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August 26, 2008
Contact: Alan Karmin, <>

Abuse Shelter Scandals Raise Questions about Sen. Biden's Legislative Accomplishments

WASHINGTON, August 26, 2008 – Following the selection of Sen. Joseph Biden as Barack Obama's running mate, public attention has focused primarily on Biden's foreign policy expertise. But more focus should be placed on Biden's signature legislation, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the problems it has engendered, groups say.

VAWA authorizes federal funding for abuse shelters and other abuse-prevention programs. But a series of high-profile scandals at VAWA-funded shelters raise questions about Biden's legislative accomplishments:

  • In Arizona, a 26-year-old female resident at the Brewster Center Domestic Violence Services was arrested for having sex with a 12-year-old boy in the shelter's playground tunnel slide.
  • At the Naples (Fla.) Shelter for Abused Women and Children, director Kathy Catino, assaulted a shelter employee and had to resign shortly thereafter.
  • SafeHouse of Michigan had to repay the government $483,000 after services it had billed for could not be verified. SafeHouse's executive director, Susan McGee, admitted she had falsified federal financial reports.
  • At the SafeSpace shelter in Stuart, Fla., 26-year-old Milaus Almore was fatally stabbed by co-resident Marilyn Hooks. Prior to the incident, Hooks had made a number of death threats to shelter staff and residents.

Several of these scandals are detailed in RADAR's 2008 report, "$1 Billion for DV Programs That Misuse Taxpayer Money and Place Victims at Risk." RADAR – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit victim advocacy group of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's domestic violence laws.

The RADAR report also reveals, "scores of research studies show that domestic violence programs [including shelter programs] are ineffective at best and harmful at worst."

On Wednesday, August 27, RADAR is sponsoring a vigil at 8 p.m. at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The candlelight vigil will highlight the need to reform the Violence Against Women Act to make sure victims receive the services they need and families are protected. Mr. General Parker, Democratic delegate from the 18th Congressional district in Illinois, will be the featured speaker.

The RADAR report is available at: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-DV-Programs-Misuse-1-Billion-Tax-Dollars-Per-Year.pdf

R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://mediaradar.org.

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