Vol. 28 Iss. 19 - May 21, 2012



Continuing the Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board

Importance of the Issue

The preservation of peace in our communities and the protection of all citizens of the Commonwealth from violence are fundamental priorities of government. Unfortunately, every year, thousands of Virginians suffer the indignity of domestic violence and experience emotional, physical, psychological and financial harm as a result of these crimes. Victimization strikes people of all ages and abilities, as well as all economic, racial, and social backgrounds. Furthermore, the physical and emotional trauma suffered by victims of domestic and sexual violence, often compounded by silence and stigma surrounding the crime, calls for special attention in our prevention and response efforts.

According to the Virginia Department of State Police, 4,758 violent sex offenses, including rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object, were reported in 2011 in jurisdictions throughout the Commonwealth. These acts of violence resulted in 3,133 victims aged seventeen and under. Unfortunately, these numbers do not reflect the complete picture relating to acts of sexual and domestic violence in Virginia because many victims do not report the incident to law enforcement.

Domestic and sexual violence impacts all segments of our society, and as long as instances of these acts of violence exist, Virginia must continue the fight against these heinous crimes.

In April 2010, the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Secret Service released a report indicating that the incidents of college campus violence have drastically increased in the past 20 years. One in five women who attend college will be the victim of a sexual assault during her four years on campus. The Commonwealth's institutions of higher education, as demonstrated by events over the last several years, are not immune from these acts of campus violence.

To make Virginia's citizens, families, and communities safer, it is appropriate that the Commonwealth dedicate resources to prevent, combat and reduce domestic violence in Virginia.

Establishment of the Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board

While many localities have taken necessary steps to address domestic violence in their communities, public policymakers must continuously strive to improve the services and support for Virginia's domestic violence victims and survivors. Statewide collaboration is essential in order to provide services to victims; to create programs aimed at preventing and responding to such tragedies; and to hold offenders accountable.

The Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board, established on October 1, 2010, considered and endorsed nineteen recommendations. The recommendations are intended to provide an initial conceptual framework for improving services to children exposed to domestic violence, clarifying protective order processes, enhancing services and community response to traditionally underserved victims, and making Virginia's college campuses safer. The full report can be found at

Accordingly, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor, under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and under the laws of the Commonwealth, including but not limited to Section 2.2-134 of the Code of Virginia, and subject always to my continuing and ultimate authority and responsibility to act in such matters, I hereby continue the Governor's Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board. This Board will continue to work with state agencies, local agencies, and stakeholders to consider ways to implement the 2011 recommendations and where appropriate, make any other findings and recommendations for Improvement to our laws, policies and procedures to enhance Virginia's response to domestic violence at all levels.

This Advisory Board will continue to promote ongoing collaboration among relevant state and local agencies, as well as private sector and community partners involved in domestic violence prevention, enforcement, response and recovery efforts.

Composition of the Advisory Board

The Governor's Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board shall operate under the direction of the Secretary of Public Safety. Recognizing that these efforts will require the work of individuals across a broad spectrum of professions and with varying expertise, the Advisory Board shall consist of designees from the following agencies and organizations:

Office of the Attorney General;

Supreme Court of Virginia;

Commonwealth's Attorneys' Services Council;

Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys;

Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police;

Virginia Sheriffs' Association;

Virginia Department for the Aging;

Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services;

Virginia Department of Corrections;

Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services;

Virginia Department of Education;

Virginia Department of Health;

Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development;

Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice;

Virginia Department of Social Services;

Virginia Department of State Police;

Virginia State Crime Commission;

Family and Children's Trust Fund of Virginia;

Virginia Center on Aging;

Virginia Poverty Law Center;

Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund;

Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance;

Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, Inc.;

Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nurses;

Virginia Network for Victims and Witnesses of Crime, Inc.; and

Representatives from the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates.

Other members may be added at the discretion of the Secretary of Public Safety.

Staff support to the Advisory Board shall be provided by the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Secretary of Public Safety, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, the Virginia Department of Social Services, and such other agencies as the Governor may designate. All Cabinet Secretariats and executive branch agencies shall cooperate fully with the Advisory Board and render such assistance as may be requested.

Duties of the Advisory Board

The Advisory Board's responsibilities shall include:

• Assisting with the implementation of adopted recommendations in the Board's 2011 Report;

• Recommending strategies for improving services to children who have experienced, witnessed, or been exposed to the effects of domestic violence;

• Continuing to make recommendations as necessary to improve Virginia's protective order process and providing input regarding how to further enhance the enforcement of protective orders;

• Working with community partners and state agencies to enhance services and community response to victims of domestic violence who are traditionally underserved; and

• Continuing to investigate ways to make Virginia's college campuses safer and reduce incidents of violence of all kinds, to include sexual assault on campuses.

The Advisory Board shall submit to the Governor its report regarding implementation activities relating to the 2011 recommendations and any additional findings and recommendations on matters potentially impacting the development of the Executive Budget no later than September 15, 2012. The Board shall submit a final report of its activities, no later than December 1, 2012. Should the Advisory Board be extended beyond a year, this pattern of reporting shall continue for the duration of the Board.

An estimated 200 hours of staff time will be required to support the work of the Commission.

Necessary funding to support the Commission and its staff shall be provided from federal funds, private contributions, and state funds appropriated for the same purposes as the Advisory Board, as authorized by Section 2.2-135 of the Code of Virginia, as well as any other private sources of funding that may be identified. Estimated direct costs for this Commission are $5,000.00 per year.

This Executive Order shall be effective April 25, 2012, and shall remain in full force and effect until one year from its signing, unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.

Given under my hand and under Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia this 25th day of April 2012.

/s/ Robert F. McDonnell