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.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Commemorating Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

There’s a reason you cannot get away from the story of Ray Rice, NFL running back who assaulted his then-fiancĂ© and now-wife. Why has the video been played and replayed, and the incident rehashed over and over, across social media, print media, and television outlets? Yes, Rice is a multimillionaire and celebrity sports figure. But there is a bigger picture explanation: the issue resonates with people.

Domestic violence (DV) affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men. DV victims make up over one-fourth of CalVCP applications annually. It’s a pervasive problem that takes victims of any age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background, and it needs to be more effectively addressed.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Reaching Victims in the Social Sphere

What do the 1.3 billion active Facebook users have in common? Or the 645 million Twitter, 300 million LinkedIn, and 200 million Instagram users? They make themselves reachable. Marketers have known this for years, and have taken advantage by aggressively targeting consumers through their social media networks. There is no doubt that social media provides great potential to reach specific audiences, and the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) is demonstrating how government agencies can tap into this digital dialogue to better serve their citizens.

CalVCP processes over 50,000 applications for services to victims and survivors of crime each year, an average of almost 1,000 each week. Still, nearly half of violent crimes are never reported — that’s almost 50% of victims who are not represented in published statistics. How can we reach these hidden populations? Enter social media. While CalVCP continues to conduct traditional outreach through advertising, PSA's, event participation and the like, we recognize the importance of joining the online discussion to better assist victims of crime.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stand With Your Neighborhood on National Night Out


Tonight, on the 31st anniversary of National Night Out (NNO), communities and neighborhoods across the nation will stand together to promote crime prevention awareness, safety, and neighborhood unity. August 5th is “America’s Night Out Against Crime,” an annual observance highlighting the importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight for a safer nation.

The National Night Out campaign is designed to:
  • Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
  • Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs;
  • Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
  • Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
National Night Out 2013 brought together over 37.8 million people in 16,242 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide. NNO activities include front porch vigils, block parties, cookouts, parades, festivals, visits from local officials and law enforcement, safety fairs, and youth events. National Night Out 2014 is expected to be the largest yet.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse in California

By Heidi Richardson, Program Specialist, Sacramento County Adult Protective Services

A young woman and her 89 year-old great-grandmother, who barely weighed 90 lbs., entered the bank to withdraw cash from the older woman’s account. As they left, the teller watched the young woman treating the older woman harshly while impatiently pushing her into the car. The teller reviewed the account and found suspicious transactions. She reported her concerns to APS. When APS visited the home, they found a malnourished and isolated woman with serious untreated medical conditions and almost no food in the home. She required hospitalization.

The National Elder Mistreatment Study found that one in ten adults over age 65 reported experiencing at least one form of mistreatment — emotional, physical, sexual or potential neglect — in the past year.
The case described above is an example of a report investigated by Adult Protective Services (APS). In fiscal year 2012/13, APS programs in California received 125,653 reports of financial abuse, physical abuse, neglect, isolation, abandonment, abduction, and psychological abuse of elders and dependent adults. County APS agencies investigate these reports and arrange for services such as advocacy, counseling, money management, out-of-home placement, or conservatorship. APS can connect victims with medical providers, community services, and trusted family members in hopes of helping the older or dependent adult regain their health and independence.