Friday, February 27, 2015

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Activities Work to Break the Cycle of Violence

By Lindsay Sweetnam, Program Director, La Casa de las Madres

Over 38 years ago, in 1976, a dynamic coalition of Bay Area women gathered to found La Casa de las Madres, California’s first and the nation’s second shelter dedicated to women and children escaping domestic violence.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), when our Teen Program ramps up its year-round efforts and implements special programming to educate Bay Area youth about dating violence and the services available to those affected by it. Through activities at high schools and various community locations, public service announcements over the airwaves, social media, and more, La Casa is raising its voice: to empower youth to recognize abuse, to demand healthy relationships for themselves and their peers, and to reach out for help if it is needed.


Monday, February 2, 2015

It’s Time to Talk

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

For many, February is known as a month for romance and strengthening our relationships. Unfortunately, not all relationships are healthy and for some, including many young people, can be abusive.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, or “teenDVmonth” is a national effort to raise awareness about teen dating violence and abuse. All throughout February, nonprofits, individuals, and organizations come together, sparking a conversation about this unfortunate form of abuse.

As President Barack Obama declared in a presidential proclamation about teenDVmonth, “In a 12-month period, one in 10 high school students nationwide reported they were physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend. Still more experienced verbal or emotional abuse like shaming, bullying or threats.”


Friday, January 23, 2015

Break Free and 3Strands Global, Inc. Join Forces to Combat Human Trafficking

Two Organizations with One Vision

By Ashlie M. Bryant, Global Executive Vice President, Development and Outreach, 3Strands Global, Inc.

3Strands Global recently merged to unite and mobilize a global community of individuals and organizations to combat human trafficking. Together as one organization, 3Strands Global, Inc. and Break Free will provide jobs, raise funds, build awareness and provide education and resources to fight human trafficking. We are in this fight together because we believe human trafficking and modern day slavery are NOT OK, and everyone can make a difference.

The timing was right for both organizations to come together and rally around this cause. There is a shared common vision to end human trafficking and build a worldwide community of supporters in order to do so.The expanded community of individuals and partners is rapidly growing and working together as a united front toward the common vision to end human trafficking. Our mission is to combat human trafficking through sustainable employment, education and engagement initiatives. Each initiative takes on a unique approach to combatting human trafficking, and the combination of all three initiatives is a powerful approach and enables change.

Friday, January 9, 2015

In the Fight Against Human Trafficking, Why Truckers?

By Lyn Thompson, Co-Founder, Truckers Against Trafficking

When working on a strategy to fight human trafficking, one of the first steps should be to determine which groups of people have the greatest opportunity to spot human trafficking as it is happening. In other words, who could serve as the primary surveillance?

When it comes to this crime, those front-line people include such groups as medical personnel, who treat victims in medical clinics, and service personnel in local neighborhoods (such as postal workers, and cable, electrical, and water providers), who come by homes on a regular basis and would notice if something unusual was going on. Restaurant and hotel personnel could also see trafficking taking place in their establishments, as could members of the transportation industry, including airport employees. Traffickers are continually transporting victims to sell them in a variety of places.

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) began in 2009 as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries to work with the trucking industry, which is seven million strong. Truckers are trained to be extremely observant.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Staying Safe on the Road: Interview with Judy Utter of MADD

Earlier this month, we sat down with Judy Utter, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Services Specialist, to talk about their victim services program and how to plan ahead for holiday celebrations.



What is MADD’s mission?

MADD’s mission is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime, and to prevent under aged drinking.

What services does MADD provide for victims of drunk driving?

Our victims’ services vary depending on what our victims need. First of all we provide information on community resources that can assist the victims’ specific needs or emergency funding, and we attend court with victims if they want to be involved in the judicial process. We also have lots of grief materials that help victims cope with the grief and the emotions that surround a DUI. We have support groups in many of our offices including Sacramento, and I have facilitated one here for about 20 years. We are just generally available to listen to the victims and help them move forward from the crash.

What preventative programs are offered for under aged drivers?

We have three main focuses for educating under aged drivers. First we have our “Power of Parents” program that helps parents con verse with their teen about the issue of drinking. We also have a “Power of Teens” program which helps teen understand the reasons why 21 is the legal drinking age. Lastly we have our “Start Making a Right Turn” program which help teens who are in a crisis or who are on the edge by interacting with the teen and parents together to help get them back to the right path.

What is something that most people don’t know about drunk driving?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ending Domestic Violence Year-Round

By Shaina Brown, Public Affairs and Communications Associate, California Coalition Against Sexual Assault

As we close out Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I am moved to remember that our work never stops. Domestic Violence Awareness Month, like Sexual Assault Awareness Month, does not have a shelf life of 30 days. The work of advocates, the experiences of survivors, and the dedication of state agencies is not limited to one month a year. Rather, we are dedicated to ending violence 365 days a year.

The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault works with partners like the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence to advance the issues of sexual assault and domestic violence in unison. Together, we are stronger and are more poised for success as we develop funding, advocate for legislation, and create programs to support survivors.

Shaina Brown speaks at the Suited for Successful Families donation turnover event
CALCASA was honored to be recognized with CalVCP’s “Excellence in Victims’ Rights Award” during the Suited for Successful Families event at the Capitol on Wednesday. The event partners raised over 7,000 pieces of clothing that has been donated to local domestic violence agencies to empower families! We applaud CalVCP for their dedication and we hope that we will take the success and inspiration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and harness it for positive change every day!


Shaina Brown is responsible for managing strategic communications and providing analysis on legislative issues related to sexual violence for the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Shaina has a background in public affairs, media relations and grants management. Shaina joined the movement to end sexual violence in 2009, serving as a volunteer for Jeans 4 Justice, a San Diego based social change organization.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Melissa Melendez: State Needs Tougher Domestic Violence Laws

By Melissa Melendez, California State Assemblymember (R—Lake Elsinore)

Over the last month, America’s favorite sport has provided a spotlight on one of America’s oldest cultural blemishes – domestic violence.

The catalysts and reasons for domestic violence are numerous. For some, it is a part of a broader struggle with substance abuse, while for others it is just the way that they were raised.

The very sad fact remains that people are abused because their abuser knows that not only are they likely to get away with it, but that the consequences – both legal and societal – are not large concerns.

Let me speak plainly. That last fact is our fault.