Monday, December 17, 2012

Dissolution


As you may know, the herniated disc I suffered last fall has taken its toll on my ability to participate in courtwatching, as well as other CourtWatch-related activities.  At June's board meeting we decided that we would try to find funding that would enable us to hire an executive director who would take on the day-to-day responsibilities of administering the program as well as raising money to pay his/her salary.

If you've ever searched for grants, you know that everyone who is giving away money wants to see a return for their money (rightfully so!). Given the nature of our mission, and the fact that we don't serve clients the same way that other nonprofits do, it has been difficult to find grant funding.  We don't have the "deliverables" that funders are looking for.  Yet I've been told by many that our presence in the courtroom makes a difference and that what we do is valuable. Unfortunately, it's hard to quantify and therefore it's hard to fund.

We, regrettably, have not had success with finding the funding. It is with much sadness that the Board voted at our December meeting to dissolve CourtWatch. 

I will continue to be involved with a new organization, Abuse Intervention Monitoring (AIM) that is currently awaiting its 501(c)(3) approval. AIM's mission is to monitor the Batterers' Intervention Programs (BIPs) to make sure they comply with the regulations set forth by the State of Florida.  Effective 7/1/12, BIPs have no government oversight due to funding issues. The Orange County DV Task Force recognized that this would allow untrained and uncertified individuals to offer BIP counseling without proper oversight.

As a result of AIM's presence, both the Ninth (Orange-Osceola) and Eighteenth (Seminole-Brevard) Circuit Chief Judges have issued Administrative Orders allowing only BIP providers that were certified as of 6/30/12 to operate in their jurisdictions. Much work is ahead of us, but this is a crucial step in assuring the Courts and victims that batterers are properly counseled once they've been ordered to complete the program.

As supporters of CourtWatch's mission, I want to thank you for the interest and support you've shown over the past five years.  The thousands of volunteer hours, the financial resources, and the words of encouragement have been crucial to helping us in our efforts to hold the justice system accountable.  Words are inadequate to express how truly grateful I am for your help.

This blog will remain online to serve as a light for others who seek to create a courtwatch program.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.


Justice will only be achieved when those who have not been injured by crime feel as indignant as those who have.
King Solomon


4 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about your back. I found out about this just now while looking up where I could send you a comment in re Goodsearch. So sorry to hear about the dissolution too, as you definitely have helped many! I had found out about you and CourtWatch through my daughter, Jessika, who had taken a course at UCF and volunteered in the courtroom several years ago. Since that time, I have used Goodsearch as my search engine and had/have designated CourtWatch to benefit from my searches, although they only gave/give a small amount per search. I had wanted to share with you a suggestion as to how you could get more people to designate CourtWatch Florida as their support cause, and now have found this blog, and your statement of just a few days ago, instead. I wish you much success in your involvement with AIM, although I am saddened to see the dissolution of CourtWatch here in this area, as I know it has had a major impact in the courtrooms.

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  2. Dear Laura, I have been helping a woman who is a victim of domestic violence and is in the midst of a custody battle in Pineallas County. Her husband is completely crazy, things are moving too slow, and I have witnessed injustice after injustice. We really need some help and advice. I am afraid that this is a situation that could end up with the same tragic outcome that you describe in your profile. I am hopeful that you may be willing to contact me so that I can speak with you directly about this. Please let me know if there is a way to contact you. I do not wish to state my name or contact information here for safety reasons. Thank you for your work.

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  3. Laura, my picture is still on your blog and I beg you please to remove it. My arrest was not due to a violent crime and no one was hurt. I hurried into a store to buy medicinal water for my baby. I left my children sleeping in the car in a shaded area while I ran in. I was out in less than 10 minutes but had no way of proving that in court.The children never woke up and therefore have no memory of it. My children are now old enough to go on the internet and will find or a friend will find these photos. It is not fair for my children to suffer for my stupidity. Please remove the photos from the blog archive as soon as possible. I am ashamed and think of this everyday. Please help me prevent my children and their friends or teachers from seeing this. I know you have suffered many losses and pain, and are an advocate for victims. Please prevent my children from being victims of my stupid action. Thank you and God bless you in advance, Alexsa Lasorsa

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  4. As someone who came upon this site largely by accident I find it's stated objective at odds with what I see and read "It's my fervent desire to help victims of family violence and sexual assault (as well as their children) be safe."
    The motivation of your own tragedy should not, in its quest to keep others safe, cause harm to others who have not been convicted by your courts. You run the real risk of causing entirely unnecessary and avoidable damage to other lives.
    I don't live in the USA btw, but the UK, however the principle that we all deserve protection is universal

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