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WMUR September 15, 2022
Victim advocates said the case underscores the responsibility of people in positions of power and the vulnerability of those they are supposed to protect.
"Victims face so many barriers in reporting in any kind of case, but when the individual who has committed the offense is a person in a position of trust or authority, it can be even more difficult," said Lyn Schollett, executive director of the Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
Schollett called the vulnerability of the alleged victims unique.
"People who are incarcerated have a lot less autonomy anyway and often fear that the system that they report to won't believe them because of their own past, and that's wrong," she said.
New Hampshire Bulletin September 12, 2022
The new guidance was applauded by the state's Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
“As the Attorney General’s Office has consistently said throughout the legislative process, this law will have no impact on the ability of law enforcement officers in New Hampshire to remove firearms from those who are legally prohibited from possessing or purchasing them, including those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence,” Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the coalition, said in a statement Wednesday. “Additionally, this law will not have an impact on survivors who seek domestic violence protective orders. With 50 percent of all homicides in New Hampshire related to domestic violence, it is critical that laws surrounding this crime remain effective ways to prevent future violence.”
Laconia Daily Sun June 27, 2022
NHTrust has proudly contributed $1,000 to support the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence as part of a matching funds challenge initiated by Eulalie Paris, NHTrust SVP Operations, Partnerships & Client Experience. NHCADSV — the umbrella organization for the state’s 12 community-based crisis centers — is committed to creating safe and just communities through advocacy, prevention and empowerment of anyone affected by sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking. The challenge event, which Paris has spearheaded for years to benefit NHCADSV, is a weekend spring Jay Peak ski trip. For every booking, there is a donation allocated to NHCADSV. This year, NHTrust pledged to match that donation up to $1,000.
“We are so grateful for supporters like Eulalie whose commitment and dedication to the Coalition span over a decade,” noted Lyn Schollett, executive director of NHCADSV. “We are also deeply appreciative of NHTrust, who as an employer, both honors the important volunteer work of their employees, and in so doing, speaks volumes about their own commitment to making New Hampshire safer for everyone. This is a wonderful partnership.”
NH Bulletin June 22, 2022
Attorneys representing nearly 600 former Youth Development Center residents in abuse claims against the state have asked a judge to move forward with litigation on 450 of those cases. They say their clients are proceeding with their lawsuits because they continue to distrust the settlement option offered by the state.
Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the coalition, said some victims are unhappy about the way awards are calculated.
A victim who receives $20,000 for a single instance of sexual abuse would not necessarily receive $40,000 for two instances of sexual abuse or $60,000 for three, according to the draft rubric. Instead, the victim would receive something between $20,000 and $60,000 as determined by a complicated “frequency multiplier” established in the draft guidelines.
“For sexual abuse, add the number of instances of the most severe level of abuse suffered plus one-half the number of instances of the two next lower levels of abuse suffered,” it reads. “Instances of abuse three of four levels lower, if any, shall not be counted.”
The Berlin Sun June 6, 2022
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) has been instrumental in getting the Senate to allocate funding for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and Thursday she visited Coos County Family Health Service’s Response to Domestic and Sexual Violence Crisis Center in Berlin.
For an hour, the senator spoke with local advocates about the increased funding and asked what was working and what is needed.
Joi Smith, program director for the N.H. Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, said with the cost of living increasing, advocates are having trouble helping survivors find a way to become self-sustaining. She said there is a shortage of housing and rental properties, forcing people to stay in shelters for extended periods of time because there is no real estate for them to move into that is within their budget.
New Hampshire Bulletin June 1, 2022
The hundreds of people alleging they were sexually and physically abused while held at the former Youth Development Center will be able to seek compensation from the state beginning Jan. 1.
Victim advocates reiterated their opposition to the bill last week, criticizing what they see as unacceptably low settlement caps. They said the legislation also fails to give victims sufficient time to file and are concerned that it excludes emotional and non-contact sexual abuse, such as being the subject of child abuse images.
Critics include the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
“The state of New Hampshire had an opportunity to establish an unprecedented model settlement process that could have exemplified what it means to hold institutions accountable and demonstrate unwavering support for victims,” said coalition Executive Director Lyn Schollett in a statement. “However, what passed the House and Senate in the form of HB 1677 falls extremely short of living up to what has been promoted as a just system for victims.”
Manchester Ink Link May 29, 2022
Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday signed into law House Bill 1677, which creates a claims process for victims of abuse in the state-operated Youth Development Center, formerly known as the John H. Sununu Youth Services Center, located on River Road in Manchester,
Other groups that have been critical of the limited scope of HB1677 include NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and CHILD USA, a national children’s advocacy group.
Union Leader May 29, 2022
“I should never have put faith in the State to create a fair settlement process,” read the statement from survivor Dwayne Underwood, included in a letter sent to Sununu last Tuesday, May 24, by Lyn Schollett, executive director of the coalition.
The coalition, attorneys representing survivors, and other abuse-survivor advocacy groups had asked the state legislature to raise the caps on claims above the $1.5 million maximum set in the new law, to expand the definitions of abuse, and to lengthen the amount of time for survivors to file claims.
NH Journal May 11, 2022
Alyssa Dandrea, with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, said women with infants who flee an abusive home for a shelter don’t have the formula they need.
“We’ve heard from our crisis centers throughout the state that survivors are having an increasingly difficult time finding baby formula for their children,” Dandrea said. “Although not all of our programs have infants in shelters, advocates shared that new store policies now limit how much formula one person can buy and that has added to this challenge. Survivors of domestic violence already face so many economic barriers, and the lack of food and other essential products present additional challenges for survivors seeking to reestablish their lives.”
NH Bulletin May 10, 2022
Amanda Grady Sexton, public affairs director for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, isn’t convinced by Formella’s assurances toward victims unable to use the settlement fund.
“I think what the statement shows to me is that the (Department of Justice) has heard clearly from the plaintiffs’ attorneys that this bill clearly did not meet the needs and expectations of the victims,” she said. “Clearly there wouldn’t have been a need for this bill had the settlement process with the lawyers and plaintiffs moved forward. What is the likelihood that is going to happen now?”