Showing posts from January, 2012

Northumberland County District Attorney's Office Faces Cuts

January 26, 2012
DA's plea failsBy Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
---- — SUNBURY -- Despite support from a dozen law enforcement officers from across Northumberland County and concerns that crime will rise if District Attorney Anthony Rosini's staff is cut by 20 percent, the county salary board voted Wednesday to eliminate one assistant district attorney.
By a vote of 4-1, the position that pays about $80,000 annually in salary and benefits was eliminated.
"You're taking a drastic step here by cutting the office. Believe me, it will come back to haunt you later. There will be problems in the court system," said Rosini, who cast the only vote to retain the position.
Lifting a pair of handcuffs above his desk for the audience to see, Commissioner Vinny Clausi said taxpayers "don't have to be handcuffed" by Rosini before Clausi and Commissioners Rick Shoch and Stephen Bridy and Controller Tony Phillips voted to cut the job.
In all, 11 county positions have be…

Appointments Are a Precious Opportunity

The article below is a press release encouraging Ob-Gyn doctors and nurses to screen for domestic violence. Hopefully at your last doctor's appointment, you were asked if you have a partner and if they have ever hurt you. It is recommended that doctors and nurses screen for domestic violence whenever asking routine questions.
I am so pleased that this has become common practice. It is not so many years ago that victims suffered alone in their homes, even after telling family or friends. We now have a name for this type of abuse and it is recognized by such organizations as the AMA and ACOG.

Personal care appointments, whether for medical reasons or for vanity are great opportunities for professionals to engage in a conversation with their clients about domestic violence. We work closely with Evangelical Hospital to provide training for their nurses and with Empire Beauty School to provide training for their stylists. If you have interaction with someone who you suspect is being abus…

U.S. Justice Department Updates the Definition of Rape

The Justice Department announced Friday it is revising a decades-old definition of rape to expand the kinds of offenses that constitute the crime and for the first time, include men as victims.

Now, any kind of nonconsensual penetration, no matter the gender of the attacker or victim, will constitute rape -- meaning that attacks on men will be counted.

The crime of rape will be defined as "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim," a Justice Department statement said.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the new definition will lead to a more comprehensive reporting of rape in the FBI's annual compilation of crime statistics.

"These long overdue updates to the definition of rape will help ensure justice for those whose lives have been devastated by sexual violence and reflect the Department of Justice's commitment to standing with rape v…

Student Non-Discrimination Act

In some local schools, January 9-13, 2012 was recognized as Bullying Awareness Week.  Senator Al Franken is introducing a bill to protect students from discrimination and released a video asking people to contact their Senators to urge them to support this bill.

Below is a transcript of the video.

Justin Aaberg was a rising high school sophomore in Minnesota. Justin played the cello, in fact, he wrote music for the cello. His mother told people he was a sweet boy who seemed always to have a smile on his face. Justin came out to his mother when he was thirteen. On July 9th, 2010, Justin hanged himself in his bedroom. His mother later learned from Justin’s friends and from messages that he left before he died that he was the victim of constant anti-gay bullying. Justin was fifteen years old.
Justin’s story is not an anomaly. Justin was a victim in a wave of bullying against kids who are or are thought to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Nine out of ten LGBT kids are harassed or bu…

Budgets Are Tight

Budgets are tight—state government budgets, federal government budgets, household budgets.Everyone is feeling the pinch. Well, so is Transitions.Often, when people come into our shelters, they do not have the financial means to provide for themselves.Until other resources are available, Transitions provides for all dietary and hygiene needs.According to the USDA, a family of 2 on a low-cost plan spends an average of $103.20 per week on food.A family of 4 with children aged 2-3 and 4-5 spend $149.50, with children aged 6-8 and 9-11, $175.70. If you are looking for a way to continue the holiday spirit through the year, consider donating to Transitions.Gift cards for Wal-Mart or Weis would be greatly appreciated so that clients can be provided with groceries and medication.Please contact Transitions at 570-523-1134 or 570-644-4488 to arrange for donation drop off.Below are items that are greatly needed at the shelter right now. Transitions has a very limited budget for food and many of the…

Definition of Stalking in Pennsylvania

January, among other things, is National Stalking Awareness Month.  Are you aware of what Pennsylvania's stalking law states?

The crime of stalking is committed when a person:
(1) Engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances which demonstrate either an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person; or
(2) Engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly communicates to another person under circumstances which demonstrate or communicate either an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person.

Many of the words in this statute are subjective.  That is what makes stalking a difficult crime to prove to police officers and to prosecute.  However, there are some things that stalking victims can do to help suppl…

National Stalking Awareness Month

Presidential Proclamation -- National Stalking Awareness Month 2012BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In our schools and in our neighborhoods, at home and in workplaces across our Nation, stalking endangers the physical and emotional well being of millions of American men and women every year. Too often, stalking goes unreported and unaddressed, and we must take action against this unacceptable abuse. This month, we stand with all those who have been affected by stalking and strengthen our resolve to prevent this crime before it occurs.

Stalkers inspire fear through intimidation, explicit or implied threats, and nonconsensual communication often by telephone, text message, or email that can cause severe emotional and physical distress. Many victims suffer anxiety attacks, feelings of anger or helplessness, and depression. Fearing for their safety, some are forced to relocate or change jobs to protect themselves. And, tragically, stalking can be a pr…

VAWA Reauthorization 2012

2012 is THE year to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

On November 30, 2011, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). No action has been taken since the bill was introduced, but we hope the 2012 will be the year that VAWA will be reauthorized.

There needs to be discussion about the proposed changes. The bill includes such things as the creation of a sexual assault clearinghouse for American Indian and Alaskan Native women. Many of the changes are fiscal in nature, including an increase in funding for Legal Assistance for Victims to allow for a greater number of projects and to address the shortage of legal aid available to victims. 

Another proposed change for programs receiving VAWA money is to have it be matched by non-federal dollars. While it is important to encourage these programs and services to secure funding from many sources, r…