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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 1, 2015 Meeting of Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Advisory Committee in Richmond


At the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session a Sexual and Domestic Violence Advisory Committee was formed from bills SB1057 which was rolled into SB1094 andHB2092. 

Today was the first meeting of this Advisory Committee it was held at the Capitol in Richmond. There wasn’t an agenda posted ahead of time or even a full list of the Advisory members. They voted on who would be the Chair and the Vice-Chair, they discussed what their duties will be (mostly State and Federal grants and disbursement of funding), what their backgrounds are and what future meetings will include.  I stayed for 2 of the 3 hours until they broke for a quick lunch. 

Members are: 
 

  1. Chair - Barbara Favola, Member of Virginia Senate
  2. Vice-Chair - Teresa C. Berry, LPC LMFT CMT of Roanoke, Executive Director, SARA, Inc.
  3. Still to be Determined - a Member from the Virginia House of Delegates
  4. Kassandra (Kay) Bullock, Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
  5. Fran Ecker, Director Virginia Department of Criminal Justices Services
  6. Kristen Howard, Executive Director, Virginia State Crime Commission
  7. Kathy Anderson of Fredericksburg, Executive Director, Empowerhouse
  8. Heather Board, Virginia Department of Health
  9. Nancy Fowler, Virginia Department of Social Services
  10. Autumn L. Jones, BSCJ of Arlington, Victim/Witness Program Director, Arlington County and City of Falls Church Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney
  11. Melissa McMenemy, Office of the Attorney General
  12. Chana Lyn Ramsey, BSCJ of Disputanta, CEO, James House
  13. Warren L. Rodgers, Jr., BSW of Patrick Springs, Executive Director, Citizens Against Family Violence (CAFV)
  14. Mindy M. Stell of Dinwiddie, President, Virginia Victim Assistance Network
  15. Kristi VanAudenhove, Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance
This groups falls under the Department of Criminal Justice Services and per the legislation that became law on July 1, 2015 this is their directive: 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia: 

That § 9.1-102 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted and the Code of Virginia is amended by adding in Article 1 of Chapter 1 of Title 9.1 sections numbered 9.1-116.2 and 9.1-116.3 as follows: 

§ 9.1-102. Powers and duties of the Board and the Department.  

57. Administer the activities of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Program Professional Standards Committee by providing technical assistance and administrative support, including staffing, for the Committee; and 

58. Perform such other acts as may be necessary or convenient for the effective performance of its duties.

§ 9.1-116.2. Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence; membership; terms; compensation and expenses; duties. 

A. The Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence (the Advisory Committee) is established as an advisory committee in the executive branch of state government. The Advisory Committee shall have the responsibility for advising and assisting the Board, the Department, all agencies, departments, boards, and institutions of the Commonwealth, and units of local government, or combinations thereof, on matters related to the prevention and reduction of sexual and domestic violence in the Commonwealth, and to promote the efficient administration of grant funds to state and local programs that work in these areas.

The Advisory Committee shall have a total of 15 members consisting  of the following, or their designees: the Commissioner of Social Services; the Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services; the Commissioner of Health; the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development; the Executive Director of the Virginia sexual and domestic violence coalition; one member of the Senate to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules; one member of the House of Delegates to be appointed by the Speaker of the House; the Chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission; and the Attorney General. The membership shall also consist of six nonlegislative citizen members appointed by the Governor, one of whom shall be a representative of a crime victims' organization or a victim of sexual or domestic violence, one of whom shall be a member of the board of the Virginia Victim Assistance Network, and four of whom shall be directors of local sexual and domestic violence programs, of whom one shall be a director of a program that concentrates solely on domestic violence, one shall be a director of a program that concentrates solely on sexual violence, and two shall be directors of programs that work in both sexual and domestic violence. The appointments of the four directors shall be representative of regional and geographic locations of the Commonwealth.  

Legislative members and the agency directors shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office. All other members shall be citizens of the Commonwealth and shall serve a term of four years. However, no member shall serve beyond the time when he holds the office or employment by reason of which he was initially eligible for appointment. 

The Advisory Committee shall elect its chairman and vice-chairman from among its members. 

B. No member of the Advisory Committee appointed by the Governor shall be eligible to serve for more than two consecutive full terms. A term of three or more years within a four-year period shall be deemed a full term. Any vacancy on the Advisory Committee shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, but for the unexpired term. 

C. A majority of the members of the Advisory Committee shall constitute a quorum. The Advisory Committee shall hold no less than four regular meetings a year. Subject to the requirements of this subsection, the chairman shall fix the times and places of meetings, either on his own motion or upon written request of any five members of the Advisory Committee. 

D. The Advisory Committee may adopt bylaws for its operation. 

E. Members of the Advisory Committee shall not receive compensation, but shall be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided in § 2.2-2825. Funding for the costs of the expenses shall be provided from federal funds received for such purposes by the Department. 

F. The Advisory Committee shall have the following duties and responsibilities: 

1.       Provide guidance on appropriate standards for the accreditation of sexual and domestic violence programs;

2.      Review statewide plans, conduct studies, and make recommendations on needs and priorities for the development and improvement of local services to victims of sexual and domestic violence in the Commonwealth;

3.      Advise on all matters related to federal funds received by the Commonwealth for crime prevention and crime victim assistance related to sexual and domestic violence and recommend such actions on behalf of the Commonwealth as may seem desirable to secure benefits of these federal programs;

4.      Promote coordination among state agencies and local service providers to improve the Commonwealth's identification of and response to sexual and domestic violence, including the effective implementation of trauma-informed services, evidence-based homicide reduction strategies, and evidence-based prevention strategies;

5.       Develop a comprehensive plan for data collection on sexual and domestic violence;

6.      Review statewide reports and conduct studies to identify service demands and gaps and make funding recommendations that ensure adequate funding and improve the administration of both state and federal funds to local sexual and domestic violence programs; and

7.       Make recommendations on improving efficiencies in the administration of grants of both state and federal funds to local sexual and domestic violence programs. 

G.  The Department shall provide staff support to the Advisory Committee. Upon request, each administrative entity or collegial body within the executive branch of the state government shall cooperate with the Advisory Committee as it carries out its responsibilities. 

§ 9.1-116.3. Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Program Professional Standards Committee.  

The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Program Professional Standards Committee (the Committee) shall establish voluntary accreditation standards and procedures by which local sexual and domestic violence programs can be systematically measured and evaluated with a peer-reviewed process. The Committee may adopt bylaws for its operation, membership terms, fees, and other items as necessary. Fees for accreditation shall be used to support any administrative costs of the Department. Upon request of the Committee, the Department and the Virginia sexual and domestic violence coalition may provide accreditation assistance and training and resource material that will assist the local programs in obtaining or retaining accreditation.  

The Committee shall consist of the following: six directors of local sexual and domestic violence programs appointed by the Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence, six directors of local sexual and domestic violence programs appointed by the Virginia sexual and domestic violence coalition, one nonvoting member appointed by the Department, and one nonvoting member appointed by the Virginia sexual and domestic violence coalition. The appointments made by the Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Virginia sexual and domestic violence coalition shall both adhere to the following requirements: appointments shall be representative of regional and geographic locations and types of local sexual and domestic violence programs and shall include a director of a program concentrating solely on sexual violence, a director of a program concentrating solely on domestic violence, and four directors of programs concentrating on both sexual and domestic violence. A chairman and vice-chairman, who shall be voting members, shall be elected annually, and each position shall alternate between a director who is appointed by the Advisory Committee and a director who is appointed by the coalition; if the chairman is a director appointed by the Advisory Committee, the vice-chairman shall be a person appointed by the coalition, and vice versa.  

There will be 1 or 2 more meetings before then end of 2015 and I will attend those if I don’t have a conflict. 

If any “preventative” proposals are made that require an action item, I will of course post about it down the line. 

Mary Devoy