2018-07-11 / Front Page

Del. Opportunities Receives $7,500 State Grant

By Rosie Cunningham

Delaware Opportunities Executive Director Shelly Bartow and State Senator James L. Seward. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Delaware Opportunities Executive Director Shelly Bartow and State Senator James L. Seward. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter ONEONTA - “Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by someone they know. Nationally, in one year that equates to more than 10 million men and women. We all know right in our region of the state it continues to be a serious, serious problem as well,” said State Senator James L. Seward during a visit to Opportunities for Otsego Monday.

Delaware Opportunities was awarded $7,500 of a state grant totaling $45,000 to help support victims of domestic violence. Other area recipients included Opportunities for Otsego - $15,000; Catholic Charities of Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties - $15,000 and Liberty Resources (Chenango County) - $7,500.

“Fortunately we have key groups and entities right in our region to not only shine a light on this crime, but to provide real assistance to those who suffer from domestic violence and are in need of help,” said Senator Seward. “These agencies are lifelines and, in many cases, are all that stand between a domestic violence victim and further harm.”

Demetra Alberti, community services director for Delaware Opportunities. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Demetra Alberti, community services director for Delaware Opportunities. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter “I am committed to continuing to be partners with all of you to make sure you have the resources to carry out your and our vital mission,” he said. “During my time in the senate I have supported increased funding for domestic violence programs and to make sure your agencies receive their fair share.”

Officials from the above mentioned agencies were present: Opportunities for Otsego Crisis Intervention Director Will Rivera, Catholic Charities of Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties Executive Director Lynn Glueckert,

Senator Seward, Delaware

Opportunities Executive

Director Shelly Bartow, Opportunities for Otsego CEO

Dan Maskin, Liberty Resources Help Restore Hope

Center Senior Advocate

Jennifer Price.

“I am happy to assist to help make victims stronger, better and safer and to make our communities safer as well,” said Seward.

Representatives from each agency thanked Senator Seward for his assistance and detailed how the funds will be utilized.

From Delaware Opportunities, Shelly Bartow introduced Demetra Alberti, community services director who oversees the Safe

Against Violence Program.

“Our agency does a number of things for victims such as information referral, advocacy, assistance and we have a safe and confidential shelter. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate this funding each year so we can enhance the programs we have in place to make them more accessible and implement them in the correct way.”

Seward said he is also a proponent of strong laws to help protect women, curb domestic violence and assist victims.

“Victims of domestic violence and sexual harassment are often dealing with both physical and emotional trauma. Throughout my time as a state senator, I have worked to enact laws to help protect individuals from violence and ensure that victims are not mistreated further and are able to start rebuilding their lives,” he said.

According to a press release from Senator Seward’s office, this year, the state budget included several provisions to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Several bills were passed by both the senate and assembly and will be sent to the governor for final approval and include preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, protecting taxpayer funds from being used for individual sexual harassment judgments. Preventing “Sextortion” and helping survivors of rape and sexual assault.

“This year’s state budget included funding to support survivors of rape and sexual assault,” he said. “New requirements ensure that untested rape kits are now stored for 20 years, an enhancement from the current 30-day requirement. This will address serious concerns about the current lack of long-term storage for untested rape kits and will increase the ability of rape and sexual assault survivors to have the time they need to pursue and get justice. In addition, rape survivors will never have to pay any costs, including insurance co-pays, for a rape examination or hospital visit.”

Seward also said he is working to create a “Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights.”

In addition, he would like to work to prohibit sex offenders from driving for Uber and Lyft; Prohibit sex offenders from working with children in child care, recreational, entertainment and other similar settings; Protect victims by ensuring that victim and witness statements made to authorities regarding sexual abuse remain private and are not subject to disclosure to the general public through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL); Create a registry of all individuals convicted of a violent felony, also known as Brittany’s Law.

“Key measures to increase community awareness and bar predators from vulnerable individuals and locations are needed to strengthen public safety. Going forward, I will continue to advocate for these and other bills to protect innocent victims, provide police and prosecutors with the tools they need to arrest and convict those who commit such heinous acts, and to increase the penalties imposed on the offenders,” Seward concluded.

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