2012 Preliminary Legislative Agenda
- Protect funding for core safety and crisis services for victims of sexual and domestic violence.
The Action Alliance will be closely monitoring the state budget process to ensure that funding for core crisis and safety services for victims of domestic and sexual violence is protected from cuts. Funding for crisis and safety services support emergency shelter and transportation, hotlines, court advocacy, and counseling.
- Establish a “Building Healthy Futures Fund” to support efforts to prevent sexual and domestic violence. Support legislation to create a special interest license plate, “Peace Begins at Home.”
Virginia’s Sexual and Domestic Violence Advocacy Agencies are engaged in a wide variety of prevention efforts across the state to reduce risk factors and promote healthy communities and relationships and they are struggling to fund those initiatives. In order to sustain and expand prevention efforts—with the ultimate goal of reducing the incidence and prevalence of both sexual and domestic violence, the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance is launching the Building Healthy Futures Fund. For more information on the Building Healthy Futures Fund or pre-ordering a “Peace Begins at Home” plate, please visit http://www.vadv.org/secAction/bhff.html.
- Preserve access to services for ALL victims of sexual and domestic violence in Virginia regardless of immigration status.
The Action Alliance is opposed to any legislation that will hinder the ability of victims of sexual and domestic violence to access services needed to escape and/or address violence because of immigration status, including crisis intervention, emergency transportation, shelter, and advocacy services offered by Sexual and Domestic Violence Agencies. Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault already face tremendous barriers to reporting and seeking help. When victims perceive that law enforcement is to be feared rather than trusted, it undercuts community policing and efforts to enhance victim/witness cooperation in criminal investigations and prosecutions to hold perpetrators accountable. We oppose any legislation that threatens access to safety, including but not limited to, services provided by law enforcement, the courts, crisis services, and protections made available through the Violence Against Women Act.
- Campus Sexual Assault
The Action Alliance has been closely monitoring the State Crime Commission’s study of House Bill 2490, which relates to law enforcement response to sexual assaults that occur on campus. Our organization will support legislation that requires notification and collaboration between campuses and communities when there has been a sexual assault reported by a student. The model legislation we have offered is consistent with the best practices promoted by the Action Alliance and allied partners across the state.
- Protective Orders
In 2011, the Action Alliance served on the Governor’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board. Our agency will support legislation, recommended by the Board, that would allow for the extension of “permanent” protective orders issued in the Circuit Court and require Circuit Court clerks to submit protective orders to law enforcement by the end of the business day on which they are issued.
Last year, the General Assembly overhauled Virginia’s civil protective order process to provide equal access and equal protections to victims of stalking, dating violence and sexual assault. The Action Alliance will continue to monitor all legislation related to civil protective orders to ensure that Virginia’s laws continue to protect all victims of sexual and domestic violence.
- Enhanced Penalties for Strangulation
During the work of the Governor’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board, there were discussions about the challenges to prosecuting acts of strangulation in Virginia. As a result, the Governor is introducing legislation that creates an enhanced penalty for acts of strangulation committed against a family or household member. The Action Alliance has concerns about the narrow application of the legislation (recognizing that strangulation is an act that occurs commonly in dating violence and during a sexual assault). The Action Alliance will continue to monitor this legislation and advocate that any revisions to the Code protect all victims of sexual and domestic violence.
Please join us for a breakfast reception on Wednesday, January 25 from 9:30-11:30am in 7 West during our Legislative Advocacy Day!