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NEW Great news from the IRS and the Treasury Department today whom have just announced new guidance that exempts domestic violence victims from the requirement that married couples must file their taxes jointly in order to receive the premium tax credit under the Affordable Care Act. This means that domestic violence victims, whether married or unmarried, may file their taxes separately and will still be eligible to receive a tax credit to help pay for their premiums under the ACA.
Also, because of this change, the Department of Health and Human Services has created a special enrollment period for domestic violence victims who previously assumed or were informed that the tax credits were unavailable to them if they were married and not filing a joint tax return. Victims of domestic violence who are married and filing separately can now enroll in health coverage until May 31, 2014. The following link provide a factsheet developed by NNEDV that helps explain these changes and other options for victims.
NEW On Thursday, March 27 communities throughout Alaska will be hosting Choose Respect marches and community events. Please click here to find an event in your area.
Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) is initiating a new Landlord/Tenant Legal Helpline to provide free assistance to both tenants and landlords with legal questions and situations. This Landlord/Tenant Helpline will be open on Thursdays from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, starting December 5, 2013.
This article gives some really helpful tips on what resources are available in the Anchorage area for victims of domestic violence. The tips are also appropriate for people outside the Anchorage area. For a list of our member programs in your area, click here.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, ANDVSA will be posting news, events, and public service announcements on our Facebook page throughout the month. We will also keep up with stories here on News Now!
Green Dot calls for action against violence as reported by The Tundra Drums
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and a new program is beginning that is aimed at helping communities go from awareness to action. The prevention program, called Green Dot Alaska, is based on helping individuals learn how to safely intervene to prevent violence.
NEW Eielson kicks of Sexual Assault Awareness Month as reported by Eielson Airforce Base
April marks the observance of the 10th annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to highlight the issue of sexual assault throughout the service and the need for every Airman to combat it.
Member Program News Now!
NEW After seven years, AWARE to break ground on new shelter as reported by Juneau Empire
For many, City and Borough of Juneau Assembly meetings are a necessary evil — a means of keeping democracy intact, but not the most thrilling way to spend a Monday night. For Saralyn Tabachnick, an assembly vote to rezone a piece of land was a huge milestone after years of work toward one goal: building a new transitional living shelter for Juneau’s victims of domestic violence.
NEW Sexual Assault Prevention and Response: Changes, Improvements and Support this is an excerpt from Warriors the Quarterly Magazine for the Alaska Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (Winter 2013/2014) One article was written by Major General Thomas H. Katkus and the second article was written by Octavia Thomson, Alaska National Guard Sexual Assault Response Team Coordinator from our affiliate program, the Alaska National Guard Sexual Response Team
NEW Bethelites march to end violence and assault as reported by The Tundra Drums
Bethel came out in full force for the March 27 Choose Respect march. Now in its 5th year, the march takes place all over Alaska and is held to raise awareness about Alaska’s “epidemic” of domestic violence and sexual assault.
NEW Schedules conflict, yet Sewardites choose respect as reported by The Seward Phoenix Log
Thursday was a busy day across Seward as the annual Choose Respect march competed with disaster drills and earthquake commemoration activities. The march was sponsored locally by SeaView Community Services and their Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault program along with the City of Seward.
NEW Green Dot – Ending Violence as reported by the Homer Tribune
Community members in five Homer, Anchorage, Bethel, Kenai and Prince of Wales are implementing a month-long challenge through a national program called Green Dot. The goal is to prevent sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, child abuse, elder abuse and bullying by harnessing the power of the bystander.
NEW The Impacts of Family Abuse and Trauma as reported by Alaska Public Media
This is a radio segment presented on March 10th on KSKA as part of the Line One: Your Health Connection program. The show featured guest speaker Melissa Emmal who is the Deputy Director of Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis in Anchorage.
NEW Meet Alaska’s pioneer woman as reported by John D. Sutter with CNN
This article shares the story of Caren Robinson who helped to found the AWARE shelter in Juneau.
“The results can be seen inside the walls of the Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies, or AWARE, shelter in Juneau, which first opened in a two-bedroom house in the late 1970s and at its current location in 1985 — a time when there were few if any women’s shelters in the state. They can be seen in the lives changed because she took battered women into her houseboat before there was any formal place for them to go. And they can be seen in Alaska’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, which she helped lobby for and create, and which continues to fund violence prevention and treatment programs here.”
NEW This 104 year-old started a secret women’s shelter; help her change Alaska as reported by John D. Sutter with CNN
“One of the cooler experiences I’ve had in recent memory was meeting Elsie Nanugaq Tommy, a spry 104-year-old who started a secret women’s shelter decades ago out of her home in Newtok, Alaska. She’s a bundle of smiles and optimism — and her legacy of helpfulness already has been passed down to her granddaughter, Denise Tommy, who is executive director of the Tundra Women’s Coalition in Bethel, Alaska, which shelters women and fights violence with educational programs.”
During the hour-long presentation, the teens showcased creative projects they’ve worked on in recent years through three specific youth leadership opportunities: Lead On! For Peace and Equality, a youth leadership conference held in Anchorage each fall; SYLC, a group born out of Lead On! four years ago; and Rebound, a week-long outdoor trip around Glacier Bay for Southeast students.
Sexual assault council focuses on helping children through trauma as reported by Homer Tribune
Jessica Lawmaster, executive director of South Peninsula Haven House, explained the center to the council, describing how staff are able to help children who are victims of physical or sexual assault and other trauma by providing them a safe environment in which to testify about their experiences.
Homer teens ‘Lead On!’ as reported by Homer News
What were five Homer teenagers doing awake at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning you ask? Making their way to Lead On!, a conference hosted by Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Anchorage to teach teenagers to find and project their voices to make a difference in their community.
Study shows high number of Kenai Peninsula women victimized as reported by Peninsula Clarion
More than half of women living on the Kenai Peninsula have experienced partner or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to a new study.
Crime bill and Green Dot etc., fight domestic violence on Peninsula as reported by Peninsula Clarion
In an effort to combat Alaska’s high rate of domestic violence, on June 11, Alaska State Governor Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 22, a bill addressing domestic violence and sex trafficking.
Cheri Smith, executive director for the LeeShore Center said this bill has some great pieces that will help victims, Alaska and the community.
Cordova men choose respect as reported by The Cordova Times
Crowded Bethel domestic violence shelter pulls double duty as reported by Alaska Dispatch
“Access to housing is one of the biggest barriers to safety that people we’re serving experience,” TWC executive director Michelle DeWitt said.
What it means to be a strong woman as reported by KCAW
We all know that growing up can be tough. The pressure to fit in can be overwhelming; so can the feeling of isolation when you don’t. In the second part of KCAW’s series on teens and communication, 16-year-old Veronica Nelson takes us on a journey to self-acceptance that many adults could learn from. Through a class she took last year at Sitka’s alternative school called “Strong Women,” Nelson found exceptional strength in her own voice.
Personal Boundaries: Learning the importance of ‘no’ as reported by Annie Brice of KCAW
Last week, we explored prevention programs in Sitka that aim to build resiliency in young kids through group activities. Today, we’ll take a look at how lessons learned in childhood might help break the cycle of domestic violence.
Young & impressionable: The effect of domestic violence on children as reported by Annie Brice of KCAW
For nearly a decade, SAFV has been a recipient of a federal grant through the CDC to support primary prevention of intimate partner violence within the community. Gustafson runs a program at SAFV that uses art.
Home again as reported by Brian Smith at Peninsula Clarion
“A year before I ended up in LeeShore, I was sitting around with girls talking about domestic violence, saying, ‘I will never be that person. I pity the poor guy who puts a hand on me,’” she said.
National News Now!
NEW Memorandum — Establishing a White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault as reported by The White House
The prevalence of rape and sexual assault at our Nation’s institutions of higher education is both deeply troubling and a call to action. Studies show that about one in five women is a survivor of attempted or completed sexual violence while in college. In addition, a substantial number of men experience sexual violence during college. Although schools have made progress in addressing rape and sexual assault, more needs to be done to ensure safe, secure environments for students of higher education.
U.S. Senator Mark Begich is fighting to fix the Affordable Care Act so that victims of domestic violence will be able to receive the health care subsidies they deserve even if they are still legally married to their abuser.
For more information on housing policy in Alaska for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, click here.
Begich, Murkowski Bill Tackles Domestic Violence in Rural Alaska as reported by both Senator Begich and Senator Murkowski’s Offices, Press Release
U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski introduced the Safe Families and Villages Act of 2013 to give Alaska tribes more power to combat drug and alcohol abuse in their communities and to address the rates of domestic violence and child abuse and neglect.
For updates on policy regarding military sexual assault, please visit our policy military sexual assault page.
Statewide News Now!
NEW Chenault push to allow Texan on gas line board could hurt domestic violence council as reported by Anchorage Daily News
An effort by House Speaker Mike Chenault to allow Outside residents to serve on a board governing a state natural gas pipeline could derail a simple bill extending the life of the state Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, advocates said.
NEW Investigation of Alaska National Guard Sexual Assault Allegations Underway as reported by Alaska Public Media
The head of the federal National Guard Bureau says the investigation now underway into allegations of sexual assault and harassment within the Alaska National Guard should not be hidden away.
NEW Begich Wants Parnell to Change Stance on Village Public Safety Issues, Violence Against Women Act
as reported by the Office of Senator Mark Begich
In a letter sent yesterday, U.S. Senator Mark Begich urged Alaska Governor Sean Parnell to change his stance on tribal jurisdiction issues and to reconsider his support for a provision in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that prevents Alaska tribes from using local authority to protect victims and prevent violent behavior.
NEW Parnell asks for federal inquiry into sex assaults in the national guard as reported by Anchorage Daily News
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has called in a federal investigation of sexual assault in the Alaska National Guard, including an inquiry into how the guard’s commanders handled reports of rape and other offenses.
NEW Sex assault in the military: The goal is zero tolerance, and Congress needs to keep working toward it as reported by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, this is an editorial piece
It’s a scourge in need of a thorough removal. The Alaska Legislature has an opportunity this week to add its voice to those calling for Congress to change the way in which the military deals with reports of sexual assault among its ranks.
The U.S. Senate is considering bipartisan legislation by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to give victims of sexual assault assurance that their reports would be handled by officials outside of their chain of command.
NEW Legislature Weighs ‘Erin’s Law’ as reported by KSKA Anchorage
This week, Erin Merryn will be visiting Alaska to promote a law that provides age-appropriate sexual abuse education to children in public schools. Erin’s Law, named after the 29-year-old from Illinois, has passed in 11 states and is pending in 26 others, including Alaska. And we should warn listeners: this story talks frankly about sexual abuse and rape.
NEW “Talk Now Talk Often” campaign Launched with New Tools for Parents as reported by KLDG, Public Radio in Bristol Bay
Claudia Plesa, Project Coordinator of Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, was interviewed on public radio about the launch of the new Talk Now Talk Often campaign to encourage parents to talk to their teens about healthy relationships and other important topics.
NEW Program aims to reduce domestic violence as reported by The Tundra Drums
It’s no secret that the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta has a domestic violence problem. Fifty-one out of 100 of the Y-K’s women have experienced intimate partner or sexual violence, according to a victimization survey taken in May and June 2012.
Enter Green Dot, a national program that is coming to Bethel to help curb domestic violence. Funded by the Governor’s Council of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Green Dot is also operating in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Homer, Kenai and the Prince of Wales.
NEW Alaska’s AG Gets Slammed for Low Rape Prosecution Rate. You Won’t Believe His Response as reported by Mother Jones
Only 141 total sexual-assault cases were prosecuted in 2011, according to the latest data. The data doesn’t show how many total sexual assaults were reported that year—but the next year, when the state began tracking these numbers, there were 804 sexual assaults reported to law enforcement. Last month, at a House Finance Committee meeting, Alaska state Rep. Mark Neuman (R-Big Lake) criticized Attorney General Michael Geraghty for the low prosecution rate and for not reporting adequate data on sexual assault.
Participants voice hopes and realities at domestic violence Prevention Summit as reported by KTOO
The Second Annual Prevention Summit kicked off Tuesday in Juneau. Sponsored by the state Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, the three-day summit at Centennial Hall brings together teams from 19 communities with the goal of exchanging ideas about prevention.
Danielle M. Ryman, a partner in Perkins Coie’s Labor & Employment practice, has received the Third Annual Alaska Attorney General’s Award for Pro Bono service. The award was presented on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at the Anchorage Assembly Chambers in conjunction with the opening ceremony for domestic violence awareness month.
Survey paints grim picture of violence against women in Mat-Su reported by ADN
A new survey provides the first statistical look at violence against women living in the Mat-Su Borough. It’s not a pretty picture. More than half the 1,190 women surveyed reported at least one case of personal or sexual violence or both at some point in their lives.
To see all of the victimization surveys, please click here.
New Study Finds High Rate of Alaska Women Killed by Homicide as reported by the ADN
A new national study by a nonprofit organization says Alaska is second worst in the country in its rate of women killed by men.
The Violence Policy Center, a research and education group that works to stop gun violence, released its annual report last week.
Compass: Alaska’s poor need legal help in civil cases as reported by the ADN
In Alaska, as in every other state, attorneys are generally not provided in civil matters such as these to indigent litigants. Attorneys are provided for even minor criminal offenses. Yet, many people would rather spend a couple weeks in jail than lose their children or their house.
Green Dot Asks Alaskans to Help Stop Sexual Assaults, Domestic Violence as reported by KTUU
As part of a mission to lower Alaska’s high rate of domestic violence and sexual assault, Alaskans are using a national prevention program called Green Dot to reach that goal and think outside the box.
Resources Available for Male Domestic Abuse Victims as Reported By KTUU
Sexual assault cases in Anchorage are reported often, but Anchorage police say they rarely deal with cases involving a man as the victim… Standing Together Against Rape Director Keeley Olson says the community needs to know the truth about sex offenders. “We definitely want it to be known in the community,” said Olson. “That yes, women can be sex offenders and yes, adult men can be victims.” Both AWAIC and STAR want people to know that they aren’t alone, that they offer a number of services for anyone who is experiencing abuse — men included.
Letters to the Editor and Opinion
Facts and figures – A letter by Peggy Brown, Executive Director of Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
As reported by the Juneau Empire
In response to the letter submitted by Ms. Abernathy titled “Domestic Violence: A Family Problem.” The data presented is not a valid representation of (a) the current data regarding lethality levels of domestic violence cases and (b) incorrectly argues that intervention and treatment programs are available solely to one gender.
In praise of one woman’s strength and courage – As written by Saralyn Tabachnick, Executive Director of AWARE in Juneau
I am writing this My Turn out of a need to openly recognize Darcy Ervin’s strength and courage in publicly coming forward with her identity as SAM, a young woman sexually abused for years by her father. Because of the layered complexities surrounding child sexual abuse and the associated trauma, and because of the social stigma, it’s a rare day when a victim says, “this happened to me and it’s not ok;” and yet, given the right circumstances, it’s one of the most healing things a survivor can say.
I am SAM- As told by a young survivor and reported by Klas Stlope, Juneau Empire
An alleged victim of child sexual abuse says she finds no justice in the justice system. “‘SAM’ said she was a 10-year-old youth soccer player when her sexual abuse began… Now she is 18, and rebuilding her life. Tuesday, she goes to court to see her alleged abuser sentenced on a lesser charge — one that has nothing to do with sexual abuse. The plea deal shocked her — and also local victims’ rights activists.”