Jan 202015
 

Christan Rainey, whose mother and siblings were shot and killed by his stepfather speaks about the importance of passing S.3 if we are serious about working towards reducing the toll of domestic violence.

S.3 will revoke convicted offenders’ ability to legally possess firearms and give law enforcement and prosecutors more tools to hold abusers accountable for committing this crime. The bill will have its first hearing on Tuesday, January 20 at 1pm. Call your Senator to urge them to support this important legislation.

By passing Senate Bill 03, South Carolina will join the movement to keep women safe. In 2014, six states (WI, MN, NH, VT, LA, WA) passed bills that will keep guns out of abusers’ hands. These measures passed with bipartisan support and were signed into law by governors of both parties.

Please take a moment to help victims of domestic violence and their children. Call, email or write your senator today, urging him/her to support Senate Bill 3!

Not sure what to say? Use our sample letter: http://ow.ly/Ht3j3

 Posted by on January 20, 2015 Blog Comments Off
Jan 202015
 

south_carolina_statehouse2The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) released the statement below from Executive Director Sara Barber today in response to the unanimous referral of S.3 from subcommittee to the Senate’s full Judiciary committee.

Between 2007 and 2011, women in South Carolina were twice as likely to be shot to death by their partners than the average American woman. S.3 would protect South Carolina families by prohibiting convicted domestic abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence orders of protection from legally possessing firearms.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, Senator Larry Martin and Speaker of the House, Jay Lucas, along with more than three dozen public officials – elected representatives, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim advocates, and domestic violence survivors – came together earlier this week at the State House to declare their shared commitment to do more to reduce domestic violence in South Carolina.

STATEMENT FROM SARA BARBER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SCCADVASA:

We are so pleased to see lawmakers from both chambers and both sides of the aisle embrace the need to do more to hold domestic abusers accountable for their actions. By increasing penalties on domestic violence offenders and placing reasonable limits on firearm possession, S.3 marks an important step forward for South Carolina and its renewed dedication to protecting women and families across our state.  This bill would go a long way to reducing the high cost of domestic violence on our families and in our communities.

“We urge lawmakers to consider reasonable measures that will ensure individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence or found through a due process legal proceeding to pose a danger to a partner in a domestic relationship do not have legal access to firearms. We look forward to working with lawmakers to incorporate these public safety measures into the bill.

 Posted by on January 20, 2015 Blog, Domestic Violence Tagged with: , ,  Comments Off
Jan 162015
 

On Tuesday, SC Attorney General made a call to action for South Carolina legislators to pass reform to domestic violence laws in South Carolina.

SCCADVASA’s Executive Director, Sara Barber, spoke at this rally that happened in the Statehouse rotunda. Here is what she said,

IMG_20150113_114259250Stories of heartbreaking tragedy and loss like the one Christian just shared have been, and continue to be, far too common in our state. The silhouettes around us serve as a stark reminder of mothers and daughters, fathers and sons who have been taken from life and loved ones by extreme acts of domestic violence.

 Many others continue to live in the tangled knot of domestic violence, held there by an overwhelming mixture of factors such as love, fear, faith, shame, guilt, financial instability or a lack of access to resources that could help. It is time for us as a state to ask survivors about their hopes and dreams, how systems can support their path forward, and to work towards solutions that meet the realities of their lives and needs. It is time that we no longer accept domestic violence as an ongoing tradition in our communities. It is time that we seek to address the cultural environment in which domestic violence continues to thrive.

 Passing legislation that improves the ability of law enforcement and prosecutors to hold offenders accountable on many levels will be a meaningful and important step in this effort. Many of those gathered here today have been important leaders in building the momentum necessary to make meaningful changes to the legal landscape against which we address these crimes. On behalf of all the agencies working with survivors of domestic violence, I thank you for shining a light on an issue that even with 36,000 incidents reported to law enforcement each year, remains in many ways a silent epidemic.

 Let’s not waste this momentum that has been built. It is time for us to make sure that positive change occurs, time to take action to make our state’s promise of “smiling faces, beautiful places” a reality for all our families and to show those who have experienced abuse from a loved one that we believe their lives matter.

 

You can read more about this call to action rally here: Post and Courier 

 Posted by on January 16, 2015 Blog, Domestic Violence Tagged with: ,  Comments Off
Dec 122014
 

BJUSignWe wanted to share the Final Report done by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.) on BJU regarding any and all complaints made to representatives of Bob Jones University or Bob Jones Academy related to sexual abuse.

 

GRACE Final Report

 

Here is what our Executive Director, Sara Barber, initially had to say about the report “We hope that Bob Jones University is able to transform itself from an institution that has lost the trust of members of the community into one that engages in genuine and substantive change. The final report of the GRACE investigation points towards hopeful signs that BJU has started to take the necessary steps to better understand and prevent sexual assault while also providing focused services to survivors.”

 

Stay tuned for SCCADVASA’s officials response to the report.

 

Bob_Jones_University,_Front_Campus_Fountain

 Posted by on December 12, 2014 Blog Comments Off
Dec 022014
 

Dear Friends,

 2014 has been a momentous year for SCCADVASA – a year of strengthening our foundation and re/defining who we are as a coalition. In January, the Board of Directors which had always been comprised completely of member program representatives, welcomed community members from across the state into its ranks. The five new community-based board members, Pam Belkevitz, Hope Blakely, Kelli Scurry, Eddie Weinberg and Valerie Williams worked alongside member program representatives Ginny Waller, Becky Callaham, Lynn Hawkins, Kay Mixon and Tracy Bowie and Interim Executive Director Colleen Campbell Bozard to ensure continued forward momentum that honored SCCADVASA’s past while preparing the organization for further transition.

 The Board focused on four primary goals in 2014, including continuing the search for a new Executive Director. Colleen Campbell Bozard worked closely with Ginny Waller and the Executive Transition Committee, which was made up of board members and other community leaders, to recruit and interview candidates. After an exhaustive search, the Committee was pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Barber to the Executive Director position at SCCADVASA’s annual meeting in May.

 Under the leadership of Ginny Waller, Becky Callaham, Sharon Wilkinson and Rebecca Williams-Agee, SCCADVASA’s Legislative Committee grew in leaps and bounds. After many years of being spread too thinly, the committee focused on drawing in individuals and organizations outside of SCCADVASA’s traditional partnerships to help build consensus on legislation. The committee also renewed its commitment to evaluating the various concerns of SCCADVASA’s membership and the community in regards to sexual assault and domestic violence and to measuring its efficacy. In June, H. 3361 a bill to allow for the inclusion of pets in orders of protection that the committee supported was signed into law. The committee is currently focusing its efforts on addressing victim confidentiality and domestic violence homicide reduction. Both Sara Barber and Becky Callaham have provided testimony to the CDV Reform Committee.

 Two ad-hoc committees were formed to address additional goals around increasing awareness of SCCADVASA and membership benefits and responsibilities. The ad-hoc Public Relations Committee, led by Pam Belkavitz, began its work by developing an elevator speech for board members to ensure consistency when discussing the organization. Over the summer, the ad-hoc Membership Committee led by Tracy Bowie and Amanda Wozniak-Woodruff, began the large task of reviewing and revising membership levels and benefits to not only help retain current members, but to also help attract new members.

 I want to thank Lynn Hawkins, Kay Mixon, Ginny Waller, Becky Callaham and Tracy Bowie, all of whom will be transitioning off the board, for their leadership and service this year. When SCCADVASA’s board convenes in January 2015, it will be comprised of ten community members and four member program representatives. Under the leadership of the board and executive director and with the support of its member programs in 2015, SCCADVASA is truly poised to unite allies and unify voices across the state to demand an end to sexual assault and domestic violence.

Sincerely,

Kristin Dubrowski

2014 Board Chair

 Posted by on December 2, 2014 Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault Comments Off
Nov 032014
 

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, SCCADVASA’s member agencies joined with the greater South Carolina community to honor the strength and courage displayed by survivors, and raise awareness of the issue at events held throughout the state. The Silent Witness Ceremony, held annually by the Attorney General’s Office provided a moment to pause and reflect while honoring the memory of those who lost their lives to domestic violence in 2013. As we look forward, efforts to engage the community and our state’s leaders in pursuing meaningful positive change will remain central to our mission.

 

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 Posted by on November 3, 2014 Blog Comments Off
Oct 022014
 

Governor Haley Signs Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation

 

2014 Domestic Violence Proclamation

Sep 252014
 

IMAG0591The Columbia Museum of Art and SCCADVASA teamed up to present ¡Fuerza! This exhibition is located in the Community Gallery and confronts Domestic Violence through art. The exhibit opened on September 23rd and will remain open until November 30th, 2014.

The artwork in ¡Fuerza! is based on a short story by Robert Chambers, and includes a narrative set of 12 graphic novel-style panels by local Hispanic artists. SCCADVASA created brochures specifically for this event, which are stationed near the artwork for those that may need support and advocacy-based services.

The artwork is incredibly powerful and poignant. We would like to invite all of our community allies to support this event and the talented artists, all of whom recognize domestic violence as a serious political-social issue and used their talents to express a taboo matter through art.

 Posted by on September 25, 2014 Blog, Domestic Violence Comments Off
Sep 232014
 

south_carolina_statehouse2On September 17th the first hearing of the Criminal Domestic Violence Reform Committee met. The panel was appointed in the wake of The Post and Courier’s multi-part series titled “Till death do us part,” about South Carolina’s staggering death toll from domestic violence. Rep. Shannon Erickson chairs the 10-member committee made up of Reps. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, MaryGail Douglas, Ralph Kennedy, Deborah Long, Peter McCoy Jr., Robert Ridgeway III, Eddie Tallon, Sr., Anne Thayer, and David Weeks.

The committee heard from experts and professionals from a diversity of backgrounds. Each person, in some capacity, has a connection to the process in which a victim and perpetrator may go through during a criminal domestic violence incident. Some of the speakers included Seventh Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette, Police Academy instructor Brian Bennet, Chief Judge for the City of Columbia Dana Turner and the executive director of Safe Harbor, Becky Callaham.

SCCADVASA’s Executive Director, Sara Barber, gave her testimony and fielded questions from the committee as well. “Domestic violence is a complex issue without a single easy solution.” Sara stated to the committee. Offender accountability, closing funding gaps and increased enforcement of current gun restrictions were a few of Sara’s proposed solutions. You can read Sara’s entire testimony here:

Testimony to the House Criminal Domestic Violence Reform Committee

The panel’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 7

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SC House Committee on Criminal Domestic Violence Reform

 

You can view the entire hearing on the SC Legislative website. The video is filed under “Wednesday, September 17, 2014 9:30 am, Criminal Domestic Violence Reform Committee”

 Posted by on September 23, 2014 Blog, Domestic Violence Comments Off
Sep 092014
 

In light of recent news regarding professional football athletes, we want to say thank you to some of the biggest names in South Carolina football.

This is a PSA from 2011 that coaches Spurrier, Swinney and Pough speak out against domestic violence.

 

This is Coach Spurrier’s most recent comments on domestic violence during a press conference.

This is Coach Swinney sharing his personal experience with domestic violence.

Thanks to Coach Spurrier and Swinney for their continued focus on holding perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their violence.  We appreciate their challenge to others to do the same.

 

Being in a relationship with someone shouldn’t make you question your self-worth or your safety.  If your partner is emotionally, mentally, or physically abusive—it is not your fault.  If you recognize friends using unhealthy relationship behaviors, say something.  If you think you or your friend is in an abusive relationship, contact these national hotlines; for domestic abuse call 1.800.799.7233, for sexual assault call 1.800.656.4673.

 Posted by on September 9, 2014 Domestic Violence Comments Off