News Archives

Monday, April 10, 2017 by Action Alliance


The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, on behalf of domestic violence advocates across the Commonwealth, thanks Governor Terry McAuliffe for vetoing HB 1852 & HB 1853 (Del Gilbert) & SB 1299 & SB 1300 (Sen Vogel). These pieces of legislation would have further weakened the Commonwealth’s gun safety laws and put domestic violence victims at greater risk. The Action Alliance opposed the proposed bills because they perpetuated the dangerous fiction that guns in the hands of victims of domestic violence would prevent further violence. In fact, access to guns is the strongest risk factor for victims of domestic violence to be killed by an intimate partner.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017 by Action Alliance


RICHMOND--Sexual and domestic violence victim advocates across Virginia descended on Virginia’s General Assembly today for an annual Legislative Advocacy Day to educate lawmakers about a number of bills seeking to prevent sexual and domestic violence and/or ameliorate the effects of violence on survivors. Many victim advocates across Virginia were disappointed to learn that Senator Vogel and Delegate Gilbert re-filed SB 1299 and HB 1852 and to learn of the subsequent passage of Senate Bill 1299 yesterday, despite opposition and serious concerns for victim safety raised by victim advocates.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016 by Action Alliance

Sexual and Domestic Violence Coalition Hosts Conference Addressing Violence Against African-American Communities, Focuses on Racial Justice

The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (Action Alliance), Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and intimate partner violence, hosts this week The Warmth of Other Suns: Multi-Disciplinary Strategies to Prevent and Respond to Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence in African-American Communities. This conference, the first of its kind in Virginia, is bringing together policymakers, movement makers, thought leaders, professionals, advocates, and community members to focus on how to integrate racial justice into work to address and prevent sexual and domestic violence.

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Friday, July 22, 2016 by Action Alliance

Action Alliance to Host Unprecedented Statewide Conference Addressing Violence Against African-American Communities

Richmond, VA – Next month, the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (Action Alliance), Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and intimate partner violence, will host The Warmth of Other Suns: Multi-Disciplinary Strategies to Prevent and Respond to Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence in African-American Communities . This conference, the first of its kind in Virginia, will bring together policymakers, movement makers, thought leaders, professionals, advocates, and community members to create a space for action, change, deep learning, connection and healing.

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Friday, July 08, 2016 by Action Alliance


The Statewide Hotline (formerly The Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline) has expanded access to trained advocates. Effective July 1, 2016, the Statewide Hotline is now operated 24/7/365 in-house through the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and intimate partner violence. The hotline is more than a phone service: chat and text are included, and the service is bilingual Spanish/English with ability to access multiple other languages. The Statewide Hotline provides direct access 24/7/365 to advocates with specialized training in sexual and domestic violence who provide lifesaving, trauma-informed services and practical tools for safety and healing.

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Monday, May 02, 2016 by Action Alliance


The First Lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe, will open a statewide conference this week focused on providing trauma-informed responses to survivors of sexual and domestic violence.The conference,THE HEART IS A MUSCLE: TRAUMA-INFORMED APPROACHES TO SEXUAL & INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE, will be held May 4 & 5 in Charlottesville.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015 by Action Alliance

Governor’s Budget Fails to Address Critical Funding Gap for Sexual Assault Victim Services

The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and domestic violence in Virginia, has appreciated the opportunity to work in partnership with the Governor and his staff toward strengthening Virginia’s response to victims of sexual assault. This morning, when Governor McAuliffe released his 2016-2018 budget, the Action Alliance was disappointed that the Governor’s leadership on sexual violence policy initiatives is not reflected in his fiscal and budgetary priorities.

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Monday, December 14, 2015 by Action Alliance

Coalition Honors Leaders Who Advocate for Survivors of Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence

Richmond, VA – On December 11, the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (Action Alliance), Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and intimate partner violence, honored three leaders who have done extraordinary work to advocate for the needs of survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence: Claire Dunn--a victim advocate from Alexandria with a 30-year history in the work, and Annie Forrest and Claire Wyatt, both recent graduates of the University of Virginia.

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Friday, November 13, 2015 by Action Alliance

Coalition Holds First-Ever Statewide Summit to Eliminate Sexual Violence Against People Incarcerated in Virginia

Richmond, VA – The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (Action Alliance), Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and intimate partner violence, held its first-ever annual statewide summit focused on preventing and eliminating sexual violence against people who are incarcerated.

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Monday, June 15, 2015 by Action Alliance

Action Alliance Recognizes Excellence in Advocacy Through Catalyst Awards

The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (Action Alliance), Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and intimate partner violence, announces eight recipients of the 2015 Catalyst Awards. The Catalyst Awards encompass superior work across eight different categories, including both sexual and domestic violence work, and apply to program staff, community leaders, volunteers, and allied professionals.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2015 by Action Alliance

Robertson School’s Rowena Briones Snags Community Engagement Grant to Evaluate Red Flag Campaign

Rowena Briones, assistant professor of public relations for the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, helped secure a year of funding for The Red Flag Campaign to raise bystander awareness on sexual violence, dating violence and stalking. The efforts of Briones and her team have made it possible to continue the important research that began with a $5000 Avon Foundation for Women grant in the Fall 2014 semester and will continue with a $15,925 community engagement grant starting July 2015.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015 by Action Alliance

Deb Downing to Receive National “Visionary Voice Award” for Leadership in Sexual Assault Prevention

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA- The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), a national expert in sexual violence prevention and response, recognizes Virginian Deb Downing as one of 30 recipients nationwide for the 2015 Visionary Voice Award. The multidisciplinary group of honorees is selected for their outstanding work toward ending sexual violence. The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance nominated Deb Downing for her more than 40 years of volunteer activism and professional work to reduce the incidence of sexual violence and improve the lives of survivors.

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Monday, April 20, 2015 by Action Alliance

Action Alliance Launches Helpline Campaign to Reach LGBTQ Survivors of Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA-- The Action Alliance launches a new campaign this week to encourage members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer) community who have experienced sexual assault or abuse by their intimate partners to seek help and support. The new LGBTQ Helpline Campaign features different expressions of intimate partner violence (IPV) or sexual assault in LGBTQ relationships and encourages people who are experiencing violence in their lives to call the LGBTQ Partner Abuse & Sexual Assault Helpline, a confidential resource offering support, referrals, information, and safety planning.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015 by Action Alliance

Action Alliance Launches #ideserve Campaign to Reach African-American Survivors of Abuse

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA-- The Action Alliance launches a new campaign this week to encourage survivors of abuse to contact the statewide Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline for help. The “#ideserve Campaign” emphasizes essential elements of healthy relationships, and features young women proclaiming that they deserve the following essential elements in their relationships: support, respect, safety, and being heard. The campaign encourages people who are experiencing violence in their lives to call the statewide Hotline. The new campaign is designed to reach an audience of young, African-American women, a community at risk for being targets of intimate partner-associated violence in Virginia.

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Friday, December 19, 2014 by Action Alliance

Federal FY 2015 Budget Provides Critical Funding Increases to Benefit Victims

This week, President Obama signed the Fiscal Year 2015 Funding Bill (called the Cromnibus) which includes vital investments in programs that address domestic and sexual violence, including the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) fund, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). Specifically, the legislation significantly increases the funding released from the VOCA Crime Victims Fund, an an essential source of funding in Virginia for crisis and safety services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.

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Friday, December 05, 2014 by Action Alliance

Action Alliance Releases Key Elements for Effective Policies to Address Campus Sexual Violence

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA--Amidst the flurry of national and statewide conversation about how best to address and prevent sexual assaults on college campuses, the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance (Action Alliance), Virginia’s statewide coalition of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Agencies, today released an outline of best practices in establishing a campus response to sexual assault. The “Key Elements of Effective Policy Addressing Campus Sexual Violence” offer guidelines based on more than 30 years of work with students, campuses, community advocates and national leaders dedicated to building an effective response to sexual assault.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014 by Action Alliance

Action Alliance Executive Director, Kristi VanAudenhove, Recipient of National Award for Excellence

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA--Kristi VanAudenhove, Executive Director of the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, has been named recipient of the 2014 Diane Reese Excellence in Advocacy in the Movement (D.R.E.A.M.) Award by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). The DREAM Award honors excellence in advocacy in the domestic violence movement, and is presented to an individual each year who exhibits outstanding commitment to human dignity, social justice, and advocacy for ending domestic violence.

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Monday, August 18, 2014 by Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

New Issue: Virginia’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Newsletter

Volume 2, Issue 2 of the quarterly Virginia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Newsletter

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Action Alliance

Action Alliance Applauds Legislators’ Commitment to Funding Domestic Violence Crisis Services

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA--The budget passed by Virginia’s General Assembly includes the largest increase ever awarded in new funding for domestic violence victim services. Victim advocates worked tirelessly this session to educate legislators about an $18 million funding gap brought about by 5 years of funding cuts and increased demand for services. The Action Alliance applauds Virginia legislators for listening to victim advocates and working to close those gaps. The new budget provides an additional $1 million in domestic violence services in 2015; and $2.1 million in 2016. The additional $3.1 million included in the state budget will enable Virginia’s local domestic violence agencies to recover from recent cuts in funding and restore lost services. More victims of domestic violence will get the services they need when they make the courageous call to work toward building a violence-free future for themselves and their children.

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Friday, April 25, 2014 by Action Alliance


[RICHMOND, VIRGINIA]--Across the Commonwealth, people are turning their cars into vehicles for change by sporting the Virginia’s newest specialized license plate: "Peace Begins at Home". It's a simple message that reminds us all that violence is preventable. It's a small purchase that can have lasting change. Proceeds from the new “Peace Begins at Home” special license plates will support Virginia's Building Healthy Futures Fund, which will help pay for violence prevention programs to educate Virginia's children about how to have healthy relationships.

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Friday, January 31, 2014 by Action Alliance


House Republicans called for major reforms Thursday to how Virginia funds its domestic and sexual violence intervention, prevention and counseling services and introduced House Bill 1 at a press conference in Richmond. Legislators also announced that the House Budget proposal will include $10.6 million in new funding for domestic and sexual violence treatment and crisis prevention centers. Delegate Barbara Comstock (R-McLean) will serve as Chief Patron and Delegate Chris Peace (R-Hanover) will be the Chief Co-Patron for House Bill 1. House Bill 1 is phase one of a reform process that will streamline existing and new funding for intervention, prevention and counseling services. This legislation dedicates a funding stream for Sexual & Domestic Violence Agencies in order to increase access to the important treatment and crisis services they provide.

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Friday, January 31, 2014 by Action Alliance


RICHMOND, VA--Due to a funding shortfall, two out of three domestic violence victims in Virginia will not find shelter when they need it. But lawmakers in Richmond are on a mission to make necessary services available. They want more funding for sexual and domestic violence services, and want to make it easier to access that funding, all to address an issue with potentially fatal consequences. Four years after Lisette Johnson’s husband attacked her and turned the gun on himself, she says it's her responsibility to speak out. “I almost died,” she said. “I lost two liters of blood. I still have a bullet in my liver.” But Johnson says she doesn’t think the public is aware of how many people are affected by that kind of violence. One in three women will be directly affected by sexual or domestic violence, but local funding is tight, and prevents many from getting help. “A lot of these agencies live grant to grant, and that's no way to survive when you're trying to help other people survive,” said 97th District Delegate Chris Peace (R).

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Thursday, January 30, 2014 by Action Alliance


RICHMOND — House of Delegates Republicans want to put money where their mouths are with symbolically significant House Bill 1, setting up a new funding stream for the state's domestic violence crisis centers. As instances of domestic and sexual assault keep rising, "We need to step up now," said Del. Barbara A. Comstock, R-Fairfax, sponsor of HB1. Stepping up translates to a $10.6 million budget amendment to ease a growing funding problem for Virginia's crisis centers. Nearly half of Virginia's 57 crisis centers can no longer manage round-the-clock access to hotlines or shelters, according to the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013 by Action Alliance


NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Participation is lagging in an anonymous survey geared to learning how big of a problem sexual assault is in the Navy and Marines. The Navy said earlier this month that it had only received about half as many responses as it did to its last survey, conducted in 2011. The current online survey opened on Oct. 15 and closes Jan. 6. Getting sailors to voluntarily fill out the surveys is important to determine how wide a discrepancy there is between the number of sexual assaults that occur and those that are officially reported. The Navy says that in the 2012 fiscal year, more than 10,000 sailors reported that they were victims of unwanted sexual assault. But only 700 formal complaints were filed.

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Friday, December 13, 2013 by Action Alliance


The Virginia Anti-Violence Project is excited to announce a partnership with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance to offer new services for LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence, and stalking in the Greater Richmond area. The recent collaboration of these groups is part of a larger push called the Richmond Area Partnership(RAP) which is made up of seven partners to expand sexual and domestic violence services to the LGBTQ community. Southerners On New Ground,ROSMY, Safe Harbor, Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders, Action Alliance and the Fan Free Clinic are also voices of this partnership. The efforts made by these groups have resulted in Virginia’s first LGBTQ Helpline for Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault. The helpline is aimed to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning callers looking for information or help with a free and confidential telephone service. Communications Director for the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Kate McCord says the helpline could serve to bridge the gap between the LGBTQ community and service providers.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013 by Action Alliance


Every month, Fairfax County Police receive nearly 1,000 domestic calls for service and on average make more than 160 related arrests. That information is listed in a new 2013 annual report prepared for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors by the Domestic Violence Prevention, Policy & Coordinating Council. The council, established by the Board of Supervisors in 2003, is a multidisciplinary group of senior-level public officials and community leaders. “This report, our first ever, highlights the state of domestic violence in Fairfax County as well as our coordinated efforts to prevent and respond to this violence in the county over the past year,” said Fairfax County Attorney and DVPPCC Chairman David P. Bobzien. Statistics in the report are compiled from selected organizations. Both county government agencies and community nonprofit organizations all work to prevent and intervene in cases of domestic violence.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013 by Action Alliance


WARSAW, VIRGINIA – Congressman Rob Wittman, leaders from the Virginia General Assembly, and local leaders gathered at the Administrative Offices of The Haven Shelter and Services, Inc. for a presentation and reception to learn more about the history of the organization, the services it provides throughout the Northern Neck and Essex County, and the challenges it faces in providing such services.

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Friday, December 06, 2013 by Action Alliance


People accused of stalking or domestic violence in Virginia who are subject to a protective ordercannot carry a gun. People convicted of stalking or domestic violence in Virginia can. State Del.-elect Marcus Simon, who represents parts of the greater McLean and Falls Church areas, has pre-filed a bill in Richmond to close what he sees as a loophole. "It's sort of a common-sense protection from folks being retaliated against," Simon told Patch. "We want people to be able to come forward and report domestic violence." Simon's bill would make it a felony for anyone convicted of stalking, sexual battery or assault and battery of a family member that results in serious injury from possessing or carrying a firearm for five years. The bill also provides an avenue for those convicted to petition the court to reinstate their rights.

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013 by Action Alliance


RICHMOND, VIRGINIA--The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and domestic violence, fully supports House Bill 1 (Co-sponsors: Delegate Barbara Comstock and Delegate Chris Peace), which would establish a Sexual and Domestic Violence Subfund at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund (CICF). Senator Janet Howell and Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel are co-sponsoring companion legislation in the Senate. The new Subfund will be a repository for existing and new funding, and is intended to streamline what is currently an inefficient and burdensome funding structure for Virginia’s 53 Sexual and Domestic Violence Crisis Centers.

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Friday, November 22, 2013 by Action Alliance


A University of Virginia group is trying to promote awareness about gender violence at the school. To get the word out, they're calling on students to come up with a creative campaign. The UVA Women's Center Sexual and Domestic Violence Services is teaming up with the Avon Foundation for this challenge. They're asking students to create a 30 second PSA and a social media campaign that promotes gender violence prevention. The winning team will get cash, and a chance to see their work in action.

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