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tv   Military Domestic Violence Child Abuse  CSPAN  March 8, 2018 2:18pm-4:16pm EST

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that particular area in the home state, and so when they see what it takes to run a great industrial nation, they are impressed, but it is not a part of the experience and that is one of the problems in the congress is trying to convince some of the members that this part of america exists also and we can't afford to lose it for our industrial and defense prowess. >> from jacksonville, florida. this is rich from the republican line. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. my question is from the current atmosphere and the white house when we are talking about cutting into -- senate armed services committee is meeting to talk about child abuse and violence, and we will be hearing
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from an advocate. the mother of a childhood survivor, and a medical retirement veteran who received injuries as a result of partner violence and a senior court advocate for doorways for women with and families. i will introduce the second panel when we transition to their testimony. in the united states, the domestic violence including intimate violence and child a abuse are problems that cause immense harm in our society. the most current data published by the centers for disease control and the cdc show that 27% of women and 11% of men have experienced either sexual violence, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, and the cdc estimates that domestic violence victims lose 58 days of paid work, and 600 hours of house production
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annual. the cdc is reporting that in 2012 state and child protective services vived an estimate 3d.4 million referrals of children being abuse or neglected. an estimated 1,340 children died from maltreatment during that year. clearly, as a nation, we must do more to address the many factors of relationships and community and societal that may lead to the domestic violence and child abuse. we must also develop evidence-based prevention str strategies and implement comprehensive support programs to help the victims. let me state however, that domestic violence and child abuse are not just problem s s local communities, around the country, but they are also a problem within the military services. while the data shows that the military domestic violence and child abuse rates are lower than comparable rates in civilian communities, i am deeply disturb disturbed that both intimate
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partners and children die every year at the hands of military service members. d.o.d. and the services must not rest until they have totally eliminated violence and intimate abuse partners and children within their ranks. i wills assure everyone here today that this subcommittee is going to provide whatever a additional resources, the dod and the services need to strengthen the programs to help with prevention and victim support. finally, i want to thank ms. perry and ms. mckinley for their testimonies specifically to daichl i n-- today. i know it is not easy to discuss the painful parts of the past and the events of whether you or a family member has suffered as victims of doe mmestic or child abuse, and i thank you for the courage to speak today and provide us with important insight into the experiences, and senator gillibrand. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am really grateful to you for holding this hearing, and i want
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to welcome you for speaking aboutdifficult aspects of violence in the military. i appreciate your sharing with us painful experiences for you. your bravery is inspiring. in 2005, tall ya williams was killed by her mother and stepfather stationed in hawaii. this is after months of abuse and multiple reports to the military authorities never shared with the civilian child protective services. in the 12er years since the death, it is clear that the problem has not gone away. just last year in the department of defense's fiscal year 2016 report on child abuse and domestic violence, the documented 13,916 reports of suspected incidents of child abuse, and negligent, and 18 child abuse relate d fatalities and the deceased victims were
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under 5 years old and half of them under 1 years old, and they also documented 1,554 reports of domestic abuse, and partner fatali fatalities in 2016 alone and these are just the reported incidents. we still do not have an accurate report of the prevalence of the child and partner abuse in the military, because there is not one like is sexual assault or harassm. we have the reported numbers and that is not enough. just as the prevalence survey helped to shine a light on the issue, we need to understand the scope of the problem to do a better jo rb to support services for the families. congress has made some efforts to solve this problem, but it real hi has not been enough. thank you to advocacy of the hawaiian delegation, tall ya's law was signed to inlaw by president obama in 2016. it required all personnel in supervisory positions within the chain of command to report such child abuse and negligent.
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this law was a good step. good first step, but we need the to do much more to prevent the crime crimes from happening in the first place. we need to stop the abuse before it begins, and properly address it before it happens. to address partner and child abuse, we have to start by addressing the stressors on the families. the challenges of deployment and integrati integration, and isolation from support networks and the fears that reporting your service members for violence may result in the end of his or her career and the potential loss of income, and benefits for the family to put significant strains on the families. these difficult factors make hard decisions about coming forward harder. when it comes to interpartner violence, we must not only look at the psychological consequences of the abuse, but the the long-term health risks that it causes, and approximately 20 million women experience interpartner violence with brain traumatic injury in the year, and one study found that 22% of women with domestic
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violence were hit in the head from their partner between one and 20 times, and sintimate partner survivors are strangled at one point in the course of the relationship. yet, the survivors are not screened for brain injury or strangulation in the emergency room, and do not oftentimes realize themselves that they have lost consciousness. in retligs the health concerns, to awareness of the behavioral effects such as loss of memory can impact the way that a survivor is treated in the course of the investigation. personnel who is not aware of these may interpret this as lack of sko cooperation or not aware the need for intervention. this has fwroen in the past several years and i know how hard working and personnel who care deeply about the prevention of violence. the implementation of the more structured criteria for
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evaluating cases, and more sophisticated training and educational response to trained responding personnel must be encourage and done. however, more needs the be done for the families and the military families and the children who are vulnerable. for a long time, they had been characterized as family issues to be kept private, and as a result, the trauma has been w t written in the shadows. and still, there are another panel who would like to share their statements and i would like to have this included in the record. >> without objection. >> i hope that today's hearing is a productive dialogue the shine a light on the issues. we need to listen to survivors of the crimes, and the advocates who work on the cases day in, day out, and to listen to ed advocates to get a better understanding of the cases, and what we can do with our prevention and response. i hope that we are here again
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talking about how far we have come, and celebrating no more case cases like tallia's. >> are do any other senators wish to make a comment before the senator's testimony? >> if i could, because i have the catch a plane and i want to apologize for whoever has to testify today, because i cannot stay for all of it, but it is a important topic for us to tackle. if you understand domestic violence, you real ize that the unique characteristics of military service and their impact on the family could be a dangerous petrie dish for domestic violence flourishing, and by that i say that one of the biggest challenges that i have on the domestic violence is when i began domestic violence unit in kansas city, when i was elected the prosecutor in the 19 1 1990s and i had a fight on my hands with the police department and even the assistant pros cues and they said that claire, we cannot prosecute this crime, because there is not a witness and the victims decide they are
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not going to be going forward and i said that we need to shut down the homicide unit then. because we managed to prosecute homicides when the victim does not speak. so we need to build a case, and if we build a case, then, victims will begin to trust us that we can go forward and find justice and protection for them, and if we keep doing this circular reasoning, and why i mention the military as particularly a challenge, there is isolation for families within the military and particularly as people are transferred with some regularity, and it is not as if many military families have the opportunity to set down roots and have the kind of support system that is so necessary to protect the instincts of violence. if there is not a support system in the community, then more domestic violence incidents will end up in homicide incidents, and so i am anxious to be a part of this and i a appreciate you
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all having this hearing and we do need to look at what is that support system right now in the military, and for people who have been victimized by domestic violence and are trying to find a way forward, because if it is hard to figure out your personal life going forward, with your, when you are, your partner has a civilian job, and imagine how difficult it is if your partner is a member of the military and you are dependent in so many other ways. so i do think it is terrific and i will follow up, and read all of your testimony and i will look forward to working with with my colleagues. senator ernst, senator tillis and senator gillibrand as we look work to find better solutions and support or the address this problem within the department of defense. thank you very much. >> thank you sh, senator mccask. >> thank you very much. >> we will now begin with the testimony of perry, and start with you. >> i would like to thank each
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and every one of you for allowing me this opportunity to appear before you today and share my family's story as well as offer my perspective on the prevention, detection and investigation and treatment of childhood abuse, and sexual assault within the military. my name is adrian perry. i'm the spouse of an active duty united states marine. my husband brek perry is a major in the united states marine corps serving as an executive officer and currently deployed. this is my husband's fifth deployment that we have gone together as a family. i have always been so proud of my husband's service to our country, and i have always been so proud to hold the title of the united states marine spouse. this life has brought us so many amazing opportunities. we have lived in quantico, virginia, camp lejeune, hawaii and okinawa, japan. our children have been given the gift of world travel and with that, we have made precious and
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priceless memories as a family. the patriotism that resides within each memory of our hearts is forever. and unfortunately our family was tainted by one of my husband's bosses in okinawa. he was sent to camp lejeune to b be the secondary expedition support force officer. shortly before we arrived, we were moved to lejeune as well. wilson was one of the first people to reach out to us, and offer us support when we arrived at the new duty station. within a matter of a couple of weeks of visiting the wilson's house, my 6-year-old daughter confided in me that wilson sexually abused her during that that time. this disclosure occurred in the wilson's home, and upon finding this horrible heinous act had been committed upon our child, my husband and adrove to our house where we called the
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military police. we had the m.p.s in the home in a matter of minute, and also the ncis. this is the start of the investigation. when ncis came into our home we disclosed what our daughter told me and the next morning we received the call from an ncis agent asking if we could be at the child advocacy center for a forensics interview. this is a child advocacy center that is off base and it is civilian-run. a couple of the ncis agents met us at the center and while the interviewer spoke to my daughters, ncis was in a separate room monitoring the interview via a live feed. my daughter's interviews were conducted with no input or follow up from ncis, and the agent himself later said that he left the decisions regarding the interview solely up to the forensics interviewer. a couple of days after we reported what happened to our
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dau daughter, ncis called us to set up a forensic's exam. there is a huge challenge finding the expert in the town of jacksonville, north carolina, who could do a forensic exam on a 6-year-old child. there were no pediatric forensic exam specialists available in our area to do our daughter's exam. the specialist, the child advocacy center utilizes was not available. we were sent two hours away to greenville, north carolina, to the teddy bear clinic for her exam. as parents, our hearts were shattered. many days, i felt as though i could barely breathe. just when i thought that things could not get worse, one of the daughters shared that wilson had done something to her as well. she, too, is 6, and it is her twin sister. we notified the sin vest gators as soon as it was brought to our attention. as the investigation began it seemed that every bit of the
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information obtained by ncis was information that my husband and i were giving to them, and so they obtained my cell phone and my husband's cell phone and did a complete day a ta dump from the cell phone, and we did a complete data dumb top scour through the information to see if we could assist with the investigation. i assumed that ncis would be doing the same with wilson's device, however, i was very wrong with that. wilson's cell phone or computer have not been seized to this day. and i continued to ask about the seizure of his personal electronic device, and the responses would vary and a few times i would think that they were in planning mode to seize the planning device, but other times it was are responses as to make it seem that legally they could not do that without causing negative ramifications for the case. i understand that i am not a trained investigator, however, my common sense tells me and
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still tells me that investigation 101 would have led to the seizure of his personal devices given the charges and allegations against wilson. i come from a line of law enforcement professionals and both police and fbi and each and every one of them were appalled and shocked that wilson's computer and personal cell phone were never seized. can despite the near exclusive reliance on me and my husband for the fact, no one from ncis ever sat down the create a time line or verify the facts or the dates and my husband and i on several occasions questioned why nobody was speaking to us to pull together the facts. we questioned how they could be capable of formulating a solid case without speaking to us. as a matter of fact, my husbandp i were feeling that this case is too big for ncis alone. the tentacles were deep and it required a wide spread net to be cast as far as the investigative work is done, and we are talking about a full bird kcolonel and
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one rank shy of a general. and we are talking about somebody who has been in active duty in multiple countries and states in the united states of america. and we asked for numerous meetings, and with the special u.s. attorney also referred to as the salsa to bring in the fbi to collaborate on this case with ncis. the slsa would not meet with us. in one of the many attempts to get information, my husband and i shared that prior to coming to camp lejeune, he had been abruptly removed from a matter of days of a temporary command where he was given to be in charge of six-month exercise between the united states marines and the australian defense force in darwin, australia. and we suggested that ncis look into the why he was removed from his position. it came out during the investigation that wilson had
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made a sexually inappropriate comment to the wife of a united states contractor in australia and he had sent overly friendly text messages to a defense force major and he drank alcohol excessively, and he shared risque photos of one of the captain's wives to the australian defense force commander, and he snuck on to a secure government computer belonging to a female australian defense contractor and sent out an inappropriate e-mail no the australian defense force commander. this misconduct, most of which was sexual in nature showed prior similar behavior, and based upon my perception, i do not want to feel that wilson's prior misconduct was a adequately investigated and these allegations led to questions of possible prior sexual misconduct while wilson was stationed in okinawa and however, ncis was nonresponsive to the investigating okinawa concern, and overall, it
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appeared that really there was no need to delve into the past, a tnd the misconduct and despit the fact that she had been charged with the child's crime. and even though wilson had been behaved in a sexually and inappropriate way in australia and to include nude foe tes of one of the captain's wives on the facebook messenger, ncis did not seize wilson's personal devices. i cannot wrap my brain around the failure of n krishgs s to act swiftly to seize his personal devices, and this has me questioning how lower ranking service members in situations like ours are treated and how their cases are handled. nearly will five months, five months into the investigative process our case was assigned to three powerhouse attorneys who did an unbelievable job in seeing to it that justice was
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somewhat served for our daughter. our case went to the general court-martial where wilson was found guilty of sexual assault of a child, ap conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman and for all charges against him in aus trail yand an unauthorized absence. he was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in the military brig. during our trial, i was not given the opportunity to give a victim impact statement on behalf of my 6-year-old daughters. u i was minded of the pain i fe due to my voice being restrict ed at sentencing when i saw all of the gymnasts who were victims of larry nasser giving their impact statements. we were not given that opportunity to be heard. part of being able to heal from something as traumatic as this is to be able to speak to those who have harmed you. those gymnasts were given such a gift by having their voices heard, and it is a gift that we did not receive and in our trial, not only were the voices restricted, but the judge directly addressed the jury and read aloud all of his military
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accomplishments stating for the jury to consider his prior military service to the country when nay go they go to sentence i will not forget that moment and it is like a slap to my face as a mother. hearing the awards, the accomplishments and the deployments and the leadership accolades read aloud as if they erased what he had done to my daughter crushed me. i was speechless and dumbfound and shocked as to what my ears were hearing. then i sat and watched his defense attorney get up and hand a huge album over to the jury to be filled with wilson as a child all of the way through his adulthood and military career. where was my daughter's photo alum for them to look through as they considered his fate. my personal experience through the investigation process has led me to the following conclusions. number one, reports and concerns brought to people in positions of legal power are not always
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welcomed or taken as seriously as they should be. and in our case, we requested meetings on multiple occasions to address concerns we had for our own personal safety. we were often met with absolute refusal to be heard or when granted a meeting, we had to fight tooth and nail to be heard. for example, we had to fight to have a protective order enforced properly against wilson. he was being allowed to drive by our home multiple times a da y o get to and from work, and i should not have the fight to keep my children, my husband and myself safe. what would the outcome have been for a young lance corporal in the same situation? wilson was not detained for what he did to our daughter for five months, five months after we reported what happened. for five months, we had to live with wilson roaming free wherever he pleased on base. living about a half a mile from our house. that was traumatizing to say the
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least. we had to restructure our way of life to live on base with wilson due to the constant state of fear for our safety, and the only reason that he was finally detained is because an adult female came forward alleging that wilson had sexually lly assaulted her as well. number two, rank matters. i am very concerned how other survivors are treated who may not have the same resources and ability to the advocate for their case like my husband and i did. and to be quite honest they should not have to fight to be heard, believed or taken seriously. i want to make something very clear here. rank matters in how the cases are treated and that is unfortunate. i believe wholeheartedly that had my husband and i stayed silent and lett the system do its job, justice never would have been served for our
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daughter. number three, there a serious failure to provide adequate resources for survivors of sexual assault there. is failure for mental health care. and the only resource that we were given in regards to mental health care was from that of the answerlow child advocacy center and i was handed a sheet of p paper with three name on it of specialists in child therapy. two on base and one off base. i did not feel comfortable with going on base for any help after what we had suffered at the hands of someone in the military. that left us with one option for emotional help. one. it is not okay that a child of sexual abuse is not afforded more options for mental health than a mere sheet of paper with three names on it. keep in mind that little help that was offered was not from the military. it was from answe-- anslo count those who worked pro bono on the
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case stepped in tirelessly to find a therapist to help us see the entire family. let that resonate. our civilian legal counckoucoun we ourselves sought out had to fill in the gap with the military to get us the help that we needed. and where is the military when we needed them, and what about the survivorses who don't have the resources that we need do. what is happening to them? the military needs to the adequately provide resources for all types of abuse, and it is my humble opinion after our experience and speak iing after many survivors that the military is failing incredibly short in the ar arena, and providing mental health care is on the forefront of the must-dos for the military and in order nor survivors to he survivors to heal and have the support they need and help and deserve to get through this type of the trauma and the trauma that comes to having to prepare
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for and go to trial. there is also the failure of from vid iing sexual assault experts. and a couple of days ncis asked us to have a forensic exam and we had to drive over two hours away to have our daughter seen by a pediatric forensic specialist, because there were none around camp lejeune, north carolina. my daughter and every other survivor of sexual assault should be afforded a prompt, and readily available forensic exam, and it is unacceptable to me that we had to the drive for two daunting hours to take our child to do something that no parent should have to take their child to do, because the resources required were nowhere to be found within our vicinity. number four. there is a lack of properly trained investigators, and in our case, ncis failed to seize
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wilson's personal cell phone and computer. and they failed to thoroughly delve to inpast and to look into prior similar behavior and another concern is that ncis did not seem to be properly trained and carried out and handled. this is evident by the lack of the follow-up interview with my children. ncis was not quick to respond to obtaining any evidence whatsoever from the accused. the sole means of evidence collection shouldt not be from the victimment their failure to promptly obtain evidence resuled in little evidence collected from wilson. although there were two personal hard drives found belonging to wilson right before the trial began, they were not discovered in enough time prior to trial to be used for trial or charge purposes. any ncis had time to put forth a solid investigation, but it came
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across as though our case was not a priority. wilson went to trial with over 20 charges against him. it is my belief that had ncis had conducted a more thorough and solid investigation, more of the charges would have stuck. a finding of not guilty is not a finding of innocence. ncis was apparently not trained in a way that provided a proactive role in the case. and the investigators needed to be trained more thoroughly, and their lack of knowledge and how the handle the sense thetive cases is failing survivors. and making the possibility of justice nearly impossible. we deserve so much better. nu number five. there is inadequate sexual assault prevention follow through from commanders. and yes, there is plenty of training to be given to the commanders, but where is the l follow-through. this is evidence in the lack of response to the concerns and red
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flags that were raised in regards to wilson's prior misconduct in australia that was sexual in nature, and had wilson's command properly addressed the many reports of misconduct from australia, and wilson never would have been able to take our child's innocence from her. and commanders need to know how the identify red flags, a take them seriously, and respond accordingly. it took the an australian commander to put out, to point out to the american marine commanders that the marine corps had a serious problem on their hands with wilson. how did our own military miss this? catching and acting on those red flags is missing in the military when it comes to prevention, and those predators are not going to be caught until it is too late, and another human being's life is torn apart. the cost of failing to catch these predators is too high to taurn blind eye-- turn a blind .
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in our case, the cost was innocence of 56-year-old. i can't fix that or get the innocence back, the evil that was done to her is an evil that only god to redeem, but it is an evil that the marine corps could have have prevented. i cannot stress enough the need for military leadership to identify the red flag behavior and not only identify this behavior, but to act upon it promptly. finally, trained legal professionals should be spearheading these cases, and our team of attorneys, lieutenant colonel john stephens, and captain sam adams and cory e werth were part of the team and they brought something powerful the to our table. if it weren't for these men coming on board five months after what we reported from our daughter, we would have never had any hope of seeing justice somewhat served. they were phenomenal and when
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they stepped in, it is as if order had finally come. the importance of the legal professionals cannot be overlooked and it needs to be embrace and supported. there also needs to be a ensuri all types of abuse are afforded victims' legal counsel. i don't know what we would have done without our military vlc, major nathan cox and our civilian team of vlcs from arnold & porter. they were our voice and without them we would never have been heard. in closing, i would like to thank you all again for your time. i want everyone to understand that i love our military, and i love the united states marine corps. yes, what happened to our daughter shook our world up and it changed so much in our lives. what wilson did to our daughters changed them permanently. this devastation done to our daughters crippled my husband and i to our core. i personally grew very angry,
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but what i realize side that my anger was and is righteous. part of that anger and hurt stems from the fact that the very institution that my husband and i have remained loyal to for over 18 years and continue to remain loyal to despite what we have suffered has still yet to offer a simple apology for what was done to our daughters. i know i had to take the hurt and the pain and anger, and the evil done to our family and do good. i am here today to do good for our military and our marine corps. i am here in hopes that my voice will be heard on behalf of all survivors of abuse so that the principles and values of what the marine corps and our entire united states military were founded on can be salvaged. it's extremely unsettling to me that the first question i am
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asked when people find out that i'm advocating on this matter is how has this affected your husband's career? it is a serious problem when advocating for what is right and good in regards to child sexual abuse is looked at as a threat to positive progression in the career of a service member. if our military continues to turn a blind eye to the dark culture breeding in our military's ranks, the military will be the victim of their own demise. this culture has to be attacked. the enemy is not always fought abroad. in this case, it's staring us right in the face in our very own ranks. our country is the great force that it is because we have fought for and accepted change over time throughout the history of our nation. this very same concept applies for our military and how cases of abuse are handled. we can no longer accept the current handling of these cases.
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times are changing and the military should be the first to not only adapt, but act, setting the tone for all institutions on how these cases should be handled. we are known for our powerful armed forces and the fact that this is happening in our own ranks is a sign of weakness to the rest of the world. it is a mission, the military, the united states military is failing at currently. the military should be the institution that is setting the precedent in what right looks like in regards to how these cases are investigated and treated. it's time for military leadership to become part of the solution. as a mother, i will not stop fighting for justice for my daughters and for those who cannot fight for themselves. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you, miss perry. miss mckinley? >> senators, thank you for
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having me today. my name is staff sergeant retired mercy mckinley from the united states army, and i am a survivor of intimate partner violence in the military. i am here today to be on the front line to share my experiences and recommendations in an effort to improve the military's approach toward domestic violence as a whole. i am going to disclose the following. the type of abuse i experienced, my interaction with the colleen police department, the type of medical care i received and my process with the family advocacy program, and experiences with other survivors prior to separation from service and after separation from service, the process i even took to receive the justice rendered that i now question and the overall recommendations based upon the aforementioned. while station adfort hood, texas, from january 2014 to
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februa february 2015 i was involved in a relationship with a member of equal rank. i was both strangled and beaten and strangled in such a manner that i had to take muscle relaxers long after just to be able to talk, eat and swallow. the measures i was using to conceal the extent of my injuries was not working. after three days of attempting ice packs, i elected to be seen at the troop medical clinic in which i was prescribed muscle relaxers. in january 2015 i was physically assaulted that resulted in significant bruising in my torso, legs, back, arms and additional damage sustained to my prosthetic knee. at the time i was being medically retired for failure to progress in a certain amount of time following a left total knee replacement and other treatments to address the wear and tear that deployment and military assignments had placed upon my body. during the assault the service
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member repeated lely struck, kid and stomped in the area where i had my implant which had caused it to become loosened. in june of that year i had to undergo surgery to repair the additional damage. immediately following the assault i reported it to the colleen police department in which i was greeted by both the male and female police officer. the male police officer took my statement while the female police officer's responsibility was to photograph and document my injuries. while i was attempting to explain the cuts on the inside of my lip, the female officer replied oh, it's not that bad. from this statement alone i deduced that she was not taking myself seriously. at the conclusion, i was given the card of the male police officer on duty whom advised me that usually the full extent on one's injuries does not surface until the following morning. the next morning i noticed i was
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sore and had significant bruising in certain areas of my body, my breathing was labored and i was limping. rather than report to early accountability formation in that condition, i went to call our darnell hospital emergency room to be seen. i explained what happened to the attending physician who completed my exam and ordered x-rays to ensure i didn't have internal injuries or bleeding. the attending physician asked if i was sexually assaulted as well, and which i denied and i was prescribed additional pain medications. i was released, but neither medical personnel from the troop medical clinic nor the carl r. darnell hospital notified the military police. i confided in a noncommission officer within my unit to family advok advocacy to seek additional care and counseling. i went to family advocacy in
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fort hood texas and completed an initial intake. during my intake the representative asked if i wanted to complete a restricted or unrestricted report and they completed a matrix. based upon my response to the matrix, the representative excused herself to go speak with the director. due to the severity score received from the matrix i was advised that a restricted report was not an option as my overall safety was at stake. i was also informed that i was perhaps desensitized and that i couldn't see the escalation of abuse nor how it affected my overall safety. i was provided a packet that included information on how to file a pro se protective order. mi responsibility to complete the enrollment and family advocacy program and the safety plan. the next day i contacted the district clerk office of bell county, texas, to inquire about
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what was needed for the prose protective orders. i had to go to the carl r. darnell hospital correspondence office to obtain copies of every time i was medically seen for the abuse. this took some time because i had to wait for clearance from my supervisors to grant me permission to take care of what was required. i also had to wait until the hospital correspondence office retrieved the copies of my exams from my medical records. depending on what is required to be retrieved from your medical records, it could be an immediate response, a 72-hour turnaround or as long as a month. once i had what was required i went to the district clerk office to file my pro se protective order request in person which i had to wait majority of the day for it to be accepted, approved, signed by a
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judge and given a court date. from there i had to take the approved documentation myself, the temporary protective order and court date to the colleen constable office so they can in turn serve the accused. before the accused could be served the colleen constable office had to coordinate with the marshall office to serve the papers on a military installation as the accused was trying to be avoid being served off post. i cannot say definitively say the time this process took, but it was neither immediate or the one-day. i was assisted by legal aid in reference to my protective order. the day of the first court date the judge delayed the hearing to provide the accused ample time to seek legal counsel as well as fulfill his financial obligations to the court. in between of waiting for the
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next court date of february 18, 2015, the accused had contacted my legal aid to try to get the protective order amended to suit his needs. my legal aid called me and said directly, ma'am, i think he is just trying to save his career and convince me to oblige of his request. i wasn't clear as to her stance and whose side she was on directly, so i fired her. in an effort not to be without legal representation by the next court date i tried to find an attorney within a local vicinity. it took me going through a total of ten attorneys to find one whom didn't attempt to throw me out of their office and accept a payment plan based upon their fees. needless to say, my two-year protective order was granted on february 18, 2015. the presiding judge whom was a retired colonel from the jag corps distinctly asked me if i knew the difference between a civil court and criminal court?
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she also asked why weren't any charges filed. i responded with the detective a assigned to reach and they were also backed up with other cases and that was the explanation that i received as to why no charges were filed. she was flabbergasted in a sense, but advised my attorney to make sure i obtained a copy of the court transcript and proceedings to provide to the colleen police department and the military. she ordered the accused to reimburse my attorney fees, pay the court and adhere to the two-year protective order. the victim advocate from family advocacy program who accompanied me to court assisted with obtaining the written military protective order once the civilian protective order was granted. my attorney informed me that i was the first case in which the judge ordered the accused to reimburse the attorney fees and given a direct order to provide the court transcript to the
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local and military authorities. i met with my attorney once more who said directly, and i guess this was just his opportunity to try to properly advise me. he said i'm going to advise you as if you were my own daughter standing before me. he said, do you honestly think the colleen police department is concerned about a few cuts and bruises here and there? if you want justice in any form you need to knock on the doors of third corps which is fort hood, texas, in the general over fort hood, texas. i've seen too many cases like this and the military needs to do something. under his advisement and insistence from the judge i followed and commenced the process. i paid for the court transcript, and i contacted the third corps commander secretary asking to be placed on his calendar. furthermore, i met with the supervisor and the detective to express my concerns with the
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lack of investigating. i spent the majority of the time thereafter pleading with both parties to transfer jurisdiction to the military. the military took jurisdiction, criminal investigation division, performed their investigation and the family advocacy program case review committee convened. both the family advocacy program case and the criminal investigation division came back rather quickly with the result of foundage. judges were confirmed for court marshall however the accused was administratively separated in lieu of the court marshall and i now question whatever consequences the accused actually received. prior to this the prosecuting attorney said she represented the chain of command and the chain of command's best interests. this was to make it abundantly clear that she was not my attorney. however, due to the rapport, i am assuming she and i developed, she had expressed frustration
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with previous cases in a generalized manner. she expressed her confidence of d dotting all of her is and crossing all of her ts and failed to obtain one. she also expressed in confidence of how after selecting the panel for court some members still hold firm to the belief of why didn't they just leave or assaults occur in dark alleys by complete strangers. i was provided from his attorney and his chain of command was content with the results because at least something was done. the key takeaway from this whole process is what i had to do and the effort it took on my part. not all survivors of intimate partner violence are the same. if we go forward expecting this to continue to be the process in any way, shape or form, justice could be delayed or even denied. the cycle of abuse will continue because some will compare the
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amount of effort it takes in an attempt to compartmentalize and rationalize the abuse as a means to stay in a situation. prime example, in 2017, after separating from service, i encountered a female friend whom was active duty and in the navy. her civilian husband had punched her in the face while she was holding their infant daughter and attempted to push both of them down a flight of stairs. she approached me with her situation, and i immediately advised her to see the navy's family advocacy. they handed her the same packet i was provided. where she and i differ was no reference list was given of legal aid services. finally, we contacted -- she and i contacted the house of ruth. she rarely had any contact with her legal aid and when she did it was minimal, at best.
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a blanket service was being provided rather than curtailed to her situation. when she attempted to change the locks of her own home she was advised she was want allowed to do that. in addition, her husband had control of all of the finances. she could not afford a real attorney nor could she adequately afford pampers and necessities for her child. i told her to contact the navy's version of the army emergency relief of her command financial non-commissioned officer. she was denied financial assistance. i cannot definitively say what became of her situation because our contact became few and far between by her choice as she dealt with what she was facing. despite my providing her financial support or trying to develop ways to afford an attorney retainer fee for her, it was not enough. i tried my best to advise her based upon my own personal
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experiences. her unit didn't even attempt to grant her accommodations on the military installation which is local here since she was advised she was want allowed to change the locks on her home. throughout my process, i still had to complete the mandatory counseling through family advocacy. there was a slight misconception -- miscommunication with scheduling my appointment to be seen to enroll in the mandatory counseling required. the reception i was of the attempting to place me with a support group with a linesenced clinical social worker. the process is for the licensed clinical social worker to first determine if one-on-one counseling sessions would be more suitable to treatment as opposed to group sessions. during the group sessions we were provided handouts that predominantly covered the warning signs of abuse. the start of each group session was to discuss the warning signs of abuse, where we were in the
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process with regards to our cases. some sessions included spouses any military personnel expressing trying to reconcile with their abuser. their abuser cutting off utilities, freezing their bank cards, not being able to get a hold of anyone within their abuser's unit, not receiving adequate assistance, et cetera. there were some spouses from foreign countries and other spouses whom did not know their abuser's unit, where they specifically worked on the military installation or where important agencies and resources were located. quite frankly, some appeared as though they were at their breaking point. the civilian running the group sessions sat stoic in a sense, determined to keep us all on track with the handouts provided. i almost equated this experience to being a student under the care of a substitute teacher whom provided us busywork. what had occurred was i
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connected with some of the spouses not knowing where certain agencies and assistance was located both on the military installation and locally. i had arranged a time after the group sessions to personally take them from point a to point b. if a spouse indicated that they had not heard from their victim advocate which was quite often or direct representation from family advocacy in x amount of days, i would physically take her to be seen. on one particular incident a spouse was told quite frankly and in an abrupt manner, you need to get a job. this was in response to express the utilities were shut off purposely from the abuser and withholding financial assets. it was the manner in which the spouse was spoken to that i had a problem with. the very same spouse was without a ged as it was required for her to support her husband's career and stay house ridden rather
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than furthering her own goals and this prevented her from getting a job. however, i took her to the community building who was advertising classes for ged and english as a single-language classes. this simple assistance served other females within the domestic violence support group conducted by family advocacy program well and empowered them to make better decisions towards their situations. the key takeaway is that i had to be the one to do it. given the aforementioned detail's account of my experiences, i believe intimate partner violence in the military needs to be approached strategically. this strategic approach should involve accountability, care and streamline. furthermore, it should be approached with an understanding of all of the dynamic factors involved. accountability entails ensuring all military installations have memorandum of understanding on file with their local, civilian law enforcement and support
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agencies. it appears from just my experience alone equal efforts need to be given to address intimate partner violence that occurs off military installations. to my knowledge, not all branches of service and military installations have this memorandum of understanding in place. at the very least it could include identifying if the parties involved were domestic dispute or military. there should be an automated system that the local authorities can reference to validate whom are military personnel. immediately following, procedures should be in place of how to contact the local military installation marshall office. in return, this will ensure it appears on a blotter report for the military as a whole as well as both military police and chain of command to have oversight. i am well aware that when it comes to jurisdiction in certain cases, the type of offense, severity and monetary factors
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ensures who takes jurisdiction. needless to say, oversight needs to be achieved. in 1929 the uniform crime report system was developed which is a nationwide program that law enforcement agencies report data on crimes that occur within their jurisdiction. this includes crimes reported. perhaps it should become a policy that all proven marshalls of the military installation be allowed to review that database because if you don't have that oversight and just from my experience alone working with the colleen police department and working with the local community they elected -- they deserve -- their decision was not to properly investigate nor do i think that they -- they thought that i deserved any form of justice. if that had -- if i didn't go through third corps or beg and plead for the military to take jurisdiction of my case how would they have known?
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so i think that's why i'm proposing that a better memorandum of understanding be placed on, you know, for all military installations regardless of the branch of service and that the provis marshall of the military installations be allowed to review these databases. what i have notice side that each branch of service has their own central registry for reporting incidences and crimes involving domestic violence. they also have their own system that is unique to their branch to adhere to what is mandated by all dod regulations. in return, they are each responsible for providing the data for the defense incident-based reporting system and what is required to the national incident based reporting system. you cannot win a battle with the lack of accountability and a lack of true standardization and a lack of streamlining the
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process. if the department of defense can collapse logistics information systems of all branches of the military into one, they can collapse these databases into one. so better oversight and accountability can be adhered to. one might think how much training is truly needed, but it should always be revamped and residual and training is the only way to achieve the quality of care received or ensure justice rendered. what resonates the most is the lack of confidence expressed from the attorney in the panel, the military panel that hears certain cases in military court. perhaps all panelists should be subject to training on intimate partner violence and dispelling the myths associated with it. this training should be compelling, involve storytelling, solicits feedback and encourage engaging dialogue.
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the panelist that receive this training should be identified by an additional skill identifier within the training requirements and resource system. although dispelling myths and combatting organizational behaviors and culture can prove to be an arduous task, it is not impossible nor should it hinder constant efforts to try. at the very least, consider this recommendation so justice can be achieved. clearly, you cannot always rely on local law enforcement agencies to do that particular job. lastly, at the heart of the matter is the care. i am asking that special victims counsel be assigned to all victims of intimate partner violence in the military. we've heard of my process, and how the unit's attorney made it clear she was not my direct attorney. the special victim counsel can assist with the legal aspects especially with both the civilian and military protective order that should be required.
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no one should be provided a packet and say that's it. here, go do this, go do that. we have to constantly take into account one's emotional state, the duration and level of abuse when first saying "here is a packet." we are living in an informational age, but given how isolated the abused partner is, they may not have direct access to what is needed. in addition, it should be required that all spouses of military personnel have their own in-processing system on a military installation. i can only speak from an army perspective. perhaps it should be held at the soldier family assistance center. this will eliminate some of the spouses i've referenced whom didn't know where anything was, couldn't tell me what unit their spouse was in. all they could tell me was their spouse had the same patch i was wearing at the time. how, then, can we expect them to
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know the full extent of what assistance the family advocacy, first responders and what their spouse's units can offer. to eliminate this problem a separate processing should be performed for all spouses that includes family advocacy. also, another factor that can be considered is organizing the domestic violence groups better so targeted outreach can be performed. we are living in changing times with the relationship dynamics preferred gender identification, et cetera. furthermore, i am well aware that civilian spouses are offered financial assistance throughout the process and even after the conviction of domestic violence from the military. however, financial assistance was denied to my friend whom was active duty and spouse was civilian. that's all. thank you. thank you, miss mckinley and miss vega so we can have adequate time for the -- there's no way. you put a lot of work into your opening statements.
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they're obviously going to be in the record and miss perry, in your particular case, there is a number of actions that we're taking in our office about the specifics of your case, but thank you for your testimony. it was very helpful, particularly the suggestions for moving forward. miss vega? >> good afternoon, senators. i want to thank each of you for the opportunity of being here, sharing the experience and the stories of the survivors. my name is iris vega. i serve as the court advocate for doorways for women and families, a non-profit whose mission is to create pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault and my role as a core advocate was to work with survivors who would come into the courthouse and work on protective orders, safety planning and child support and custody issues. so these are the stories that i will share with you today in regard to what they experienced.
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survivor number one came to the courthouse with her victim advocate from the military, any when she explained in her statement was that her husband had strangled her on several occasions in front of their 9-year-old baby girl that was with them. she felt that she was scared. she didn't know what to do. she reached out to the military and family victim advocacy who in return referred her to get a protective order at the civilian court. she also had reached out to the commander who was the military spouse commander and he had placed the abusive partner out of the home and in the barrack. so she pretty much felt very supported through the military process, but she -- her challenge was to face the civilian side which was where we were. the civilian side is not connected with the military. there is a big gap in communication there so when the
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survivor comes in and her abusive partner is in the military, there is no way we can know what's happening on the military's side. we don't know what the commanders have done. we don't know what victims services has done with them. they just come with what they tell us, and our judges, most of the time, require proof, require that you call the police. who is involved? have you told somebody? a lot of the survivors who come in do not have that because there is no communication between those two. the commanders are not there to explain what had happened. sometimes the victim advocacy will not be there with them. they'll be by themselves. in this case, she really had to re-tell her story again and again to different people, to the judge that was there to keep the protective order in place. with a lot of work she was able to do it. we were able to connect her with legal aid so they can represent her protective order and by the fact that she has to go through so many loops to be able to tell her story and give safety nets
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was something that we had to keep providing her with emotional support to continue to that process. she was able to secure one and make it out safely in that case. our survivor number two came us to through the hot line. she described her husband as having post traum atec stress disorder ask that he had become increasingly angry towards her violently, he would hit the walls and destroy personal property and told her if she was ever planning on leaving him that they both would end up dead. so she became very aworried for her life and safety concerns because there was no physical abuse, it was very difficult for her to reach out. she finally decided to reach out to the command -- not to the commander, but the higher ranking of her husband and he told her that things would be
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taken care of. with time nothing really happened. she then reached out to the family advocacy center at the military who gave her resources and told her where to go, but she was expecting more action from them. nothing really happened. she decided to take things in her own hand, came to arlington, got the protective order and had the preliminary one, but it was very difficult again to make it permanent because there's no report, there's no police calls, there's no physical abuse. she strongly believed that the problem was that her husband was a sergeant and that nobody was willing to do anything because of that. she felt that she was left alone and no one was there to support her in regard to the military side. not only that, she was also challenged in the civil side because the judge, when we went before the judge he looked at her and said do you know you can ruin his career doing this?
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it was not about the safety of the survivor. it was more about -- he's a sargent and you will ruin his career. so this is the message that she got through from one place to everywhere that she went that nobody was going to do anything because of that. she was denied a protective order and it never became permanent. we had to do a lot of safety planning. she eventually made it out, but it was a long way for her. it wasn't easy. we had to get her into counseling and outside resources to be able to help her and this also is the same thing you see over and over again hwhen there is emotional and psychological abuse and you don't have a lot of physical, it is very hard for survivors to even reach out to the commanders and the advocacy center when there's nothing they can show for. survivor number three came to us at the courthouse. she was sent by there actually
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by her commander because she was told that it would be easier and faster if she would do the protective order through the civil side first. she believed strongly that the commander did not want to do anything because in her words, there were bodies with her husband and he felt that he didn't want to get involved. it was a domestic violence situation. he told her if you get a civil protective order then i can do something in here. and for her, she did have a lot of physical abuse. there was a lot of pushing to the point that he would grab her by the neck, choke her, and when she came to the courthouse she had bruises on her lips and her mouth and it was very obvious so in her case it was not difficult to get the protective order because you could see it, but in other cases it wasn't that easy.
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so once she was able to get the protective order, she took it back to the commander and he was able to proceed with that. so that's some of the challenges that not only in this cases we see, but in other cases we've dealt with, one which is a big one is the lack of communication between the civilian side and the military and that includes cps and it includes non-profits and even with the victim advocacy center and other advocates that are outside, police, judges, there's no connection and there's a way to break that has to be in place. another big challenges that we see and we have seen it over and over again is the officer's ranking. many of the survivors are scared. they say if i go forward with this, he's big, he's doing this, his career will be ruined and i don't want to put that on him and when they do decide to go forward there's very little support in the military for that
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and very little protection for them. so we -- based on those challenges that we have seen, we think some of the recommendations are to put a system in place to fassel tacil the civilian and military communication in the different levels and the second would be to provide training. we believe so strongly that training does make a difference and training the people who are in charge higher ranks, officers, commanders are the ones who are making those decisions right now and having the moment that that victim, the survivor is calling out and reaching out to the military, everybody who is involved and the prosecutors, the panels and everybody who is involved in that process needs to be trained and they need to be trained in trauma and form and it has to be survivor centered. once again, collaborating. i think collaboration with the
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outside resources is very important, as we heard and so are the cases that we have here today is outside civilian resources sometimes mack a big difference and having the military connect the survivors with those resources outside, knowing where they are is very important and i believe that's the only way we can continue to nurture the culture that starts by believing that, yes, that happened. start by believing the survivor and having a survivor-centered approach to them. thank you. >> thank you, miss vega. miss perry and miss mckinley, thank you so much for the work you put into your opening statements and we will have those for the record, and miss perry and miss mckinley, this is the first. once we receive the testimony, the first exposure that we've had to this case and i'm sure the committee staff will have follow-up questions for you and miss perry. you touched in your opening
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statement about wilson's it's impossible to call him mister. had clearly behaviors that were exhibited in australia and what i consider to be unacceptable disconnect between the commands in australia and back at camp lejeu lejeune that we're taking a personal interest in and we'll continue to speak with you, and try to identify how we can prevent that in the future, but we also have to hold people accountable for this particular breakdown. thank you all for being here today and for your time up here and know that this committee is being held because we know that you're only two of so many victims that we need to do a better job as we move forward with policies on this committee. so thank you very much for your testimony. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> we will now transition to the second panel. the panel will consist of miss stephanie barnum, the senior
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policy adviser for the undersecretary of defense and personal readiness. dr. kenneth dodge pritzker professor of early learning policy studies and professor of psychology and neuroscience at duke university, casey taft, ph.d, professor of psychiatry, and boston -- at the boston university school of medicine and jacqueline campbell, ph.d, professor of nursing at johns hopkins school of nursing. thank you all for being here, and if we could have your testimony limited to about five minutes so that we can have adequate time for questions and i'm going to take home state prerogative and start with dr. dodge. >> thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. i'm a clinical psychologist,
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research scientist and faculty member at duke university in north carolina which is a proud home to several military bases. since dr. henry kemp first identified the battered child syndrome in 1962 most of our nation's efforts have been directed toward protecting battered children after the fact of child abuse. this is understandable, but this is a never-win situation because the battered children keep on coming. so what i want to talk to you about is moving upstream. we've moved upstream to try to understand how child abuse occurs in the first place and how we can prevent it from happening beginning in the very first year of life. we've made progress in helping entire communities lower their infant abuse rate. i began my work in durham, north carolina in 2001. since that date, the population wide rate of child maltreatment in durham by official statistics
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has declined by 67%. we've learned a great deal from scientific research on the causes of child abuse and neglect and early in life, and we've learned that one size does not fit all. some families become abusive because of alcohol or opioid or other drug use problems. still other families may be maternal depression or domestic violence or family financial instability or maybe for a young person a lack of knowledge about child development and parenting skills. we know financial stress causes challenges that make the problem worse. for some parents, it's the stress of a crying baby at 2:00 in the morning in the middle of the night. on the positive side we know what can protect families, social connectedness to families, friends, pastors and professionals can make a difference. so these diverse needs tell us that one professional intervention won't solve the problem for everybody, but we have interventions that can
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address the needs of different families, and so what we really face is an engineering problem. how do we understand individual family needs and then direct community resources to the right families at the right time, not to direct resources to all families when they don't need it, and not to let families fall through the cracks. so we created the family connects approach to community child abuse prevention. this program's trauma informed. it draws on the work from the national center for child traumatic stress and the family assistance program and other good programs. family connects has three pillars. first, we try to reach every family and the community at the time of birth. we go to the hospital where the birth occurs and we invite ourselves where it occurs and they'll have up to seven contacts with the family and she tries to understand what that particular family needs. maybe it's professional sub
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stance abuse treatment and maybe it's a parenting support group and maybe it's an emergency housing loan. she then tries to connect the family, and she does education, universal education on sleeping and crying and breast-feeding a number of other areas and then she also connects the family to the community resources that that particular family needs. the second pillar is if we are going to make these community resource connections, we have to align the community resources in durham where i live we have an electronic annotated directory of over 400 community agencies that we have rallied and learned about to help families at the time of birth. the nurse has this directory at her disposal as she works with families. the third pillar is an integrated computer data system that tracks every family's contacts and progress so that we can be efficient and at work and we can hold our staff accountable, we can hold agencies accountable, we can not
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direct too many resources toward one family, but spread them out appropriately. we can track progress and evaluate the impact of what we do. now the family connects program is brief, it's temporary, it's community wide, it costs about $500 per family for every family in the community. many families use less than that, some families use more, but that's the average. we've evaluated the family connects impact as vigorously as we can, we've had two random trials and a lot of qualitative evaluation as well with over 7,000 families in these experiments and trials so far. our public evaluation show that the family connects program decreases, mother's anxiety decreases their confidence and improves parenting and most importantly, it reduces official rates of child abuse in a
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community by one-third. also reduces injuries and illnesses in emergency rooms as detected by official records. so we're now disseminating family connects program across the nation and we're working with 28 communities today. we plan to grow to several hundred communities with each new community we learn and we adapt the program, we believe military communities such as the army's fort bragg near fayetteville and marine's camp lejeune in jacksonville are terrific opportunities to promote development and prevent child abuse. we believe we can lower the child abuse rate in these communities. thank you. >> thank you, dr. dodge. dr. campbell? >> i want to thank the committee for having us. i especially want to thank both of you senators for your eloquent, informative opening remarks. i'm a nurse researcher at johns hopkins university school of nursing.
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i've done research on domestic violence and health outcomes for more than 20 years. i was a proud member of the congressionally appointed u.s. department of defense task force on domestic violence in the military from 2000 to 2003. in that role, i was able to travel all over the world and observe and listen to domestic violence survivors, domestic violence offenders and those that were trying to deal with domestic violence in the military. i learned so much about the military and grew to an even greater level of respect and honor for all of our armed services at every rank. most of the recommendations that we made as part of that domestic violence task force were adopted by the military. we can hear from some of the testimony some of the things that are supposed to be put into place, the problem is now, of course, implementation, sustainability, continuous
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evaluation and continuous improvement. that's where i think we have fallen down. one of the recommendations we made was to conduct a systematic regularly repeated and importantly, totally anonymous survey of active-duty military women and active-duty military wives. wives of active-duty military women. this was done by cdc in 2010. it is being repeated now in 2016, and 2017 and those results have not yet been made public. fortunately, there is good data from that survey about what was happening to active duty military women. what is unfortunate is part of that survey was questions about
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injury. that injury data has never been published. the military has not -- has taken over on that data and has not allowed cdc to publish it. so we do not know how much injury there was to active-duty military women. we also know that although it's being repeated now, there is not funding from the military to repeat it after 2016 and 2017. that absolutely has to be done. from that data, we learned that the domestic violence against active duty military women was very similar to the amount of domestic violence against civilian women. about 40% of civilian women experienced lifetime, physical violence, rape or stalking by an intimate partner and about 31% of active duty military women and 30% of the wives of active duty military men. so very similar percentages and
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approximately a third of women in the military experiencing domestic violence. for active duty military women that translates to 56,000 active duty military women who have been abused by a partner or ex-partner some time in their life time. 40,000 severely fiphysically abused women by a partner and even if we look at the past three years which the rates are lower and that's similar to civilian women, 21,000 abused in the past three years, 9,000 severely abused active duty military women in the past year and 6,000 of the even more severe, repeated, physical violence or sexual assault.
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and that's every year. we must use that data intelligently to develop policy and to do further research on what is not -- what is reported and what is not reported to the military. we know that officially reported domestic violence is far lower than the actual domestic violence just like we know that about sexual assault. what is missing from the nisvis as it's called in cdc is the outcomes for active duty military women and we have new science as senator gillibrand mentioned about traumatic brain injury that happens to women in the civilian world. we need to apply this new knowledge to domestic violence victims in the military as well as to our soldiers that are injured by blast injuries and our athletes. this is one of the long-term health outcomes of domestic
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violence that we're beginning to discover. we have known for a long time that women are abused by their partners have long-term, neurological problems and what we do not know is why. what we know now from new data, my team published in 2017 and we have some data from harvard showing definitively that women who are beaten in the head or have facial injuries, hit in the eye, hit in the ear, fractured jaws, i always make the analogy, we know what happens to boxers over time and domestic violence victims are repeatedly hit in the face, repeatedly hit in the head and they're also strangled as was mentioned. miss vega talked about the woman who was strangled by her partner in front of their 9-year-old
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daughter and what was recommended to her was a protective order. important, yes, but what about medical care for that strangulation? we know that strangulation leads to long-term brain injuries, and what about counseling for that 9-year-old? that also is incredibly important so that we can prevent these children that are so often exposed to domestic violence both in the military and outside from having that cumulative trauma that we know is so important in terms of increasing the risk of them using violence in their adolescent and adult relationships. we know now that we have to heal from that trauma as well as teach kids to do better. that it's not just cognitive reasoning that makes the difference in whether or not people use violence. it's also if they've had
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cumulative trauma, what that does to the brain. we know much more about that. we also have very good science now in terms of how to treat people with traumatic brain injury in the military. we do a great job of treating with the most advanced neurological techniques our blast injury victims in the military who have tbi. we do not do the same for our active duty military women who have tbi from domestic violence. so we need to routinely screen in all of our active duty military health facilities for experiencing domestic violence. we need to do it in a way and as was talked about in terms of restricted referrals versus non-restricted reports to military command, all of that is useful, but we need to be sure
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to be screening not for present, just present domestic violence, but for past domestic violence. these neurological problems last long after someone has left an abusive relationship. we heard from an incredibly brave, smart, resourceful victim of domestic violence and i always wonder how well they have been treated for those long-term medical problems and we heard about hers in terms of requiring surgery, et cetera, as soon as we find a victim of domestic violence in an active duty military setting, we need to make sure that we're using a traumatic brain injury screen. there is a modified screen that kathleen iverson who is in the va has used with veteran women that can be where women can disclose whether or not they've had a strangulation event and
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whether or not they've had these kinds of head injuries that would lead to traumatic brain injury and again, it's those repeated blows to the head and/or strangulation. that's the issue. we can use those to screen for tbi amongst women and we can use those to decide how to best provide treatment for those women for the traumatic brain injury. my last note is first of all, in terms of the other kind of injury that we often, too often incur for both civilian and military women and that is gunshot injuries, and what we know now in terms of the person we know of is the texas shooter was so egregiously violent to
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his wife in the military that he was sentenced to a year in the brig. that is really serious domestic violence for that to happen, and yet the record of that domestic violence did not get into the background check database, and he legally obtained a firearm, and what we talk about the bill we talk about fixnix is not going to fix that problem. we have to look at that very carefully in terms of how that would be allowed to happen to make sure it never happens again and as i mentioned in terms of prevention those kids that are witnessing domestic violence in terms of treatment for their trauma so that they don't go on to be using domestic violence as they grow older. thank you. >> thank you, dr. campbell. dr. taft? >> good afternoon, chairman tillis, ranking member
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gillibrand and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to discuss my observations on domestic violence in the military. i'm appearing today on behalf of boston university school of medicine and not on behalf of the department of veterans affairs. the focus of my work is on understanding how domestic violence develops in service members and veterans and in developing evidence-based programs to prevent or end that violence. my program's focused on those engaging in domestic violence or those at risk for vilence. trauma and ptsd are among the strongest risk factors for domestic violence. when a family member has ptsd the domestic violence increases threefold. when a service member does not have ptsd their violence is the same as civilians. it's the trauma in ptsd that most strongly drives the risk of domestic violence and not pre-existing violent tendencies of those in the military. it's important to understand that ptsd does not cause
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domestic violence. it only increases risk. it's related to higher violence risk, most of those with pts does, aren't domestically violent and in other words, we must wanot think of it as a symptom of ptsd. they ultimately make a choice to be violence and are responsible for their own behavior. to understand how trauma increases violent risk it is important to understand how trauma can respond in different situations. the service member learns to see threats that others don't see. this is obviously adaptive in a war zone, but when the service member returns home they may be more likely to develop a mindset where they assume others have hostile intentions towards them. they may begin to falsely assume that their partner is trying to push their buttons, is cheating on them or trying to do them harm in some way. they'll be more likely to engage in controlling and abusive behavior. service members exposed to
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trauma report that their experiences have changed the ways that they view the world. for example, every violent service member i've worked with describes difficulty trusting others. this difficulty trysting may be to may be due to observing people harming others in the war zone or perhaps they felt betrayed or didn't know whom they could trust during traumatic experiences. these feelings can carry over into intimate relationships and often a precursor to coercive and controlling behavior. power and control themes are also important with service members exposed to trauma. perhaps they felt powerless while exposed to trauma and attempt to exert power and control in their home environment they didn't have during their trauma and use more dominating forms of communication that are effective in a military context but not in the home context. we need to take a trau trauma-informed approach when working with those who engage in domestic violence, meaning we discuss the role of trauma throughout the entire intervention process. trauma-informed dare is standard in any other area of intervention. the domestic violence field has
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been slow to adopt it, etch wwi military populations which trauma takes on particular importance. some worried by taking a trauma-informed akroepproach we excusing abusive behavior. when we listen to the story members tell about trauma, they open up and take great irresponsibility for their abuse. if we listen to their stories, they'll join with us and work to end their abusive behavior. we can and should talk about the role of trauma in abusive behavior while emphasizing accountability and personal responsibility at the same time. this is not just my the rhett ca theoretical speculation. through funding, my team has developed and implemented the strength at home programs, trauma-informed group therapy programs to prevent and end domestic violence. these are the only programs demonstrated effective for veterans and service members through randomized control trials so we now have good evidence a trauma-informed approach is the best way to
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prevent and end domestic violence in service members at risk. i believe the military response to domestic violence is far ahead of the civilian response. through their family advocacy programs, dod uses a koord dmcod community response to deal with the problem. dod standards for best practices to deal with domestic violence are also well thought out in trauma informed -- that's what jackie was referring to, she was an important part of that process. one recommendation that i have is dod adopt a system where they identify only trauma-informed programs truly shown to be effective to prevent and end military domestic violence through clinical trials and work to consistently implement these programs across dod. current currently, there are some programs on installations that don't meet this standard. this approach would ultimately benefit military families who experience domestic violence. mr. chairman, thank you, again, for the opportunity, to testify and i'd be pleased to answer any questions. >> thank you, mr. taft.
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miss barn, i want to thank you and secretary wilky for having you here. >> ranking member gillibrand and members of the subcommittee, the department of defense is committed to preventing and responding to domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, and child abuse and neglect in the military community. on behalf of mr. wilky, and the cadre of dedicated and expert professionals who comprise the dod family advocacy team, i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the department's coordinated community response to preventing, identifying, and responding to domestic abuse, child abuse, and neglect. the testimony of mrs. perry and ms. mckinley and ms. vaga was both heartwrenching and deeply concerning from our perspective.
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i want each of you to know how much i respect the courage that you've demonstrated over time, and here today in testifying in pursuing care and justice for those that you love, for yourself, and in the case of ms. vaga, for those she has committed to protect and assist. i deeply appreciated the opportunitiies to hear what you have to say. i can ensure you the department will work with this committee to be responsive to the issues that you have raised in your testimony. to the members of this committee, i look forward to taking your questions and to the discussion. >> thank you very much, miss barna. dr. dodge, thank you for the time, thank you for coming up here, first and foremost, and your work, and i think that your
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review of the durham experience since 2008 was extraordinary. i mean, a reduction of over 60% and going from a community that was above the state average, that was, itself, above the national average, and doing the work that you've done proves that it works. you've also -- i immediately went to how you pay for it and also how you measure the benefits and i think you have a very good story to tell there. so, with the committee, i mean, if you could briefly talk about some of the ways that you believe there's a compelling economic positive impact, i'd like to talk about that, and then we'll also make sure that our staff follow up, because i think what you're doing there could serve as a basis for something that we should each a way to pilot, work with the department, and identify a way to have a public/private partnership as you've done in so many other places now across the country, but if you could
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briefly talk a bit about the savings, we have the most important thing, which is the benefit to the family, but this savings and the other positive impacts that i think build a compelling fiscal case. >> thank you, senator tillis, yes, if we look merely at the two primary outcomes of preducig emergency room visits in the first two years of life for illnesses and injuries and reducing official child protective services investigations for child abuse, we find in durham that we save at least $3 for every $1 we spend in the program in the first two years of life. we couldnntinue to do these ecoc studies as children get older and we're doing them in our other communities as well. i think there's a good economic case to make. part of the problem is we, of course, cannot in the meantime stop serving those already battered children and abused children so there is an investment that needs to be
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made. i think that's the nature of it. second, as far as how do we pay for it, we're in 28 communities across the nation, and each community pays for it in different ways. in durham, the county commissioners have elected to use tax dollars to pay for one little part of it. philanthropy pays for another part of it. we capture some modest medicaid funding for part of it. and we capture some state grants as wilell. in other communities, we have found that private for-profit health care agencies will pay for it. or have paid for it in several communities. perhaps because they think it's a good thing for their clients, their patients. perhaps because it's good public relations. but also perhaps because they realize it will save them dollars down the road in the long run. so i think it's a combination of public funds, private funds, and non-profit philanthropy. in military communities, i think it can be a combination of the
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military plus the surrounding community. so i know fairly well fayetteville, cumberland county, in our state of north carolina where we're beginning to interact with cumberland county, and that community could provide some resources, but also the army's ft. bragg could provide some resources for those families. so i think there are creative possibilities here. >> thank you very much. miss barna, i think this may be the first, probably is the first time you've heard of this particular program, but i would like an opportunity for us to maybe talk about it and see if there's some way to explore an application on a pilot basis, or possibly other programs that we can at least possibly make headway for the support of military families. >> chuabsolutely, sir, we'd be happy to do it. we're familiar with dr. dodge ee's work. we're great admirers of it and we'd be interested in the outcome of the current pilots. >> thank you very much. senator gillibrand?
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>> thank you so much, mr. chairman. dr. taft, can you elaborate on the types of barriers researchers and clinicians face when trying to start these types of programs? >> barriers in starting the program on an installation? >> correct. prevention programs for military families. >> right. so we actually have a dod-funded clinical trial/implementation study right now at madigan lewis mccord where we are trying to implement our couples-based prevention program. and this was -- this is a program that is focused on preventing violence in couples at risk. so before there was any violence going on at all, we've shown through a cdc trial that -- that it's effective. that we compared it in a clinical trial to support groups and it was more effective than that. we're now attempting to implement this on an installation currently, and, you know, to be honest, up to this
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point we've been trying get through the irb, the military irb for, like, two years so that's been our primary barrier thus far. but i think the most important thing is getting buy--in. our experience has been reaching out to the partners, to the family members, is probably the most successful approach, rather than reaching out directly to the service members who don't necessarily want to go to couples therapy or any kind of conflict prevention kind of program. so i think that's the biggest barrier that -- the biggest challenge is reaching directly to the partners, finding ways to reach them. when we did our clinical trial, we reached them through strong bonds retreats, through yellow ribbon events. any place where we thought we cowell talk could talk to partners directly, that's where we would go. >> dr. dodge, i understand our youngest children -- i can't imagine what it would be like to
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go through that kind of experience without a strong support system. what wiare barriers that famili seeking help encounter when it comes to caring for their children and are there policies and procedures that would reduce these barriers to seek help and stigma of child abuse and neglect that would make prevention programs for acce accessib accessible? >> yes, thank you for that yes. there are barriers we learned about from interacting with families over time. one barrier is the stigma of reaching out for help with mental health problems, with financial problems. even with childcare problems. another barrier is the belief that one should do it alone. one of the things we say to mothers in h the hospital room after giving birth is we can gr congratulate the mother, welcome the baby in the community. we say every parent can be succe successful, but no parent has ever been successful alone. we're successful by surrounding ourselves with others. we try to set up that norm in the family's eyes so they don't
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feel they have to do it alone. there are ways to overcome those barriers. our approach is universal. every family is offered the opportunity so there is no stig stigma, so there is no belief that you have to do it alone or should do it alone. it's universal. of course, we don't want do spend thousands of dollars on every family, so we have to have a way to triage and to get the right resources to the right families at a particular time. so there are barriers, but i think we can overcome them with a universal public health kind of approach. >> thank you. miss barna, kumcurrently we do have numbers of child abuse, intimate partner violence abuse in the military, only the reported cases. why doesn't the department of defense survey military members and their dependents to try to establish an estimated rate of prevalence so we have a better idea of the scope of the prob m problem? >> senator gillibrand, we have heard you and we are in the process of actually incorpora
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incorporating questions about domestic violence in our military spouse survey. there are questions about domestic violence and abuse that will be inserted into our workplace gender relations surv survey. it is always, of course, a challenge for us to endeavor to serve -- to survey children in an effort to ascertain prevalence. our concern is that such a survey would be -- would be quite skewed simply because our practices that for children under the age of 18, we would certainly require parental content and that we likely would not receive such consent from households where abuse is ongoing. and as well, just the challenge of interviewing and soliciting the children's response makes that kind of prevalent survey very challenging. we are hopeful that the military
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spouse survey and, again, the gender workplace relation survey -- >> you can get some of it from the spousal survey, i suspect. the family advocacy program publishes a report each year containing the number of reported allegations of child abuse and neglect and intimate partner violence. however, in the annual report, there's no data on the outcome of such cases in terms of prosecution by civilian or military authorities, recidivism rates or treatment outcomes. can you give us guidance on why family advocacy does not track and report this data? >> actually, i could speak from a couple of. er perspectives there. the family advocacy program is focused persistently first, foremost always, on the victim. our primary concern is the victim. we have concern for the offender and certainly we will offer treatment to an offender where treatment is suggested and the offender will participate, but
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it's all with a view to helping the victim. and so we don't really get involved other than as part of the coordinated community response in the law enforcement, the legal, and the command response to holding the offender accou accountable. we do have great concern that if victims were to regularly perceive that our objective is offender accountability, victims would not come to us. that they would be hesitant to, as you heard today, ruin the careers of people that they care about. people with whom they may sure a child. we also have concerns that commanders who today would preventatively refer a service member to us saying this individual needs service -- >> right. >> -- wouldn't do it. and finally, there are practical concerns. if you saw in my statement, our discussion of fatality reviews,
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we complete fatality reviews only after the accountability process is done. meaning that we are three years behind in fatality reviews. so you are seeing our fatality reviews of cases where the accountability actions have only been completed and it's three years later in time. we don't want to wait three years to provide you with date do about how our victims, in some cases, how our offenders are responding to treatment. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, all, and dr. campbell, i think your point on getting sufficient data is critically important for us, for to instruct us in terms of additional actions we need to do here. this hearing is not a once and done moment. it's a process. i think senator gillibrand and i are very focused on this issue, as evidenced by the fact we held
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this hearing. what's even more important is the dialogue that follows. ms. barna, we'll be following up with the department and each one of you. we'll keep the record open through tuesday of next week. we may submit questions to you for the record if you're able to respond, we would appreciate it. more importantly, as you track what we're doing here, please make sure you contact my office, and the ranking member's office, for any suggestions and improvements we can make. thank you, all, and, again, miss perry, miss mckinley, thank you for your courage. we're going to do everything we cana can to make sure your stories are becoming fewer and if u erf until we can get them to be none. thank you so much. and thank you for traveling hear. >> thank you. >> hearing's adjourned.
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earlier today, government officials charged with repairing and responding to seasonal flu testified before a house energy and commerce subcommittee. and you can see this hearing tonight starting at 8:00 eastern on c-span or and on our companion network, c-span2, senate democrats speak with victims of
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gun violence including the recent shooting in parkland, florida. we'll show you that meeting tonight starting at 8:00 eastern. and coming up saturday, march 24th, live coverage of the march for our lives being held here? washington. the event scheduled to start at noon eastern, as families rally against gun violence and urge action to prevent mass school shootings. again, that's march 24th, live coverage on c-span. monday on c-span's "landmark cases" we'll explore the 1886 case of yick wo vz v. hopkins. found in favor of a laundromat owner and established equal protection under the 14th amendment applies to immigrants as well as citizens. examine this case and the high court's ruling with mae ngai,
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professor at columbia yufrt auny and author of "the lucky ones." and josh blackman, associate law professor at the south texas college of liaw at houston. watch "landmark cases" live monday at 9:00 eastern on c-span, are listen with the free c-span radio app. for background on each case, order your copy of the "landmark cases" companion book available for $8.95 plus shipping and handling at cases. there's a link on our website for the interactive constitution. in this year's student cam competition, we asked students to choose a provision of the u.s. constitution and create a video important. students competed for the chance to win cash prizes and we
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received it 2,948. the first place winner goes to hemaskshi gordy and jansikwe medina-tayac from montgomery blair high school. no trespassing: seeking justice for native women. the central category, will foote and james dyer from whitefish bay high school in whitefish bay, wisconsin. our student cam first prize winner for the high school west goes to may zhen and payton liquin from capital high school in boise, idaho, for prison reform. first prize winner from our east category is kiera lamb, uma fox and kiah beachler, for survival of the veiled face: the constitution dality of abortion.
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another goes to raheem baker, william mcknight and zane'ah moultrie for be true to the constitution, the first amendment rap. we're happy to announce grand prize winner, adam koch and tyler cooney from dallas center-grimes high school in grimes, iowa. old enough to fight, old enough to vote. >> we received videos from almost 6,000 students to participate in the competition and we're just calling to let you guys know you won the grand prize. >> yeah! yes. >> you know, with this year's topic, it was such an open-ended question so we really had time to focus in and when i looked online and i got the contact information for the person who authored the 26th amendment, i thought, tyler, we have is to do this. you know, we have to get in contact with this person. so we sent some e-mails, we
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started filming, we sent even more e-mails and after that, everything kind of fell into place. >> picking the amendment was actually pretty difficult. you know, 26 different amendments that we kind of looked at and evaluated and there's lots of controversy going on right now in the pub c public. we sat down, related to us at our age, what really affected us, we're headed into college next year. the 26th amendment, we were able to get in contact with some important people here in iowa and around the country so it really clicked for us and we got working as soon as we could. >> the top 22 winning entries will air on c-span in april. and you can watch every student cam documentary online at up next, a forum about improving civics education and preparing students to become more politically engaged. former florida senator bob graham leads off, and talks about his efforts. the center


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