Domestic violence: A fight against a growing crime

Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett, is urging her peers to adopt a "zero tolerance" attitude toward domestic violence.

On March 25, Smith sent out 90 letters to elected officials in both the House and Senate asking them to join a grassroots citizen effort to help victims of the growing crime. Smith will also be requesting that all county and city officials within her District 52 support Project No More, a prevention program founded by Becky Thwreatt, a survivor of domestic violence.

"We've seen all too often across this nation the violence and destruction this crime can cause and the battle against abuse is really waged at the local level," said Smith.

She said by signing the "zero tolerance" proclamation presented by Thwreatt, Oregon leaders agree to give higher priority to domestic violence awareness, education and intervention programs.

Gloria Needham, one of Hood River County's two crime victim advocates, is strongly supportive of Project No More, especially if it places more an emphasis on intervention, which she believes is key to stopping abuse. Needham said service agencies within the county are also networking to help survivors start over, including assistance to file restraining orders or divorce papers and resolution of custody issues.

She said that unreported domestic violence is high within the county among the Hispanic culture, where woman are many times isolated by a language barrier and terrified of family retaliation or losing their sponsor to remain in the United States.

"Until we get past the social tolerance for domestic violence it is our belief that things will not change," said Thwreatt, who hopes Project No More becomes a national movement.

Smith said Oregon legislators need to schedule workshops that are aimed at strengthening domestic violence laws and abolishing any "legal loopholes" that allow abusers to escape punishment.

"We need to look at all ideas and solutions and then we need to tackle this problem community by community," said Smith.

Smith said Oregon legislators have already demonstrated their commitment to survivors through a bi-partisan agreement to preserve $2.5 million in funding for domestic violence programs, sparing them from the recent state budget chopping block. In addition, she said last year the following new laws were passed under the "Oregon Woman's Initiative" to help victims:

House Bill 2767 -- allows victims of domestic violence to collect unemployment benefits if health, safety or welfare would be endangered at his/her current workplace,./

House Bill 3680 -- allows introduction of evidence that the defendant has committed other acts of domestic violence if that individual is charged with a similar crime.

"We need to make it a priority to stop domestic violence and it really begins with an attitude change to promote greater awareness," Smith said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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