FVAP October 2014 e-newsletter
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  See how FVAP is raising awareness in this issue of our bi-monthly newsletter.

In this issue: 

  • FVAP's winning streak continues with two more appellate victories
  • Join us for a Story Slam, "Verse vs. Violence," on October 11
  • This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Intercept DV
  • Governor Brown signs bill providing legal protections for survivors of DV
  • Our take on the NFL

FVAP's Success in Court Continues

Our strategy and hard work are paying off.  We won two more cases last month that will provide important protections to our clients.

In the first case, our client's request for a renewed restraining order was denied by the trial court despite a history of serious physical abuse.  The Court of Appeal agreed with us that just because there haven't been further incidents of abuse while the restraining order is in place isn't a reason not to renew the restraining order.  In fact, it shows that the restraining order worked and is a reason to renew it.  Also, a domestic violence survivor need only show a reasonable fear of any kind of abuse to renew a restraining order -- the fear doesn't need to be of physical abuse.  This is important because there are many types of abuse besides physical abuse, and survivors deserve protection from all forms of abuse.  We are thrilled that this case is published and will help scores of domestic violence survivors across California obtain renewals of their restraining orders.

In the second case, in what is distressingly typical behavior on the part of abusers, our client's ex-boyfriend repeatedly emailed, texted, and called our client, accusing her of serious criminal conduct and threatening to jeopardize her professional license and turn her into the police.  He also tried to attack her credibility at trial with incorrect and inappropriate accusations that she was mentally ill and engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior.  After our client bravely endured these attacks, the Court of Appeal agreed that what she experienced was “abuse” under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, and that even if successful, the attempted attacks on her credibility would not have prevented a restraining order from being issued because the abuser's conduct clearly constituted abuse under the law.

Thank you very much to our pro bono co-counsel in these cases, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Jones Day, and to the amazing attorneys at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA and Bay Area Legal Aid who co-counseled the appeals and ably represented the clients in the trial courts.

For links to these cases and more information about FVAP's legal victories and our other work, click here.


Join Us for "Verse Versus Violence," a Story Slam, on October 11

It doesn't matter your zip code or your income - domestic violence threatens the health and lives of our neighbors and family members. Sadly, as we have seen in the news recently, it's one of the common realities we all share.

This Saturday, we will break the silence.

Our friends at Oakland City Church are hosting a story slam to raise awareness and shed light on this issue in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  This will be a powerful and positive night, as we gather stories of survivors and others who are making a difference in their community - through spoken word, song, dance, and personal vignettes.

When:  Saturday, October 11, 8:00-9:30 p.m.
Where:  Oakland City Church, 
2735 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, California
What:  "Verse Versus Violence" Story Slam, followed by a reception with light hors d'oeuvres
Tickets:  No advance tickets are needed.  Suggested $5-20 sliding donation at the door


October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

We’ve seen unprecedented national attention to domestic violence in the news over the last few weeks.  According to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, this prompted a 37% spike in calls from California domestic violence survivors seeking assistance from the National Domestic Violence Hotline between September 7th and 8th.  This shows that raising awareness works.  At FVAP, one of our core values is awareness because we believe that raising awareness of the issues associated with domestic violence will reduce its incidence in our communities.

This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, be part of the solution by raising awareness of the problem of domestic violence.  We can all play a powerful role in modeling healthy relationships.  Here are a few suggestions of how you can help:
  • Engage in conversations with your friends and family about why you do not tolerate family violence
  • Intercept and intervene in abusive relationships
  • Contact your local domestic violence provider to volunteer or donate
  • Join the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence's #InterceptDV challenge
  • Wear a purple ribbon during October
  • Write a letter to the editor about domestic violence prevention, intervention, or healing
Together we can change the conversation and in the process, change lives.

Governor Brown Signs Bill Strengthening Legal Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors

FVAP thanks California Governor Jerry Brown for signing AB 2089 on September 26, 2014, a bill that provides increased legal protections for survivors of domestic violence.  In collaboration with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and numerous DV organizations throughout the state, FVAP worked for over a year to draft the legislation.

The bill provides that the length of time since the last incident of abuse is not, by itself, determinative of whether a survivor of domestic violence should receive a restraining order.  This is important because we had seen some courts imposing arbitrary "cut-offs" for how recent an incident of abuse must be before they would issue restraining orders.  But domestic violence survivors need and deserve protection even if the last abusive incident was before these arbitrary dates.

The bill also provides that courts must state their reasons for denying restraining orders either in writing or on the record.  Before, courts could simply say "denied," and survivors of domestic violence had little or no information about why their protections were denied, and accordingly no information about what to do differently the next time.  

FVAP is thrilled that this bill passed through the Legislature and was signed into law by the Governor, and we will be monitoring its implementation in the courts in the months and years to come.

Domestic Violence and the NFL

Much has been said about domestic violence and the NFL in recent weeks.  The NFL Is uniquely situated with the power and responsibility to influence our culture and help change the conversation surrounding domestic violence.  FVAP joins in solidarity with over 1,200 of our sister domestic violence organizations throughout the country in calling on the NFL to invest heavily in a long-term, comprehensive community engagement and prevention campaign to change the culture in order to end violence against women and girls.  

FVAP signed a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell encouraging him to use the NFL's powerful position in the community to launch a comprehensive media campaign raising awareness of and denouncing domestic violence, engaging players in the fight against domestic violence, investing in national, state, and local prevention programs, and being a model for other professional sports leagues in combating domestic violence.

We also sent a letter to our local NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers, encouraging them to take similar steps.  And Legal Director Nancy Lemon appeared on The Game radio station, 95.7, on September 9.  

Join us in encouraging the NFL to take a leadership role in ending domestic violence.

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