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Featured Image for Announcing Farah Tanis as a Keynote Speaker for Collective Liberation

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin is thrilled and honored to announce that Farah Tanis, co-founder and Executive Director of Black Women's Blueprint and founder of Museum of Women's Resistance (MoWRe), will be a keynote speaker at the Collective Liberation Conference.  Her work has been an inspiration to End Abuse's gender violence prevention program and has had impact across the globe. 

We will be announcing the other three keynote presenters in the coming weeks. Registration begins in August.

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin's Statewide Conference, Collective Liberation: Movement Building for the Year Ahead, will take place at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Green Bay, November 15 to 17, 2017. 

With a goal of radical movement building, this conference will feature more than 40 diverse workshops, four dynamic, nationally-acclaimed plenary speakers, and other related special events. It is our goal to embrace a message of unity with a racial justice framework, while maintaining intentional inclusion and healing at its core.

More details at: http://www.endabusewi.org/2017Conference/

Featured Image for Coalition Chronicles: A New Generation of Leaders

Read End Abuse’s Coalition Chronicles newsletter to learn more about the innovative and inspiring work done across Wisconsin to end domestic abuse and oppression.

This issue of the Chronicles focuses on WE LEAD (Wisconsin Empowered! Leadership Enhancement and Ally Development), an End Abuse program. WE LEAD builds new leadership within the movement to end gender-based violence by providing hands on leadership development opportunities for survivors of violence and/or people from Wisconsin’s underserved or underrepresented communities.

Although WE LEAD formally began in 2012, its formation followed a rich and long history of advocacy and activism in Wisconsin, that continually struggled to hold the many linked forms of oppression at the center of efforts to address domestic abuse. Included in this issue are some snapshots from that history – excerpts from various sources addressing this struggle. Additionally, a few authors and resources recommended by the facilitators of the WE LEAD program are featured. Enjoy the WE LEAD issue of the Coalition Chronicles!

Featured Image for Urgent Health Care Action Alert: Raise Your Voice for Survivors

Victims need your help before it is too late.

Please take a minute to urge your U.S. Senators to block the damaging health care bill that would turn back the clock for victims and their children. 

  •  If you have time to call, please use this toll-free NEA number: 1-855-764-1010. Just put in your zip code and you’ll be connected to your Senator’s staff. Tell them you oppose the Senate health care bill (now called the Better Care Reconciliation Act).

Even if you think your Senator supports this dangerous bill, please don’t stop writing and calling. Every Senator needs to hear that their constituents are watching this vote, and whether their Senator puts health care in jeopardy, especially victims of domestic violence.
 
Background: Last month the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and puts victims of domestic violence at serious risk. Yesterday, the Senate introduced a similar bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, that is even worse in some ways.  

It would cut Medicaid even more deeply and rob victims and vulnerable citizens of access to care. Both the House and Senate bills would allow insurance companies to charge more for pre-existing conditions. Both bills would put health care coverage out of reach for countless victims of violence.
 
These proposed bills are poised to become a new tool in an abuser's arsenal to trap victims. If this bill passes the Senate, it could go quickly to the President for signature. Terrifying. 

Contact your U.S. Senators today, by phone or email, and urge them to protect survivors by rejecting the Better Care Reconciliation Act. This bill would be devastating and harmful for survivors. Join us in urging the U.S. Senate to reject it.

Thank you for all that you do to support survivors and help end domestic violence, it is only with your help that we can stop this dangerous legislation from passing.

Featured Image for Bi-partisan Group of Legislators Introduce Bill to Prevent Teen Dating Violence

Madison— Domestic violence victim advocates across Wisconsin are strongly supporting newly introduced legislation aimed at preventing teen dating violence in Wisconsin schools. LRB-2213/1, authored by Representatives Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) and Melissa Sargent (D-Madison), would direct schools to create curriculum for middle and high students focused on recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship. It would also require schools to create policies and training for staff to handle incidences of dating violence. 


“Teen Dating Violence is a public health crisis, and End Abuse is thrilled to see the Wisconsin legislature take steps to address this problem. One in three teens in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a rate that is higher than all other forms of youth violence,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “Considering that there are at least 22 states that already have laws requiring curriculum on teen dating violence in schools, we urge the legislature to take interpersonal violence seriously and pass this bill. At End Abuse we are committed to breaking the cycle of violence that affects victims in every community, and that means starting early with preventive education.”


LRB-2213/1, which was circulated for co-sponsorship earlier today, would require school boards to adopt policies addressing teen dating violence, including:

  • Prohibiting teen dating violence at schools or school-related events and activities;
  • Model, age-appropriate instruction about preventing and responding to teen dating violence for pupils in grades 7 through 12;
  • Training and procedures for identifying, preventing, and responding to teen dating violence for school district employees, and identifying school district employees responsible for receiving teen dating violence incident reports.

“We applaud the bi-partisan work of legislators to support this vital initiative, including the lead authors and Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield), who has worked on the legislation in previous sessions and remains a strong supporter of the bill,” said Seger. “We look forward to full support from the Legislature. By coming together to support this common sense proposal, elected officials in Wisconsin will demonstrate that teen dating violence is not a partisan issue and that they are serious about addressing the root causes of domestic violence.”

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Featured Image for Public Hearing on Permitless Carry Tomorrow, Take Action Now!
Tomorrow, of a piece of legislation regarding firearms is set to receive a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. Senate Bill 169, sometimes known as the 'permitless carry bill', is scheduled for a public hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, May 31st at 9:30am in room 411 South of the State Capitol. If passed, this bill would wipe out our current, reasonable regulations of public gun carrying. Specifically, this dangerous bill would: 
  • Eliminate the current requirement for training and a background check prior to carrying a concealed weapon
  • Eliminate Wisconsin’s current gun-free school zones law, allowing guns on school grounds and in school buildings unless signs have been posted
  • Mandate that schools must allow guns in cars parked or traveling on school property
  • Reduce the penalty for illegally carrying firearms in school zones from a felony to a misdemeanor or a fine
  • Reduce the minimum age requirement to conceal and carry a loaded weapon from 21 to 18
For those who wish to take action to stop this legislation from moving forward, there are a few steps that you can take:
 
First, all citizens are welcome to attend the hearing at the Capitol to provide testimony. The committee chair has stated they will continue testimony until no later than 6pm, so try to arrive early if you plan to testify!  

Second, calling and emailing legislators is a quick and easy way to discourage support for this proposal, especially if you are a constituent. Contact info for Wisconsin legislators can be found on the WI Legislature’s Home Page. The full list of legislators currently co-sponsoring this bill are as follows: 

Representatives Felzkowski, Bernier, Duchow, Brandtjen, Kerkman, August, Born, R. Brooks, Edming, Gannon, Horlacher, Hutton, Jacque, Jarchow, Katsma, Kleefisch, Knodl, Krug, Kulp, Macco, Mursau, Quinn, Ripp, Sanfelippo, Schraa, Skowronski, Stafsholt, Swearingen, Tauchen, Thiesfeldt, Tittl, Vorpagel, Weatherston, Kremer, Kuglitsch, Murphy, Neylon, Summerfield, Tusler and Jagler; 

Senators Craig, Vukmir, Kapenga, Feyen, LeMahieu, Marklein, Nass, Stroebel, Testin, Tiffany and Wanggaard 

The committee members who will be hearing testimony on the bill tomorrow are also excellent people to contact in opposition to the proposal. The full list of legislators who will be hearing testimony on the proposal in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety is as follows:
 
Senator Wanggaard (Chair), Senator Testin (Vice-Chair), Senator Stroebel, Senator Risser, Senator L. Taylor. 

A possible script for calls to legislative offices could be something like the following: 

“Hello, my name is YOUR NAME and I am calling today on behalf of victims of domestic violence across Wisconsin urging you to (rescind your support/vote no) on Senate Bill 169. Eliminating common-sense, widely supported gun regulation laws will directly impact victims of domestic abuse by increasing their risk of harm and death at the hands of violent batterers. Without measures like universal background checks, abusers will continue to exploit loopholes allowing them to get guns to terrorize and kill victims in our communities. This legislation would be a huge step backwards for the safety and well-being of survivors of domestic violence in our state. Please support WI survivors by opposing this misguided proposal.”

For more information about the bill, check out the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort's (WAVE) webpage on the issue which also includes links to other relevant resources. 

Thank you for standing up for victims in Wisconsin! 
Featured Image for Action Alert: We need your help to protect legal aid for WI survivors!

As you may know, state budget deliberations are in full swing this month as the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), the committee tasked with making changes to the Governor’s state budget proposal, debates the entirety of the budget, agency by agency. Next week, the JFC will vote on a proposal regarding funding for civil legal aid, a critical service for survivors of domestic violence. It is important that we, as a unified coalition, raise our concerns to the Joint Finance members collectively so that our position will be considered while the debate is still ongoing.

We are asking that between now and Tuesday, you help us contact members of the Joint Finance Committee and urge them to support Sen. Darling’s motion regarding civil legal aid.

This is especially important if you are a constituent of one of the JFC member’s districts. However, you do not have to be a constituent in order to contact the JFC offices.

The list of Joint Finance Committee members can be found here. You can look up your state legislators to see if they are JFC members by typing your address into the search bar of this link. But again, you do not have to be a constituent in order to contact the JFC offices. The more contacts we can make collectively between now and Tuesday to as many JFC offices as possible, the more likely this motion is to pass, expanding legal aid for victims all across the state.

Here is a possible script for phone calls/emails to the JFC offices:

“Hi my name is YOUR NAME and I am calling/writing today on behalf of victims of domestic violence in Wisconsin and asking you to support Senator Darling’s motion regarding civil legal aid during the upcoming Joint Finance hearing on Tuesday, May 23rd. Senator Darling’s motion will retain and expand legal aid funding for Wisconsinites who need it most, including victims of domestic violence. These services are critical to the ability of victims to access stable housing and legal justice, and the expansion of these funds will have a direct, positive impact for survivors and who are struggling to live free of abuse and protect themselves and their children in our state. Please vote YES on Senator Darling’s legal aid motion on Tuesday, May 23rd.”


Here is a brief description of the history of this issue:

In the budget two years ago, the JFC unanimously agreed to allocate $1 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds for legal services to TANF-eligible survivors of domestic violence & sexual assault. TANF dollars are administered by the Department of Children & Families (DCF). The Governor’s 2017-19 budget initially included a continuation of that funding, however, the grant program created in the 2015 budget was originally set to end in July of 2017. Although the Governor’s proposed 2017-19 budget included the funding, it failed to remove the ‘sunset’ provision which ends the program, meaning that legally the funding could not be continued after July of this year. The budget errata (the Governor’s corrections to his initial proposal) suggests removing these funds, rather than removing the sunset provision and continuing the funding, which would be a significant step backwards for Wisconsin’s efforts to ensure justice for survivors.

Thanks to our joint efforts to bring attention to this issue, Senator Alberta Darling (R - River Hills) has drafted a motion that will retain and expand civil legal aid funding in the 2017-19 biennium that will be voted on during the JFC hearing next week on Tuesday, May 23rd!


Again, please contact members of the JFC and urge them to support "Senator Darling’s motion to retain and expand legal aid funding for Wisconsinites who need it most, including victims of domestic violence."

Thank you for all that you do to support Wisconsin survivors!

Featured Image for Domestic Violence Counts

Today, our national partner, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) released the 11th annual Domestic Violence Counts census report. The 24-hour count of services provided to adult and child victims offers a unique glimpse into the untold story of our nation’s domestic violence shelters. The Domestic Violence Counts census report also includes information focused on domestic violence services right here in Wisconsin.

Nationally, 72,959 adults and children received help and support from domestic violence programs on census day. Of this number, more than 41,000 adults and children found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing. However, 11,991 requests for services could not be met due to a lack of resources. Of this number, 66 percent (or 7,914 requests) were for emergency or transitional shelter.

In Wisconsin, domestic violence victim service providers served 1,716 survivors on the census day, almost 1,000 of whom were living in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. There were 486 crisis hotline calls answered, and over 500 Wisconsinites attended community education sessions to hear about prevention and early intervention strategies.

These numbers shed light on the heroic work of domestic violence programs and advocates across Wisconsin who help survivors accomplish amazing things every single day. The census also offers a glimpse into the unmet need in our state. Over 200 requests for housing could not be fulfilled on census day in Wisconsin.

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin is proud support efforts of the local advocates and programs who participated in the census, and we join them in working towards the day when all survivors have the support they need in their communities to be safe, to heal and to thrive. 

Featured Image for May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Because ongoing exposure to abuse and trauma can have profound and lasting influences on mental health, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin works to equip advocates at local domestic abuse programs with tools and resources to help survivors of abuse achieve mental and emotional wellness. For example, in 2015, we organized a statewide training on mental health, bringing together innovative programs and practices to better address the mental health and substance abuse issues that sometimes occur as the result of victimization. More recently, we collected a number of related resources and distributed them in an edition of Coalition Chronicles, an online publication for Wisconsin domestic abuse survivor advocates. That issue included interviews with practitioners who are engaged in promising work, a compilation of mental health resources, and articles on addiction and recovery.

Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportunity to reflect on the fact that mental health is key to everyone’s wellness and to remove the social stigma that has accompanied mental illness. Like the shame many survivors of domestic violence experience, stigma directed at people with mental illness is a harmful barrier to safety and wellness. End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin and advocates across the state are working to create responses to domestic abuse survivors that are inclusive, welcoming, destigmatizing and non-traumatizing, and that promote survivors’ emotional health and physical safety.

Featured Image for Request for Proposals: Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative Grants Available

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Statewide Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative Sub-Grant

We are happy to share some exciting news for gender violence prevention in Wisconsin! The Statewide Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative Sub-Grant is a new opportunity being managed by End Abuse via the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF). This Request for Proposal (RFP) is seeking primary prevention of gender violence projects.

Information and updates about the grant application process will be posted at: http://www.endabusewi.org/2017GrantsInfo/.

Featured Image for New Resource: Domestic Abuse Guidebook for WI Guardians Ad Litem

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Governor's Council on Domestic Abuse have released the Domestic Abuse Guidebook for Wisconsin Guardians ad Litem: Addressing Custody, Placement, and Safety Issues. The Guidebook is a comprehensive, step-by-step manual for approaching the consequential issue of domestic abuse in child custody and placement actions. In Wisconsin, guardians ad litem (GALs) are attorneys who are charged with representing the best interest of children when child custody and placement is disputed. Therefore, when domestic abuse has occurred, GALs have a critical role to play in protecting the safety and well-being of domestic violence victims and their children.

The Guidebook offers easy access to important legal definitions and concepts, tools for understanding how domestic abuse affects children and practical guidance to make informed recommendations to the court. The Guidebook walks GALs through a four-step process when approaching a case, giving the GAL the knowledge to:

  • Identify whether or not domestic abuse has occurred;
  • Define the nature and context of domestic abuse;
  • Evaluate the implications of domestic abuse in the family; and
  • Make informed recommendations that account for domestic abuse.

At every step in the analysis, the Guidebook relates the applicable concepts to the Wisconsin State statutes, making it easier for GALs to harmonize appropriate concern for the safety of victims and children with the relevant legal standards. 

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin encourages all GALs in the State of Wisconsin to read the Guidebook and use it in their practice. Reflecting the gravity of GALs' roles, the Guidebook concludes with this thank you note from a domestic violence survivor who was nearly killed by her abusive ex-husband: 

When I went through my divorce, I tried to get the guardian ad litem and judge to understand my ex-husband’s controlling and jealous behavior, his history of violence, and the continuing harm he was causing my family. I remember the guardian ad litem only interviewing my ex-husband once and the guardian ad litem coming away from that meeting convinced the man who would later try to kill me was a great person and deserved more time with his children. There was plenty of information available that would have allowed the guardian ad litem to identify the seriousness of the domestic abuse that was committed against me. There were many warning signs that could have been used to predict what could happen to me and my children. But, that information was not investigated and taken seriously. As a result, my ex-husband was given the opportunity to continue the abuse and ultimately attempt to kill me. If I hadn’t been ordered to have ongoing contact with him during exchange of our kids, I could have stayed away.

The work that you are doing as a guardian ad litem can help ensure that other victims of domestic abuse and their children are not put in the same position as my family. When you gather complete information, when you recognize controlling behavior and risks of lethality, when you make custody and placement recommendations that prioritize the safety of children and victims, you will be preventing continued abuse, and you will be giving children the best chance to be resilient and move past the abuse they experienced in their families. Thank you for taking on this life-changing and potentially life-saving work. Know that you can make all the difference for the children and families you encounter as a guardian ad litem. 

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We envision communities fully engaged to provide safety and to give a voice to all affected by domestic abuse, while creating the social change necessary to address its root causes. We honor the wisdom and strength of domestic abuse survivors across the lifespan. Our mission is achievable through survivor-centered work that includes strategic partnerships and collaboration. As advocates for social justice, we embrace the voices of diverse communities.