Prevention Works: Ending Sexual & Domestic Violence in California
For a second year, we joined the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault to call for state funding to prevent sexual and domestic violence. The Governor and legislature believed in our vision of reinforcing safe and healthy relationship skills much earlier in life, improving school climate and safety, engaging boys and men in gender equity, and promoting racial justice with culturally-responsive solutions. California now has a $5 million allocation to prevent both domestic and sexual violence. We are one of the only states in the nation to include dedicated funding to prevention.
Read on to learn how the Survivor Advisory Committee participated in this campaign—and how they’re creating social change throughout California.
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE SURVIVOR ADVISORY COMMITTEE
What led you to the point of joining the Survivor Advisory Committee?
“Timing. I happened to be at the right place and the right time to come out and help others. I was ready to tell my story.”—Claudia Bolanos
“The opportunity came up to me and I took it. I was at the point of my life where I did not want to say no to anything that I saw growth in for myself. I said, ‘I will walk in my purpose,’ and those words helped me to keep going forward.”—Laura Heraldez
“Having worked in the field for almost a decade, I was excited for the opportunity, because I feel survivors’ voices are not heard in the agencies meant to support them. I believe my lived experiences can help the agency create more trauma informed programs.”—Marcella Maggio
What was it like to build relationships and a community with members of the committee?
“It came easy because we are relatable and our situations are relatable—but our circumstances are not, because our stories are so different. This made me realize everyone's triggers and different boundaries. It is my safe place.”—Claudia Bolanos
“It feels like therapy. It makes feels like I am digging into my childhood for healing. It’s more of a collective soul searching, healing experience that makes me feel a connection with my soul sisters.”—Laura Heraldez
“I was concerned about triggers, and wondered if we would get along because of individual trauma. I soon realized why we bonded. I feel safe with them, supported, can be myself, and feel loved because of who I am. We show up for each other. In my normal circle of friends, we don’t talk about this stuff.”—Marcella Maggio
How did your survivorship strengthen your work to advocate for prevention funding at the Capitol?
“It didn't strengthen me, but it was an eye opener to see the work that is being done on the back end. As a survivor, I've only experienced services. It was nice to see how those services come about. It made me appreciate the services that others do.”—Claudia Bolanos
“As a survivor, it made me feel empowered to walk and lobby for something that I am so passionate about. It wasn't just about letting me talk, it was about me being about it.—Laura Heraldez
“Finding out that everyday community members advocate for policy, it inspired me to learn more. Because of it, I attended another policy maker education day and also joined the Essentials for Childhood Initiative's policy sub-committee to end child abuse.—Marcella Maggio
What was it like to speak with legislative offices & advocate for prevention funding?
“It made me feel very important, like I was making a difference. It made me feel proud to tell my story.—Claudia Bolanos
“It was definitely a welcoming subject and I felt the support.”—Laura Heraldez
“It felt good to be able to tell our stories individually and also collectively as a committee—and to represent survivors in California.—Marcella Maggio
What should people know about the Survivor Advisory Committee? What’s coming up next?
“The Survivor Advisory Committee is currently developing curricula for our one-day conference to be held Spring 2020. The conference is being created by survivors for survivors, with all workshops and services centered on The Survivor's Experience; how survivors of violence choose to heal from hurt, and how professionals can support us along the way. Together, we THRIVE.”—Claudia Bolanos, Laura Heraldez, Marcella Maggio
“I've been doing this work for more than two decades and have never seen anything like this happen. It leaves me hopeful that we are ready to articulate a narrative for men that includes accountability AND hope and healing.”
At our Shifting the Lens Conference on March 11th, 2019, 528 people listened as A CALL TO MEN CEO Tony Porter interviewed Ray Rice. They had a groundbreaking conversation on embracing vulnerability to change abusive behavior, accountability to survivors and communities of peers, healthy masculinity, and how we affect lasting change.
Read Tony Porter’s reflections below.
“In front of 400+ advocates and survivors, I interviewed Ray Rice about his five-year journey to rebuild his family and to help boys and young men. He started the conversation sharing to the survivors in the room, ‘There are never enough apologies.’ At the end of our discussion, Ray received a standing ovation. Survivor after survivor shared with me - and publicly - how healing it was to hear him speak. They said things like:
‘Hearing you say the words 'I'm sorry' has given me so much hope.’
‘I didn't expect to experience deep healing today.’
I've been doing this work for more than two decades and have never seen anything like this happen. It leaves me hopeful that we are ready to articulate a narrative for men that includes accountability AND hope and healing.
Our work at A CALL TO MEN has always benefited from strong women leaders. I want to thank the leadership of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence for creating space for this conversation, for being bold and stepping out into uncharted territory. And I want to thank everyone in that room for being present with us. We are in this together.
Blessings, Tony Porter”
The movement to end domestic violence requires the participation of boys and men—and opportunities to connect on our shared values to end racial and gender-based oppression. This fall, we’re proud to carry forward our conversations from Shifting the Lens with members of the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. We’re co-hosting regional trainings called Healing Together, led by A CALL TO MEN, to build strong bridges between domestic violence advocates and youth, boys and men of color.
Donor Spotlight: Jessica Reynaga
“When I worked at a DV agency, I benefited greatly from the trainings, webinars, conferences and tool kits provided by the Partnership. All of these resources allowed me to do my work better, to serve my community better. I donate to the Partnership because I value the important role the Partnership plays in ending domestic violence in California.”
We are honored to shine a spotlight on Jessica Reynaga, one of our esteemed Partnership board members, as well as a monthly sustainer of the Partnership’s work. Jessica sat down with us to answer a few questions about why she supports the Partnership. Thanks for your support, Jess!
Tell us about yourself!
“My name is Jessica Reynaga, and I am a macro-social worker and an educator. For the past five years or so I have worked on several community-impact projects in Orange County and currently Los Angeles County; before that I was a high school teacher at an all-girl’s Catholic school. I am a big proponent of prevention initiatives because I believe that an effective strategy to create lasting change must address the root causes of societal injustices that perpetuate unhealthy and abusive relationships. I believe prevention work is challenging because, often times, the end result is not achieved overnight; rather the prevention journey first begins by changing deep-seated attitudes and beliefs that underlie people's behavior. It is by no means easy work, but it is definitely worthwhile.”
What first motivated you to get involved with the Partnership as a board member?
“I was lucky to have the support and mentorship of Maricela-Rios Faust, the CEO of Human Options, a domestic violence agency in Orange County. Maricela previously served on the Board of Directors and because of my dedication to prevention causes, she recommended that I run for the Board as well. As a member of the Board, I have had the privilege of serving alongside passionate leaders that are also dedicating a great deal of their time and energy to support statewide efforts to end domestic violence in California. I cannot think of a more worthy cause to dedicate my time.”
Why do you support the Partnership?
“I donate to the Partnership because it is important to put my money (even a small amount every month) where my proverbial "mouth" is! Coming from a direct service organization previously, it seems easier to fund direct services in the sense that people understand raising money for shelter or prevention services that directly benefit their local community. I have found that it is much harder to have people truly value the advocacy and capacity building role of the Partnership. When I worked at a DV agency, I benefited greatly from the trainings, webinars, conferences and tool kits provided by the Partnership. All of these resources allowed me to do my work better, to serve my community better. I donate to the Partnership because I value the important role the Partnership plays in ending domestic violence in California.”
Thank you to jess, and to all of our supporters. it is because of you that we are able to continue our work towards creating the future we all want to see!
Expanding Domestic Violence Education with the Distance Learning Tool | Partnership
Domestic violence organizations have strong partnerships with community volunteers to support their work, and many are survivors who want to help others as part of their healing process. These organizations conduct 40-hour trainings, generally every few months, to introduce these new volunteers and staff members to the work—but it can be difficult to coordinate them at the same time. We listened to our Members when they voiced the need to schedule trainings in between pre-determined dates, so we created the innovative Distance Learning Tool: an interactive, mobile-ready online learning platform that guides participants through Modules 1, 2, 4, 10, and 12 of our 40-hour Sample Curriculum, supplementing the State's requirements for Domestic Violence Counselors. Since its debut in July, this solution has saved our Members time and resources:
"The Distance Learning Program was a great way for me to refresh my knowledge and learn new information about the dynamics of domestic violence. The self-paced structure and flow of the course made it much more user-friendly than other online trainings I have completed in the past."—Taryn Kearns, Community Resource Supervisor, YWCA of Monterey County
Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month - Youth in the Lead: Orange Day at the Capitol | Equity
At our Orange Day Rally, young people spoke truth to power, sharing their strategies for promoting healthy relationships and challenging the social norms that encourage violence. Adult allies and legislators listened to these ideas and pledged their support. Youth Leader Ananya Hindocha represented SAVE’s Team Stronger Than You Think, delivering a powerful speech that we’ve excerpted below:
“In my community, it almost feels like adults are purposely suppressing any talk of dating abuse for fear that even bringing it up will somehow encourage their children to date and have sex. It’s the opposite. If youth aren’t educated on healthy relationships, their knowledge will come from the media or word of mouth, and that is definitely not reliable. The media, especially, is guilty of promoting unhealthy and abusive relationships and marketing them as ‘romantic’.
Education is key—and adults, especially those who are teachers or school administrators, can help. Implementing curriculum or having organizations such as SAVE come and host workshops at middle and high schools can have an immense impact. Lift youth voices. there are so many passionate young people in communities; we just need the resources and support adults can provide us.”
Additional Legislative Victories and Highlights
Partnership Supported Bills that Were Signed into Law
Alongside the Partnership’s Policy Advisory Council, Policy Team Members Christine Smith and Krista Niemczyk engage a number of social justice partners in their work, advancing bills that address the full spectrum of survivors’ needs. And for seven years, Krista has acted as a mentor to the Women’s Policy Institute ‘s Trauma Justice Team, providing guidance through the entire legislative process. Read about some of the bills we’re most proud of below.
AB 415 (Assemblymember Brian Maienschein) will provide vital emergency & long-term resources for survivors with pets, making pet boarding reimbursable by the California Victim Compensation Board.
SB 735 (Senator Connie Leyva) will ensure that domestic violence survivors receive the accommodations they need without having to continue to disclose their survivor status—by requiring applications and redetermination forms for public assistance programs to include a question and notification about whether the applicant needs accommodations for a disability or domestic violence.
AB 917 (Assemblymember Eloise Reyes) improves the speed of U Visa certifications, allowing immigrant survivors to stay in their communities and heal after reporting abuse to law enforcement.
AB 381 (Assemblymember Eloise Reyes) requires that college students be informed about specified topics related to intimate partner and dating violence during their orientations.
Our Ongoing Legislative Advocacy
AB 1478 (Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo): In spite of our best efforts, Governor Newsom vetoed this bill, which would have provided legal recourse for survivors whose employers violate their job-protected time off when experiencing domestic violence.
SB 144 (Senator Holly Mitchell): Listening to our Members’ feedback, our Policy Team worked diligently with Senator Holly Mitchell to amend the Criminal Fines and Fees bill, SB 144. The legislation sought to eliminate the $500 fee charged to people convicted of domestic violence, which supports shelter-based programs, the Department of Public Health’s statewide prevention work, and the Department of Justice’s Restraining Order Reimbursement Fund. It also attempted to remove the requirement for individuals convicted of domestic violence to pay for batterer intervention programs. These funding sources are vital to serving survivors—so we worked to ensure that domestic violence programs, prevention, and batterer intervention programs did not lose funding by taking an official Oppose Unless Amended position. Due in part to our advocacy, SB 144 (Mitchell) became a two-year bill and will not move forward in 2019. We will continue working with Senator Mitchell to ensure ongoing funding for these vital programs, through criminal fees or an alternate source.
Media Spotlight: In Effort to Prevent Domestic Violence, Advocates Promote Economic Security | Beloved Community
In this California Health Report article, Partnership team member Alejandra Aguilar described how domestic violence caused her mother’s financial dependence. As a non-English speaking immigrant farm worker, she didn’t have access to information that would support her financial security. Now, Alejandra’s and her mother’s survivorship provide a strong foundation for the Partnership’s work to prevent domestic violence. Recognizing that when individuals and families are impacted by economic hardship, their risk of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child maltreatment, and community violence increases, Alejandra is focused on reaching immigrants and low-wage earners through a network of community leaders engaged in strengthening economic supports. We are incredibly proud of Alejandra’s coalition building work with the California Work & Family Coalition and the California Department of Public Health’s Essentials for Childhood Initiative.
In collaboration with the California Work & Family Coalition, the Partnership is developing a Paid Family Leave Toolkit, which will include curriculum for a 45 and 60 minute community training, scenarios and prompts to help guide small group and one-on one conversations, as well as Know Your Rights cards. We are also working on an evaluation that will help gather feedback to help improve the toolkit and support our policy efforts.
As an active member of the Paid Family Leave Partnership, comprising members of the California Work & Family Coalition and the Employment Development Department, the feedback from these trainings and community outreach efforts will inform the ways in which these benefits can best meet their needs.
We know we can’t do this alone, which is why we are inviting community leaders from all over the state to join a Paid Family Leave Community of Practice, dedicated to learning about these benefits, sharing them with their communities, and forming part of this network to bring different approaches and strengths to the table.
“We talked about her needs, skills, hopes and dreams. She told me that she would love to work in the medical field, adding that she had taken a medical terminology class years ago. We talked about services available through Housing First and I suggested that she look into a medical certification program.”
Denied of many career and educational opportunities—and subjected to financial abuse—survivors face steep challenges when trying to leave an abusive relationship.
They must ask themselves tough questions in the process: “Where will I live and how can I afford such high rent?” “How can I pursue education and training to have a sustainable job and support myself?” Using the innovative and highly effective Domestic Violence Housing First Model (DVHF), created by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 65 California organizations are taking guidance directly from survivors to meet their immediate safety needs and support their long-term goals. Throughout the past two years, Partnership Capacity Building Specialist Miranda Stiers has helped advocates navigate the model and connect them with one another to share expertise.
Read the story below from Partnership Member Denise Johnson, Housing Supervisor at Lake Family Resource Center.
“With her 9 year-old grandson in tow, KB fled an emotionally abusive long-term marriage. Her situation was complicated. Her abuser had become physically disabled and she was his paid caregiver. As he got sicker and became bedridden, the abuse escalated. He belittled her, threw things at her and threatened to shoot her on a regular basis. KB called the crisis line and was admitted to our shelter. Shelter staff referred KB to our Housing First Program to see if we could assist.
KB was scared. At one point she stated that a roof over her head with her abuser was better than having to live in her car, and she would endure anything for her grandson, whom she has custody of.
We talked about her needs, skills, hopes and dreams. She told me that she would love to work in the medical field, adding that she had taken a medical terminology class years ago. We talked about services available through Housing First and I suggested that she look into a medical certification program.
Shortly after, a very excited KB came to see me with an information packet for a medical assistant program offered through the Lake County Office of Education. After getting the OK by our funder, it was a race to get everything lined up. We were past the application deadline, but the wonderful folks at the Office of Education were more than happy to move quickly and include KB. There was a pretest to be completed, and a drug screen/fingerprint process. Housing First purchased her books, uniforms and necessary school supplies. Everything was quickly completed, and KB was able to start the program on time.
It was not easy for KB to balance school, childcare, and chores at the shelter. At one point, KB left shelter and went home. She felt responsible for her abuser. He was her husband after all. She vowed to care for him in sickness and in health. She worried that he would not get the care he needed. She worried that she would be held responsible if something were to happen to him.
Several months later, KB returned. She stated the time spent away from her abuser in shelter started her thinking that there was a better life for her, free of violence. She wanted something more for her grandson. She credited shelter staff for helping her to become informed, giving her the strength and tools leave for good. She made arrangements for her adult son to care for his father.
KB continued her certification program with perfect attendance. She was often tired and frustrated, but was determined to succeed and start a new life. There were days when she didn’t think she would make it. Classes started in September 2018 and ended in May 2019. KB graduated “Third” in her class. I was invited to her graduation but was, unfortunately out of town.
KB is currently working as a Certified Medical Assistant. She was able to find an affordable apartment in a brand new low income/sliding scale apartment complex. Housing First was able to assist her with new beds. She is a shining example of how Housing First can change lives.”— Denise Johnson, Housing Supervisor, Lake Family Resource Center
The Cultural Responsiveness Organizational Self Assessment Tool (CROS) invites organizations to slow down and review priorities. It holds a mirror for teams to look deeply into values and strategies, centering the need to understand societal oppressions faced by some groups, and how it affects their stance; and then reflecting that understanding in programs, staffing, policies and philosophies.
Reflections from the Center for a Non Violent Community Team:
“The CROS survey was eye opening on so many levels.—Jamie Kish
“The level of ease that the questions were provided in allowed participants to hear and answer each question with thoughtfulness. The questions then created opportunities for thoughts and questions to arise amongst the participants, creating discussions that may have never happened prior to the CROS. I have also experienced a deeper quality of thought to cultural responsiveness in other aspects of our agency.”—Peniel Wilk-Whitmer
“I just wanted to connect regarding the CROS assessment our agency completed yesterday and our board will complete. All I can say is WOW! The things I never thought about! WOW! I’m speechless. Thank you to you and the Partnership for creating this opportunity to awaken and fully embrace ourselves in the education.”—Heather Carter
“CROS was a simple tool that offered a lot of deep reflection that stimulated growth.”—Laura Sunday
Since 2015, CROS has supported social justice organizations as they weave equity into their policies and practices. This year, Capacity Building Program Specialist Mercedes Tune debuted a new report on CROS’ effectiveness for organizations that tried the tool for the first time.
Eleven teams piloted the tool to see how it worked to enhance culturally responsive sustainable practices and collaborations to serve survivors. Independent findings from Social Policy Research (SPR) show that CROS:
effectively captured organizations’ stage of development on cultural responsiveness,
provided an effective profile of the organizations‘ status, and
revealed a well-rounded picture of organizational strengths and challenges.
SPR also found that, “CROS users have increased their awareness of racial equity, oppression and privilege and acquired a ‘grounded understanding’ of cultural responsiveness within their agency”.
One grantee reflected, “We are striving to make cultural responsiveness a priority; many community members & survivors have stated that it makes a difference to walk into an office after a traumatic event, and see advocates that look like them, speak their language, and understand some part of their identity without them having to explain—to have advocates not re-traumatize them by showing prejudices or bias. It is our responsibility to do better to serve our underserved & unserved communities.”
The decisions made in Sacramento and Washington DC directly impact domestic violence survivors and programs. That’s why our Policy Team works year-round to advocate for vital intervention and prevention funds.
View the federal and state funding currently supporting programs in California.
➜ $5 Million IN STATE FUNDING for SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVENTION
➜ $14,959,030 FY 19 VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT (VAWA) STOP formula grant allocation to California to address domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking
➜ $20.6 MILLION IN STATE general fund support for domestic violence shelter based agencies
➜ $266,680,824 FY 19 VIctims of Crime Act (vOCA) State Assistance Grant formula grant allocation to California to address a wide range of victimizations
➜ $9,585,570 Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) formula grant allocation to California
The Partnership by the Numbers
Number of People Trained
Responses to Help Desk Inquiries
Social Media Impressions
Awarded to Members
Blue Shield of California Foundation
California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, Administration on Children, Youth & Families, Family & Services Bureau, Family Violence Prevention & Services
California Community Foundation
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), Department of Justice
This year, we welcomed Interim Executive Director Paul Castro and Administrative Assistant Neha Malik!
Alejandra Aguilar, MA
Interim Executive Director
Michell Franklin, MA
Capacity Building Program Manager
Capacity Building Program Coordinator
Director of Programs
Meeting & Event Specialist
Public Policy Coordinator
Capacity Building Program Specialist
Krista Niemczyk, MPP
Public Policy Manager
Allison Stelly, CFRE
Capacity-Building Program Specialist
Rabeya Sen, President
Director of Policy, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation
Alison Tudor, Vice President
Executive Director, Alliance for Community Transformations
Jackie Kent, Secretary & North Regional Representative
Associate Director, Catalyst Domestic Violence Services
Adriana Caldera, MPA, Treasurer
Chief Program Officer, YWCA Silicon Valley
Alejandrina Carrasco MA, Central Coast Regional Representative
Prevention Services Program Manager, Interface Children & Family Services
Misti Clark, Central Valley Regional Representative
Programs Manager, Wild Iris
Anna Conti, Los Angeles Regional Representative
Executive Director, Su Casa - Ending Domestic Violence
Gayle Guest-Brown, MBA, PMP
Executive Leadership Coach, Trainer and Speaker, Guest Brown Impact
Saima Husain, PhD
Deputy Director, South Asian Network (SAN)
Jolanda Ingram, Esq., B.A., J.D.
RHS Harrington House
Colsaria Henderson, MSW
Director of Programs, Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA)
Domestic Violence Program Manager, Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI)
Housing Manager, Stand Up Placer
Senior Media Researcher, Berkeley Media Studies Group
Rebecca Nussbaum, Southern Regional Representative
Associate Director of Programs, Community Resource Center
Jessica Reynaga, MSW
Bridge Program Manager, Drew Child Development Corporation
Jeanne Spurr, Far North Regional Representative
Executive Director, Empower Tehama