Archive for Thursday, May 10, 2012

Senators upset with SRS over conditions in sexual assault and domestic violence program

May 10, 2012, 3:17 p.m. Updated May 10, 2012, 4:37 p.m.


— Several legislators on Thursday criticized state welfare agency officials for conditions put into a contract aimed at helping victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.

The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence last week said it was withdrawing from the contract proposal with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services because the requirements that SRS was putting on the contract would jeopardize the safety of victims.

On Thursday, several legislators during a Senate committee meeting grilled SRS officials about those conditions.

One of those would require that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have jobs after 18 months of assistance.

Kathe Decker, director of economic and employment support at SRS, said it was important to help the victim become self-sufficient. Decker said she knew of a woman receiving assistance who bragged about still receiving services and not having to work while also being on a roller derby team.

“She told us she didn’t have to do anything because she was a victim,” Decker said.

That brought a sharp response from Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka. Schmidt said it was inappropriate for Decker to tell such a story because she had no first-hand knowledge of what the woman said.

Joyce Grover, director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, said putting job requirements and time limits on services are problematic because the needs of victims are complex and change based on the danger of their situation.

Schmidt agreed, saying, “Sometimes victims have issues for years with their batterers.”

Grover said another requirement would be for the victim to undergo an evaluation, such as a psychological evaluation. She said that is unfair because sometimes these evaluations are used against them in court proceedings, such as child custody hearings.

Another requirement, dealt with encouraging the maintenance of two-parent families. Several legislators questioned how that would work when the person is trying to escape a dangerous relationship.

“What would you do? Set up some sort of dating service,” said Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka.

“We are encouraging the fact that two-parent families are better for children,” Decker said, but added that she, as a former victim of domestic violence, understood that a victim needs to be separated from their abuser.

Schmidt and Kelly also were critical of SRS’ communications director Angela De Rocha for comments she made in response to the coalition parting ways with SRS. De Rocha said the coalition had not provided basic information about the program. “There has been no accountability at all,” De Rocha said. “And this is their push-back.”

Schmidt asked about those remarks, and De Rocha said it was difficult for SRS to get information back from the coalition.

Kelly said, “That would be the pot calling the kettle black.” Kelly said she has often had trouble getting information from SRS.

SRS said the program would have about $2 million in federal funds and the agency would try to reach agreements with local domestic violence organizations.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

Yet another instance of ideology trumping reality in Brownbackistan.

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

Why don't they go after those who are ripping off the system instead of cutting the system? Who is this woman who was bragging? Go after her. Take her kids from her. Is she a cousin of a friend of her boss's sister-in-law? I don't agree with keeping women on the dole forever, but more people have been helped out of bad situations than have taken advantage of the system. Arrest those who are cheating, don't punish those who aren't.

Glenn Reed 5 years, 9 months ago

She's probably hanging out with the lady who Michelle Bachman claimed had a kid with down syndrome due to vaccines.

Maybe if we got a 10,000 dollar reward, she'll come out of hiding. Didn't work before, but why's that matter?

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

That's right. That mysterious woman never showed up. Maybe Bachman is really just hearing voices in her head.

deec 5 years, 9 months ago

If the alleged cheat is a client, then the confidentiality laws were broken by the PR person discussing the woman's case.

Nellane Laney Croan Stussie 5 years, 9 months ago

What better way to help a battered woman's self esteem than to label her a victim and make her a long-term ward of the state.

Just another well meaning, socially desirable cause which has been harnessed as a potentially winning path to the Victim’s Lottery.

Never ends!

Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 to protect people with severe handicaps such as blindness, deafness or paralysis. It was updated by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) in 2009 to accommodate far more disabilities and now also covers a plethora of other afflictions — including bashful bladder syndrome.

Maracas 5 years, 9 months ago

Heaven forbid someone is asked to get a job within a year and a half. I mean seriously. Apparently one cannot be a victim and work at the same time.

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

I could agree to some point, but each case is different. Some of these women have no job skills and have been prevented from working. They often have children, and we all know how much day care costs are. I'm all for requiring them to work on job training and for helping them with day care. Getting a job and taking care of yourself is the quickest way to independence, but we cut them off from any help once they get the job. A year and a half is too short for some, but after a certain amount of time a case needs to be investigated to see if the mother really is trying to move forward, or trying to work the system. You can't make everyone fall into a neat one size fits all category.

Christine Anderson 5 years, 9 months ago

Oh my. If the story of the bragging woman is true, then of course, that is wrong. Equally wrong is a moron at SRS discussing it. She is violating confidentiality laws. Whether or not some of you like it, OARS as it is,( before it's demise June 30,) answers to federal laws, and so when you go running your mouth about a particular case, you should lose your job. Decker has been caught in the media breaking federal laws.

Let me throw it right back at you, Ms. Decker. You state that since you were a victim of abuse yourself, you understand that "a victim needs to be separated from their abuser". I am surprised you would concede that much. The victim not only needs to be fully nd permanently separated from the abuser, he or she needs to be divorced from the abuser. If we were to follow Decker's line of thinking, then I guess she was not really a victim. It must not have been "real" abuse.

57chevy 5 years, 9 months ago

I think we need to not just psychologically test these victims. We need vaginal probes. If it is good enough for other states its good enough for Kansas. Nothing like the great nanny-state Brown backi-backi-backistan (Herman Caine misquote) enacting more regulations to scare a women out of separating from her abusive spouse in order ot preserve the sanctity of marriage. In the last few months all 5 conservative justices of the SC(CR)OTUS (Constitution rewriting) ruled that strip searches for even minor arrests are legal, a few states are trying to allow insurance companies to opt out of paying for hormne replacement pills even though they are often used for things other than birth control. Now Kansas is close to doing away with OB/Gyn residencies in Kansas by further inserting government regulations into education. If you are anti-big government, oppose activist judges or have a uterus, vote democrat.

Christine Anderson 5 years, 9 months ago

I had an encounter with an employee of SRS ( not Decker) who, despite very specific instructions from me not to disclose my participation in the domestic violence program, did exactly that. She forwarded an emai to my ex-husband abuser. I compained to my OARS worker, who filed a written complaint on my behalf. I also took the matter as far up the chain as I could. Guess what? She is still employed by SRS. No disciplinary action of any sort. I would love to name her. Oh, how I would love to.

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