On this first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) celebrates a year of great accomplishments with the domestic violence movement. As the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is set to expire, many across our movement have worked tirelessly toward the Reauthorization of VAWA, which creates critical enhancements to the law and improves how we can respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking across the nation.
At NCALL, we are proud to elevate the voices of older survivors of domestic violence in this celebration. This month, NCALL welcomes a new class of grantees of the Office on Violence Against Women’s Abuse in Later Life grant program. These grantees will be working in their communities to educate professionals working with older survivors, to provide direct services to older survivors, and to enhance a coordinated community response to abuse in later life.
Also this month, NCALL is releasing several new modules in our Abuse in Later Life Education Series for Advocates. These training modules are designed to enhance responses by community-based domestic violence and sexual assault agency staff and volunteers to the unique needs of older survivors. We are also a proud partner in the Office for Victims of Crime’s new National Resource Center on Serving Victims (NRC). The NRC is a one-stop shop for the crime victims’ field to access training and technical assistance and enhance victim services to underserved victims of crime, including older victims.
Finally, NCALL is glad to continue to participate in the National Center on Elder Abuse’s Advisory Board where we work in partnership with various experts in the elder abuse field to make certain that older adults live with dignity and respect and free from harm. For more information about NCALL’s work, please visit our website at: www.ncall.us.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is not only an opportunity for our movement to take stock of and reflect on what we have achieved, it is also an opportunity to ponder anew what we have yet to do to fully realize our aims as an anti-violence movement.
Specifically, it is important for us to consider whether our stated values of inclusion, respect, and social justice are true for all who work in our movement and for each survivor, especially survivors at the margins of our work. For many at the margins, issues of oppression and marginalization within our movement create challenges and barriers to healing and accessing justice. These issues are real and they demand our attention because what is happening to those at the edges of our work is also happening to “us”.
As we move into Domestic Violence Awareness Month and further into our work as a movement, we must deeply consider these challenges and what they mean for our moral identity and for our place as leaders in the struggle for a more just society. If we are able to do critical work to address these issues, we will become more capable of being who we aim to be, and that too will be worth celebrating.
Juanita Davis, J.D., is a Program Manager for the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life.