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Avon Program Leads Effort to Help Victims

30June
2012

Most efforts to aid victims of domestic violence usually come into play long after the initial abuse has happened and the victim has no options left.  The Avon Program for Women and Justice at the O’Connor House is working to change this pattern. 

Lucia Howard, the founding co-chair of the program, works with law enforcement, attorneys and members of the community to change the options for domestic violence victims.

Howard said that “Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is very committed to a lot of women’s causes and she brought up focusing on domestic violence.”  Domestic violence incidents are the greater portion of 911 calls that police respond to, but there is very little effort in curbing the domestic violence in the area.

The Avon Foundation recently gave $100,000 to fund domestic violence projects in Arizona.  The program was established in 2009 with a $250,000 grant by Avon to not only raise awareness, but to improve systems dealing with issues of justice and equality for women.  The new funds will be used to streamline the protective-order process, train volunteer lawyers and victim advocates, and also to conduct a public-awareness campaign called “Speak Out Against Domestic Violence.”

Apache Junction Police Chief Jerald Monahan heads the program’s Order of Protection Task Force, which aims to simplify the process of filing protection orders so the orders can be served quickly.  Another aspect the task force is working on is that of communication among law enforcement agencies so information about both victims and abusers can be transferred efficiently.

Family-law attorney DeShon Pullen mentors attorneys undergoing domestic violence training, in order that they can better represent the victims of domestic violence.  Pullen stated that these types of cases are trickier than most as “many victims do not want to testify in open court as they feel both ashamed and intimidated.”

Howard said that she has received a lot of positive feedback from both attorneys and law-enforcement personnel, and she is hoping the community will support the cause and hopefully become involved in reducing domestic violence in Arizona.

Posted in Domestic Violence |
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Arizona Father’s Brain Tumor May Have Caused Murder-Suicide

12June
2012

Can a brain tumor be the blame for a tragic  murder-suicide of an Arizona family or is it another case of extreme domestic violence?   Authorities will probably never know the answer to these questions.

Last week, a burned out SUV was found in the desert in Pinal County, Arizona, in an area that is used frequently for the smuggling of illegal aliens and drugs.  The case was in the national news at first as Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu claimed the bodies were related to Mexican drug trafficking and then used the case to criticize border security actions of the present federal administration.  Authorities were later able to confirm the bodies were that of James Butwin, his wife Yafit, and their three children Malissa, Daniel, and Matthew.

Although authorities have found evidence in the Butwin’s home that leads them to believe it could be a murder-suicide, friends of the family cannot believe that James Butwin would do something so horrible as this crime unless his brain tumor led him to kill his family.  Butwin was described by friends as “one of the nicest guys.”  One 15-year-old friend of Daniel’s stated that “the whole thing had to be his illness.”  A neighbor also stated that the Butwins were “an amazing family with so much heart.”

Even if James Butwin was one of the nicest guys, he still could have snapped under the strain of going through a divorce and battling a brain tumor at the same time.  Butwin had been asked to move out of his house, but refused to do so and continued to live there until the family’s end.  Even “an amazing family with so much heart” has major issues that can erupt in violence.

On Wednesday of last week, a Jewish grief service was held at Temple Emanuel and more than 600 mourners participated in the service.  Funerals for the members of the Butwin family will be held at a later date.

Posted in Domestic Violence |
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Rural Domestic Violence Services Network

20May
2012

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that includes the use or threat of violence and intimidation for the purpose of gaining power and control over another person.  Violence is characterized by:  Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Economic Abuse, Isolation, Emotional Abuse, Control, or Verbal Abuse.

According to the Arizona Chapter of the American Medical Association, studies indicate that two million women are assaulted by their partners each year, though experts believe that number to be closer to four million.  Domestic violence has devastating effects on families and is often generational.

In rural areas of Arizona, victims of domestic violence may not have ready access to services due to isolation and long distances between available domestic violence safe homes or shelters.

The Arizona Department of Health Services receives federal funds from the Family Violence Prevention and Service Act for the prevention of domestic violence.  In Arizona, these funds are used primarily to provide services to the rural areas of the state utilizing Rural Safe Home Networks and to support the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  These organizations fund six safe houses, operate domestic violence hotlines, and provide domestic violence victims and their children with temporary, emergency safe shelter, peer counseling, case management and advocacy.

What has the Program Achieved?  Between October 2009 and September 2010, the Rural Domestic Violence Service Network received $1,817,640 in funds.  Eight safe home contractors and six safe homes were funded during that fiscal year, with 95% of the dollars spent on shelter and related assistance.  435 women and 469 children were sheltered during the year, with 120 persons being turned away because shelter was unavailable.  9,769 individual peer counseling hours and 1,076 group counseling hours were provided to persons in shelters.  18,853 community members participated in 815 public awareness presentations.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please seek assistance immediately.

 

Posted in Domestic Violence |
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