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April 2014

Sexual Assault Awareness Month


Sexual violence affects women, children, and men of all races, cultural, socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, and includes a broad spectrum of forced or manipulated unwanted sexual contact including rape, incest, acquaintance rape, molestation, voyeurism, and child sexual abuse.


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a month designated annually to support victims of sexual violence, honor staff and services working with sexual assault victims, and bring awareness to the issue of sexual violence in our community.


Despite more than 30 years of efforts to address sexual assault, it remains a significant public health problem in the U.S. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be a victim of rape in their lifetime, and 50% of women and 20% of men will be a victim of some form of sexual violence.


What is being done to reverse these disturbing trends? Annually $127 billion are spent on addressing the impacts of sexual violence, costing more than any other crime category in the country. In 2014, the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) invested $593,000 in community-based services to provide crisis intervention, victim advocacy and support services for victims of sexual violence. HSD also invested $301,920 in prevention initiatives to promote the development of healthy relationship skills in youth that are designed to prevent incidences of interpersonal violence.


Effective prevention practices go beyond education and awareness raising activities and engage communities in solutions to sexual violence. True prevention requires changing the social conditions and root-causes which allow sexual violence to occur in our culture. This means making the connection between all forms of oppression, not only sexism, but racism, homophobia, ableism, and ageism, and the ways these combine to create a culture of inequity.
Catherine Lester
Interim Director, Seattle Human Services Department
HSD Director hiring process continues

The recruitment of a new Director for the Seattle Human Services Department continues. Here is the job description and requirements as posted on LinkedIn. There is still time to apply: the deadline for application materials is April 9, 2014. Please feel free to share this announcement with your community network and with interested prospective candidates.

Funding awarded for 3 key HSD programs
In March and early April the Seattle Human Services Department made funding awards to community agencies for three key programs:
  • YouthCare was awarded $250,000 for its Youth Build education and employment training services. Youth Build will provide education and employment training services to low-income black/African American, Latino, Native American and English learning youth, ages 17-24.
  • Mary's Place received $200,000 to provide basic overnight shelter for families. Located in the South Lake Union neighborhood, the shelter will serve 30 families. The shelter will work with other providers, primarily the YWCA, to shelter families who have barriers to staying in a congregate environment. Services are expected to begin this month.
  • Child Care Resources was awarded $148,500 to cultivate new family child care providers and increase the quality of care in those settings through training and outreach.
Key legislation will help domestic violence victims

Capitol building The Washington State Legislature concluded its 2014 session in mid-March, and passed three significant bills that will benefit victims of domestic violence or sex exploitation: 

  • House Bill 1292, relating to vacating prostitution convictions, has already been signed into law by the Governor. This law allows "a victim of human trafficking, promoting prostitution in the first degree, or commercial sex abuse of a minor to vacate the record of a related prostitution conviction regardless of whether he/she has pending criminal charges for prostitution, has a subsequent conviction for prostitution, or has had the record of another conviction vacated."
  • House Bill 1840, restricting individuals with domestic violence protection orders from possessing firearms consistent with federal law, has been signed by the Governor into law.
  • House Bill 1791, expanding the definition of sex offense to include certain commercial sexual exploitation crimes, was passed by the Legislature and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor soon. 

For more information on DV legislation, please visit the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence public policy page.  

TV program features Families & Education Levy

The five-part television series, "Our City, Our Schools," premiered on the Seattle Channel in March. 


The video chronicles levy programs that increase student success in school. One of preschools funded by the Seattle Human Services Department, South West Early Learning, is featured in the series.

Agency helps seniors with legal questions

Seniors who have questions about estate planning including wills, powers of attorney and health care directives can receive guidance from the Senior Rights Assistance Program. Senior Rights Assistance is a program of Senior Services and is sponsored by the City of Seattle's Mayor's Office of Senior Citizens. For more information, see this news release 

Coffee Hour features new head of Committee to End Homelessness

Join us at this month's Senior Coffee Hour for a conversation with the new Director of the Committee to End Homelessness Mark Putnam.


Sponsored by the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, the Coffee Hour will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 17, 2014, at the Central Building, 810 3rd Avenue, 1st Floor Conference Room, in downtown Seattle. The Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens is a unit of the Seattle Human Services Department.

Find affordable housing

Many people are unaware of a great resource to find affordable housing in Seattle, and throughout Washington state: Housing Search NW. This online resource allows anyone with internet access to search for apartments that fit their financial and life situation. Need a two-bedroom apartment along the light rail line for under $1,000 per month? Looking for a studio in downtown? Set your parameters and see what is available. HousingSearchNW is also a good resource for landlords to advertise their openings. The more that people participate, the more robust the resource becomes.


Video focuses on scams that target seniors

A video created by CENTS (Consumer Education and Training Service) focuses on a serious epidemic: the fleecing of unsuspecting senior citizens. The statistics are staggering - older adults are swindled out of nearly $3 billion a year, and that's likely only the tip of the iceberg. CENTS is a nonprofit organization that teaches audiences - ranging from students to the elderly - how to make informed decisions. The 90-minute video is available online.

Community Resource Exchange for homeless people
The Community Resource Exchange connects people experiencing homelessness with resources they need all in one place, on one day: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., CenturyLink Field, East Hall. 

Organizations volunteer to provide services such as flu shots, dental checks, referrals for housing and counseling, connections to job training programs, library cards, and much more. These services may seem basic, but having them available all at once is extremely helpful if your home is a shelter or the street. Plus individuals volunteer to host supply drives and collect essentials like socks, shampoo and deodorant that are bundled into a care package for the Community Resource Exchange guests. For more information, please visit this Web site.
How should City of Seattle spend money on hazard reduction?

The City of Seattle is seeking input on what hazards worry you most. Earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, snow and ice storms, terrorism are just a few of the hazards that we can experience. How should the City use limited financial resources to reduce the impacts from natural and man-made hazards? There are many ways to reduce the impacts, such as regulations, slope stabilization, and public education. The Seattle Office of Emergency Management is updating the existing 2009 Hazard Mitigation Plan. There are three ways provide feedback:

Share your thoughts by April 23, 2014.

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Life Lines is published monthly by the City of Seattle's Human Service Department. Our mission is to connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work and take part in strong, healthy communities. For more timely or breaking news, visit our blog, Human Interests, or visit our Web site. If you have questions, please e-mail David Takami or call 206-684-0253.

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