Domestic Violence Survivors Receive More Than 100 Prepaid Phones

Note: This press release is also available in Spanish.

Attorney General highlights domestic violence awareness amid emergency orders

 Attorney General Kathy Jennings and the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence announced Monday that more than 100 cell phones with prepaid calls, texts, and data will be made available to Delaware domestic violence survivors as the result of a public-private-nonprofit collaboration between the Delaware Department of Justice, the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and industry donors.

“You don’t need to stay home if home isn’t safe,” said Attorney General Jennings. “The tragic reality is that while home is the safest place for most of us during this pandemic, the opposite is true for victims of domestic violence or child abuse who feel trapped and silenced by their abusers. Our number one priority is saving lives, and connecting survivors with these cell phones puts a resource in their hands that can help them start to rebuild the life they deserve.”

Prepaid phones offer a measure of privacy, protection, and independence to survivors who may feel economically trapped in an abusive situation because of reliance on an abuser’s phone plan. They also ensure that survivors’ activity—including calls for help—are not reflected in abuser’s monthly cell phone plans and equip survivors with a vital tool as they rebuild their lives.

“DCADV is so grateful to Delaware’s Attorney General, Kathy Jennings, for her advocacy for victims of domestic violence,” Sue Ryan, Executive Director of the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “The availability of safe phones is a critical resource for connecting victims of domestic violence to supportive services.”

Phones will be distributed throughout the state to victim advocates and made available to victims as needed.

The announcement comes amid a larger set of domestic violence and child abuse awareness campaigns by nonprofits like DCADV and state agencies including the DOJ, the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families (DSCYF), and the Delaware Courts’ Office of the Child Advocate.

Delaware’s State of Emergency has not interrupted the availability of resources for survivors, including Protection from Abuse court orders; shelter, hotels or other emergency housing; advocates and attorneys to assist petitioners through the Family Court process; and social workers and counselors in a variety of different agencies. The following 24-hour hotlines are also available:

  • New Castle County: (302) 762-6110
  • Kent & Sussex County: (302) 422-8058
  • Español: (302) 745-9874

A complete listing of services is available at dcadv.org. Information on protections through the Courts are available at courts.delaware.gov/family or (302) 255-0300. Police-based Victim Service staff are also available to address the needs of crime victims.  More information and phones numbers can be found at dsp.delaware.gov/victim-services.


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DOVER — Nearly one in four women, and one in nine men, will experience domestic violence, in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Delaware, that translates to 136,000 women and approximately 108,000 men who have been impacted. As October draws to a close, the Division of Public Health (DPH) is highlighting Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the long-term health impacts of this important social issue.

Victims of domestic violence, including women, men and children, suffer more than the immediate physical and emotional trauma of abuse. Those who have suffered physical and mental trauma, including the trauma of witnessing incidents of domestic violence, are at greater risk for many long-term negative health outcomes, including depression, heart disease and hypertension, alcohol and substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS, unintended pregnancies, diabetes, asthma, and obesity. National statistics estimate between 50 to 90 percent of women in substance abuse treatment have been victims of domestic violence.

In support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, DPH, in partnership with the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCADV), held a workshop for DPH staff and community partners, on Oct. 19, 2017. Participants explored domestic violence as a health issue and worked to understand how it impacts other health areas like chronic diseases and mental health. Viewing domestic violence through a health lens and employing effective strategies to prevent it can have a positive impact on a person’s overall health.

“Domestic violence is a terrifying experience for many women and men, as well as any children who may be exposed,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “It’s important that we bring awareness to this and give victims all the support and resources we can to help them overcome, recover and feel safe enough to move forward and live healthy, fulfilling lives.”

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Domestic violence, also described as intimate partner violence, is a pattern of abusive behavior and coercive control that can happen in a dating, marital, or live-in intimate partner relationship, according to the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCADV). In an abusive relationship, one partner tries to maintain control over the other by using physical, psychological, verbal, sexual violence and/or coercion. Although factors such as drug and alcohol use, stress, or a family history of abuse may contribute to the problem, domestic violence is primarily an issue of power and control. Domestic violence looks different in every relationship. It can occur among heterosexual or same-sex relationships and does not require sexual intimacy.

The recent #MeToo hashtag campaign on social media has brought to light one aspect of intimate partner violence, as many prominent women in Hollywood self-identified they had been sexually harassed, abused, or threatened. But the hashtag spread quickly throughout the country with millions of women coming forward to share their tales of abuse. The campaign took off after several women came forward with allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. While the #MeToo campaign has focused primarily on harassment in the workplace, it shows that survivors can find a voice and come forward without feeling shame.

Throughout the month of October, a “twibbon overlay” can be added on Facebook and Twitter profile pictures. A purple ribbon, used to signify domestic violence awareness, will appear over profile pictures on the social media sites. To add the twibbon overlay, visit https://twibbon.com/Support/help-prevent-ipv.

More information on domestic violence and resources for help are available from the DPH Office of Women’s Health at http://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/mh/owh.html.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are looking for help, visit DCADV’s website at https://dcadv.org/domestic-violence/how-to-get-help/local-programs.html for local resources, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Department of Correction marks National Crimes Victims’ Rights Week by reviewing first year of enhanced victim services, launching new informational resource

Dover – The Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) today marked National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, observed this year from April 19-25, by reaffirming its commitment to engaging with survivors and their families and unveiling a new informational brochure for community members impacted by crime.

Last spring, Commissioner Robert Coupe strengthened DOC’s victim resources by establishing a statewide victim service coordinator position. Coupe hired experienced victim advocate Renee Buskirk as DOC’s first Victim Services Coordinator to serve as a direct point of contact for victims and to engage with state and local police agencies, the Attorney General’s office, and non-profit social service agencies in an effort to coordinate resources for victims as their cases move from the prosecution, through the term of offenders’ criminal sentences, and beyond.

“For many survivors of crime and their families, the arrest of a suspect and the conclusion of the prosecution are just two steps in a years-long recovery and healing process,” Commissioner Coupe said today. “Survivors and their families continue to need the support of the criminal justice system. That’s where our Victim Services program steps in to provide information about the DOC’s supervision of offenders who are serving criminal sentences and to offer referrals to services and programs that can support victims in their ongoing recovery.”

Commissioner Coupe reported today that over the past year DOC’s Victim Services Coordinator has responded to more than 1,400 inquiries. In response to those inquiries, the DOC has developed the Guide to Victim Services, an informational brochure that outlines several state resources for survivors and their families, features answers to frequently asked questions, and provides contact information for victim serving organizations. “We’re pleased that our enhanced victim services are meeting our goal of providing a new level of individual service to victims and families who have been impacted by offenders in our custody or in community-based supervision, and we hope that our new informational brochure empowers victims to reach out for help and engage in the correctional system,” Coupe said.

The DOC Victim Services Coordinator assists victims to:
• be prepared to participate in the correctional process, if they choose
• understand DOC’s role in supervising offenders who serve criminal sentences, including its supervision of offenders in prison and in the community
• obtain information and answers to questions surrounding the processes of incarceration and probation
• receive information and referrals to services
• register with VINELink, an automated notification system that allows crime victims to obtain real-time information about criminal court cases and changes in the custody status of offenders
• check eligibility for victim’s compensation
• establish Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders
• connect with domestic violence advocacy programs

DOC victim services contact information:
Renee Buskirk, Victim Services Coordinator
Phone: (302) 857-5440
E-mail: DOC_VictimServices@delaware.gov
Web: www.doc.delaware.gov (click on “Victim Services”)

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February Dedicated to Educating Delawareans About Teen Dating Violence and Prevention

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE- Each February, President Obama and Delaware’s Governor Markell declare this month Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month to bring awareness to this issue and educate young people on the signs of teen dating violence.

1 out of 6 Delaware high school girls reported that their partner has done something on purpose to hurt them, according to the Delaware Youth Risk Behavior Survey. This makes TDVAPM an especially important month for Delawareans in which teens and their families can learn about this prevalent concern.
“Teen dating violence can be any form of physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence, as well as stalking. We know that many teens do not share with their loved ones that their partner is being abusive,” says Mariann Kenville-Moore, Interim Executive Director of the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Only 33 percent of teens in violent relationships told anyone about the abuse, according to loveisrespect.org, a national resource for teens.

On February 4, 2015, Governor Markell signed a proclamation declaring February Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Speakers at the event included Sam Golder, from Red Clay Consolidated School District; Melinda Dubinski, from the REAL Relationships Program at Turning Point at People’s Place II, Inc.; Kristen Herman from the safe+respectful Program at CHILD Inc; and Gabrielle Coleman, a young woman who is pursuing an education and career in the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault. REAL Relationships and safe+respectful are two programs dedicated to educating teens on healthy relationships.

Other events this month include a statewide Instagram contest for high school students to demonstrate healthy relationship qualities through Instagram photos.
For more information and contest rules, visit www.safeandrespectful.org. Also, National “Wear Orange 4 Love” Day is on February 10th to help promote respect and healthy relationships.
There are a number of initiatives happening in Delaware, all of which are listed on a calendar of events produced by the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence and posted at www.dcadv.org.

If you are in an abusive relationship, or know someone who is, contact a confidential hotline to learn about all of your options, including shelter, legal assistance, support groups, and more. Hotline staff can help you create a safety plan personalized for your situation.

National teen dating abuse hotline 1-866-331-9474
Text “love is” to 22522
Trevor Project (24 Hour LGBT Youth Hotline) 1-866-488-7386
Live chat online at: www.loveisrespect.org

24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotlines & Shelters in Delaware:
New Castle County (bilingual services available): 302-762-6110

Kent & Sussex Counties: 302-422-8058
302-745-9874 (bilingual hotline)

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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October is DV Awarenss Month

WILMINGTON, Del.- The Domestic Violence Coordinating Council would like to remind everyone that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Last year in Delaware, 23,985 domestic violence incidents were reported to law enforcement, and Family Court issued 1,546 orders for Protection From Abuse.

Governor Markell will declare October 2014 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month for the purpose of bringing focus to a crime that affects the health, safety and welfare of thousands of Delawareans. Elected officials and a student gender-based violence prevention advocate will share remarks, followed by Miss Delaware’s story of her own family’s tragic loss due to domestic violence.

The Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence would like to invite you to join domestic violence advocates, law enforcement officers, prosecutors and others at this kick-off event. The Proclamation signing will be held on Monday, October 6, 2014 at 1:00PM in the Governor’s Conference Room on the 12th Floor of the Carvel State Office Building.

For more information about this event, or other Domestic Violence Awareness Month events, please contact the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council or the Delaware Coaliton Against Domestic Violence.

If you are in an abusive relationship, or know someone who is, contact your local 24-hour domestic violence hotline to learn about all of your options, including shelter, legal assistance, support groups, and more. Hotline staff can help you create a safety plan personalized for your situation.

24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotlines & Shelters in Delaware:
New Castle County (bilingual services available): 302-762-6110

Kent & Sussex Counties: 302-422-8058
302-745-9874 (bilingual hotline)

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474