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CCRT News – Summer 2012


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 Summer 2012







A Fresh Look

Kent County’s Domestic Violence Community Coordinated Response Team (CCRT) is pleased to launch its first quarterly e-newsletter to its members and the community at large!  CCRT is a multi-disciplinary team of local professionals whose mission is to cooperate, coordinate, and collaborate on all community levels and efforts to eliminate domestic violence.   The purpose of this publication is to serve as the voice of CCRT, sharing news, events, and information to community members, in an effort to be better-informed and better-equipped to respond collectively to domestic violence in our neighborhoods.

Concurrently, CCRT is thrilled to share its “new and improved” website, now open to the public: www.stopkentviolence.org.  Users will find valuable information on domestic abuse and sexual assault as well as resources for women, men, teens, children, professionals, and schools on these issues.  Links to community resources specific to Kent County are also accessible from the site.  Community members can obtain information on CCRT and local events and learn how to get involved; participation in CCRT is open to the public.  Domestic violence cannot be solved by one person or one agency alone.  Let’s work together!


In Remembrance

While we look forward to the opportunities that the launching of a new newsletter and new website will create, the timing coincides with the one year anniversary of the tragic act of domestic violence that took place on July 7, 2011, in which seven Grand Rapids residents were murdered and two others injured.

Intimate partner homicides make up 40-50% of all women murdered in the United States (Campbell et. al, 2003, American Journal of Public Health).  Startlingly, a woman’s attempt to leave her partner is the precipitating factor in 45% of these homicides (Block, 2003, NIJ Journal).  The situation was tragically similar for Grand Rapids resident, Jennifer Heeren, who recently separated from her husband.  In a matter of a few hours, Rodrick Dantzler killed 29-year-old Jennifer, their 12-year-old daughter, Kamrie, and Jennifer’s parents, Thomas and Rebecca Heeren, ages 51 and 52.  Dantzler also killed his former girlfriend, 23-year-old Kimberlee Emkens, Kim’s sister Amanda Emkens, age 27, and Amanda’s 10-year-old daughter, Marisa Emkens.  After a lengthy hostage situation, Dantzler took his own life.

In the U.S., more than three women are murdered on average every day by their husbands or boyfriends (Catalano, 2007, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics).  While domestic abuse is a leading cause of death for all women, one study found homicide to be the leading killer for pregnant women (Frye, 2001, JAMA).  Moreover, for every woman murdered by her intimate partner, at least nine women are nearly killed (Hanson, 2012, U.S. Office on Violence Against Women).  These appalling statistics are a constant reminder of the urgent need for collaboration, resources, and services.  Through CCRT efforts, we hope to honor the Heeren and Emkens Families, as well as all families who have suffered as a result of domestic abuse.



A Look at Statistics

Measuring criminal behavior and victimization accurately has its challenges.  The primary sources of data are victimization surveys and official data collected and reported by law enforcement agencies.  Both are beset with methodological challenges.  With official data, a high degree of nonreporting and nonstandard definitions of criminal events can and do influence statistical outcomes.  While official data on domestic violence-related crimes do not begin to tell the whole story of a victim’s unique experience, here is a glimpse of some local statistics (note: gender not identified):

> In the month of June 2012, there were 279 reported assaults against household/family members in the city of Grand Rapids, ten of which had an intent to murder (Crime Mapping, 2012).
> Also in June 2012, there were 26 reported sex crimes (excluding indecent exposure) in the city of Grand Rapids; the data did not specify whether the victims were children or adults (Crime Mapping, 2012).
> In 2011, there were 1,273 domestic violence charges in Kent County (Kent County Prosecutor’s Office 2011 Annual Report).
> Compared to five years ago, Kent County has seen a 34% increase in domestic violence charges.
> While data tracking personal protection orders (PPO) in Kent County are not yet compiled for 2011, in the year prior, 2,146 PPOs were filed by individuals seeking legal protection against an abuser or stalker (17th Circuit Court Statistical Information, 2010).



New PSA on Dating Violence

In September of last year, Vice President Biden launched his 1 is 2 Many initiative, which focuses specifically on reducing dating violence against teens and young women ages 16-24, the age group which experiences the highest rates of relationship violence.  Acknowledging that nearly one in five college women are sexually assaulted and one in ten teens are hurt by a dating partner (1 is 2 Many, 2012), the Vice President is emphasizing the importance of using new technology to reach out.  Through its “Apps Against Abuse” challenge, the Administration incited the development of mobile applications to keep young people safe.  Their newest mode of outreach was prompted by research which indicates that men overestimate how accepted intimate partner violence is by other men.  Therefore, the truth will be shared to young men by other men they respect through a public service announcement now airing on several networks, including ESPN, FOX Sports, MLB, and NFL.  The announcement, in which both President Obama and Vice President Biden make appearances, can be viewed here.

(Photo credit: www.wbfn.org)





Events and

Domestic Violence Orientation
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 from 6-9 p.m. OR
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 from 6-9 p.m.
Location: Safe Haven Ministries
This is a free seminar offered six times per year.
Contact (616) 452-6664 or click here for more info and to register.

Silent Observer’s Light the Night 5k Fun Run/Walk
Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 5 p.m.
Location: Calvin College
Dedicated to solving three unsolved homicides & creating a victim’s memoral.
For more info and to register, click here.

Brown Bag Lunch Series- Domestic Violence and the Workplace
Thursday, September 27, 2012 from 12-1:30 p.m.
Location: Kent County Courthouse, 5th Floor Conference Room
Learn what domestic violence looks like on the job and ways to respond.

Check out CCRT’s online calendar for more upcoming events!
Candlelight Vigil: Monday, October 1, 2012
Clothesline Project (Grand Rapids): October 1 – 5, 2012
– Silent Witness Program: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
– Take Back the Night: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
– In My Daughter’s Name: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
– Clothesline Project (Allendale): October 15 – 19, 2012
– Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: Monday, October 29, 2012
– TRIBUTE! Awards Celebration: Tuesday, November 6, 2012


CCRT Meeting Schedule

July 26, 2012:
NO Meeting
August 23, 2012:
Regular Meeting
September 27, 2012:
Brown Bag Luncheon

*Meetings are typically monthly and are held in the Kent County Courthouse at 180 Ottawa Ave NW, Grand Rapids 49503 in the 5th floor conference room. Meetings are open to the public.*

Mission of CCRT: 
The mission of Kent County DVCCRT is to cooperate, coordinate, and collaborate on all community efforts and levels to eliminate domestic violence.

Co-Chair: Kylene Dalton-Koons, Safe Haven Ministries
Co-Chair: Eileen McKeever, YWCA of West Central Michigan
Secretary: Theresa Rowland, GVSU Women’s Center
Treasurer: Susan Vogelzang, Safe Haven Ministries.

Kent County DVCCRT: www.stopkentviolence.org



CCRT: 27 Years In Action!

Formed in 1985 under the name Kent County Domestic Violence Task Force, today’s CCRT has come a long way!  Since the original team of multi-disciplinary professionals drafted the proposal for a coordinated approach to handling domestic violence situations, the group has grown and evolved.  In addition to planning and executing several events each year during Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October!) and continually updating the Healing Path (Kent County resource booklet) in both English and Spanish, click here to view highlights of past CCRT involvements!



Policy Corner: VAWA Update

Originally passed in 1994, the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is up for reauthorization this year.  The passing of VAWA established the Office on Violence Against Women within the U.S. Department of Justice.  The Act is mandated to provide funds for the protection of women from violence and for the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women.

Traditionally, VAWA has been largely a bi-partisan effort.  While both the Senate and House versions of the 2012 bill authorize spending in the amount of $660 million annually in grants for women’s shelters and police training, the two bills differ in a number of ways.  The Senate version of the bill was passed 68-31 with broad bi-partisan

(Photo credit: http://www.chriscoons.com/blog) 



support on April 26, 2012 and included protections for undocumented immigrant women, Native American women, and LGBT women.  Conversely, the House bill excluded protections for these groups and passed 221-205 with only six Democrats voting in favor.

Moving forward, the Senate and House must work through their differences and come to a consensus on a final version of VAWA.  To show support or express concern to your elected officials, visit the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women for ideas and resources.  



In the Spotlight

In each newsletter, CCRT would like to spotlight a person or group in the community who is making a positive impact toward the elimination of domestic violence in Kent County.  In this issue, we are recognizing James Benison.  James is a Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Kent County.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his law degree from the University of Chicago.  He has been with the Prosecutor’s Office for 15 years, and he has been the lead resource person on domestic violence cases for more than 10 years.  He is also currently serving as president of the board of directors for Safe Haven Ministries and on the advisory committee of Safe Connections through the YWCA.




Copyright 2012
CCRT NewsSummer 2012
Kent County Domestic Violence Community Coordinated Response Team

For newsletter submissions or general inquiries,
Contact Justine Kibet at info@stopkentviolence.org





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