Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Quarterly Newsletter
The Director’s Desk
We have received our first quarterly reports from our Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention grants, and many good things are happening across the state with our partners in prevention. I am excited to be able to highlight a few of them.
100 Families, through the funded case manager position, are working toward reducing the number of children that come into foster care by helping identify and coordinate services for families in crisis. After meeting with the Sebastian County juvenile judges, they are also starting to take referrals from juvenile court officers to assist families with finding services they need to defer any possible DCFS involvement.
Wade Knox Children’s Advocacy Center was able to educate over 2700 students and over 140 teachers, coaches, counselors, and school administrators on the 5 Safety Rules from the Child Safety Matters and Teen Safety Matters curriculum. The Monique Burr Foundation created this curriculum which the CAC purchased with the grant and is using to teach students and those that work with them how to identify and address unsafe situations like bullying, cyberbullying, and child abuse.
We are happy to share information on the extraordinary work being done in our communities through all of ACCARDV’s partners in prevention.
The Child Welfare Division
Do you know about the child welfare training options available to you at no cost through the Commission? The most frequently requested topic is mandated reporting, we have multiple options available. ACCARDV provides access to two online options: one for licensed educators and another for anyone else interested in online training. Through a collaboration with PBS, the Commission consulted on training modules available on the Arkansas IDEAS (Internet Developed Education for Arkansas Schools) for licensed educators, and is the most efficient way for educators to receive the required professional development hours on child maltreatment.
Another online option is self-paced training available at www.ar.mandatedreporter.org. This option is often utilized by agencies and programs that want staff or volunteers to receive training, as well as post-secondary educational programs that utilize it in curricula. The participant creates an account and completes the training, which can be done over multiple log-ins. A completion certificate may be printed, emailed, or accessed later to provide documentation of completion to their employer.
ACCARDV MISSION STATEMENT
To enhance the investigation, prosecution, treatment, support, and prevention of cases of child abuse, rape, and domestic violence. We hope that our services will help you educate and protect those whose lives are affected by these destructive realities, and replace confusion with clarity of purpose. The Commission’s purpose and membership were further defined in Act 1336, passed by the State Legislature in 1995. This comprehensive group is made up of representatives from various agencies, professions or groups, and service providers including law enforcement, medicine, and mental health.
Sexual Assault Prevention Division
We’ve been relatively busy in the past few weeks! In mid-June, we hosted a training on LGBTQ+ Inclusivity for our RPE sub-grantees and ACASA. Lorraine Stigar did an incredible job with the training, and they received high praise from the attendees. At the end of June, we held the 2022 Sexual Assault Hospital Protocol Conference, which covered various topics, including sexual assault exams, advocacy, neurobiology of trauma, laws about sexual assault, and health equity as it relates to several marginalized groups. If anyone would like a link to the conference recording or the presentations, please contact Sam Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have also begun printing and distributing our “Am I in Love or Am I in Trouble?” brochures, which have been translated into Spanish by some of the fine folks at Ozark Rape Crisis Center! Over the next few months, we’re working with the Arkansas Department of Health to host more training opportunities for our funded programs.
We’re looking forward to the next meeting of the Committee on Rape and Sexual Assault Prevention on August 24 at 1:30 pm.
Among female victims of rape, 51.1% reported an intimate partner as the perpetrator, while 40.8% reported the perpetrator was an acquaintance. Among male victims, 52.4% reported being raped by an acquaintance, while 15.2% reported the perpetrator was a stranger.National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Domestic Violence Division
Terri Baker presented at our DV Committee meeting on 7/19. Below is a synopsis of her presentation.
The guest presenter was Terri Baker, with the Faulkner County STOP DV (Special Team on Preventing Domestic Violence) specialty court. STOP DV is a non-profit that was started in 2019 to address the gaps in the system regarding domestic violence cases in the court system. Ms. Baker is the Court Liaison for the program and the Executive Director.
Five employees, including a child advocate and an attorney, handle only the Orders of Protection for the victims. The goal of STOP DV is not to solve the problem of domestic violence but to stop it. They staff and review cases and follow the offenders through their program to ensure their cases do not get overlooked or fall through the cracks.
STOP DV has been twenty years in the making and was the idea of a prosecutor and a judge that saw a need in Faulkner County. They saw many repeat offenders and wondered what they could do to increase the safety of survivors. They had a docket agreement between the district court judge and the circuit court judge to hear all cases related to domestic violence. They wanted to ensure that their agreement to work together would outlast them and not depend on who was on the bench, so STOP DV was born. It is funded through DFA and VOCA funds.
The staff attorney is only allowed to handle the Orders of Protection for the victim and cannot represent the victim on any other legal matters. They are hoping to change that if funding allows it in the future. They also make sure victims know their rights and all relevant court dates. STOP DV makes sure the offender is held accountable. A compliance piece is tied to criminal charges for the offender. Similar to probation, it also has a diversion program that allows the offender to be diverted from jail time if they work the program through DV court.
Usual standards do not measure the success rate. It is common for victims to return to their abusers, but the program considers it a success if the victims return to them for help, even if they continue to return to their abusers. The program is not trying to fix offenders but to provide a safe place for victims to receive referrals and help when they are ready. They can secure attorneys who will provide pro bono services for the victims. Because of the repeat offenders and victims, the program does track new versus returning clients.
Their goal in their first year was to reach fifty (50) clients. They served 90 in the first month. Since opening in 2019, they have served almost 3000 clients.
They are the only DV specialty court in Arkansas. About 25% of the judicial districts are progressing with their DV cases and moving toward a specialty court to handle them. The Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence has been very supportive of the program. Ms. Baker said that the first step is getting a judge on board with the program, which helps immensely if the prosecutor is on board.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. For trans or gender non-conforming folks, this number jumps to 54% (National Center for Transgender Equality)
1 in 3 adolescent girls in the US are victims of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
It takes an average of 7 attempts for a survivor to leave their abuser and stay separated for good. Leaving is the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship.
Each day in the US, three women are murdered by a current or former intimate partner (Bureau of Justice Statistics).
An intimate partner kills 1 in 5 homicide victims. Over half of female homicide victims in the US are killed by a current or former male intimate partner (CDC).https://www.responding.org/dv-facts-stats/