News in New York State
IIn response to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic and the Governor’s related Domestic Violence Task Force recommendations, on June 18, 2020 Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.43 (EO), which temporarily suspends and modifies the laws under which OVS operates. This EO has been further extended.
This EO provides expanded access to OVS victim compensation in instances where victims of domestic violence-related crimes are unable to report their crimes to law enforcement due to current COVID-19-related restrictions but can access a certified residential program for victims of domestic violence. OVS, with the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) and the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) issued a joint letter explaining the EO. The OCFS list of certified residential programs for victims of domestic violence can found here.
This EO is effective through April 16, 2021 but it may be continued by further action by the Governor. Please review and feel free to share with your own networks.
On behalf of the New York State Office of Victim Services, thank you for your commitment to providing the highest quality services to innocent victims of crime in New York State.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," 1 Peter 1:3.
One local shelter asked if we had volunteers to supply gift bags for residents, and by God's grace we were able to fill bags with personal care items for women and gift bags for the children that were in the shelter at this time.
While we thank God for sending His son, Jesus, and for caring for us while we were yet sinners, we are thrilled to show this tangible evidence of God's never-ending love. We pray that you and your family have a blessed Easter-tide.
Maggie, Gretchen, Fr. Scott, Deacon Dawn, Janet, Gary, Mother Anne, and all our many volunteers.
>>> See email with images here
Executive Director's Report
Why we do what we do
I really understand why we do what we do when we hear from shelter staff, victims, and survivors.
Mother Anne and I spent two-hours with leaders, pastors, and victims on a Zoom meeting with the American Baptist Women. They asked – are pastors trained? And the answers from lots of women – was a resounding NO. We have plans to schedule further meetings open to more people with specific, targeted, tangible action-steps and trainings.
Another day, I spoke with a woman who broke down in tears talking about a trauma that had happened more than 40 years ago. Her pastor hadn’t helped, her family said she had to deal with it herself, because the abuser was her husband. Neighbors and friends thought she was exaggerating. She ended in the hospital, with severe trauma, and her young child was murdered while she was there. She mourns that baby boy to this day. She told me to tell women: “You are strong. You are Worthy. You are not your past.”
Gretchen and I met virtually with a shelter/domestic violence services organization and shared what we do and found out more about what they do. This connection will be fruitful for our people in the future. They are hopeful that we will be able to invite some of their women to the next retreat.
Items for Review
When you hear from Janet, about the New Day program, please notice that we have had four recipients of our New Day Grant Program. Gary helped with one client’s special needs. Thank you. Gretchen will give a summary of the pickups and shelter donations. She deserves our thanks – and possibly some volunteers to assist with making shelter deliveries or donation pickups. Let her or me know if you have ideas about how to help with that.
Janet also has a new request from one shelter asking us to help with dressers for the women’s rooms. They need 12, and they need to be sturdy and of a specific size. She and Gretchen are working with some potential vendors and I will make an appeal to churches/women’s groups for funding once we know more.
Nine out of Every 10 victims of sexual violence are women. (RAINN.ORG) According to a December 2020 article in Perspective, this is a “A Pandemic within a Pandemic — Intimate Partner Violence during Covid-19” You can read more here.
We strive to bridge that gap between people who wish to help, and those who need assistance. Shelters are still closed, people are still in need of respite, spiritual, and physical needs items. Our donors and volunteers make that difference.
What more can we do
We can update and share our HAWS Video. I am working with Mother Anne and some potential experts to make this happen.
We can prepare virtual workshops. I spoke with past board members, and friends of HAWS who have subject expertise, who are willing to work with us on putting some together.
We can add volunteers in Social Sharing to help spread the good news of hope and resources, and to help distribute educational materials to increase awareness.
We can communicate more with our constituents, and foster relationships with other service providers. I would like to add a blog post and an email monthly and would like to meet in person or send small tokens to our donors to let them know we appreciate them. (Perhaps a small keychain fob with our logo, or even HAWS Pens-I’d love to hear your thoughts.)
I appreciate all you do
Your networking and sharing our work, and resources for victims is exactly what we need to do the things we do, and to plan for how to respond in the future. Thank you for telling people about domestic violence resources, thank you for showing them how they can make a difference, that you for your tangible actions that keep HAWS functioning. This quarter, I want to thank Gretchen for coordinating all the pickups and deliveries. I want to thank Gary for help with one client’s need. Through his help we were able to extend special assistance that made her life better! I want to thank Janet for all the work she is doing as our new treasurer, and in working with grant applicants. And I want to thank Dawn for considering doing some of our Facebook social posts; getting our story and good news out to people online.
I am looking for a desk for the office space we have at St. Michael’s I have an idea of what would work and if anyone has one, I would like to talk it over. If there isn’t a used one around, I’d like to purchase a small one so the space is more functional. We have a locking cabinet in a secure room, and we are storing items for shelters in the space. We want to move as much of that out regularly so it can be used as quickly as possible.
We've been busy...
"We have assisted four women with items for their apartments as they leave the domestic violence shelters and need furniture, household items, bedding etc. We are very excited about this “New-Day” grant program and if you would like to donate toward future grants, you can see more about it on our website."
Pictured here, Mona who supplied a car-load of new wheeled luggage for shelter residents knowing that many women leave with their few belongings in plastic bags.
The following resources contains safety tips, information, and privacy strategies for survivors on the use of technology. If you are concerned about reaching out to help, we have created a handout on Seeking Help Online: Considerations for Survivors. To talk to someone who can answer your questions and support you, call the following national hotlines:
New Day Grant Program
We now have assisted four women with household items as they begin a new life outside of the shelter.
They have applied through their shelter director and we are thrilled to have been able to help these women with their next steps.
Healing A Woman’s Soul
“A New Day” Pilot Program
Purpose: To provide a grant for home furnishing to domestic violence victims in Columbia/Greene County moving back into the community and setting up a home. The grant recipients will be coming from a shelter, halfway house or rehabilitation program.
Eligible female participants will be chosen by halfway house or domestic violence shelter supervisors. Each facility will be allotted a maximum total yearly total amount for grants: one to two grants to halfway house and three to four grants to domestic violence shelter in Columbia/Greene County per year.
The grant of up to $500 will be used for shopping at the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Hudson, NY
The facility supervisor will submit a signed HAWS application to firstname.lastname@example.org Or Healing A woman’s Soul, PO Box 50134, Albany, NY 12205
The application will include
- Applicant’s name, current address, address of new home, email, phone #
Executive Director's Report
Administration - January has been filled with Tax statements and updating NYS CE-200 status
The assistance from Ann Taylor in preparing our Year-end Giving statements and verifying addresses for mailing these out before the end of January took a couple of hours and working through the NYS website to recertify our CE-200 eligibility status (which allows us to participate in any/all NYS fairs like the SEFA fair) took an additional couple of hours. I also prepared a tax statement for those folks who are making material donations and wish to use it for tax purposes. (And also to thank them for the donated items.) This is not as generic as we might see from a place like the Y but still it is written on letterhead to make it different from our thank you notes for cash donations, which of course we recognize at the end of the year with a tax statement if the gift falls into those categories making it necessary for a detailed receipt.
In other news
We have found a lot of people wishing to make material donations of goods either in response to a specific call from the shelter (like for blankets or Chrome Books) or just in general for clothing, coats, underwear and personal care items. Gretchen and I have made more than six trips with full car loads of goods, and Gretchen has been to a shelter more than 5 times delivering these same things. She went to one of the shelters while I went to another making the delivery of the Chromebooks. Here Lauren is smiling under her mask!
I am working with Mother Anne on a presentation to the American Baptist Women on February 27th via zoom. The initial promo poster they had, listed Mtr. Anne as the Executive Director and she let them know of the change. Hopefully, we won’t confuse them too much. I will let you know how the presentation goes. Also, Gretchen and I are scheduled to meet with the director (Maggie) of the Saratoga County DV shelter program, Wellspring, on March 9th at 3:00.
In the meantime, I’d like each of us to think of ways we might begin presenting ‘workshop’ materials online so that we do not go any longer without offering respite and tools to both/either workers or victims.
ROME (AP) — Pope Francis is denouncing the verbal, physical, psychological and sexual violence that women endure and is demanding greater protections for them.
Francis dedicated his February prayer intentions to female victims of violence, and said those who commit such abuses are cowards.
“It’s shocking how many women are beaten, insulted, and raped,” he said. “The various forms of ill-treatment that many women suffer are acts of cowardice and a degradation of all humanity. Of men and of all humanity."
He praised those women who “dare to break their silence” to seek help and said the church can't look away.
Read more here
Wishing you a joyous New Year.
Each day this year, Healing a Woman’s Soul’s volunteers have helped individuals & families in our community suffering because of domestic violence. Our volunteers have offered counseling, advocacy, and prevention education programs that can transform lives. With your partnership we hope to do even more in 2021. We don’t know what 2021 will look like, but we do know we will find new ways to come together and offer respite to those in need.
Help us achieve our vision of creating a world free of violence & abuse by giving your end-of-year gift to support our life-changing programs and services.
Thank you St. George’s for your generosity filling over 70 gift bags! We ran out of bags.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” - 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV)
Did you know?
• Domestic Violence happens every 15 seconds in the United States.
• One in four women are victims of domestic violence in their lifetime.
• Domestic violence is the single major cause of injury to women.
• Only about 48% of all violent acts are reported to the police.
• Domestic violence leads to children becoming abusers or victims themselves.
Is it about physical violence? Not always. It’s about control in one or all of these ways: spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, sexual, isolation, intimidation and child abuse. Everyone should know about it and know how to get help. If you are in danger or need assistance, there is help available.
Many thanks to St. George’s parishioners who donated over 70 filled holiday gift bags for women and their children who suffer from domestic abuse. Your generosity during this difficult time for all of us was amazing! The bags were blessed during our Healing Service on December 16th. The Executive Director of HAWS (Healing a Woman’s Soul), Maggie Hasslacher, and Board Chair, Gretchen Coyner, attended our service and we helped them fill their van with the bright red gift bags. The bags were delivered before Christmas to area shelters in the Albany Episcopal Diocese being served by HAWS.
One of the signature efforts of Healing a Woman's Soul is providing retreats for women suffering from domestic violence. The opportunity to come together with others who understand and hear practical advice and receive comfort make lasting differences in the lives of those who come. The retreats are offered to all who wish to attend regardless of their ability to pay.