Public Issue

Training Institute Updates and Events

Training Institute staff will be participating in LGBTQ Health Awareness Week with the LGBT Resource Center of Chase Brexton. On March 28, House of Ruth Maryland staff will be participate in a panel for “Resounding Silence: Recognizing and Addressing Intimate Partner Violence within LGBTQ+ Relationships.”

Chase Brexton Event:

Have you ever been worried about a friend in an abusive situation, but didn’t know how you could help? As part of LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, join the LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care and House of Ruth Maryland for a panel discussion and Q&A that will highlight the dynamics of intimate partner violence (IPV) in LGBTQ+ communities from an intersectional framework, resources for those currently in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, and resources for survivors of IPV. This discussion will be facilitated by Kate Bishop of Chase Brexton and FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. Panelists include Randall Leonard and Lauren Vaszil from Chase Brexton and staff from House of Ruth Maryland.
Although LGBTQ+-identified individuals experience IPV at rates similar to or slightly higher than their heterosexual counterparts, they routinely face a plethora of specific challenges and barriers in seeking services. As a community, we deserve space to engage in transparent, culturally targeted, and safe dialogue that fosters a layered awareness about the prevalence of IPV and LGBTQ-affirming resources available to victims and survivors.

March 28, 2018, 7:30 PM, Red Emma’s—30 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD

Research Corner

Currently, federal regulations put in place to keep guns away from abusive partners, like the Violence Against Women Act, do not apply to dating relationships. New findings from researchers at The University of Pennsylvania indicate that they should.
According to a new study, published in Preventative Medicine, the majority of incidents of Intimate Partner Violence involve people who are not married. Susan B. Sorenson, Director of UPenn’s Evelyn Jacobs Ortner Center or Family Violence states:

“Current boyfriends or girlfriends were more likely than current spouses to injure their victims […] They were more likely to push and shove, to grab, to punch. They were more likely to strangle — some pretty awful behaviors toward a partner. They were also more likely to use a knife, a bat or another kind of weapon. We were not expecting to find this.”

The research is preliminary, and research participants were limited to Philadelphia residents—a city with a higher than average percentage of unmarried adults. However, the findings shed light on a growing concern: We must do more to protect unmarried survivors. The median age of first marriage in the United States has been steadily rising since the 70s, currently sitting at 28 for men and 25 for women. As Sorenson notes “People are less likely to marry, they marry later, they’re less likely to have children and when they get married, and they’re more likely to get divorced” and those unmarried individuals are not afforded the same legal protections against intimate partner violence as their married counterparts.
To learn more, read the full study here, or visit to read their press release on the findings.

What’s Trending on Social Media?

On February 13, a heavily armed man walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and fatally shot 17 people. Here are their names and stories. The shooting was among the deadliest in modern US history and has led to new calls to reduce gun violence in the United States. Mass shootings capture the public’s attention, but the increasingly high number of mass shootings isn’t the whole story. Gun violence, and efforts to prevent it, will continue long after the nation has moved on to a new story.

In 2017, 301 people in Baltimore were killed with firearms, according to data from the Baltimore Police. The Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence released a report detailing the lives lost to domestic violence in Maryland between June 2016 and July 2017. MNADV found that during that time period 46 people were killed as a result of domestic violence. Of those, 67% (31 people) were killed with firearms.  There are numerous reasons domestic violence advocates are so involved in this discussion, and recent efforts in Annapolis to keep guns away from abusive partners are important topics for advocates, but the idea that gun violence is a serious concern for victims of domestic violence isn’t new.

Despite the evidence that firearms present a clear threat to victims of domestic violence there is still a significant amount missing data. Whether seeking detailed evidence-based best practices on serving victims who have a firearm present in their homes, or simple information like how many households own guns, it is challenging to find a definitive answer. The reason for these omissions is known as the Dickey Amendment. Briefly, in 1996 Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark) introduced an amendment as part of a spending bill. The amendment forbids the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from advocating for or promoting gun control and cut the exact amount from the CDC budget that was to be used to study gun violence. Since that time there has been extremely limited research on the topic as the CDC is largely responsible for federal funding dollars put towards public health.

Since 1996 the CDC has put out an impressive collection of information about domestic violence; research that has been integral to the practices of House of Ruth Maryland and organizations like us across the United States. By understanding many of the specific dangers that survivors face advocates can intervene effectively. Advocates need the same level and quality of information they receive about abusive dynamics on gun violence and abusive partners who use firearms, and that information can come from researchers. Repealing the Dickey Amendment would allow important research to begin and important questions like “how many survivors are shot annually” and “what types of gun legislation prevent domestic violence deaths” could finally have definitive answers. Even Jay Dickey, the author and namesake of the amendment, supported repealing the amendment in the time before his passing.

Contact your representatives and ask them to repeal the Dickey Amendment, not just in the wake of the 17 people killed in Florida, but people like 4 year old Laila and her sister, 17 year old Lashelle, shot and killed by their father before non-fatally shooting their mother and taking his own life – just 3 of the 46 domestic violence deaths in Maryland last year.

Ask your representatives to repeal the Dickey Amendment so that advocates can have the information needed to protect survivors.

Click here to look up your Maryland Representatives.

Upcoming HRM Trainings

March 28, 2018 | 7:30pm Eastern | Resounding Silence: Recognizing and Addressing Intimate Partner Violence within LGBTQ+ Communities
Hosted by: LGBT Resource Center of Chase Brexton
No Registration Required
Event Location 30 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD

MNADV Statewide Conference
House of Ruth Maryland is supporting the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence’s statewide domestic violence conference: Amplifying Survivor Voices, Uplifting the Movement, Connecting Our Work. The conference will take place on Friday, May 18, 2018 from 9am until 4pm in the DoubleTree at Hilton Annapolis.

Any professional that works directly with domestic violence survivors, their children, or abusers will find impactful trainings and speakers within this conference.

Presenters from House of Ruth Maryland include:
Erin Fox, Contact Center Manager, Bringing It Out of the Closet: Community Response to LGBTQIA+ Victims of IPV | Lifting Our Voices: Agency Listening Sessions for Staff and the Community
Jesus Rivera, Adelante Familia Coordinator, Lifting Our Voices: Agency Listening Sessions for Staff and the Community

Visit MNADV to learn more.

Upcoming Partner Trainings

March 28, 2018 | 2pm Eastern | Sextortion Webinar Series
Register Here
Hosted by: National Criminal Justice Training Center

What You’ll Learn:
Sextortion refers to the broad category of sexual exploitation in which abuse of power is the means of coercion and can be coupled with the threatened release of sexual images or information. Because the method of coercion is usually non-physical these cases are sometimes thought of as less egregious than cases with hands-on offenses. This is the second half of this webinar series.

March 28, 2018 | 3pm Eastern | Webinar 12: Vicarious Trauma Prevention Plan for Victim Advocates
Register Here
Hosted by: Olga Phoenix
Olga Phoenix, MPA, MA is an internationally recognized expert and speaker on the topics of Vicarious Trauma, Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Traumatic Stress, and Trauma-Informed Services, as well as personal and organizational cultures of Sustainability, Self-Care, and Wellness.

What You’ll Learn
• Vicarious Trauma, Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout: What Does it All Really Mean?
• Latest Statistics from the Field: How Many Victim Advocates Really Suffer from It?
• Why are Victim Advocates at Risk?
• Your Personalized Sustainable Vicarious Trauma Prevention Plan

You may find more training opportunities and webinars by clicking the link: