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By Maria Odom and Brian DeVallance
Every day, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plays a role in combating domestic violence and sexual assault, and seeks to be a productive partner in working to prevent violence against women. In conjunction with National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, today the DHS Council on Combating Violence Against Women released a comprehensive DHS Resource Guide which provides summaries and links to programs, initiatives, training materials, and services that can be leveraged by communities across the country to combat these types of heinous crimes.
Created in 2012, the DHS Council on Combating Violence Against Women coordinates the Department’s efforts to stop sexual assault and other crimes. The Council provides a unique forum that brings together experts in all fields across the Department to identify we can further improve our ability to combat violence against women in the communities we serve.
The DHS Resource Guide: Combating Violence Against Women includes an overview of immigration relief and support services for victims, information on our victim-centered investigations, and opportunities for the public to engage directly with the Department on these issues.
In addition to these resources, the DHS Council on Combating Violence Against Women hosts quarterly teleconferences to educate and inform the community on the Department’s ongoing efforts to combat violence against women. We have hosted teleconferences to share information about the DHS Blue Campaign efforts to raise awareness on human trafficking, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Special Victims Counsel program which protects the rights of women in sexual assault cases, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ work to provide protections for victims, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s joint efforts to protect, and in many cases, to rescue women from violence.
Continued community engagement and partnerships are vital to ensuring the success of the Department’s efforts on this important issue. As the Council’s co-chairs, we look forward to building on these efforts and advancing our work to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes.
For more information on the DHS Council on Combating Violence Against Women, contact VAWA@hq.dhs.gov.