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Advocates work for SCV women

Volunteers stand with victims of domestic violence

Posted: April 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Adele Macpherson and Sue Masters.

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Two years ago at a joint meeting of the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita Valley and Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley, the Santa Clarita Valley Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program was born.

At the meeting, Santa Clarita Superior Court Judge Graciela Freixes spoke of the need for such a program for victims of domestic violence.

A joint committee with members from all three clubs was formed, and input from the Domestic Violence Center of SCV was sought.

"We offer support to women of domestic violence in the SCV," said program co-chairwoman Adele Macpherson. "We're not giving legal advice, but we offer support and help with forms and to understand the system."

The 15 women currently volunteering in the SCV DVCAP program have been trained to assist domestic violence victims in filling out the necessary forms to obtain temporary restraining orders against their batterers.

Lori Hollister, co-chairwoman of SCV DVCAP, said implementing the program hasn't been a straight path.

"The whole court system has changed. The courthouse in
Santa Clarita is no longer handling domestic violence restraining orders," Hollister said. "The restraining orders now have to be obtained from the Van Nuys or San Fernando courthouses."

In addition, the forms that the SCV DVCAP volunteers were trained to fill out have also changed, Hollister said.

A new training session was held during the past week to update the volunteers on the changes in the paperwork.

"It's been a winding path, but we have kicked off our services, we have business cards out, we have a phone number and we have the website in place," said Hollister.

Linda Davies, recently named executive director of the Domestic Violence Center of SCV, said victims need support for many reasons.

"The courts seem very scary, many women don't even do a (Los Angles County) Sheriff's (Department) report," Davies said. "Their feelings of self worth has been damaged and they need someone who can stand with them - as a warrior of sorts - and who better then another woman who has experience with the court system to be able to help walk them through the system."

Women aren't the only ones affected by domestic violence, Macpherson said.

"This service is available to women and to men," she said. "Our goal is to serve the people of the SCV."

The SCV DVCAP program is a good example of cooperation between Zonta, Soroptimist International and the Domestic Violence Center, Davies said.

"This is a fabulous thing of women helping women and strong women helping another women to stand up again and become strong" she said. "To help them have a good life."

For more information visit www.scv-DVCAP.org, or leave a voice message at 661-388-0252. For immediate help with a domestic violence situation call 911 or the Domestic Violence Center of SCV 661-259-4357.

mbuttelman@the-signal.com

661-287-5590

 

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