Skip to main content

Full text of "Forum"

See other formats


7 - 



MARCH, 1995 


- ~ 


Domestic Violence: 
A National Lesson 

by Nan Stein 




Ask Beth, the nationally syndicated teenage advice columnist, printed this letter on August 26, 

Dear Beth: Do you think it's wrong to hit someone because you're really mad at her? 
How can I ignore my girlfriend when she's such a pain? All this O.J. Simpson stuff is 
making me wonder. WONDERING 

As the murder trial of O.J. Simpson unfolds, the nation is learning a crucial lesson on domestic 
violence. Similar to the "teach-in" on sexual harassment that Anita Hill\Clarence Thomas hearings 
provided in the fall of 1991, the subject of domestic violence has been the sub-text of the murder 
allegations. The release of Nicole Simpson's 911 call to the police in October 1993 made public a 
private nightmare — a home invasion by her ex-husband, O.J. Simpson, and her private terror of 
being beaten again by him. 

Educators should use this "teachable moment," gleaned from the private sphere of a couple's 
life and transferred in tragedy to the public sphere, to talk with young people about violence in 
interpersonal realtionships. Whether known as domestic violence, battering, dating violence, 
hazing, bullying and, I would argue, sexual harassment, we need classroom lessons and conversa- 
tions, ones that do not demonize boys, present violent behaviors as inevitable or expected nor scare 
students from forming close relationships. We need to talk about the impact of these behaviors not 
only upon the targets and the perpetrators, but also upon the bystanders and observers of these 
events. Powerful lessons are conveyed when educators interrupt and disrupt these deleterious 
interactions. Different lessons are transmitted when we remain silent. 

We must look at gendered violence in kids' lives. Again, from Ask Beth, on February 3, 1994: 

Dear Beth: / am 11 years old and there's a boy in my class who just won't leave me alone. 
He chases after me and my best friend during recess. He hits and kicks me on the behind, 
stomach and legs. Once he slapped me so hard it brought tears to my eyes. I try to tell my 
teacher, but she just laughs and tells him, "If you like her so much, ask her for her phone 
number. " Is this sexual harassment? If it is, what should I do? 


This teacher infantilized these assaultive behaviors, perhaps perceiving them as flattery. Yet, 
when I read this letter aloud to middle and high school students, from Massachusetts to Alaska, and 
ask them "if these people were older, what might we call these behaviors?", I received answers like 
"dating violence," "assault", "domestic violence," and "stalking." Do the kids know something we 
adults don't want to know? 

The Public Performance of Gendered Violence: Seeing Is Not Believing 

Schools may be training grounds for the insidious cycle of domestic violence: girls are trained to 

accept this battering and assault, are taught that they are on their own, and see that the adults and 

others around them will not believe or help them. Similarly, boys receive permis- 
sion, even training to become batterers. Girls (and sometimes, boys) find that when 
they report sexual harassment or assault the events are trivialized while girls are 
demeaned and/or interrogated. Harassers, on the other hand, get the message that, 
since adults around them fail to intervene, they have tacit permission to continue 
with their assaults. Indeed, if school authorities do not intervene and sanction the 
students who sexually harass, the schools may be encouraging a continued pattern 
of violence in relationships. For all the other students, both boys and girls, who are 
bystanders or observers of these incidents, different yet equally deleterious messages 
are delivered - what's wrong with you? Why aren't you engaging in this behav- 
ior? And, most chillingly, -- Just wait, you may be next, and we can't do anything 
to prevent it. 

Harassment happens while many people watch. Yet, despite rulings from the 
Office for Civil Rights and at least 10 pending Title IX cases in federal district 
courts, sexual harassment is still not really considered "violence" - not by many 
educators, not by many law enforcement nor public health officials, and not by 
many nationally appointed or elected political leaders. What gives? The adults 
can't afford any longer to be in denial — the kids sure aren't. 

On a hopeful note about the difference we can make in the classroom when we 
raise the subjects of teasing, bullying, and sexual harassment, framed as issues of 
injustice, civil rights, and seen from the vantage points of the targets, harassers and 
observers alike, we can encourage children to see themselves as "justice makers" by 
emphasizing intervention strategies as opposed to behaviors which freeze them into 
being social spectators (Stein and Sjostrom, 1994). 

Returning to the words of children, it is clear that this time from boys who 
confirm the existence of sexual harassment in schools, and its very public nature, 
even to the boys who are observers sexual harassment is sometimes scary, troubling, 
and certainly disruptive to the educational environment. 

"Today, as usual, I observed sexist behavior in my art class. Boys taunting 
girls and girls taunting boys has become a real problem. I wish they 
would all stop yelling at each other so that for once I could have art class 
in peace. This is my daily list of words I heard today in art that could be 
taken as sexual harassment: bitch, hooker, pimp, whore. " 

"Today for the first time I was witness to sexual harassment in my gym 
class. A couple of girls came into the exercise room today and suddenly, 
almost like a reflex, some of the boys began to whistle at them and taunt 
them. I was surprised since I had never seen this kind of behavior from my 
gym class before. Some of the boys that I considered my friends even 
began to do it. I felt awful to watch, but if I said anything it would not 
stop them and would only hurt me. " 

"Today in class people reported their findings as ethnographers; that is, 
they told the class about the examples of sexual harassment they had wit- 
nessed. There were some pretty bad examples. It's amazing that this stuff 
goes on at our school. I think that part of the problem is that some kids 
don 't know what sexual harassment is, so they don 't know when they are 
doing it. One of the things that scared me was that no one said they had 
any trouble finding examples. Everybody found at least one or two 
examples and most people found many more. I found out that it happens 
everywhere: in the halls, the cafeteria, or even at basketball try-outs. It 
happens every where that teachers are not in direct supervision of the 
students. " 

"I think it's good that the eighth graders are doing the curriculum at the 
same time, because then we can discuss it during lunch and stuff. I really 

Just wait, you may 
be next, and we 
can 't do anything 
to prevent it. 

do think that people are learning a lot 
from it. I mean, the person at our table 
at lunch who used to really be a sexual 
harasser has stopped and actually 
turned nice when all the girls at our 
table told him to stop or we would get 
Mr. (teacher) into it. I don 't think he 
realized that what he was doing was 
really making us uncomfortable. " 

These journal entries are hopeful 
beyond the insights, reflections, and 
behavioral changes in their peers which 
these students documented. These 
words point the way towards the impact 
that age appropriate, deliberate, and 
teacher-led structured conversations 
and lessons on difficult subjects can 
have in the lives of students. By 
creating a common classroom vocabu- 
lary and offering non-punitive and non- 
litigious ways to probe controversial 
and troubling subjects, educators and 
their students can confront and reduce 
sexual harassment and gendered 
violence in the schools. The first step 
is to recognize that sexual harassment, 
a gendered form of violence, is a 
common feature in children's lives in 
schools and that most adults are sitting 
back, watching it happen or treating it 
with "a wink and a nod." The next step 
is for the adults to name it as the kids 
see it, and to take it on — publicly, in 
the classroom and throughout the 
whole school community. To eliminate 
sexual harassement in schools, a 
publicly performed and permitted form 
of gendered violence, might just be one 
of the ways to reduce the national 
epidemic of domestic violence. 

[Nan Stein is the Co- Author of the curriculum on 
sexual harasment for 6th-12th grade students. 
Flirting or Hurting?, and the Senior Research 
Associate for Wellesley College Center for Re- 
search on Women] 


S! $ Resources 
for Teens 

Teen Dating Violence: 
A Response 

■• (617)423-9575 

Individual counseling for teens 

DOVE - (617) 773-HURT 

24-Hour Hotline 
1 Teen dating violence awareness groups at 
' • high schools. Call Fannie Naggar for more 

information 471-5087. Pamphlets are 


SAMARITEENS - (800) 252-8336 
24-Hour hotline that provides support and 

• referrals for teenagers who are feeling 
lonely, depressed or suicidal. 

ROCA-Reaching Out to Chelsea 

Chelsea: (617) 889-5210 
Ramon Hernandez 
Revere: (617) 284-6281 
Maria Torre 
'• Peer leadership group consisting of 
four young women who provide 
outreach services to high schools and 
individuals. Spanish speaking. Will 
be providing pamphlets, making 
presentations and conducting work- 

, TEEN LINE - (6 1 7) 534-5700 
| A crisis intervention, information and 
referral hotline for adolescents. 

Provides a video on teen dating violence 

• prevention, for information or to order the 
video, call Kathleen Dowd, (413) 538- 



(617) 476-2664 - Individual counseling, 

* School workshops. Beginning to form after 
school groups for teens. 


, (617) 884-4706 - Contact-Daniel Viggiani - 
| # Provides emotional support and referrals, 
especially in teen dating violence interven- 
tion and related trainings. Provides a life 
skills curriculum. 

A curriculum on sexual harassment for 6th- 
\ 12th grade students by Nan Stein & Lisa 

• Sjostrom. For information, contact Wellesley 
College Center for Research on Women, 
Publication Office at (617) 283-2510. 

by Diana Brensilber 

The Dating Violence Intervention Project 
(DVIP), a collaboration between Transi- 
tion House and EMERGE, was created to 
address the increasing problem of violence 
in adolescent dating relationships. Tran- 
sition House is a shelter for battered 
women and children and EMERGE is a 
program providing counseling and edu- 
cation services to abusive males. An in- 
creasing number of hotline calls made by 
young women concerned the advocates of 
the Transition House. Even more trou- 
bling to them was seeing young women 
return to the shelter as battered wives when 
they had been there years earlier as chil- 
dren when their mothers were battered. 
The DVIP has provided a response to this 
problem and states as its primary goal to 
prevent dating violence and sexual abuse 
in adult relatonships by educating teen- 
agers about those issues. The primary goal 
of the project is to prevent dating violence 
and sexual abuse in adult relationships by 
educating teenagers about those issues. 

Encouraging schools and youth programs 
to develop violence prevention programs 
is a primary goal of the DVIP. The project 
has developed a useful training curricu- 
lum for teachers and other community 
educators to help teens identify abuse and 
its causes. Project facilitators hope that 
by learning about dating violence, teens 
will gain self respect as well as respect for 

Approximately 4,000 teens in 20-25 
schools or youth programs receive the cur- 
riculum each year. DVIP has trained 400 
teachers and counselors. Beyond the train- 
ing curriculum, the DVIP offers school- 
based counseling\therapy for both victims 
of teen dating violence, sexual assault and 
incest, as well as the aggressors in violent 
relationships. More than 500 teens receive 
peer leader training from DVIP staff each 
year. This training helps teens understand 
dating violence by defining abuse and re- 
spect, examining the "ideal date", and de- 
bating and recognizing sex role stereo- 
types. As a result, the peer leader is a valu- 
able source of information for teens who 
are in abusive relationships. 

The Coaliton of the Massachusetts Bat- 
tered Women's Service Groups is currently 

drafting a resource guide, which will in- 
clude a listing of shelters and services pro- 
vided for teens. 

[Diana Brensilber is a research associate for the 
Executive Office of Public Safety's Program 


9 s 


Signs that can help parents deter- 
mine whether their child is in an 
abusive relationship 

Using Male Privilege - Treats her 
like a servant, makes all the decisions. 

Isolation - Controls what she does, who 
she sees and talks to and where she goes. 

Emotional Abuse - Puts her down, 
calls her names, makes her think she's 

Economic Abuse - Tries to keep her 
from getting or keeping a job, makes her 
ask for money. 

Threats - Makes and\or carries out 
threats to do physical or emotional harm. 
Threatens to take children, to commit 

Sexual Abuse - Makes her do sexual 
acts against her will. 

Intimidation - Puts her in fear by using 
looks, actions, gestures or loud voices, 
smashing things, destroying her prop- 
erty, abusing pets, displaying weapons. 

Denying, Blaming, Minimizing 
Makes light of the abuse and doesn't take 
her concerns seriously, shifts responsibil- 
ity for abusive behavior and says she caused 

If she is in an abusive relationship, par- 
ents can encourage their child to: 

$* Leave the relationship. 

§* Obtain a restraining order 

if necessary. 
f* Seek counseling. 

[Source: Abuse Project] 




With the alarming statistics indicating that dating violence af- 
fects at least one in ten teen relationships it is becoming para- 
mount that schools develop policies to respond to the increase 
and severity of interpersonal violence. Policies need to address 
methods to increase awareness of the issues for both students 
and staff, and to give the clear message to students, staff, and 
the community that violence will not be tolerated. The devel- 
opment of policies and procedures will help create a school cli- 
mate that is supportive, respectful, and committed to providing 
a safe environment conducive for learning. The following in- 
formation was prepared in the spirit of such efforts promoting 
violence prevention and intervention. Additionally, the devel- 
opment of a multi-disciplinary approach including the police, 
courts and community should be considered to best address these 
issues in a coordinated manner. 


Staff and student awareness of dating violence 
issues are increased through training, policy 
development and implementation. It is hoped 
that all students will have an understanding 
of the school's sensitivity and commitment to 
insure safety for students who have obtained 
a restraining order through the court, through 
the utilization of safety plans and development 
of protective measures in school. School sys- 
tems may want to develop their policies in col- 
laboration with the police, courts, shelter le- 
gal advocates and the D.A.'s office. With this 
in mind, students should be encouraged and feel comfortable in 
approaching administrators to assist them in the process, so 
that the appropriate actions and safety planning will occur. 


O The school administrator may want to hold SEPA- 

RATE meetings with each student and his\her family to gather 
any information, review the order and the implications. 

Included as a part of this meeting should also be an agreement 
as to who this information will be shared with. 

O A "Safety Plan" should be worked out to address the 

victim's needs, including "safety stops," staff to report to if con- 
cerns arise or a violation occurs, and any schedule changes that 
may be considered. This meeting should include a discussion 
of guidelines for appropriate behavior of the victim, such as not 
making comments to others which may inflame the situation. 

O With the named defendant it is important to review 

the terms of the order, expectations around appropriate behav- 
ior, and the consequences for violation of the order. 

O When possible it is important to address and make 

schedule changes to avoid face-to-face contact. When schedule 
changes are not possible, guidelines should be established around 
expected behavior. 



O It is important to establish clear guidelines around 

expected behavior in compliance with the issued order, for the 
benefit and safety of all parties. These could include: delinea- 
tion of space between parties (feet, yardage, routes to classes), 
class or schedule changes. Giving a clear message that there 
should be no exchange (verbal or non-verbal, threatening or 
non-threatening) of comments, notes, gifts, or gestures is criti- 
cal. This also includes no exchange of messages, notes, or gifts 
through a third party friend, student or staff member. NOTE: 
Given the reality of the close proximity within the school set- 
ting and\or the possibility of both students needing to remain in 
the same class, the order may need to be amended to reflect 
clear guidelines around contact in such instances. 




TIES. (Schools may want to develop their own internal report- 
ing mechanism, but ultimately the violation must be reported 
to police.) 

NOTE: It is important that the school support the victim in 
reporting any violations that have been witnessed or reported. 
The school does not need to be the judge as to the violation, but 
should report the violation to the proper authorities for their 
determination of the necessary action to be taken. 

O pattern or isolated incident, or 

O first time reported incident or have there 

been previous reported incidents. 

(This material was prepared through the collaborative efforts of staff from E^ex 
County District Attorney Kevin M. Burke's Partnerships for Violence Pre%ention. 
Help for Abused Women and Their Children, and the Massachusetts Regional Pre- 
vention Center. Salem) 

Children Exposed to Domestic Violence 

by Rhiana Kohl, Ph.D. 

Within the complex, multifaceted problems associated 
with domestic violence exist true "innocent bystand- 
ers," the children who witness such violence. All 
too often these children, so devastatingly affected by such expo- 
sure have received little attention, especially those left unharmed 
physically. Yet, evidence shows that millions of children are 
exposed to violence between parental figures each year. A re- 
cent study at the Pediatric Primary Care Clinic in Boston City 
Hospital found that one in ten children had wit- 
nessed a shooting or stabbing before age six 
years; half of these incidents were at home. The 
perspective that domestic violence is a "private" 
family matter continues to interfere with treat- 
ment. In fact, many professionals working in 
this area have found that parents believe their 
relationships with intimates to be not just off 
limits from the public domain, but a personal 
matter inappropriate for the child's inquiry as 
well. Thus, children are often left to cope on 
their own. See No 

To single out one variable as a primary "cause" or "risk factor" 
for violent behavior is unrealistic and dangerous. Nonetheless, 
compelling evidence suggests that the impact of witnessing vio- 
lence between parental figures contributes to short and long 
term emotional disturbances and behavior problems, often vio- 
lent in nature. Symptoms most often associated with exposure 
to domestic violence are similar to those for Post Traumatic 
Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Problems exhibited by these children include developing feel- 
ings of emotional detachment along with anxiety about separa- 
tion from caretakers, avoidance of all reminders 
of the incident, depression, anger, guilt, psycho- _ 
somatic problems, sleep disturbances and night- 
mares from recurring images of the event. The 
resulting fatigue and other adverse effects often 
contribute to poor concentration and a decline 
in school performance. 

The negative effects of exposure to violence in 
the home are mediated by the gender and age or 
developmental stage of the child as well as the 
length and frequency of the exposure. Children > -^ 

in violent families reportedly show a greater fre- near 1^1 

quency of externalizing (i.e., aggression), especially boys, and 
internalizing (i.e., withdrawn, anxious) behavior problems com- 
pared to children from nonviolent homes. The development of 
more aggressive behavior combined with the need to protect 
one's mother from further harm, can have a catastrophic effect. 
One study determined approximately 63% of persons between 
1 1 and 20 years incarcerated for homicide were convicted for 
murdering their mother's abuser. Many of these children try to 
act tough and mask their fears. They often stay home from 
school to protect their mothers from being assaulted in their 
absence. They are often traumatized by fear, frequently blam- 
ing themselves for not preventing the assaults, even believing 

that they are part of the cause. A tendency to lose respect for 
the victim and identify with the aggressor is common with chil- 
dren over age five. 

Stong evidence supports the notion that witnessing violence in 
the family of origin is the most consistent and leading "risk 
factor" in predicting subsequent domestic violence for both 
husbands and wives. Spousal abuse demonstrates an "in-home" 

lesson on the role of violence in relationships. 

Children may learn this behavior as an acceptable 

means of achieving their goals. 

With all this exposure to negative and aggressive 
role models and the endorsement of violent be- 
havior, why is it that some of these children do 
not repeat a violent pattern of behavior? Many 
children are remarkably resilient in their 
adaptions. These children cope best when their 
sense of value and worth can be affirmed and sig- 
Evil nificant adults in their lives are available to help 

them cope with their trauma. Temperament 
theory is applicable here too, as more evidence supports the 
notion that children are born with a strong bias favoring cer- 
tain moods and styles of reacting. All such temperamental 
characteristics can be changed by experience, and all require 
certain experiences to be actualized. This supports the critical 
influence one's environment and nurturance play in directing 
these temperamental qualities to channel them in a healthy, 
functional, nonviolent direction. 

With this in mind, what's being done about it? The Child Wit- 
ness to Violence Project (CWVP) at Boston City Hospital is 
based on the premise that early intervention can 
help ameliorate the long term adverse effects of 
exposure to violence. They work in a collabora- 
tive effort providing counseling and support ser- 
vices to children and their families as well as train- 
ing and consultative services to the police and com- 
munity. This unique link is crucial since police 
officers are often the first on the scene of violent 
events, in a position to make appropriate referrals, 
and need proper resources and support to best serve 

children and families caught in violence. 


The notable success of the program equals the com- 
mitment of the Project Director, Betsy McAlister Groves, LICSW 
and her dedicated staff. Evidence of the project's accomplish- 
ments includes the police department's positive response to 
working together. What was initially intended to be a more 
didactic police seminar on child development and the dynam- 
ics of family violence has evolved into a two-way exchange where 
all involved have an opportunity to learn about the experiences 
and knowledge unique to their working environment. This situ- 
ation has provided officers with an outlet to express their con- 
cerns and frustrations. Furthermore, the service provider's un- 
derstanding of what actually occurs when the police respond to 
domestic violence calls and the dangerous situations they en- 
counter has been enhanced. 


The primary sources for referrals to CWVP come from the hos- 
pital community, followed by the police and other criminal jus- 
tice agencies. Evidence that awareness of the problem and iden- 
tification of CWVP's services has grown is reflected in the in- 
crease in referrals from community sources and the families 
themselves. Some problems endured have been in confining 
the scope of their services to referral sources, maintaining uni- 
formity in the context of which police referrals are made, and 
the need for transportation for clients to obtain counseling. Ide- 
ally, more families might utilize their services if the project 
could reach further into the community. Better coordination is 
needed between the services provided for adults and children. 
It is also important for all those involved in a violent family 
situation to recognize that services are still needed even after a 
crisis is over. Likewise, besides the traditional reluctancy found 
among families in violent homes to receive services, issues per- 
taining to cultural differences in parenting practices have also 

Clearly intervention in this manner contributes tremendously 
to not only breaking the intergenerational cycle of violence, but 
treating the often unnoticed bystanders so deeply affected, the 
children. More research is needed to obtain accurate data spe- 
cifically about children who witness domestic violence, includ- 
ing those emotionally 
scarred, if not physically in- 
jured. We need to educate 
professionals, especially 
those in health care and edu- 
cation, to think of violence 
as a public health problem 
and encourage them to ask 
appropriate questions to 
identify those in need. If the 
topic is approached more 
matter-of-factly, avoiding 
the tendency to create a feel- 
ing of inappropriate intru- 
sion into a private, embar- 
rassing domain, more chil- 
dren could be provided with 
a means of expressing their 
distress and concerns and 
discovering that this hap- 
pens to others. These chil- 
dren should be provided 
with not only the resources 
to break the cycle, but the 
skills needed to identify re- 
sources on their own. Many 
children, especially those 
with histories of witnessing 
domestic violence, will most 

likely confront potentially violent situations in their future. 
Thus, they need to be equipped with the strength and ability to 
deal with these situations appropriately, so they may grow and 
develop to their full potential. 

All inquiries about CWVP can be directed to Betsy McAlister 
Groves, LICSW, at (617) 534-4244. 

Also note that the Transition Subcommittee of the Governor's 
Commission on Domestic Violence has on its agenda to evalu- 
ate all existing research on children exposed to domestic vio- 
lence. Contact Judith Lennert, Esq. at the Massachusetts 
Coaltion of Battered Women Service Groups. 

A recent study at the 
Pediatric Primary 
Care Clinic in Bos- 
ton City Hospital 
found that one in ten 
children had wit- 
nessed a shooting or 
stabbing before age 
six years; half of 
these incidents were 
at home. 

[Rhiana Kohl, Ph.D. is the Deputy Director for the Statistical Analysis Center at ( 
the Executive Office of Public Safety's Program Division] 

Governor's Commission 

Domestic Violence 

Andrea M. Delfino. Layout & Design 

The Governor's Commission on 
Domestic Violence is welcoming 
contributions for the Spring 1995 
issue. Please call or send in ideas for 
articles and letters to Andrea Delfino 
at the Executive Office of Public 
Safety's Program Division, 100 Cam- 
bridge Street, 21st Floor, Boston, MA 
02202. For publication in the Spring 
Edition of FORUM, submissions must 
be received by April 14, 1995. 

The views and opinions expressed in 
FORUM are those of individual 
authors and do not necessarily reflect 
the views of the Commission. 

FORUM is a periodical of the Executive Office of 
Public Safety published in collaboration with the 
Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence. 
Its purpose is to provide a forum for discussion and 
serve as a clearinghouse for information on the 
issues addressing the declared public emergency of 
domestic violence. We welcome your comments 
and story contributions to FORUM. 



- An Update on the Work of the 
Subcommittees of the Governor's 
Domestic Violence Commission 

omm unity Education 


Working Groups 


Affordable Housing 
Child Protection 

The primary goals of the subcommittee is to increase community awareness around the issues of 
domestic and teen dating violence. In October, 1994, the teen dating subgroup, with Lt. Governor 
Cellucci, outlined to the Board of Education, the importance of addressing teen dating violence in 
schools and encouraged the establishment or comprehensive school based educational and support/ 
intervention services addressing teen dating prevention. The subgroup is working with the Depart- 
ment of Education on implementation. Also, in the fall, members of the subcommittee participated in 
a forum on responsible media respone to domestic violence to students at Emerson College, and the 
health care subgroup wrote draft guidelines establishing roundtables on domestic violence for health 
care providers. The subcommittee's goals for 1995 are: 1) to work with Department of Education in 
establishing initiatives in schools statewide; 2) to provide more forums on role of media and domestic 
violence prevention; 3) to dialog with the batterer intervention sub-group the need for public aware- 
ness around batterer intervention programs. 

It is believed that over 3 million children witness parental violence nationally each year. The Massa- 
chusetts Department of Social Services estimates that domestic violence is present in upwards of 70% 
of its substantiated child abuse and neglect cases. Experts agree that the children of domestic violence 
are at risk of deep and enduring harm as a result of their exposure to the abuse of their mothers. 

In order to help develop a comprehensive policy response to this problem, the subcommittee has the 
following goals: 1) to collect and analyze the clinical evidence of both short and long term damage; 
2) starting from areas of general expert agreement, to determine what policy initiatives emerge that 
would constitute an effective response to children already harmed by exposure to domestic violence, 
empower battered mothers to protect and care for their children, and also prevent additional injury to 
the children of abused or at-risk women; and 3) to develop a set of specific policy and resource 


Representatives with substantive expertise in the areas of child protection, domestic violence and 
family law are participating with the assistance from two social work graduate students. Point person 
for the project is Judith Lennett, the Project Safe Family Coordinator of the Massachusetts Coalition of 
Women Service Groups. 

The subcommittee has developed and submitted to EOCD proposed policies for "Domestic Vio- 
lence Transfers Within Local Housing Authority Developments" and "Domestic Violence Transfers 
Between Different Local Housing Authorities"; as well as proposed criteria for the "Substantiation 
of Need for Domestic Violence Transfer" and "Substantiation of Homelessness Due to Abuse". 
Currently, these practices are erratic across the state and battered women are often not aware that 
they can transfer their housing if they are at risk. Our goal is to have EOCD issue model policies, 
conduct domestic violence trainings for housing authority and housing facility staffs, and produce 
a brochure informing battered women of their safety options for this initiative so they can explore 
its feasibility. Point persons for this Working Group are Cathy Green, Mass. Coalition for Battered 
Women Service Groups and Barbara Zimble, Greater Boston Legal Services. 

The AFDC working group has met twice with the Commissioner and staff of DPW and brought to 
their attention recently obtained research which indicates that the majority of welfare recipients in 
several states are victims of domestic violence. A project is being undertaken with DPW to survey 
AFDC recipients to determine how many of them are, or have been, victims of domestic violence 
and how the violence has impacted them economically. 

Two laws that will strengthen the ability of law enforcement officers to act swiftly in certain cases 
of domestic violence were recently signed into law by the Governor. The laws, An Act to Reform 
the Warrant System and An Act Authorizing Arrest Without A Warrant in Misdemeanor Domestic 
Violence Cases, were two of the top legislative priorities of the Commission. The subcommittee 
will begin reviewing the domestic violence legislation filed for the 1995 session as soon as 
committee assignments and bill numbers have been designated. 



niform Enforcement 

The next meeting of the Uniform Enforcement subcommittee was scheduled for March 8, at the 
office of the District Attorney Tom Reilly, 440 Thorndike Street, Cambridge. The purpose of the 
meeting is to discuss and review the Uniform Enforcement Standards for Prosecutors and Police 
distributed to all Police Chiefs and District Attorneys this past July. Letters have gone out to the 
Chiefs of Police throughout the Commonwealth inviting their comments and suggestions. We will 
also be discussing any new tasks for the subcommittee in 1995, including enforcement of the 


atterer Intervention 

The Department of Public Health has completed the revision of the Massachusetts Standards and 
Guidelines for the Certification of Batterer Intervention Programs. The revisions were based on 
testimony received from public hearings held in the fall on the revised guidelines recommended by 
the subcommittee. 


r o m The Hill 

December 28, 1994 

Governor Weld signed an Act Regulating the Warrant System. A new 
computerized system will be established and will allow police officers 
to act on an electronic warrant. The Warrants legislation was 
identified as a priority of the Governor's Commission on 
Domestic Violence. 

January 13, 1995 

Governor Weld signed an Act Authorizing Arrest in a 
Misdeameanor Domestic Violence Case. This law clarifies police 
power in making arrest without warrant, and was a legislative priority 
for the commission. 

January 24, 1995 

Governor Weld and Lt. Governor Cellucci filed the FY 96 
House One Budget which includes SI 9.9 million for domestic 
violence prevention spending, a 45% increase over fiscal year 
1995 spending levels. 

February 14, 1995 

Witness to Violence, a national collaborative public artwork 
created by Bob Markey and designed to heighten public 

awareness of male violence against women was displayed at a 
State House event. Legislators, advocates and members of the 
commission participated. 


Executive Office of Public Safety 
Program Division 
100 Cambridge Street, Room 2100 
Boston, Massachusetts 02202 

Executive Office of Public Safety 

William F. Weld, Governor, ArgeoPaul Cellucci, Lt. Governor, Kathleen M.O Toole. Secretary, Executive Office of Public Safety; 
Brooke White Sandford, Executive Director, Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence 


&(,*•*' •»"(yrn/9L/g. 


JUNE, 1995 





Governor's Commission on 
Domestic Violence 



The Police and Elder 
Domestic Violence 

John S. Scheft 

Director of the Elderly Protection Project 
Office of Attorney General Scott Harshbarger 

Donna Reulbach 

Director of Protective Services, Executive Office of Elder Affairs 

Our rapidly increasing elder population affects 
any community problem currently addressed by 
law enforcement. Domestic violence is no exception. 

While the police response to domestic violence is 
largely the same regardless of the age of abuser or 
victim, there are aspects of elder domestic violence 
that differentiate it from incidents involving younger 
people. Often, there are different dynamics to elder 
abuse. Furthermore, officers have the additional legal 
and ethical responsibility to report cases to their local 
protective service agency. 


hile the dynamics 
of elder domestic 
violence may be 
different, its impact on victims is 
similar. We sometimes fail to see 
this because elders are typically 
not as vocal as younger victims. 
They tend to suffer in silence. 
Heightened awareness is the key 
in a world all too ready to accept 
an elder's implausible explanation 
about a visible injury, attribute 
it to "poor health" or "complain- 
ing, " or dismiss it because the 
traumatized elder appears 


The dynamics of elder abuse differ in several 
important ways. First, elder victims are more reluctant 

to report abuse. They grew up in a time when family violence was more accepted and, for the most 
part, viewed as a private family matter. In addition, elders may be extremely afraid that removal of 
the abusive caregiver will force them into a nursing home or result in retaliation by the caregiver 
once he or she is released from custody. Elders may be less aware of the availability of restraining 
orders than younger victims, which necessitates that officers be particularly careful in explaining the 
elder victim's rights. 

Second, the perpetrators of elder domestic violence cover a broad spectrum. Unlike younger couples, 
elder abuse is not confined to partners. Most cases involve a spouse, but a good percentage of the 
abuse comes from the hands of a child, relative or other non-related caregiver who visits the house. 
Most abuse is intergenerational and perpetrated by overwhelmed caregivers — many of whom are 
elders themselves. At present, 10% of the people over age 65 are old enough to have children over 65. 

Third, elder violence increasingly involves a woman abusing a man, sometimes quite seriously. In 
the typical case, a previously abused woman will turn on her spouse as his health deteriorates. Police 
may tend to overlook these situations because they are so used to encountering male perpetrators. 
However, officers must respond to victimization regardless of the gender of the abuser. 

While the dynamics of elder domestic violence may be different than other forms of domestic 
violence, its impact on victims is similar. We sometimes fail to see this because elders are typically 
not as vocal as younger victims. They tend to suffer in silence. For this reason, officers and other 
professionals must investigate any signs of abuse, no matter how subtle, to avoid overlooking 

potentially abusive situations. Heightened 
awareness is the key in a world all too ss 

ready to accept an elder's implausible 
explanation about a visible injury, attribute 
it to "poor health" or "complaining," or 
dismiss it because the traumatized elder 
appears "senile." 

These cases require a greater degree of 
patience on the part of responding officers. 
Officers must be sensitive both to the elder's 
reluctance to report incidents as well as to any 
sight, hearing or memory impairment that may make 
it difficult for the elder to relate what happened. 

Mandatory Reporting 

Another critical aspect of elder domestic violence is the 
officer's additional responsibility, beyond those obligations 
imposed by Chapter 209A, to report elder abuse to elder 
protective services. At present, 27 local agencies under the 
direction of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs receive 
and investigate reports and attempt to provide services. 

In a nutshell, Chapter 19A mandates: When officers have 
reasonable cause to believe that an elder, who is 60 years 
of age or older, has suffered or is suffering from: 

• Abuse (injury caused by someone's physical, sexual or 
emotional conduct); or 

• Financial Exploitation (substantial financial loss to the 
elder caused by someone's actions or failure to act); or 

The problem of elder 

abuse is too complex 

to be addressed solely 

by the police. 


• Neglect (a caretaker's refusal or failure 
to provide one or more of the basic 
necessities of life); or from a combina- 
tion of these acts, 

officers must immediately make a verbal 
report to their local protective services 
agency or to the local elder abuse hotline: 
1-800-922-2275. They must also file a 
written report within 48 hours of their 
oral report. Reporting is so critical that 
the law protects officers who file a report 

from civil liability. On the other hand, failure to report may 

result in a criminal fine up to $1,000. 

The Police/Protective Service Alliance 

The problem of elder abuse is too complex to be addressed 
solely by the police. Police intervention can uncover and then 
stabilize an abusive situation, but officers are not equipped to 
provide the case assessment and follow-up services that are 
so crucial to a resolution of the problem. Local protective 
services agencies have the expertise to pick up where police 
involvement ends. Services such as adult day care, meals, 
transportation and counseling, to name just a few, can help 
to change a chronic situation requiring repeated police 
involvement to a less volatile one. This is why a strong 
police and protective services alliance is at the heart of 
preventing and responding to elder abuse. 

For further information, contact John Scheft, 617-727- 
2200 or Donna Reulbach, 617-727-7750. 

A Message From the Director 

Dear FORUM Readers, 

I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the readers of FORUM. I have recently joined the 
Executive Office of Public Safety as the Executive Director of the Programs Division— the grants 
management program ofEOPS. I am an attorney and most recently worked as a Legislative Director 
on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. 

Having already attended a meeting of the Governor 's Commission on Domestic Violence and having 
worked with a number of its members, I can see that there is a strong commitment in Massachusetts 
to a comprehensive and coordinated interagency approach to reduce and prevent domestic violence 
and to provide the highest level of protection and shelter possible to its victims. 

Now that the U.S. Department of Justice has awarded a grant to Massachusetts under the Violence Against Women Act. I 
look forward to working with the Commission to develop a statewide implementation strategy to maximize our resources. 
This process will bring together representatives of law enforcement, prosecution, the courts and victim services providers. 

The FORUM can serve as an important tool to increase public awareness of domestic violence and efforts in our state to 
address it. I hope that you will share your views with us. 





Page 2 

FORI \f 

Visitation Centers 

Adult and 





Sarah M. Buel 

District Attorney, 
Norfolk County 

All too frequently battered women in our 
communities are forced to place their 
children and/or themselves in physical 
danger, in order to comply with court-ordered 
visitation. Sometimes police departments are 
asked to act as intermediaries and drop-off sites, 
although they are ill-equipped to handle the 
related problems, while conducting other law 
enforcement business. Each community needs 
at least one Visitation Center. 

A Visitation Center is the ideal mechanism to 
facilitate the safe exchange of children for 
visitation and/or provide supervised visitation. 
They are critical to reducing the opportunity for 
further child and partner abuse, and serve to 
minimize the trauma, fear and anxiety of at-risk 
parties. In recognition of their integral role in 
the network of social services, the state of 
Arizona has statutorily mandated that each 
county have a Visitation Center. They are 
established not only to deal with family 
violence situations, but also to help non- 
custodial, abusive or neglectful parents gradu- 
ally resume parenting responsibilities (particu- 
larly if modeling of good parenting is needed). 
Visitation Centers can provide a range of 
services as the following case examples 

Case #1: A divorce is pending in which a 
restraining order has been issued against the 
abusive husband/dad, with the judge ordering 
visitation on alternate Saturdays and Sundays, 
from 10 am to 6 pm. Mom expresses fear of 
Dad coming to her home to pick up and drop 
off the children because she could be further 
endangered. In this scenario, Mom has not 
reported physical harm to the children; a safe 
place to exchange the children for visitation is 
needed. At their neighborhood Visitation 
Center, Mom would drop off the children at 
9:30 am and return to pick them up at 6:30 pm. 
Dad would pick up the children at 10 am and 
return them at 6 pm. In the intervening half 
hours, the children would play in large, brightly 
decorated and equipped rooms, with trained 

staff. The best Centers also offer support groups 
for children to process all the changes, trauma 
and conflicts occurring in their lives. 

Case #2: Mom is a battered woman and 
recovering substance abuser who lost custody of 
her child during drug treatment. She is now 
seeking to regain custody, but acknowledges that 
she sometimes hits her child too much, espe- 
cially when he has temper tantrums. In this 
case, the Visitation Center can set up supervised 
visitation so that Mom has a trained therapist 
with her to assist in difficult parenting situations 
during visits. Parents who observe non-violent 
parenting change their methods more quickly 
than parents who are told what to do. 

Pat Kelleher, the founder and executive 
director of the Brockton Family and Community 
Resource Center's Visitation Center recom- 
mends that a Visitation Center begin by being 
open two evenings a week from 3 to 7 pm and 
all day Saturday or Sunday. Her experience 
indicates that the following start-up staff is 

• A full-time coordinator; 

• Many volunteers (5 per each full day and 
2 for each week night); 

• A security officer; and 

• A case supervisor (a consultant child 

In addition, a new Visitation Center will need: 

• Supplies (snacks, diapers and playthings for 

• Resource materials about associated legal 
and social service agencies; 

• Liability insurance; and 

• Space for separate entrances for custodial 
and non-custodial parents, play areas, 
waiting areas and parking facilities visible 
to the security guard. 

For further information, please contact 
Pat Kelleher, 508-583-5200. 


Page 3 

Domestic Violence 
Show Cause Hearing 

Andrew P. Quigley 

Hingham District Court, First Assistant Clerk Magistrate 

There is no question that domestic 
violence is an area of the law 
which deserves special treatment 
by the criminal justice system. But at 
present, the specific statute, G.L. c. 218, 
s. 35A, which most often is invoked 
when civilian complainants come to a 
clerk-magistrate does not recognize the 
unique nature of the crimes associated 
with domestic violence. 

If indeed clerk magistrates should 
handle crimes involving domestic abuse 
differently than other crimes, then the 
statute should be rewritten to make such 
a distinction. Without specific statutory 
direction, each clerk magistrate is left in 
the position of having to follow his or 
her "gut" instinct when confronted with 
an application from a domestic violence 
victim, a situation which inherently 
provides for a lack of uniformity in the 
manner in which the court system 
addresses this pressing issue. 

A dilemma which frequently confronts a 
clerk magistrate of the district court is 
what action he or she should take on an 
application for a criminal complaint in 
which it is alleged that a defendant 
either has committed certain misde- 
meanor crimes (usually in the form of 
threats [G.L. c. 275, s.2] or an assault 
and battery [G.L. c. 265, s. 13 A] which 
have formed the basis for the issuance of 
a c. 209A restraining order or has 
committed a violation of an existing 
c. 209A restraining order (which also 
is a misdemeanor). 

G.L. c. 218, s.35A provides that when 
an individual has been accused of a 
misdemeanor, she or he is entitled to a 
hearing (commonly referred to as a 
show cause hearing) before a clerk 

magistrate with notice, although a clerk 
magistrate may act upon the application 
and issue criminal process without 
notice to the defendant if the clerk 
magistrate determines "that there is an 
imminent threat of bodily injury." 

The predicament for a clerk magistrate 
arises when the complainant who is 
bringing forward the application 
expresses a fear of the alleged perpetra- 
tor and a desire not to confront the 
defendant at a show cause hearing. In 
addition, clerk magistrates are cognizant 
of the general propensity for violence in 
domestic abuse cases which we read 
about in the headlines on a daily basis. 

Thus, the clerk magistrate must 
decide whether to provide the 
accused with his statutory right 
of "an opportunity to be heard person- 
ally by counsel in opposition to the 
issuance of any processes on such 
complaint" or whether to accede to the 
alleged victim's desire to have action 
taken upon the application as soon as 
possible and without a hearing. 

At a recent domestic violence training, 
an instructor suggested that clerk 
magistrates should consider issuing 
warrants as a first option, rather than 
scheduling hearings. The explanation 
was that a defendant accused of criminal 
offenses may become enraged and attack 
the complainant prior to the hearing. 

Such logic inverts the statutory scheme. 
G.L. c. 218, s. 35 A presumptively 
entitles the accused to a hearing, unless 
it is shown to the clerk magistrate that 
there is a threat of imminent harm. But, 
at the seminar, it was recommended that 
clerk magistrates issue a warrant unless 
they believe that there is not an immi- 
nent threat of harm. 

By law, a clerk magistrate is a 
neutral and detached judicial 
officer whose duty it is to 
ensure that the statutory and constitu- 
tional rights of an alleged defendant 
are not violated. In this context, clerk 
magistrates serve as the gatekeepers 
of the criminal justice system when 
confronted with requests for search 
warrants, arrest warrants, and the 
issuance of criminal process brought 
forward by the police. But now clerk 
magistrates are being urged to abrogate 
that role and open the gates, so to 
speak, when domestic violence is at 
the center of the issue. 

In addition, issuing process without a 
full hearing may not be in the victim's 
best interest. Any lawyer worth his or 
her salt will file a motion to dismiss the 
complaint before the judge on the basis 
that the defendant was not afforded his 
right to a hearing. If the judge allows 
the motion, then the complainant must 
start the process all over again, a 
daunting task which can only add to 
the victim's mistrust of the system. 

In our court, we have issued arrest 
warrants based upon ex parte testimony 
under oath and on tape from civilian 
complainants. However, we also have 
denied requests for ex parte action on 
applications for complaints because of 
the competing interest of the defen- 
dant's right to a hearing. But the 
decision is never an easy one. 

For further information, contact 
Andrew Quigley, 617-749-7000. 

Page 4 



Victim Rights Strengthened 

On May 16, Governor William Weld signed the new Victim Bill of 
Rights into law to benefit victims of domestic violence and other 
crimes. The new law establishes new rights for crime victims and ex- 
pands their rightful role in the criminal justice system. The law takes 
effect on August 13, 1995. More information will appear in the next 
issue of FORUM. 

Inter-Faith Conference on 
Domestic Violence 

Are clergy part of the solution or part of the 
problem when congregants suffering from 
violence in their homes come to them for help? 
Clergy and laity from numerous faith persua- 
sions met in June to discuss the impact of 
domestic violence on their congregations, 
society and themselves. 

The day's program centered on the outstanding 
video Broken Vows — a production of the Center 
for Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence 
(COSDV) in Seattle, Washington. 

For more information, contact Heidi Urich at 
MOVA, 617-727-5200. 

Conference on Immigrant 
Battered Women 

What extra obstacles does an immigrant woman 
face when she is abused by her United States 
Citizen (USC) or Legal Permanent Resident 
(LPR) husband? Can she report the abuse to 
authorities without fear of deportation? Can the 
abuser use immigration law as a weapon 
against her? 

Thanks to new immigration laws contained in 
the federal Violence Against Women Act, 
abused women in these situations finally have 
legal options. Those options include "self- 
petitioning" and suspension of deportation. A 
New England regional conference addressing 
the new law was held June 6 at Clark Univer- 
sity in Worcester. 

For more information, contact: National 
Immigration Project/National Lawyers Guild, 


MOVA Hosts 
African Delegation 

Does the term "crime victim" have a universal 
definition? The Massachusetts Office for Victim 
Assistance hosted a delegation of leaders from 
the judicial systems of 21 African countries who 
had especially requested information on the 
emerging field of victim rights. The leaders 
were on a one month tour of the United States 
under the auspices of the U.S. Information 

The definition of domestic abuse presented a 
particularly controversial topic for this interna- 
tional assembly which consisted of representa- 
tives from Napoleonic, Islamic and Anglo- 
American judicial systems. 

The seminar included presentations by victim 
advocates from the Suffolk District Attorney's 
office, Roxbury's Living After Murder Program 
(LAMP), MOVA, and the Attorney General's 
office. Genet Bekele, an Ethiopian-born advo- 
cate working for the crime victim services 
section of Boston's International Institute, 
provided a bridge between African and U.S. 

For more information, contact Cheryl Watson 
at MOVA, 617-727-5200. 


Page 5 




The Needs Assessment Working Group will hold focus groups this 
summer on the special needs of substance-abusing, mentally ill and non- 
English-speaking battered women. The AFDC/Battered Women Work- 
ing Group is working with the Department of Transitional Assistance 
(formerly the Department of Public Welfare) to survey AFDC applicants 
and recipients to determine the prevalence of domestic violence in each 
group and its impact on their need for AFDC. The Children of Domestic 
Violence Working Group has completed a second draft of its report, 
analyzing available research on the issue. The draft will be circulated to a 
wide circle of experts in the fields of domestic violence and child abuse. 
The Civil Court Advocacy Working Group has been working to educate 
the legislature about the need for SAFEPLAN, a statewide program to 
place advocates in all district and probate courts. The Affordable 
Housing Working Group has completed a redraft of "An Act to Provide 
Housing for Victims of Domestic Violence, " and is working with District 
Attorney Delahunt to refile it. 


The Legislative Subcommittee has reviewed more than 50 pieces of 
pending legislation related to the protection of victims of domestic 
violence. The subcommittee presented their recommended list of priority 
bills to the Commission and asked for the Commission to vote on the 
recommended pieces of legislation in April. Upon receiving approval of 
the full Commission, the Lieutenant Governor sent a letter to legislators 
outlining the legislative priorities of the Domestic Violence Commission. 


The Uniform Enforcement Subcommittee has been meeting to update 
the 1994 Uniform Enforcement Standards for Police and District 
Attorneys in Domestic Violence cases. Letters were sent to police depart- 
ments and district attorneys throughout the state requesting their input for 
updating the Standards. The subcommittee intends to present the revised 
version to the Commission on July 13, 1995 for their review. 


The Community Education Subcommittee reports one of the greatest 
barriers to educating communities about and intervening in the 
widespread and very serious danger of teen dating violence has been the 
lack of a cohesive compilation of teen resources for schools and other 
community organizations to use in their abuse prevention efforts. 
Responding to this need for a resource guide, and in conjunction with 
the Teen Caucus of Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women's Service 
Groups, the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council, the 
Executive Office of Education and the Department of Education, the 
Community Education subcommittee in May published a 43-page booklet, 
"Resources for Teens Offered by Battered Women s Programs of Massa- 
chusetts." Questions? Contact Ann Toda at 617-727-1313 x275. 


The Newsletter Working Group welcomes contributions for the 
September issue. Please call or send in ideas for articles to the editor 
as soon as possible. 

Page 6 



Greater Boston Regional Legal Advocacy Committee 

Jean C. Haertl 

Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women's 
Service Groups 

Domestic Violence Council 

Valenda Applegarth and Sandy Lundi 

Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence 
Boston Floating Hospital Family Advocacy Clinic 
A.W.A.K.E. Program, Childrens Hospital, Boston 
A.W.A.R.E. Program, New England Medical Center 

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center 

Mary Coonan 

Cambridge Women's Commission, D.V. Task Force 

Nancy Ryan 

Massachusetts Parole Board, Victims Services Unit 

Marcia Hill 

Massachusetts Office for Victim Witness Assistance 

Marilee Kenney Hunt 

Dorchester District Court, D.V. Roundtable 

Hon. Sidney Hanlon 

Roxbury District Court, D.V. Roundtable 

Hon. Gordon Martin 

Attorney General's Family and Community 
Crimes Bureau, A.A.G. Diane Juliar 

Barnstable District Attorney's Office, D.V. Unit 

A.D.A. Tom Kirkman 

Berkshire District Attorney's Office, D.V. Unit 

Elizabeth Keegan 

Bristol District Attorney's Office, D.V, Fall River 

V.W. Michelle Stanton 

Essex District Attorney's Office, D.V. Unit 

Lawrence, Massachusetts 
Lynn, Massachusetts 

Hampden County District Attorney's Office, D.V. Unit 

A.D.A. Maria Rodrigues 

Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, D.V. Unit 

A.D.A. Beth Merachnik 

Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, D.V. Unit 

A.D.A. Marianne Hinkle 

Northwestern County District Attorney's Office, 
D.V. Unit, A.D.A. Susan Loehn 

Plymouth County District Attorney's Office, D.V. Unit 

A.D.A. Nancy Adams 

Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, D.V. Unit 

A.D.A. Andrea Cabral 

Worcester County District Attorney's Office, D.V. Unit 

A.D.A. Phil Shea 






















Executive Office of Public Safety 

Programs Division 

100 Cambridge Street, Room 2100 

Boston, MA 02202 

William F. Weld 

Argeo Paul Cellucci 
Lt. Governor 

Kathleen M. O'Toole 

Secretary of Public Safety 

Jonathan M. Petuchowski 

Executive Director 

Executive Office of Public Safety 

Programs Division 


Managing Editor 
617-727-6300 x305 

Contributing Editors 



Rhlana Kohl 


Marilee Kenney Hunt 


Sheila Connelly 

Layout and Design 

jrpORUM is a periodical of the Execu- 
A uve Office of Public Safety, Programs 
Division, published in collaboration with 
the Governor's Commission on Domestic 

Its purpose is to provide a forum for 
discussion and serve as a clearinghouse 
for information on the issues addressing 
the declared public emergency of domes- 
tic violence. We welcome your comments 
and story contributions to FORUM. 

The views and opinions expressed in 
FORUM are those of the individual 
authors and do not necessarily reflect 
the views of the Commission. 


Page 7 








Violence Against Women 

Formula Grant 


In June 1995, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety was 

awarded $426,324 by the Violence Against Women Program, Office of Justice 
Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, to implement the 1995 S.T.O.P. Program. 
The Program is authorized under the 1 994 Violence Against Women Act. 

The purpose of the S.T.O.P. Program (Services'Training' Officers- Prosecutors) 
is to develop and implement effective law enforcement, victims services and 
prosecution strategies to combat violent crimes against women. Those interested 
in learning more about the awards that will be made under this grant should 
contact Program Director, Rai Kowal at 617-727-6300 x305. 


Executive Office of Public Safety 

Programs Division 

100 Cambridge Street, Room 2100 

Boston, Massachusetts 02202 


^W>y' 1^M7I/F 77/^/3 


November, 1995 





Governor's Commission qn 
Domestic Violence 


- l 




y the end of the 
conference, almost 
every participant 

responded on their evaluation 
forms that the most significant 
points they had learned were 
that victims should 
not be forced to choose between 
God and safety and that the 
sanctity of marriage is broken 
by violence, not divorce. 

Put the Light on It: 
Religious Communities 

Respond to Domestic Violence 

By Randi Donnis, Reverend Gerald Osterman, 
Reverend Jessie Owens, and Reverend Cheng Imm Tan 

As representatives of the growing number of 
clergy and religious community activists 
seriously concerned about domestic violence, we are 
working together to raise awareness and develop 
effective responses to this epidemic. With family 
violence being the source of so many of the crises 
that plague our neighborhoods, it is an issue that 
leaders charged with the spiritual, moral, and social 
development of religious communities must address. 
(In this article, the term "family" is broadly used to 
refer to a couple, whether married or not, and any 

children in their care. ) We are actively working 

within our respective religions to move through and beyond the silence and denial that have all too 

often marked traditional religious responses to this problem. We are also finding strength together as 

an interfaith community to ensure that victims are provided with effective and comprehensive 

services. In order to develop the vital role that religious groups need to take on a role that, if not 

accepted, will continue to leave a gap which compromises the safety of victims and the future of our 

communities- three key areas must be addressed: 

1 . education of religious leaders on domestic violence; 

2. development of cooperative relationships between religious and secular professionals in dealing 
with domestic violence; 

3. active involvement of clergy and congregations in responding to and preventing domestic 

On June 6th, we took a major step forward in addressing the first key area by sponsoring Put the 
Light on It: Religious Communities Respond to Domestic Violence, a conference to train clergy and 
other professional and lay religious leaders about the dynamics, extent and impact of domestic 
violence. Funded by the New England Regional Office of Health and Human Services, this confer- 
ence was co-sponsored by thirty Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Islamic organizations and drew 1 50 

In order to create an educational environment most conducive to breaking through denial and increas- 
ing awareness of the pervasiveness of family violence, the conference included teaching roles for 
ethnically and religiously diverse secular professionals and clergy with experience in the field of 
domestic violence. Equally important was the use of Broken Vows, a powerful film which explored 
the dynamics of domestic violence through the experiences of formerly battered women and their 
Throughout the day, participants were taught that the primary goal when approached by a victim is to 


protect her from further violence. Presenters 

repeatedly emphasized that the immediate 

clergy tasks in these instances should 

include listening and believing, making 

appropriate referrals to secular experts, and 

addressing pastoral concerns. An interfaith 

panel of clergy stressed that religious texts 

should not be used to condone domestic 

violence and that it is only human misinter- 
pretation of the text that excuses violence in 

the family. 

By the end of the conference, almost every 
participant responded on their evaluation forms that the most 
significant points they had learned were that victims should 
not be forced to choose between God and safety and that the 
sanctity of marriage is broken by violence, not divorce. These 
results were of particular importance since many religions 
emphasize the sanctity and permanence of marriage and the 
wrongness of its dissolution. These concepts have often 
prevented clergy from working with secular professionals or 
advising battered women to go to shelters, so this new 
understanding was an important step forward. 

The conference also helped many participants to develop new 
links with domestic violence advocates, law enforcement, and 
other secular experts. Building on these connections and the 
dialogue that began with the clergy presentation at the May 
meeting of the Governor's Commission on Domestic Vio- 
lence, the religious and secular communities must continue to 
strive for greater cooperation and a multidisciplinary ap- 
proach that includes religious concerns. Because domestic 
violence affects its victims physically, psychologically, and 
spiritually, each of these areas must be addressed in order to 
respond successfully to the primary needs of the people we 
are trying to help. When religious issues get raised in the 
midst of a crisis and cannot be addressed, they will inevitably 
become obstacles to the victim's efforts to resolve the crisis. 
All four authors of this article have worked with victims 
whose first step to safety was meeting with a rabbi, minister, 
or priest who could address their spiritual concerns. Only then 
were these women willing to consider calling a shelter or 
working with law enforcement. In addition, a victim's 
religious beliefs, congregation, and community can provide 
an important support system during and after a crisis involv- 
ing family violence. 

Cooperative relationships between religious and secular 
professionals can also provide resources for the latter group. 
If a client is expressing important religious concerns that you 
feel uncomfortable with or unqualified to address, it could 
prove extremely beneficial to be able to call upon a member 
of the clergy who is trained to help and whom you know and 
trust. Occasionally, religious communities can even provide 
backup support for secular systems. When an observant 
Jewish woman and her children fled here from another state 
and no shelter space was available, several catholic nuns 
provided temporary housing and worked closely 
with the Jewish community to make sure that kosher meals 

An interfaith panel of 

clergy stressed that 

religious texts should not 

be used to condone 

domestic violence ... 

were provided and religious needs could 
be met. Closer cooperation between our 
groups can only lead to better informed 
members of both the religious and secular 
communities, thus strengthening all of 
our abilities to respond more effectively 
to families caught up in the cycle of 
domestic violence. 
Finally, it is essential for clergy and 
religious leaders to develop effective 
strategies for educating and engaging 
their congregations, religious denomina- 
tions, and local communities in the 

struggle against domestic violence. Clergy can break the 
silence on domestic violence and make the religious commu- 
nity aware of local resources by: 

- developing an action plan to follow if a victim or abuser 
discloses (keep an updated list of shelters and resources); 

- learning how to recognize the signs of domestic violence 
and how to ask appropriate questions to identify victims: 

- building a relationship with the domestic violence officer 
at the local police station; 

- giving sermons that address violence in the family: 

- developing relationships with local battered women's 

- discussing couple's patterns of handling conflict and 
discussing domestic violence when meeting for marriage 
preparation or other life cycle events. 

- providing regular training for staff, lay leaders, and 
religious school teachers; 

- including age appropriate material in religious school 

We have all discovered that victims begin to come forward 
and ask for help when we transform our congregations into 
safe spaces where attitudes and behaviors that contribute to 
an atmosphere of violence against women are not tolerated. 
Religious leaders must be ready to respond to these requests 
for support, and we need to be able to call upon the expertise 
of secular professionals to provide the required resources. It 
is of great importance that we work together in order to reach 
the goal we share in common: the creation of safety, healing, 
and peace within ourselves, our families, and our communi- 

Randi Donnis Director of Public Policy, Jewish Community- 
Relations Council of Greater Boston (61 7-457-8647) 
Reverend Gerald Osterman Pastor. St. John-St. Hugh 

Parish, Dorchester/ ' Roxbury (617-442-1431) 
Reverend Jessie Owens Principal. Parkside Christian 

Academy, Jamaica Plain (617-522-1841) 
Reverend Cheng lmm Tan Unitarian Universalist Ministry 

Page 2 

FORI \t 

1995-Beijing China 

U.N. Fourth 
On the 
Status of 


Stacey Kabat 

As Marcia Gordon stood to tell her story 
about being a formerly battered woman 
from Roxbury, Massachusetts, women 
from all over the world nodded their heads. 
When she detailed the violence that she had 
endured at the hands of her batterer and the lack 
of response of the police force, tears began to 
fall. And as she concluded by describing the 
action she's taken in her community to change 
this injustice, people joined her by sharing their 
stories of violence and resistance. This was our 
common experience in Beijing. 

We traveled halfway around the world to attend 
the Non Governmental Organization (NGO) 
Forum for the United Nations Fourth World 
Conference on the Status of Women in Beijing, 
China. Women from over 1 85 nations gathered 
to caucus and to lobby the governmental 
conference that is held simultaneously to define 
the agendas for the 21st century and chart the 
course for the future for women around the 

The 1995 NGO Forum on Women builds on the 
three previous Women's Forums and U.N. 
conferences that marked the Decade for Women: 
Mexico (1975); Copenhagen (1980); and 
Nairobi (1985). In Huairou, outside of Beijing, 
25,000 women from highly diverse back- 
grounds: grassroots women; young women; 
lesbians; older women; and indigenous women 
gathered to network together, exchange informa- 
tion, brainstorm on global strategies, interact 
with UN and US officials, and work on the 
document Platform for Action. The Document 
was prepared for the governmental conference 
to set the global agenda for women and has 
twelve areas of critical concern: poverty; 
education; health; violence against women; 
effects of armed conflict; economic structures 
and policies; inequalities in decision making; 
gender equality; women's human rights; media; 
environment; and the girl child. 

At the conference, Marcia and I conducted a 
workshop on domestic violence and human 
rights. We each offered our stories of domestic 
violence and screened Defending Our Lives, our 
1 994 Academy Award winning documentary 
that exposes the severity of domestic violence in 
the United States. Following the film women 
from Kenya, Cambodia, Bangledesh, Britain, 

India, and Nigeria stood and shared their 
hauntingly familiar stories of domestic abuse. 
We then presented methods of documenting 
domestic violence as a human rights violation 
and shared our various strategies to mobilize 
communities toward change. 

Another exciting aspect about the conference 
was we were able to meet with U.N. as well as 
U.S. officials. The U.N. Special Reporter on 
Violence Against Women, who delivered a very 
poignant speech on the human rights violations 
that women face, informed us in her presenta- 
tion that her second report to the United Nations 
will focus on domestic violence as the number 
one human rights violation that women face 

This gathering of grassroots and governmental 
women from all over the world was a tremen- 
dous opportunity to share and support each 
other and declare our common goal in promot- 
ing women's rights as human rights. Now more 
than ever we value and understand the vital 
importance of grassroots work. Against many 
odds, from all corners of the world women 
gathered to emphasize these points. Their 
presence certainly spoke to their commitment 
and renewed hope for the possibility of change. 
We encourage everyone to join us in implement- 
ing the Platform for Action in this decade, and 
to mark your calenders for a future experience 
of a lifetime and travel with us to the next World 
Conference for Women ten years from now. 

In August 1995, thanks to the sponsorship of the 
Reebok Human Rights Program, Stacey Kabat 
and Marcia Gordon, Executive Director and 
President of Peace At Home, attended the NGO 
Forum for the United Nations Fourth World 
Conference on the Status of Women in Beijing, 


Page 3 

The Victim's Rights Law of 1995 

by Shelagh Lafferty 

Anew Victims Rights Law was 
passed by the Massachusetts 
legislature and became effective 
on August 13, 1995. One of the most 
important provisions in the law relative 
to victims of domestic violence is the 
expansion of the right to present a 
Victim Impact Statement at sentencing. 
In the past, only certain victims were 
able to give Victim Impact Statements. 
The new law expands that right to 
include victims of domestic violence and 
other crimes which causes physical 
injury to a person. For domestic violence 
victims, having the opportunity to 
express the personal impact of abuse 
through a Victim Impact Statement may 
encourage more judges to impose 
appropriate sentences on abusers and 
take necessary protective measures to 
enhance the victim's safety. 

Another important change in the law is 
the right of victims to request confidenti- 
ality in the criminal justice system for 
themselves and their family members. If 
the court approves a victim's request for 
confidentiality, no law enforcement 
agency, prosecutor, defense attorney or 
parole, probation and corrections official 
is permitted to disclose or state in open 
court the residential address, telephone 
number or place of employment or 
school of a victim or a victim's family 
members. For domestic violence victims 
who may have relocated or are con- 
cerned about threats to themselves and 
their family, this provision can limit an 
abuser's access to this critical informa- 

The law also mandates that prosecutors 
meet with victims before key stages in 
the criminal proceedings, including the 
start of the case, a case dismissal, and 
the sentencing recommendation. The 
prosecutor is also required to confer 
with the victim whenever a defense 

motion has been made to obtain any 
confidential records of the victim, such 
as counseling or psychiatric records. In 
addition, the prosecutor must now note 
the victim's position on the sentence 
recommendation, if known, to the judge. 
These meetings will promote greater 
communication between the victim and 
the prosecutor and ensure that the 
victim's views and needs are considered. 
It will also help to assure that the 
prosecutor has all information regarding 
the true nature and consequences of a 
crime, and that the victim has a clear 
understanding of what punishment the 
offender may receive and why. For many 
domestic violence victims, these added 
protections may mean the difference 
between going forward with or dropping 
criminal charges. 

Similarly, the victim now has the 
right to meet with the probation 
officer prior to the probation 
officer's filing of a full presentance 
report. If the victim does not meet with a 
probation officer, probation officers are 
required to note in the report the reason 
why contact did not occur. Again, 
communication with victims will help to 
ensure that probation officers have a 
more complete view of the victim's 
emotional, physical and financial 
injuries and be better able to assess 
whether a defendant would be an 
appropriate candidate for probation. 

Other responsibilities toward victims 
created for probation officers under the 
new law include: 1) the right to be 
provided with a copy of the conditions 
of probation, including a payment 
schedule for restitution within thirty 
days, along with the name and telephone 
number of the probation officer assigned 
to supervise the defendant; 2) notifica- 
tion to victims whenever a defendant 
who has been ordered to pay restitution 

is seeking to modify the order; and 3) 
the right to be heard at the modification 
hearing. In the past, victims often 
found out that a restitution order had 
been reduced or vacated only after a 
scheduled restitution payment had not 
been made. 

Finally, the law imposes a new 
requirement on correctional 
facilities and other custodial 
authorities, including the Department 
of Youth Services, to provide notice of 
an offender's release in advance to 
victims who have made a prior request. 
For domestic violence victims, advance 
notification will enable victims who 
fear reprisals from an abuser to take 
any necessary safety precautions. The 
law also expands the existing notifica- 
tion requirements to include, upon the 
victim's request, advance notification 
of an offender's movement from a 
secure correctional facility to a less 
secure one. Victims wanting advance 
notification of an offender's release 
should contact the District Attorney's 
Office or the Criminal History Systems 

The Massachusetts Office for Victim 
Assistance has produced a brochure for 
victims outlining the new provisions of 
the Victim Bill of Rights. In addition, a 
comprehensive handbook for victims. 
entitled A Guide to Rights and Services 
for Crime Victims in Massachusetts. 
will soon be available to help crime 
victims better understand the prosecu- 
tion process, other aspects of the 
criminal justice system, and their rights 
as victims. 

For more information, contact 
Shelagh Lafferty at the Massachu- 
setts Office for Victim Assistance at 
(617) 727-5200 

Page 4 





Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 

The Executive Office of Public Safety will be issuing Violence Against 
Women Act Grant applications on November 1 . Deadline for applica- 
tion is November 30, 1995. Awards will be announced in December 
1995. For Further information contact Rai Kowal at 617-727-6300 ext. 


Attorney General Scott Harshbarger's Office 
will hold a SCORE conference at the Park Plaza 
Hotel on November 2 & 3, 1995. SCORE is a 
teen violence, peer mediation program. For 
more information, contact Sheila Martin at 

Annual Statewide Conference 

The second Annual Statewide Prosecutor, 
Advocate, Police Domestic Violence Confer- 
ence will take place at the Seacrest Resort in 
North Falmouth on November 9 & 10, 1995. 

For more information, contact the Massachu- 
setts District Attorney's Association at 617- 



SAFEPLAN Massachusetts 

SAFEPLAN Massachusetts, the Commission- 
supported civil court advocacy project began in 
Hampshire County on September 1 1, 1995. 
SAFEPLAN Advocates are assisting victims of 
domestic violence with 209A paperwork, safety 
planning and community resource referrals in 
Ware District Court, Northampton District Court 
and Hampshire Probate and Family Court. 

209A Forms 

New 209A petition forms are in use as of October 
1995. The forms were developed by a team that 
included Commission members. A video tape and 
manual explaining the forms have been produced 
by the Judicial Institute. 

For more information, contact Erica Bronstein at 
the Judicial Institute, 61 7-742-8383 

Domestic Violence Awareness 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness 
Month. While many events have taken place, 
these two were brought to our attention*: 

-October 15, 1995, the Jane Doe Walk for 
Women's Safety took place. Over four thou- 
sand people took part, raising over $280,000 for 
the Jane Doe Safety Fund. 

-October 17, 1995, the 5th Annual Domestic 
Violence Police Training was conducted by the 
Attorney General's Office. 

To have an upcoming or recently conducted event listed, please contact either Rai Kowal (617-727- 
6300, ext.305) or Marilee Kenney Hunt (617-727-5200) 


Page 5 


Commission Leg ' sla ™e 

The Legislative Subcommittee has continued to track bills which are 
important to the Commission, including aggravated assault and presump- 
tion of custody bills. We are hopeful that the coming months will bring 
passage of an elder assault and neglect law, a law to ensure the confidenti- 
ality of victim's services and centers, and an aggravated assault statute. 
Several other bills are still being reviewed by Judiciary Committee and the 
Criminal Justice Committee, and we are urging the Chairs to take action on 
those bills. 



Goals for 1995-1996 
Teen-Dating Violence 

-Designing a model restraining order attachment which would address 
teenagers' lifestyles and patterns when designing safety-plans. 
-Developing model protocols and policies for schools and colleges in 
reporting dating violence. 

-Working with the Batter Intervention Subcommittee on developing 
guidelines for working with adolescent offenders. Also, developing a 
mechanism for training more male outreach workers for male teenagers 
on issues of relationship violence. 

-Sharing promising practices and resources with schools that develop 
from the model school-based teen-dating violence intervention programs 
beginning this fall, as well as evaluation and research from other schools 
and programs addressing these issues. 

-Recruiting people from Northeastern university program to develop more 
college-based programs. 

Health Care 

-Developing training for clinicians on risk-management, possibly tying it 
to CEU credits. 

-Developing guidelines for clinicians on handling health care for the 
abusers, as well as the abused. 
-Developing further Roundtable guidelines. 

-Collaborating with the health care providers group. C.O.B.T.H.. the 
Conference on Boston Teaching Hospitals on some special projects. 

Community Education 

-Doing further awareness seminars for the media. 
-Working closer with the Batterer Intervention Subcommittee on the 
Commission and doing joint projects. 

-Placing information and resources for victims of domestic violence in 
women's public bathrooms in hospitals and universities, as well as with 
beauticians and other places in which women are likely to be alone. 
-Packets of information to women seeking restraining orders. 
-Garnering and distributing more information on the effects of domestic 
violence on children as a means of helping mothers look for help. 

The Newsletter Working Group welcomes contributions for the 
Winter issue. Please call or send in ideas for articles to the editor 
as soon as possible. 

Page 6 




RCCM Fitchburg Office 

Fitchburg, MA 
Business: 508-343-5683 
Hotline 1-800-870-5905 

New Hope 
BUSINESS: 508-226-4016 4015 
HOTLINE 508-695-2113 

North Shore Rape Crisis Center 

BUSINESS: 508-927-4506 
HOTLINE: 1-800-992-8722 

Assabet Valley Rape Crisis 

BUSINESS: 508-481-8290 

Women's Resource Center 


BUSINESS: 508-585-2480 
HOTLINE: 800-400-4700 

RC Services of Greater Lowell 

BUSINESS: 508-452-7721 
HOTLINE: 800-542-5212 

A Safe Place 

BUSINESS: 508-228-0561 
HOTLINE: 508-228-2111 

Martha's Vineyard-Comm Services 

BUSINESS: 508-693-7900 
HOTLINE: 508-696-SAFE 

Stanley Street Treatment & Resources 

BUSINESS: 508-675-0087 
HOTLINE: 508-575-0087 

New Bedford Women's Center 

BUSINESS: 508-996-3343 

Rape Crisis of Berkshire County 

BUSINESS: 413-442-6708 
HOTLINE: 413-528-9434 

Women's Protective Ser- 


BUSINESS: 508-820-0834 
HOTLINE: 508-626-8686 

CPASA Multi Service 

BUSINESS: 617-427-4470 X350 
HOTLINE: 617-442-6300 

RCCCM Worcester 

BUSINESS: 508-791-9545 
HOTLINE: 508-799-5700 

Everywomen's Center 

BUSINESS: 413-545-5832 
HOTLINE: 413-545-0800 


BUSINESS: 413-732-3121 
HOTLINE: 413-733-7100 

Boston Area Rape Crisis 

BUSINESS: 617-492-8306 
HOTLINE: 617-492-RAPE 

Blackstone Valley RCT 


BUSINESS: 508-478-8775 
HOTLINE: 508-478-2992 


BUSINESS: 413-772-0871 
HOTLINE: 413-772-0806 

Independence House 

BUSINESS: 508-771-6507 
HOTLINE: 800-439-6507 

Plymouth County Rape 
Crisis Center 

BUSINESS: 508-580-3964 
HOTLINE: 508-588-8255 

Executive Office of Public Safety 

Programs Division 

100 Cambridge Street, Room 2100 

Boston, MA 02202 

William F. Weld 

Argeo Paul Cellucci 

Lt. Governor 

Kathleen M. O'Toole 

Secretary of Public Safety 

Jonathan M. Petuchowski 

Executive Director 

Executive Office of Public Safety 

Programs Division 

Rai Kowal 

Managing Editor 

Contributing Editors 

Stacey Kabat 


Rhiana Kohl 


Martlee Kenney Hunt 

David Bratton 

Layout and Design 

TJiQRUM is a periodical of the Execu- 

M. tive Office of Public Safety, Programs 
Division, published in collaboration with 
the Governor's Commission on Domestic 

Its purpose is to provide a forum for dis- 
cussion and serve as a clearinghouse for 
information on the issues addressing the 
declared public emergency of domestic 
violence. We welcome your comments 
and story contributions to FORUM. 

The views and opinions expressed in 
FORUM are those of the individual 
authors and do not necessarily reflect 
the views of the Commission. 


Page 7 

vl995 y 


Violence Against Women 
Formula Grants 



1 995 


In June 1995, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety was awarded $426,324 by 
the Violence Against Women Program, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, 
to implement the 1995 S.T.O.P. Program. The Program is authorized under the 1994 Violence 
Against Women Act. 

The purpose of the S.T.O.P. Program (Services , Training # Officers* Prosecutors) is to develop 
and implement effective law enforcement, victims services, prosecution and court strategies to 
combat violent crimes against women. Grant applications will be made available NOVEMBER 
1, 1995 from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety Programs Division. Deadline 
for grants submission is Thursday, November 30, 1995. Questions regarding the grant process 
can be directed to Programs Director Rai Kowal at 617-727-6300 ext. 305. 


Executive Office of Public Safety 
Programs Division 
100 Cambridge Street, Room 2100 
Boston, Massachusetts 02202