In The News

Dec 11, 2009

NATIONAL – The Allstate Foundation has awarded $625,000 in new economic empowerment grants to statewide coalitions against domestic violence in 11 states. The grants will be used to support a variety of local programs focused on developing strategies to move survivors of abuse toward financial independence. The grantees’ work will center on financial literacy, Individual Development Accounts and job readiness. The economic empowerment grants were awards to state coalitions in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin.

AK – Earlier this month, Governor Sean Parnell called for a ten-year initiative to combat domestic violence and sexual assault in the state and said he will push for state legislation aimed at addressing those social ills. Governor Parnell’s plan emphasizes, “putting abusers behind bars and keeping them there, providing shelter space and legal aid for victims and launching a public education campaign to persuade Alaskans that sexual abuse and domestic violence are socially unacceptable,” the Associated Press reports. “We simply should not tolerate the fact that Alaska leads the nation in rape and domestic violence,” the Anchorage Daily News editorialized. “If Gov. Parnell’s initiative can bring Alaska’s rates for these crimes down to the national average, that would be real progress.”

GA – Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin unveiled a city-wide initiative on December 4 that will allow victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault or exploitation, and infant abandonment to seek a safe place in fire stations while they receive medical attention, call police or contact counseling agencies, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Officials who support the program say that some victims are afraid to go to police stations, so fire stations are a great alternative. To prepare for “Safe S.P.O.T.S.,” each Atlanta firefighter and paramedic received training to assist victims. Mayor Franklin said she hopes Atlanta’s next mayor will continue the program.

NY – State Senator Hiram Monserrate was sentenced to just three years probation, a $1,000 fine, and community service and domestic violence counseling in the misdemeanor assault on his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo. Prosecutors told the court that Giraldo made an initial police complaint, but later renounced it. Monserrate was acquitted of more serious felony charges for allegedly intentionally cutting Giraldo’s face, so he does not have to give up his Senate seat, Newsday reports. However, a Senate Special Committee is considering disciplinary action.

NY – Former NY1 political anchor Dominic Carter was convicted of third-degree attempted assault for an attack on his wife, the Associated Press reports. At the time of the assault, Marilyn Carter alleged that her husband had hit her. Photos at the trial showed a swollen lip, cut ear and bruised arm and leg. Marilyn Carter later blamed a day laborer for the assault, but the Town Justice nonetheless found Dominic Carter guilty. He was an influential reporter on New York politics and had bragged about his political connections at an earlier hearing. NY1 says that Carter has now taken an indefinite leave of absence.

PA – Gary Cuccia, father of Demi Brae Cuccia – a 16-year-old who was stabbed to death by her boyfriend in 2007 – testified on December 3 in support of state legislation that would require Pennsylvania middle and high schools to add information about the warning signs and dangers of teen dating violence to their curricula, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. “I applaud schools that have already instituted dating violence programs into their curriculum, but we must continue to push to educate students about the warning signs of unhealthy dating as well as characteristics of healthy dating,” the bill’s sponsor, Representative Scott Conklin (D-Centre), said in a statement. House Bill 2026 is in the House Education Committee. For more information about the bill, visit

WA – Despite facing serious revenue shortfalls, the King County Council has rejected nearly $1.4 million in proposed cuts to domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and legal aid programs that help abuse victims obtain protection orders and navigate court systems. “After listening to personal testimonies from domestic violence survivors during public hearings, the council’s budget team ‘reprioritized’ savings from other departments,” the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.

AFGHANISTAN – A report released this week finds that the extremist threat to women is increasing in Afghanistan and the government is failing to help, creating an environment of impunity for those who target women. The new Human Rights Watch report is based on findings from 120 interviews of women from different Afghan provinces. It cites cases where high profile women were assassinated and their killers not brought to justice, rapists were pardoned, women were imprisoned for running away from home, and rape victims were charged with adultery. The report includes a series of recommendations for the Afghan government, donors and the United Nations. Read it here.