.10) if a criminal warrant has been issued.

Minors: Virginia law neither prohibits nor explicitly permits minors from petitioning on their own behalf for a Family Abuse Protective Order or a Stalking, Sexual Battery, and other Acts of Violence Protective Order. Nor does the law specify any different procedures to be followed by petitioners who are minors as is the case where a protective order is sought on the minor’s behalf in cases of child abuse and neglect.

Definition of Prohibited Conduct

Per Virginia Code 16.1-279.1, in cases of family abuse, a judge may issue a Family Abuse PO. In Code Section 16.1-228, family abuse is defined as “any act involving violence, force, or threat including, but not limited to, any forceful detention, which results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of bodily injury and which is committed by a person against such person’s family or household member.” While the definition of family abuse does not explicitly recognize stalking, harassment or sexual abuse, these are not excluded either and in some jurisdictions it may be possible to obtain a Family Abuse PO for an act of stalking, harassment or sexual abuse that is committed against a family or household member.

In addition, VA statute provides for a separate PO for victims of stalking, sexual battery, and other acts of violence. This PO is available to any person regardless of the relationship with the respondent. However, unlike the Family Abuse PO, a criminal warrant must be issued for the offense before a petitioner may seek a protective order for stalking, sexual battery or other acts of violence.

Relief Available

Family Abuse Protective Orders: There are three different Family Abuse POs: 1) Emergency Protective Order; 2) Preliminary Protective Order; and 3) Protective Order. There is a wide range of relief available that varies based on the type of PO being issued and the relationship of the petitioner and respondent. The types of relief that the judge may order include, but are not limited to:

• Stay away from the petitioner;

• Pay child support;

• Vacate the petitioner’s residence;

• Participate in counseling or batterers’ intervention program;

• Provide petitioner exclusive use/possession of property;

• Pay attorney’s fees; and/or

• Comply with a custody/visitation schedule;

• Other relief within the court’s discretion.

Stalking and Acts of Violence Protective Order: The relief available from a Stalking and Acts of Violence Protective Order are more limited than those provided by a Family Abuse Protective Order primarily because there is no requirement that the petitioner and the respondent be in any kind of “relationship.” The judge may order the following relief:

• Prohibiting criminal offenses that may result in injury to person or property, or acts of stalking;

• Prohibiting contact by the respondent with the petitioner or the petitioner’s family or household members;


• Other relief within the court’s discretion.

For more information and resources visit http://www.vsdvalliance.org, email publicpolicy@vsdvalliance.org, or call our 24-hr Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault

Hotline at 1-800-838-8238 (v/tty)

The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (The Action Alliance) is a coalition of people and agencies in Virginia that envisions a world where relationships between people are healthy, respectful, and safe.

We have been dedicated to ensuring that unmarried partners were not excluded from the protections provided in Virginia’s domestic violence laws and expanding protections for victims of dating violence, including minors. While we are pleased that remedies now exist for victims of stalking, sexual assault, and dating violence, we are concerned that these victims are required to pursue criminal prosecution to qualify for Protective Orders and that Virginia law does not explicitly provide minors the right to petition for a Protective Orders. We are committed to reducing barriers for all victims, clarifying current laws and procedures, and identifying comprehensive solutions.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Recommendations for

Immediate Policy Change

In order to improve Virginia’s response to teen dating violence, the following changes are recommended:

• Clarify state policy regarding minors’ rights to petition for protective orders on their own behalf and promote consistent practice in Virginia.

• Conduct a comprehensive review of Virginia’s Protective Order legislation in order to improve access and simplify procedures.

• Create civil remedies for victims of dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault available regardless of whether the respondent is the subject of criminal prosecution.

RCASA’s Tuesdays with Traci: Peace

In Outreach on July 20, 2010 at 8:00 am

Anxiety is often our first reaction to conflict, problems, or even our own fears. In those moments, detaching and getting peaceful may seem disloyal or apathetic. We think: If I really care, I’ll worry; if this is important to me, I must stay upsey. We convince ourselves that outcomes will be positively affected by the amount of time we spend worrying.

Our best problem-solving resource is peace. Solutions arise easily and naturally out of a peaceful state. Often, fear and anxiety block solutions. Anxiety gives power to the problem, not the solution. It does not help to harbor turmoil. It does not help.

Peace is available if we choose it. In spite of chaos and unsolved problems around us, all is well. Things will work out. We can surround ourselves with the resources of the Universe: water, earth, a sunset, a walk, a prayer, a friend. We can relax and let ourselves feel peace.

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