VAWA ... Follow the money

With the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act set for January, 2011, this past Thursday, June 24, and Friday, June 25, I coordinated with members of an organization called SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments). We met with 118 members of both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, providing them with little-known facts regarding the Mandatory Arrest Policy Grant, as well as others contained in the pre-2005 version of VAWA.
In 2009, through VAWA, the State of Delaware received almost $900,000 in specific Domestic Violence Grants.
A big part of that grant money went toward an “Encourage to Arrest Grant.”
For ten years, VAWA supported the “Mandatory Arrest Policy.” But in the 2005 reauthorization, it was removed and replaced with a “Pro-Arrest Policy” recommendation. Why?
It proved to do more harm than good. According to Harvard Professor Dr. Radha Iyengar in her August 7, 2007, The New York Times article, it increased homicide risk by 60 percent; it actually discouraged victims from calling for help.
In light of the VAWA 2005 removal of “Mandatory Arrest” – Encourage Arrest Policy and Other Similar Law Enforcement Grants: Over $200,000
Why does the Delaware Domestic Violence Coordinating Council ignore federal legislative intent? According to their 2008 report they (DVCC) recommend that all Law Enforcement agencies in Delaware, as a matter of policy, require mandatory arrest – this even in the face of VAWA, itself pulling the plug on mandatory arrest for the mere allegation of domestic abuse.
Statewide Domestic Violence Advocate in Family Court Grant: $118,698.
This money goes toward funding for a full-time Domestic Violence advocate in each Family Court.
At the Family Law Commission meeting this past May, an individual stood and shared with the visiting dignitaries of Chief Family Court Judge Kuhn and Chief Court Administrator Guy Sapp how the Domestic Violence Advocates had encouraged her to exaggerate, distort and essentially lie in regard to allegations of domestic abuse in order to get a good Protection From Abuse Order. Still, no one has contacted this individual to explore the validity of her assertions.
“Unfortunately” – Regrettable or deplorable: as defined by the Free On Line Dictionary
This was the word used by Chief Family Court Judge Kuhn in regard to false allegations when she described the way the Domestic Violence Advocates are “reluctant to give up or make any changes ... .”
I shared this judicial quote quite liberally on Capitol Hill last week.
May, 2010 Family Law Commission Meeting
Every day, in the state of Delaware (first state to sign the Constitution), the Constitution is being trampled on. It is our duty to speak out and make the necessary changes!
Gordon Smith
Executive Director, Family Law Advocates Initiating Reform (FLAIR)

the preceding was published in the Delaware State News, June 29, 2010


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