FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                 AG

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5, 2003                                                                              202-514-2007






Washington, D.C. – Attorney General John Ashcroft and Health and Human Services Secretary  Tommy Thompson participated today in a White House Roundtable on violence against women.  Advocates, policymakers, practitioners, business leaders and celebrity activists discussed the Bush Administration’s accomplishments on the issue and additional ways to address the problem.  The event was held during Lifetime Television’s “Stop Violence Against Women Week,” which is taking place March 3-8.


“This Roundtable is part of our concerted effort to eliminate violence against women in this country,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft.  “The keen insight and valuable contributions provided by these leaders will help fortify our work to keep women safe, hold offenders accountable, and bring communities together in our ongoing efforts to end violence against women, ” added Ashcroft.


Since 1994, the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women has awarded more than $1 billion in grant funds to help communities increase support services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  This Administration has increased the violence against women budget by $100 million in FY 2002 and FY 2003, which has greatly expanded the ability to reach even more communities.  More than $24 million has been dedicated to improving the criminal justice response to older victims and victims with disabilities who are abused or sexually assaulted.  Another $30 million has been dedicated to the creation of safe, supervised visitation centers for children in families experiencing domestic violence. 


In addition to the Attorney General and Secretary Thompson, the Roundtable participants included:


Margaret Spelling, Domestic Policy Advisor, White House

Cristina V. Beato, M.D., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health, Department of Health and Human Services

Reverend Cheryle Albert, Assistant Pastor, Union Baptist Church, Cambridge, MA and Director of Programming for the Family Violence Prevention Project at Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence, Boston, MA

Scott Berkowitz, founder and president of RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

Carole Black, President and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services

Michael Bolton, Singer/Songwriter and Co-Chair, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Board of Advisors

Sheryl Cates, Executive Director of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a program sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services

Kellie Greene, founder and director of Speaking Out About Rape, Inc. (SOAR)

Casey Gwinn, City Attorney, City of San Diego

Don McPherson, Executive Director, Sports Leadership Institute, Adelphi University, and former professional football player and national spokesperson on violence prevention issues

Connie Morella, former U.S. Representative for the Eighth District of Maryland and original sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act

Emma Morena, Director of Federal Relations, League of United Latin American Citizens

Lynn Rosenthal, Executive Director, National Network to End Domestic Violence

Delilah Rumburg, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Rita Smith, Executive Director, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Dennis “Denny” Strigl, CEO and President of Verizon Wireless


The Attorney General was also joined by Office of Justice Programs Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels and Diane M. Stuart, Acting Director of the Department’s Office on Violence Against Women.  Earlier this week, the President announced his intent to nominate Ms. Stuart as the Director of the Office.  Under a law passed last year by Congress, the head of the Office must now be confirmed by the Senate. 


“As I travel around the country speaking and meeting with victim advocates, I always ask people in the field to tell me what I need to know in order to be more effective,” said Diane Stuart, Acting Director of the Office on Violence Against Women.  “Today, we heard some ideas about what we can do to have a broader national impact on reducing violent crimes against women.”


Stuart has served as Director of the Office on Violence Against Women since her appointment by President Bush in October 2001.  Prior to her appointment, Stuart was the State Coordinator for the Utah Domestic Violence Cabinet Council, serving in that capacity since 1996. Prior to that, she worked as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy Specialist in the Division of Child and Family Services for the State of Utah.  She served as Director of the Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center in Logan, Utah from 1989 through 1994. 


For additional information about the participants or the Roundtable, media should contact Linda Mansour at the Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Communications on (202)616-3534 or Monica Goodling, Office of Public Affairs, Justice Department on (202) 514-2008.