Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Civil Legal Assistance Program

January, 2011 marks the 10 year anniversary of the Hope House Civil Legal Assistance Program. 

In January, 2001, Hope House hired a full-time paralegal and began contracting with a full-time attorney, Mary Weir, to represent victims of domestic violence in civil legal matters.  Over the last ten years the legal program has represented thousands of women in obtaining orders of protection, custody of their children, child support, divorces, name changes, and in other civil legal matters. 

Throughout this ten year period, the program has been primarily funded from a grant through the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).  However, there were actually two years when the OVW funding didn’t come through and Hope House, recognizing the immense need for direct legal services, managed to continue the program on its own. 

While Ms. Weir has continued on as the contract attorney over the ten year period, there were also times when the funding permitted Hope House to expand the program to two full-time attorneys and extra support staff.  Hope House is happy to announce that we are in the process of once again adding a second attorney and our paralegal of eight years, Shannon Pollard, continues in her full-time position. 

In addition to the direct legal representation the legal program provides, the contract attorney also successfully argued to the Missouri Supreme Court in 2004 for the protection of the identity and records of all persons served by domestic violence agencies in Missouri.

Frequently, the legal program receives comments or letters from women expressing their gratitude for helping them obtain safety, security and empowerment in the face of a daunting legal system.  We know that this program has not only changed women and children's lives, it has saved them.     

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stalking Awareness Month

January 2011 marks the 8th annual Stalking Awareness Month. During the month of January programs will bring awareness to the issue of stalking and what people can do to stop it.

3.4 million people are stalked in this country each year. Often the perception is that it is celebrities that are stalked by crazed fans. While this does happen, it is not the majority of stalking cases. Three out of four victims know their stalker. Nearly one third of victims are stalked by a current or former spouse or girl/boy friend.

The impact of stalking takes many forms but the emotional and physical toll on the victims is tremendous. The constant threat of someone following you, watching your moves and threatening you places a heavy toll on stalking victims. People who are stalked are always afraid and constantly looking over their shoulders. It is difficult to find peace and rest when fear is always present.

  • 46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next.
  • 29% of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop.
  • The prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if the stalking involves being followed or having one’s property destroyed.
  • 2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily.
  • 78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach.
If you know someone who is being stalked or you are a victim, there are resources available. A great resource is the Stalking Resource Center at and also at As always, Hope House can help answer questions and assist with safety planning. Our 24-hour hotline 816-461-HOPE (4673) is always available.
Source: The Stalking Resource Center. (June 2009) Stalking Fact Sheet 2Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (1998). Stalking in America: Findings from the National Violence Against Women survey. National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Research in Brief. Washington, DC: U.S. Department

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Go Green

How can you have a direct and positive impact on the lives of thousands of women and children you may never meet? By going green, you can give green (funds) to support the daily operations of Hope House.

We have partnered with Global Re-Source Funding (GRF) and we’re delighted to offer the opportunity for businesses, schools, churches and other organizations to collect recyclables to support our services and programs for victims of domestic violence.

By collecting inkjet and laser/toner cartridges, cell phones, laptops, GPS devices, digital cameras and iPods, you will be raising money to help Hope House create a safe environment and supportive services for the thousands of  victims of domestic violence who take advantage of these services each year.

The best part of this program is that you can support Hope House simply by asking for a donation of items (not cash!) that most people discard anyway. Your impact can be substantial. Here’s a partial list of the donation Hope House can receive for your recyclables:

Inkjet cartridge: $4
Toner/laser cartridge: $12
Laptop: $35
Cell phones/iPods: $100

GRF provides free recycle bins and marketing materials. They will deliver the bin(s) to you, and will pick them up when they’re full. It couldn’t be easier for you to help us!

Simply contact Lee at Hope House at 816-257-9363 or, or go to GRF’s website ( to sign up directly.

From all of us at Hope House and Global Re-Source Funding, thank you for going green and giving green (cash, through GRF’s donation back to Hope House!) to support our mission to break the cycle of domestic violence.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Workplace Violence

I receive regular email updates from the Family Violence Prevention Fund ( which is a great resource for people who are interested in ending the cycle of domestic violence.

One of the recent updates I received talked about the new initiative launched by President Obama and Vice President Biden called Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center.

This center is a new resource that will assist employers in their quest to ensure the safety of their employees. The center was formed by a partnership of seven national organizations led by the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF), and funded by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).

The center has a website for employers to get current information, resources and tools to assist in creating policies that will protect their employees. Often employers seek assistance after an employee has been murdered, as they are trying to determine what went wrong and what they might have been able to do to prevent the murder. This new resource is a valuable tool to employers, and hopefully will help to prevent future domestic violence attacks/murders.

If you are an employer, I encourage you to visit the website of the Center ( where you can take a quiz to find out how much you know about violence and its effects on the workplace. Then read more about domestic violence and find out about the resources that are available that will help you maintain a safe environment for everyone.

I believe this new tool is one more step in the direction of ending the cycle of domestic violence and giving everyone the opportunity to live a life free of violence. It takes many concerned individuals to truly make an impact and this new resource provides valuable tools for people to get involved and to make a difference.

I appreciate the hard work the Family Violence Prevention Fund and the other organizations put into this initiative and know we will have positive outcomes because of it.