GCADV receives a $7500 donation from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
On Friday, June 1st, GCADV received a check in the amount of $7500 from the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta at the 1st annual Regal Awards held at the Douglasville Downtown Conference Center in Douglasville, Georgia. Nationally and locally, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc is working to address violence against women and encouraging all members to break the culture of silence surrounding this issue. In metro Atlanta alone, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc has seven chapters and together they voted to recognize and awared the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) for its tireless work to end domestic violence and increase awareness amongst underserved populations.
For the past 30 years, GCADV has been Georgia's leading representative of domestic violence agencies, advocates, allied individuals and survivors throughout the state. GCADV brings together member agencies, allied organizations and supportive individuals who are committed to ending domestic violence. GCADV leads advocacy efforts for responsive public policy and promotes quality, comprehensive prevention and intervention services throughout the state. “GCADV is truly honored to receive this donation, especially in connection for the 1st Annual Regal Awards” said Nicole Lesser, executive director of GCADV. The Regal Awards will emphasize the critical work of organizations in metro Atlanta communities. In 2011, Georgia was
named 6th in the nation for its rate of men killing women and 108 women were killed due to domestic violence. “We must work together to so that all women are safe from abuse. Donations such as this from the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta, are imperative to the continuation of our prevention training initiatives and just go to show what a difference a group of woman can make” said Lesser
“The ladies of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc are proud to support the tireless work done by GCADV, and we are thankful that this donation is possible to further train advocates and assist where needed to end domestic violence in Georgia, said Sharon Jones, awards committee member.
For more information about Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc visit www.deltasigmatheta.org.
HB711 passes- We did it!
On April 16, GCADV celebrated the signing into law of House Bill 711, a victory of legislation for the first time in many years. This bill passed both the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate nearly unanimously and goes into effect on January 1, 2013. GCADV will be conducting trainings designed to educate advocates on the advocate privilege provisions of the new law and its implications for their day-to-day work with victims, including information on how to satisfy the training requirement set forth in the statute.
“This law will give advocates and the programs for which they work the legal standing to have subpoenas quashed, thereby keeping victim information safe,” said Allison Smith, GCADV’s Director of Public Policy. Recently, GCADV began work with local prosecutors to develop training for their peers on the need for referrals to domestic violence and sexual assault programs for victims who are being asked to testify, as well as on best practices around the use of victim testimony.
The success of HB711 can be attributed to hundreds of people working together including those who contacted legislators, and supporting organizations, including the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, the District Attorneys' Association of Georgia, and the Georgia Association of Solicitors-General. We especially thank House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey for serving as the primary sponsor of the legislation and for carefully shepherding it through the legislative process.
Together, we CAN make meaningful changes for victims!
New Year= New Board Members!
Since 2010, GCADV has welcomed both dv member programs and community members on its board of directors. This strategy allows a deliberate approach to understanding the needs of dv service providers and engages the community at large, to move the goals and objectives of GCADV along, in order to make Georgia safer for all victims. GCADV is pleased to announce the addition of five new board members.
As corporate counsel at Federal Hasson, Morton Aronson, has over 25 years of experience surrounding domestic and international franchising and mediation. He is also an adjunct professor at Emory University Law School where he teaches franchise law. Morton Aronson's civic activities include serving on the Law School Council of Emory Law School, as a member of the Board of Directors of Atlanta Israel Bonds, and as a member of the Atlanta Council of American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC. Mort believes strongly in family and supports our cause because he knows that everyone should be safe in the comfort of their own homes.
Katie Bates, a graduate of the University Of Georgia School Of Law, is an associate in the Atlanta office of King & Spalding and is a member of the Intellectual Property Practice Group. Ms. Bates has participated in litigation at both the state and federal level, and has served as a federal appellate counsel. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, American Bar Association, Atlanta Bar Association, American Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers.
With over 15 years in the nonprofit section, Sonia Viera Harper comes to GCADV’s BOD as the Executive Director of Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House in Tifton, Georgia. Ms. Harper’s areas of focus have included non-profit administration, strategic planning, governance, fiscal management and sustainability, resource development and grant writing. Ms. Harper has served on numerous committees including the Tift County Commission on Children & Youth and the Community Partnership for Protecting Children. Prior to moving to Georgia, Sonia spent many years working with victims of domestic violence in Florida.
Michelle W. Johnson
is a partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP who practices in Atlanta in the areas of labor and employment law, business litigation, and appellate work. In addition to her extensive career and success in the courtroom, she co-authored "Lies and Damned Lies: The Use of Statistics in Employment Discrimination Cases," which was published in the Spring 2006. She is a member of the American Bar Association (Labor and Employment and Litigation Sections), the Atlanta Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section), the National Association of Women Lawyers and the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers. Michelle came to us through member program Partnership Against Domestic Violence and has volunteered to assist us as we develop new personal policies.
Beth Peters serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center in Dalton. For over 11 years, she has been working with survivors in the North Georgia area. A graduate of University of West Georgia, Ms. Peters, has served as Co-Chair of the Cherokee Circuit Domestic Violence Task Force, Co-chair of the Lookout Mountain Circuit Domestic Violence Task Force, and Chair of the Gordon County Family Connection Board of Directors. Beth believes that a coordinated community response is essential in providing comprehensive services which have an empowering impact on survivors and their families.
Join us in welcoming these new board members!
GCADV attends the 2012 Advocacy Day in Washington
GCADV understands that without systematic change, victims and their children will continue to have devastating consequences for years to come. To advocate on a federal level for victims in Georgia, Executive Director Nicole Lesser and Director of Public Policy, Allison Smith, participated in the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s (NNEDV) 2012 Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC on June 4-6th. The three-day event included an all-day Public Policy Forum, an evening reception, the Advocacy Day breakfast, and visits to congressional offices.
GCADV joined coalitions and domestic violence program advocates from around the country to hear national speakers, learn about federal legislation and funding issues, and advocate for increased federal funding for domestic violence and sexual assault programs in the fiscal year 2013 budget. The main focus of this year’s efforts was on the reauthorization and funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Since VAWA was first passed in 1994:
• Domestic violence reporting has increased over 50%.
• Intimate partner homicides have decreased by 34% for women and 57% for men.
• VAWA saved $12.6 billion in its first 5 years alone.
Over the past several months, members of Congress from both parties have waged a dismaying battle over provisions in VAWA regarding protections for members of the LGBTQ, immigrant, and Native American communities. GCADV is proud to be working on a national level for victims. We will not allow political arguments to erode the advancements our country has made toward that goal in the eighteen years since VAWA became law.
The Disabilities Project moves forward
In June, GCADV’s new Disabilities Coordinator Letitia Lowe, GCADV Finance Director Penny Rosenfield, and GCADV Associate Director Jan Christensen, along with Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired (GACHI) and Tools for Life staff, attended an extensive two day retreat held at GCADV. Facilitated by Sandra Harrell, the Director of Accessing Safety Initiative, Center on Victimization and Safety for the Vera Institute of Justice, the Disabilities Project Collaborative Retreat allowed GCADV and its project partners to explore and agree on the vision, mission, goals, and expectations of the work ahead.
To encourage participation and put creative ideas on the table, Harrell asked attendees to think out of the box and put themselves in the shoes of someone hard of hearing. Participants shared ideas of what would not be welcoming or easy for a hard of hearing person as they navigated the dv system. Fortunately, through the disabilities grant, these experiences will change for the better in Georgia. “The retreat shed light on key issues that have been overlooked, populations that have been underserved, and ways that GCADV and our partners can remove hardships for those with disabilities,” said Letitia Lowe, GCADV Disability Coordinator.
Attendees also discussed how to positively expand and impact the work that GCADV does by empowering women, providing heightened safety and careful approaches to spark new initiatives in Georgia, allowing for better access to services for the deaf and hard of hearing communities. Additionally, attendees discussed how GCADV can support the disabilities community when someone they are working with is experiencing abuse. “We are so excited to begin planning and exchanging ideas with our partners that will ultimately support and assist more victims,” said Lowe.
This project is supported by a grant from the Office of Violence Against Women.
A Difference Can Be Made Together
GCADV advocates on the state and federal levels for responsive public policy, foster quality comprehensive prevention and intervention services, we train and support member programs, and enthusiastically embark on significant partnerships with community organizations and businesses to end domestic violence and its impact to families, in Georgia.
This cannot be done without financial support. As a part of GCADV’s efforts to raise funds and increase organizational awareness, we are pleased to announce our partnership with Ms. Anna Balkan, an Atlanta based jeweler who will donate a portion of her profits to aid victims of domestic violence in Georgia. Sadly, Georgia was ranked 6th highest in the nation for its rate of men killing women in 2011 and in 43% of domestic violence cases, children were present. This bleak statistic is why partnerships like this are crucial for GCADV to unite individual victims with domestic violence programs to create a seamless transition towards safety and stability. Donations allow us to further collaborate with government agencies and community
allies to create prevention efforts and advocate for laws to protect mothers and children. Donations encourage best practice education and training for domestic violence advocates and work with the media to change attitudes to stop domestic violence in Georgia, once and for all. Anna Balkan gets our mission and understands how businesses like hers can benefit victims in Georgia.
On her journey to success, Balkan has not forgotten women who are in circumstances that seem hopeless. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Stop Trafficking of People (STOP), an international organization helping female victims of sex trafficking. She uses her jewelry as a way to represent women all across the globe who struggle daily to be treated fairly. Anna Balkan designs showcase unique color combinations and each piece makes a remarkable fashion statement. Her pieces have been sold in over 250 international locations and been worn by such recognizable stars as model Janice Dickinson and cast members of both All My Children and One Life to Live. “GCADV is doing such important work to give all victims of domestic
violence a voice. Banding together in these efforts excites me. A portion of my profits will aid women through support freedom and hope,” say Anna Balkan.
To learn more about Anna Balkan Jewelry and to donate to GCADV, you can shop online at www.annabalkan.com or stop by her gallery at 51 S. Peachtree in Historic Norcross.
GCADV encourages member programs to think strategically
GCADV knows the importance of nonprofit best practices. This is why Kevin Monroe, of X Factor Consulting, provided member programs with information and resources to build effective strategic plans and marketing tactics for nonprofit organizations. X Factor Consulting has helped numerous nonprofits to produce competent boards, communicate a concise and compelling vision, form result driven programming, and successfully provide safeguards and accountability measures and so much more!
As member program staff and directors listened intently, Kevin explored problematic approaches to strategic planning such as valuing the plan over the planning process, doing strategic planning for the wrong reasons, or including only a few voices and perspectives during the process. Kevin also encouraged member programs to think beyond strategic planning and instead toward strategy development, which has a broader focus that encourages organizations to think strategically and better navigate during uncertain economic times.
“When your main priority is helping victims to safety, strategic planning often becomes a tabled conversation,” said Michele Bedingfield of Harmony House. GCADV was right on time in adding X Factor Consulting to the agenda, as most agencies are in the planning stages for their next fiscal year. “Kevin recharged my engine and the discussion between member program staff afterwards presented some great ideas that I will be implementing,” said Bedingfield.
To learn more tips for maximizing your organization’s strategy development process, visit them online at www.xfactorllc.com.