Domestic Violence Prevention
In 1998 the Association received a Phase I “Domestic Violence Prevention Program” grant from the United States State Department. The Association sent representatives from the Canon City Police Department, Department of Social Services, Family Crisis Services, the District Attorney’s office and the Fremont County Court to Valdai, Russia in September of 1999 and hosted law enforcement, judicial and social service representative from Valdai as part of a joint problem solving approach to domestic violence under the grant.
In 2000 the Association was awarded a Phase II “Domestic Violence Prevention” grant by the U.S. State Department. The Association worked diligently to help both communities find solutions to domestic violence. The most important achievement of the Association was the establishment of a domestic violence shelter for women in Valdai, the first such shelter in Russia. Through such exchange programs the Association has increased global friendships and international understanding.
THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAM
Report of Fremont County Planning Team Visit to Valdai
May 12, 1999
The Fremont County Planning team, consisting of Association President Martin D. Stefanic and DVP Coordinator Vaughn L. McClain arrived in St. Petersburg Russia on April 8, 1999. On April 9th, McClain and Stefanic met the Consul General Thomas Lynch at the American Consulate to discuss the DVP and related subjects. The Planning Team traveled to Valdai Russia on April 12, 1999 to arrange a schedule for the exchange of DVP delegations and to plan the DVP activities for 1999.
The Planning Team was taken to Stalin’s datcha on Lake Valdai where they spent the next six days. Stefanic and McClain were greeted by the Deputy Valdai Mayor Anatoly Favorsky, Valdai Militia Chief Vadim Kozhemyakin and Svetlana Kozhemyakina, the Director of the Valdai orphanage.
The first meeting was held at the Stalin datcha during the evening of April 12th and concerned the composition of the Valdai and Fremont County delegations. Present were Stefanic, McClain, Favorsky, Kozhemyakin and Loudmila Alexeeva, the interpreter and designated Valdai DVP assistant coordinator. The requirement that representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) be included in the Valdai delegation was explained by McClain and emphasized by both Stefanic and McClain several times during the discussions. A preliminary understanding was reached concerning the participants in the program.
On April13, 1999, McClain and Stefanic met privately with the Head of the Valdai District Administration Vladimir Korolyov. The DVP was outlined and explained to him. Later that day, the Planning Team attended an open meeting with members ofValdai Sister City Association, representatives of the Valdai Administration and the Valdai City Council to discuss the DVP. The meeting was well attended and the DVP was enthusiastically supported by those present.
The Planning Team departed for Novgorod on Wednesday morning, April 14th, to explain the DVP to Alexandr Boitsov, the Vice-Governor of the Novgorod Region and formerly the Head Administrator of the Valdai District. Mr. Boitsov has always supported sister city exchange initiatives in the past and his endorsement of the DVP is essential to the success of the program. Attending the meeting was a representative of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Mr. Vladimir Chistyakov. Stefanic and McClain met later that day with the President of the Novgorod Region Committee of Social Services Alexandr Doubonosov and several of his assistants and caseworkers. Lengthy discussions were held concerning the differences in the Russian and American approach to the domestic violence problem and the protection of children who are victims of neglect or abuse.
On Thursday, April 15th McClain and Stefanic met with the Chief Judge and the District Attorney of the Valdai District. A comparison of legal systems was the main subject of discussion, as well as the details of the DVP. The Chief Judge and the District Attorney both endorse the DVP. It is hoped that additional funding will be provided to provide them with the opportunity to travel to the United States and study our legal system first hand.
Later that day, the Planning Team spoke before an assembly of law enforcement officers on a wide range of subjects that included domestic violence, the conflict in Yugoslavia and the need for “people to people” diplomacy that is not dependent upon the relationship between national governments.
On April 16th, the list of delegates from Valdai was again discussed with the Head of the Valdai District Administration and an agreement was reached regarding the members of that delegation.
Based upon these meetings and discussions, the Planning Team believes that the DVP will be successful between Fremont County and the Valdai District.