Meet the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence
What is it like to do domestic violence work in Nevada?
Nevada’s geography and population disparities make domestic violence work challenging. From the metropolitan area of Las Vegas, with a dense and diverse population base, to rural and frontier communities separated in many cases by more than one hundred miles and with populations of less than 30,000 in the entire county, each community requires a unique approach to very different challenges. Unfortunately, we also face high levels of domestic and sexual violence and rank second in the nation for women killed by men. This presents both a challenge and motivation to continue doing this work. The Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCEDSV) was founded in 1980 and is one of the few statewide domestic violence coalitions to have survived the challenges of rural vs. urban and north vs. south which has derailed others.
What impact does your Nevada context have on this work?
Nevada is a unique state with two main metropolitan areas in Las Vegas and Reno and many rural and frontier communities. Over 80 percent of Nevada’s population resides in Las Vegas; however, the need for services in rural areas is substantial. While the majority of the population resides in Las Vegas, 80 percent of Nevada’s land is public with large unpopulated or sparsely populated areas. Because of the vast differences and varying needs in the state, service delivery to survivors is quite diverse.
What are the biggest barriers that survivors face in Nevada?
Nevada has programs serving victims of domestic and sexual violence in every county, some of which have a geographical area larger than some states. While these services exist, resources available to fund the number of services demanded and the geographical challenges are significant barriers. Many shelters have waitlists and programs continue to lack funding to meet the needs of emergency and transitional housing. Victims in Nevada also face a danger of gun violence. Nevada has taken important steps to end the high incidence of intimate partner homicides committed with firearms, but much work remains to make Nevada a safer place.
What’s happening in Nevada that you’re excited about? Proud of?
Nevada was one of only two states in the nation that required Victims of Crime Compensation Fund recipients to be U.S. Citizens. This prohibition kept undocumented survivors from accessing the funds, as well as those visiting Nevada from out of the country. During the 2017 legislative session, NCEDSV worked on a bill that removed this prohibition and as of July 1, 2017, all victims of crime can now apply for this compensation. NCEDSV’s focus while pursuing this legislation was on victims of domestic and sexual violence, but the benefits have also been expanded in unanticipated ways. On October 1, the largest mass shooting in recent U.S. history occurred in Las Vegas. Some of these victims were not U.S. Citizens, and because of this legislation, were able to apply for compensation. NCEDSV was proud to be a part of this effort and we want to thank Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson for sponsoring the legislation.
Are there any champions in Nevada that you’d like to thank or celebrate for their record or work on domestic violence?
Nevada is fortunate to have many champions, past and present, who have helped build a statewide movement to end domestic violence. These champions have worked across the aisle and across the state to pass legislation, provide services, and change the way Nevada thinks and acts about domestic violence.
How is the NCEDSV working to end domestic violence?
NCEDSV’s mission is to be a statewide voice advocating for the prevention and elimination of violence by partnering with communities. This mission guides all of our work. We partner with local programs and allies to support services, we support statewide prevention efforts, we train programs on best practices, we advocate for policy change at the state and federal level, and we educate the state on domestic violence.
If the NCEDSV was a musician or music group, who would you be and why?
We would be the Beatles. We have been around for a long time… and have experienced some transitions, but the quality of our product remains great!