Thursday, September 30, 2010

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

We are celebrating the 16th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA). It is a federal law that was first signed by President Clinton on September13, 1994. VAWA was reauthorized by Congress in 2000, and again in December 2005. It is up for reauthorization in 2011.

VAWA was developed as a result of concerned groups of prosecutors, law enforcement, victim advocates and the courts coming together and urging Congress to adopt legislation that would address the issue of domestic violence. Since it originally passed in 1994, the focus has expanded from domestic violence to include dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

The intent of VAWA is to improve the way communities work together to address the issue of domestic violence. It was adopted to combine new penalties to prosecute offenders while also implementing programs to address the victim’s needs.

By requiring a coordinated community response (CCR), VAWA makes communities talk to each other and work together to ensure there is a safety net of services provided for victims and a coordinated response to the perpetrator.

This CCR is actually one of the greatest successes of VAWA. This type of collaboration didn’t exist before and the needs of the victims of domestic violence were not being addressed as quickly and efficiently as they are now.

We have always known that domestic violence is not a family issue. It is a community issue and it takes the entire community working together to really make a difference in the lives of those impacted by domestic violence. Thank you to our members of Congress who continue to understand and support the needs of victims by the continued passage and support of VAWA. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Howlin' for Hope

We have all kinds of events every year to raise funds to support Hope House services, but Howlin’ for Hope is probably the most fun. We’ll spend the afternoon at Howl at the Moon in the Power & Light District, and be wowed by “the World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Dueling Piano Show.”

Howl at the Moon is a total entertainment experience where the piano players and staff not only entertain the guests - the guests become part of the show. This totally fun event will have you singing and dancing with everyone in the room. We’ll also have a live auction.

The fun starts at 3PM on Sunday, October 3 (no Chiefs’ game that day!) and goes until 6PM. Tickets are $25 and include 2 drink tickets. Visit our website to purchase tickets in advance, because this event sells out ever year!

You must be 21 years or older to attend this event. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


United Way kicked off its fundraising campaign on September 8 at the Westin Crown Center. It is now campaign time for companies and partnering United Way agencies. UW is working hard to make sure that agencies have the resources available to provide the critical services being offered in our area. Hope House is proud to be a partner agency with United Way and will work hard to ensure that the campaign is successful.

Hope House receives approximately 6% of our budget from United Way. This is through the allocation process and from those donors that designate their giving to our agency. It is imperative that the campaign is successful so that agencies like Hope House can continue to receive the crucial funding for our programs.

United Way has gone through many changes over the past couple of years and is truly committed to making change happen in our community. The changes have been positive and thoughtful and will positively impact our community.

If you work for a company that does a United Way campaign, congratulations - you are making a difference. If you are not, please consider starting a workplace campaign.  United Way makes it easy, and agencies like Hope House are available to visit your workplace and present information about our programs and what being a partner with United Way means for our agency. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Safe Family Coalition

Domestic violence and child abuse often occur together. Before 2001 there were many agencies that addressed each of these problems as separate issues. At times, these agencies seemed to work against each other, potentially putting women and children in greater danger of harm.

To address this problem, the Jackson County Safe Family Coalition (SFC) was formed. Their mission is to provide a coordinated community response to child abuse and domestic violence that will provide safety, enhance well-being, and provide stability for children and families.

SFC is made up of the many agencies that are involved when domestic violence and child abuse occur together:

• child protection workers
• adult and family courts
• county and city prosecutors
• judges
• domestic violence shelters
• law enforcement
• probation and parole
• social workers
• mental health services providers

SFC has challenged all of the participating agencies to look at our systems and change operations with the SFC mission as a guide. The best way to keep children safe is to keep the non-offending parent safe. This is accomplished by:

• Holding the perpetrator accountable for their actions.
• Providing meaningful help, support, and services for families who are experiencing child abuse and domestic violence.
• Providing legal interventions and services that stop violence and abuse.

SFC has committed to educate agencies and their staffs about resources that are available when they recognize cases of domestic violence with child abuse. SFC also seeks to engage the community by creating awareness about the need to provide a comprehensive array of services that will respond to the unique strengths and concerns of families.

Hope House has been a proud partner of this coalition and will continue coming to the table to keep children and the non-offending parent safe. We are very grateful that so many partners have joined us to make a difference in our communities.

For more information about the Safe Family Coalition, please visit their website

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Survivor Treatment Group

Hope House offers a 12 week Survivor Treatment Group to battered women who are out of their abusive relationships for at least three months and attempting to put their lives back together. 

Abusers’ tactics of verbal and emotional abuse reinforce a negative perception of self. The victim begins to see herself as her abuser defines her. She loses her self-identity. The focus of the Survivor Treatment Group is the recovery of a sense of self. We help the client to define her own beliefs, validate her own feelings and develop a healthy regard for her self worth. This allows the client to transform herself from victim to survivor to thriver.

There are five topics addressed with two weeks devoted to each topic. Participants explore issues in their own lives relating to the topic discussed.

Week 1: “I’m Okay, You’re Okay.” A look at power and control in abusive relationships.  Why does it happen? How does it happen?

Week 3: “How Did this Happen to Me?” A look at our own personalities. Where did we get our life ‘tapes’? How did my ‘tapes’ allow me to remain in an abusive relationship?

Week 5: “Whose Fence is this Anyway?”  Establishing healthy boundaries. A look at what boundaries really are and what role they play in establishing and maintaining healthy relationships.

Week 7: “The Secret to it All – Loving Myself.” A look at self-esteem. How do I get there? Tools to help me stop beating myself up.

Week 9: “Letting the World Know I Love Myself.” A look at assertiveness and tools for healthy communication.

Week 11: “Putting it all Together – Letting it all Go.” Putting all the previous information together to let go of the past and start over with power in the present moment.

To get more information about joining this group, call our hotline at 816-461-HOPE (4673).