A stroll through the history of Alexandra House.
Charting the Course:
A Stroll Through the History of Alexandra House…
1977 – 2017
ALEXANDRA HOUSE, INC.
Dedication Minnesota has long been considered a leading state in advocating for the safety of domestic violence victims and the accountability of their abusers. This book is dedicated to those individuals who have been instrumental to the formation and development of Alexandra House, Inc. For 40 years, Alexandra House has been influencing public perception and response to domestic, sexual, and dating violence, and the issues that intersect with this violence; such as poverty, homelessness, and education. To end domestic and sexual violence we must continue to build awareness, break down barriers, shelter victims/survivors, motivate changes in laws, fight for the rights of elder abuse victims, educate young people, raise consciousness, and help our community recognize the broad implications of violence.
Thank you to the following individuals and organizations who participated in our history project: Margaret Andersen Sharon (Coleman) Lawrence
Brian and Mary Ann Nystrom The Honorable Lynn Olson Pam Palmer Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo
Deb Birkeland Tina Bronson Alison Caldwell Barb Case Jess Cheney The Honorable
Larry Podany Sue Redmond Danielle Reynolds Dawn Rutt Dave Sallaman Colleen Schmidt Lexi Selvig Silent Witness
Jenny Green Molly Greenman
Pastor Margaret Guelker The Honorable Sharon Hall Don Ilse Marlene Jezierski Kayla Kemp Margaret Langfeld Craig Malm Marina McMannus Mercy and Unity Hospitals Minnesota Coalition of Battered Women (MCBW) Connie Moore Jane Morrow
Jerry Soma Lynne Tellers Bankes US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women Steve Wells Linda Wells Karen Williams Mike Zagaros Laurie Zagaros Churchfield
“So much of the shelter movement happened in Minnesota because historically Minnesota has been a progressive and populist state. There is a grass-roots history and an expectation that people should be able to get services they need. Also, there is a history of people
Lexi Selvig, Founder
Mary Zagaros, Founder
Sharon (Coleman) Lawrence, Founder
Margaret Langfeld, Founder and Anoka County Commissioner (1982–2006)
going to the legislature to make things happen.” — Domestic violence community services director, Wilder Research Study 2005
LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CONNIE MOORE
Recalling History to Unite and Inspire People
Approaching such a milestone as a 40th anniversary caused a great deal of reflection for me personally and for the staff at Alexandra House. One could say that we are looking back in order to plan forward. When Tina Bronson, our Communications Marketing Director, told me that for the 40th she wanted to write a book documenting Alexandra House’s history and its parallels to the national and statewide women’s
of domestic, sexual, and dating violence. This evolution did not happen in a vacuum. It took a community, coming together to affect these changes; to work very deliberately to create a better world. The collecting, outlining, and retelling of Alexandra House’s history has included interviewing nearly 40 people, revisiting old photos, combing through archived newspaper articles, paging through annual reports, and reading meeting minutes from the late 1970s. I want to thank Tina Bronson for helping Alexandra House rediscover its story, for picking up the threads, and reminding each of us where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. Knowing our history can help us see events, and ourselves, as part of a still unfolding story. I believe it is important for our stakeholders to understand our history and how our values were shaped over time. Although the context today is radically different from what it was 20, 40, or 80 years ago, we can still draw lessons from understanding how previous generations confronted challenges and opportunities and responded to them. We invite you to join Alexandra House and our community partners in the journey to end domestic and sexual violence!
and domestic and sexual violence movements, I thought this project would require considerable time and questioned whether we had the capacity to successfully carry it out. However, watching the project unfold has been an amazing and worthwhile experience. This project has given Alexandra House the opportunity to reconnect with countless individuals who have been involved with us, in big ways and small, over the last 40 years. It has allowed us to rediscover forgotten pieces of our history and has reminded us of the perseverance, passion, and dedication of those who came before. The preserving and sharing of Alexandra House’s story is paramount to creating an appreciation for those who founded Alexandra House and those who carried its work forward. It also allows us to better understand how the decisionsmade by our founders have invariably shaped the way the leadership thinks about its mission, vision, and philosophy, and, has provided a road map for our future. Looking back allows us to see how Alexandra House and the community has evolved in the way they respond to victim/survivors
Connie Moore Executive Director, Alexandra House
A group of concerned citizens formed the Anoka County Task Force for Battered Women (ACT).
The Probable Cause Arrest Act became law in MN, permitting warrantless arrest of abusers.
In MN, information related to the personal history of battered women using shelters was classified as private data.
The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) was founded.
The National Coalition Against Sexual Assault was formed.
How It All Began... The concept for forming the Anoka County Task Force for Battered Women came out of a six week series of workshops led by the Social Concerns Committee of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, in early 1976. During one of these meetings, Lexi Selvig heard Jeff Janacek, a Columbia Heights Police Officer, speak about the number of women and families he witnessed in Anoka County struggling to leave their abusers. Upon learning that there were women and children who were not safe in their own homes, she decided she had to do something about it. Mary Zagaros, another attendee of these meetings, readily volunteered to help. Lexi and Mary reached out to Margaret Langfeld, who was on the Blaine City Council at that time, to be a member of the group. This small group, with Lexi as the lead, started by writing letters to local community and women’s groups, asking them to get involved. One of the letters went to the Jaycees of Blaine, where Sharon (Coleman) Lawrence was a member. She was intrigued and agreed to join forces with Lexi, Mary, and Margaret. In the early days, the women of the Anoka County Task Force for BatteredWomen would huddle around Lexi’s kitchen table, where they discussed the mission, purpose, and vision for the newly formed group. Much of the philosophy that the organizationwas originally built uponwas gleaned from two books in particular: BatteredWives by Del Martin and Codependent NoMore by Melody Beattie. Later, the Task Force was able to obtain office space at the Spring Lake Park City Hall.
1) Incorporation Certificate, August 2, 1977. 2) Logo for the Anoka County Task Force for Battered Women, used until 1980.
The Task Force established a 24-hour crisis line.
The Task Force created “Pink” referral cards for police to hand out to domestic abuse victims.
The Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act was passed, allowing family or household members to obtain Orders for Protection.
Task Force implemented “ride-along” program with Columbia Heights Police Department.
1978... 24-hour Crisis Line Established Within a year, the Task Force had established a 24-hour crisis line to provide support, legal information, and referrals to battered women who called. The Task Force created bumper stickers and posters, which were distributed across Anoka County, in an effort to publicize the crisis line. It became readily apparent that the women who called needed much more than just a crisis line; they needed a safe place to go and ongoing services for themselves and their children.
1) The bumper sticker created by the Task Force in 1987 which promoted the first domestic abuse crisis line in Anoka County. 2) The poster created by the Task Force in 1987 to create awareness about domestic abuse and encourage community members to get involved.
The Task Force established a shelter facility in Fridley, MN. It housed 12 women and children; and was named Alexandra House, defender of womankind.
The Anoka County Task Force for Battered Women (ACT) established Safe Houses and Safe House providers.
Minnesota Legislation: New legislation prohibited the use of marriage and cohabitation as a defense in sexual assault cases.
MN Legislation: Probable cause law was amended to allow police to arrest abusers away from their homes; and Orders for Protection (OFP) can order abusers into treatment or counseling.
The first annual Domestic Violence Awareness Week was celebrated nationally.
1979... Safe Houses Program Support, legal advocacy, and referrals were helpful, but women and their children ultimately needed a safe place to stay during their crisis. Without the funding to purchase or build a shelter at that time, the Task Force established the “Safe Houses” Program. Volunteers opened their homes to abused women and children and provided for their basic needs. They could stay in volunteer advocates’ homes for a few days or even a few months. 1980... A New Name and a Shelter In 1980, the Anoka County Task Force for Battered Women opened the first shelter for battered women and their children in Anoka County. The shelter, located in Fridley, MN, was able to house 12 women and children. The Task Force named the new shelter after the Catholic saint, St. Alexandra, whose name means “defender of woman kind,” and one of the organization’s founders, Lexi Selvig. The shelter was named Alexandra House.
1) First emergency shelter in Anoka County. Alexandra House, Fridley, MN. 2) Catholic Saint: St. Alexandra, defender of womankind.
Alexandra House received critical funding from the United Way of Minneapolis to expand the Children’s Program.
Alexandra House purchased a larger home in Blaine.
Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) sponsored training
The Battered Women’s Advisory Council at the Department of Corrections prioritized and recommended funding to address the needs of women of color.
sessions for battered women’s advocates.
1982... A Time of Growth Expanding the Children’s Program
Nearly half of all residents of Alexandra House’s domestic violence shelter were children. Since its inception, Alexandra House provided support to their children/youth residents. In 1982, Alexandra House received vital funding from United Way of Minneapolis to expand its Children’s Program. Funding allowed staff to focus on minimizing the trauma children suffered due to witnessing domestic violence and subsequently being uprooted from their homes. Services included: assessments, screening for abuse, protection planning, support, advocacy, and education. The program also worked to educate youth in the community about healthy relationships through presentations conducted at elementary and high schools within Anoka County. This was the early precursor to what would become the Violence Prevention Program and later Youth Services. A Relocation… By 1982, staff recognized that the existing location in Fridley did not have adequate space; they sought out and purchased a larger home in Blaine. However, the home needed renovations prior to moving into the facility. Those renovations were made in 1982.
Young child in shelter
The Alexandra House shelter moved to a new location in Blaine, and was able to house 17 women and children.
MN Legislation: In OFPs, interfamilial sexual abuse was added to the definition of domestic abuse. OFP eligibility was expanded to include former spouses, those who have lived together, and those who have a child in common.
U.S. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti estab- lished the Department of Justice Task Force on Family Violence which, for the first time in the Department’s history, submitted a report examining the scope and
The United States Congress passed the
MN Legislation: Minnesota passed a law that increased the time police could hold persons in domestic violence cases from 24 to 36 hours.
The Duluth Project, founded by Ellen Pence, pioneered the first coordinated criminal justice response model to domestic violence.
Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).
impact of domestic violence in America.
1983... Moving In After the renovations were completed, Alexandra House moved into a larger home in Blaine. This home was able to house 17 women and children. The first two shelters run by Alexandra House were single-family homes converted to communal dwellings, where several families would stay together while determining their next steps. Not many in the larger Anoka County community knew much about these shelters. At the time, emergency shelters were kept hidden from the public—a tactic that was thought to be the only way to keep survivors safe. 1984… Staying Connected to Our Roots The leadership of Alexandra House struggled with maintaining a balance between its grass roots beginnings and establishing a professional victim-centered organization. The strong participation of battered women in setting the direction of the organization was key to accomplishing this balance.
1) Hand sketched drawing of the Blaine shelter, used as the “logo” from 1982–1992. 2) Alexandra House shelter in Blaine, MN
Alexandra House was the first domestic violence organization in the state to offer an on-site school for children and youth staying in the shelter.
Federal funding for battered women was allocated through the Family Violence Prevention and Services (FVPSA) and Victims of Crime Acts (VOCA).
MN Legislation: OFP law allowed the court to restrict or deny child visitation if it found the safety of the child or the victim would be at risk during unsuper- vised visitation.
U.S. Surgeon General identified domestic violence as a public health issue.
1985… An In-Shelter School is Opened Alexandra House had the distinction of being the only domestic violence service provider in the State of Minnesota to have an in-shelter school for children and youth. The school was run by a state certified teacher who was assisted by qualified Alexandra House staff members. Alexandra House believed that mothers should not have to be concerned about the continuity of education for their children while they were staying in the shelter. A domestic violence incident and the subsequent move into a shelter environment was unsettling. Offering an in-shelter school allowed for mothers and children to maintain a close and continuous bond as they moved towards a life free from violence. Initially, the Anoka-Hennepin School District #11 devoted one certified teacher who would come to the shelter to teach the children and youth in a classroom setting. Later, the school at Alexandra House would have two teachers who worked closely with advocates to ensure their students’ needs were met.
9 1) Ms. Karen Williams taught elementary aged children from 1988–2008. 2) Ms. Sharon Moenkhaus educating youth in the Alexandra House on-site school. 3) Ms. Karen Williams 4) Ms. Sharon Moenkhaus
Alexandra House began to provide legal advocacy services to victims of domestic violence.
Alexandra House volunteers began to respond to domestic abuse calls at Unity Hospital.
The Battered Women’s Advisory Council at the Department of Corrections prioritized funds for older battered women and disabled battered women.
1986… Expanded Community-based Support Services Legal Advocacy Alexandra House expanded services to include legal advocacy for victims of domestic violence in the criminal and civil court setting. In partnership with law enforcement, legal advocates provided crime victim advocacy immediately following a domestic assault incident, 24-hours a day. Legal advocates followed cases, at victims’ request, throughout criminal court proceedings—serving as a liaison with prosecutors, conveying information on victims’ behalf to the court, helping victims navigate the criminal court system, accompanying them to hearings, providing information on crime victims’ rights, and assisting them in accessing financial and victim notification resources. In addition, legal advocates assisted victims in filing protection orders, accompanied them to subsequent hearings, and provided critical information regarding civil legal options and other community resources. On-Call Hospital Response Trained volunteer advocates began responding to domestic abuse calls at Unity Hospital. Advocates were able to provide emotional support, crisis intervention, validation, information, advocacy, resources, and safety strategies.
1) Unity Hospital circa 1970’s 2) Protective Order
Alexandra House’s Criminal Justice Intervention Program received funding from UnitedWay of Minneapolis and was started in the City of Blaine.
MN Legislation: Divorce proceedings were prohibited from vacating or modifying an OFP.
MN Legislation: An OFP was not voided by the admittance of the abuser into the dwelling of the victim.
MN Legislation: Domestic abuse by one parent against the other was added as a factor the court must consider when determining custody.
MN Legislation: Authorities must inform victims of the release of a defendant who
was arrested for domestic abuse.
1987... Criminal Justice Intervention Program
Alexandra House established its Criminal Justice Intervention (CJI) Program when it received funding from United Way of Minneapolis and was launched in the City of Blaine. The goals of the CJI program were to ensure victims of domestic assault received legal advocacy services immediately after an assault, 24-hours a day, and to support changes within the criminal justice system that would result in a more effective and coordinated response to domestic assault. Alexandra House assisted law enforcement and prosecutors in creating Domestic Abuse Arrest Policies and Prosecution Plans. By 1994, these policies and plans were adopted by the cities of Blaine, Fridley, Centennial Lakes, Anoka, St. Francis, and all cities served by the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department. Today, Alexandra House works in partnership with every law enforcement agency in Anoka County to provide Criminal Justice Intervention services to victims of domestic assault and related crimes.
1) Due to space constraints at the Blaine shelter, the CJI program staff were relocated to the Food N Fuel on County Road J and Lexington. 2) An original copy of the Domestic Violence Arrest Procedure for the City of Blaine.
Crime victims were granted the right to make a victim impact statement at sentencing.
The United States Congress amended the Victims of Crime Act, which required state victim compensation programs to make awards to victims of domestic violence.
Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) began to produce the annual Femicide Report.
Paul Wellstone was elected United States Senator from Minnesota. Paul and his wife Sheila, became strong advocates for battered women and respective legislation.
U.S. Senator Joe Biden introduced the first Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
1989... Monitoring Femicide in Minnesota In Minnesota in 1989: At least 18 women were murdered in cases where the suspected, alleged, or convicted perpetrator was a current or former husband, boyfriend, intimate partner or household/family
Alexandra House is a member of the Minnesota Coalition for Batttered Women.
member of the woman. —MCBW Femicide Report
In 1989, the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) began to monitor and report on the number of femicides committed in Minnesota. The first and subsequent reports contained the number of people murdered due to domestic violence; however, the report could not reveal the enormous impact those deaths had on surviving family members, loved ones, and the community at large. Domestic violence and domestic homicide have a devastating effect on every person living in Minnesota. Compiling and sharing this information was a stark reminder to the community that domestic violence can be deadly and ensured that these brutal murders did not go unnoticed and were used as a spring board for action.
1988 Femicide Report published by MCBW
The Silent Witness Exhibit was created in Minneapolis, MN. It has since grown to have an international presence, with projects in all 50 states and 23 countries.
Minnesota Supreme Court became the first state supreme court in the nation to have a female majority seated as justices.
MN Legislation: The Harassment Restraining Order was created in Minnesota.
Alexandra House formally launched Health Care Advocacy Program and enhanced its response to victims of domestic violence at Health One Unity Hospital in Fridley.
MN Legislation: The Minnesota Domestic
Abuse Act was amended to enhance penalties for OFP violations, expand eligibility for OFPs, and waive filing fees for petitioners.
1991... Health Care Advocacy Since 1987, a network of trained volunteer advocates provided support to victims of domestic assault who sought care at Unity Hospital. In 1991, Alexandra House formally implemented the Health Care Advocacy Program at Unity Hospital in Fridley. Alexandra House advocates and health care providers worked together to develop training curriculum for nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff. Together, a process for assessing patients for domestic abuse was incorporated into the initial hospital intake protocol; when a victimwas identified, they were immediately offered advocacy services. To ensure this program had the capacity to meet the community needs, Alexandra House hired an advocate to work in partnership with healthcare providers and the existing volunteer advocates.
On-call Hospital Advocate
Alexandra House created its own Silent Witness Exhibit to commemorate the lives of Anoka County women and children who were lost to domestic violence.
Alexandra House launched Violence
MN Legislation: Mandated that law enforcement create and implement Domestic Abuse Arrest Policies and prosecutors create and implement Domestic Abuse Prosecution Plans.
Alexandra worked with the Anoka County Attorneys Office, city prosecutors, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, and law enforce- ment agencies to create and implement Domestic Abuse Arrest Policies and Prosecution Plans by 1994.
Alexandra House’s Board of Directors passed a resolution to purchase land and build a new shelter in Blaine.
Alexandra House unveiled a new logo to coincide with the building of a new shelter and administrative offices.
Prevention Services within schools in Anoka County (Youth Services).
1992... The Silent Witness Exhibit In 1990, an ad hoc group of women, upset about the growing number of women in Minnesota being murdered by their partners or acquaintances, joined together with several other women’s organizations to form Arts Action Against Domestic Violence. The women designed 26 free-standing, life-sized red wooden figures, each one bearing the name of a woman who once lived, worked, had neighbors, friends, family, children—whose life ended violently at the hands of a husband, ex-husband, partner, or acquaintance. —Silent Witness National Initiative In 1992, Alexandra House created its own Silent Witness exhibit to commemorate the lives of the women and children whose lives had been lost in Anoka County as a result of domestic violence. Alexandra House’s exhibit consists of 24 free-standing, life-sized red wooden figures. Each bears the name of a woman and the story of her brutal murder. There also stands an “unknown” witness to represent the countless victims whose murders went unsolved or were erroneously ruled accidental.
Alexandra House’s Silent Witness Exhibit is a sacred memorial, carrying each person’s silent story to the world. It is in their memory that we march forward.
With the building of a new shelter and administrative office space, Alexandra House adopts a new logo.
15 1992…Violence Prevention Program As early as 1982, Alexandra House was conducting presentations on healthy relationships and dating violence in the schools. In 1992, Alexandra House was approached by the Anoka-Hennepin School District to provide youth prevention and intervention services in their high schools on a contractual basis. This was a natural partnership that expanded the prevention work already underway and became the Alexandra House Violence Prevention Program. Alexandra House was able to hire a school-based violence prevention/intervention advocate who provided age-appropriate, dating violence/healthy relationship classroom presentations and facilitated support groups. They also met one-on-one with students identified by school personnel as victims of violence in a dating relationship, among peers, or within their homes to provide crisis intervention, support, safety planning, and resource referrals. This programwould become the Youth Services Program.
1992... Growing Pains By 1992, the existing shelter was experiencing significant space constraints. As the only domestic violence shelter in Anoka County, the shelter in Blaine was a crowded place, with a minimum of 17 women and children there on a daily basis. Due to limited capacity, staff routinely faced a disheartening dilemma of turning away women and families who were seeking safe shelter. Frequently, the shelter operated above capacity with clients spilling over onto cots and mats. Despite operating over capacity, only 6% of the requests for shelter were able to be met. In response to this ongoing trend, the Alexandra House Board of Directors passed a resolution to purchase land and build a new, larger shelter in Blaine in June of 1992.
Alexandra House broke ground for a new shelter in Blaine, MN.
Health Care Advocacy Services were expanded to include Mercy Hospital.
1993… Groundbreaking Celebration Alexandra House hosted a groundbreaking celebration on Friday, October 15, 1993. It was an exciting time for the organization, as its vision of building a new facility to increase shelter capacity and support services for abused women and their children was becoming a reality. In attendance that day were: Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Joanell Dyrstad; Elwyn Tinklenberg, Mayor of the City of Blaine; Margaret Langfeld, Anoka County Commissioner; Dan Erhart, Anoka County Commissioner; and, Alice Johnson, Minnesota State Representative. 1) Groundbreaking Ceremony Roberta Flatten, Margaret Langfeld, Alice Johnson. 2) Ground is broken for women’s shelter and office complex in Blaine — Star Tribune 10-14-1993. 3) Former Alexandra House Executive Director, Molly Greenman with current Alexandra House Executive Director, Pat Prinzevalle.
Alexandra House opened a satellite in the Anoka County Courthouse for community-based, legal advocacy services.
The Minnesota Court ruled in Baker v. Baker that OFPs issued without
MN Legislation: The definition of domestic abuse was expanded to include terroristic threats and the Harassment & Stalking law was created.
notice do not violate an alleged abuser’s constitutional rights.
1993... Growth Requires a Satellite Office Alexandra House opened a satellite office in the Anoka County Courthouse that housed its legal advocacy services. Being in close proximity to the courthouse, advocates were more accessible to victims who needed crime victim advocacy following a domestic assault or assistance in filing a protection order.
Anoka County Courthouse, first home to Alexandra House’s community-based services. Image provided by Courthouse History.
Alexandra House held its Grand Opening of the new shelter in Blaine with room for 35 women and children.
Alexandra House held its first Candlelight Vigil on the steps of the Anoka County Courthouse in memory of Anoka County residents who died as a result of domestic violence.
Violence Against Women Act was signed into law as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
The Minnesota Center for Crime Victim Services was established.
The Violence Against Women Grants Office (VAWGO) was created at U.S. Department of Justice.
1994… A New Door Opens While the facility opened its doors to clients in June of 1994, the open house for the public was held on October 20, 1994. Despite the increased capacity of the new shelter, it was filled beyond capacity within the first two days. The new facility had private meeting rooms, a large kitchen, a fenced playground, large bedrooms that could accommodate entire families, and space for residents to have some quiet time. A decision was made prior to the opening of the new facility to ‘go public’ with the location of the Alexandra House shelter. It was the first time in Alexandra House’s history that it was open to the community. “We want the community to take some ownership of the problem of domestic violence. We want people to know who we are and help us address the problem.” —Pat Prinzevalle, Former Alexandra House Executive Director (October 1994) “Back in 1977, I knew services were desperately needed, and I am pleased that Alexandra House has responded so well. And yet Alexandra House won’t be completely successful until domestic violence is wiped out and there’s no more need for their services anymore. We all need to work toward that goal.” —Margaret Langfeld, Anoka County Commissioner (October 1994)
1) Alexandra House facility in Blaine. 2) The new playground at the shelter.
Alexandra House Hospital Advocates were located on-site at Unity and Mercy Hospitals.
Alexandra House was a primary partner in the creation of the Day One Project, a collaborative effort of domestic violence shelters throughout Minnesota.
Health Care Advocacy services were expanded
Funded by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) began operation and received its first call on February 21 st .
MN Legislation: When an abuser was released from incarceration, notice must be given to local law enforcement and any local battered women’s program known to be working with the victim.
to include Allina Medical Center.
1995… Enhanced Partnership with Unity and Mercy Hospitals
The existing partnership between Alexandra House and Unity and Mercy Hospitals was deepened when Unity and Mercy Hospitals provided the funding to support two on-site Alexandra House Hospital Advocates. Through this program, when domestic violence victims who sought care were identified by health care personnel as a victim of domestic violence, they were immediately offered advocacy, support, safety planning, and referral services by trained advocates and volunteers. 1996… Collaborating to Improve Help to Victims Alexandra House was a primary partner in the creation of the Day One Project, a statewide collaborative effort between Alexandra House, 21 statewide shelters, Allina Health System and the United Way of Minneapolis. The program provided seamless shelter access for battered women and families. Shelter providers would share important information via computer, phone, and fax regarding bed space availability so that a woman’s initial request for shelter would be the only call she needed to make. Providers were able to ensure that safety and services were appropriate and immediately available for women and families who needed them.
1) Mercy Hospital circa 1990 2) Unity Hospital circa 1970 3) DayOne Call to Safety Logo
Alexandra House celebrated 20-years of service to the community and survivors.
MN Legislation: It was a felony to violate an OFP during the probationary period between two independent domestic assault offenses or to violate the order using a firearm.
MN Legislation: All licensed peace officers and other corrections officers were authorized to serve Orders for Protection.
The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 authorized the Grants to Combat Violent Crimes
The VAWO Policy Office merged with VAWGO, and created the Violence Against Women Office (VAWO).
Against Women on Campus Program.
1997… Marks 20 Years of Service It is no small matter when a nonprofit celebrates 20 years of service to its community. In Anoka County and in the State of Minnesota, Alexandra House had a long-standing reputation of strong leadership in the field of domestic violence. Alexandra House had always worked to provided excellent and compassionate services and support to battered women and their families. Furthermore, the organization endeavored to expand and increase the services it offered to battered women and the community—to meet the growing and changing needs. Alexandra House has made a difference in the lives of so many.
1997 Alexandra House Annual Report Cover
Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) and the Minnesota Coali- tion Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) successfully rallied for the reinstatement of state advisory councils on battered women and sexual assault.
Federal Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized, thanks to the efforts of Paul and Sheila Wellstone.
MN Domestic Violence shelter funds were reduced significantly as a result of the state’s budget crisis. Alexandra House experienced nearly a $450,000 funding cut.
MN Legislation: Included interference with an emergency 911 call in the Domestic Abuse Act.
On April 1, 2001, the United States first observed Sexual Assault
The Day One Project separated from Alexandra House to become the Day One Center, Inc. in St. Paul.
Awareness Month (SAAM) nationally.
2001… Funding Cuts Impact Services In the early 2000’s, domestic violence shelters across Minnesota were reeling from massive funding cuts that occurred as a result of the State of Minnesota’s budget crisis. Alexandra House scrambled to fill the financial gap. The Ventura administration shifted the shelter reimbursement policy from a county paid, per-person “per diem” to a state-run grant program operated by the Minnesota Center for Crime Victim Services. This resulted in Alexandra House losing nearly $450,000 from 2001–2004. Alexandra House was forced to eliminate several staff positions, which resulted in a scaling back of services.
Article from the Pioneer Press detailing the impact of the funding cuts.
In partnership with the Anoka County Attorney’s Office, Alexandra House began the Order for Protection (OFP) Project.
The DART Project (Domestic Abuse Response Team) was implemented in partnership with the Fridley Police Department.
Alexandra House began the “Adopt-A-Room” initiative which allowed community members to maintain a room in the shelter for a year.
Minnesota Crime Victim Services grants and shelter funds were cut as a result of the state’s budget crisis.
Alexandra House celebrated its 25th Anniversary and held its first annual fundraiser, the “Building Bridges Ball,” which is now the Hope Gala.
2002… Order for Protection Project Alexandra House advocates were deeply troubled by the number of abused women that could neither afford to retain counsel nor qualify for legal aid assistance. This put women at a considerable disadvantage throughout the legal process, and many became intimidated by the process and simply did not follow through. A collaboration between the Anoka County Attorney’s Office, Judicare of Anoka County (legal aid provider), Anoka County Child Support and Collections, and Alexandra House was formed in an effort to improve services to petitioners as they sought orders for protection. Contracted OFP Project attorneys provided free legal representation to petitioners filing orders for protection. In addition, eligible petitioners with children in common with their respondents received assistance in obtaining child support orders with their final orders.
In Memory To the living, I am gone To the sorrowful, I will never return To the angry, I was cheated But to the happy, I am at peace And to the faithful, I have never left I cannot be seen, but I can be heard As you gaze upon this tree Remember Me…
Remember me in your heart, in your thoughts And the memories of the times we loved The memories of the time we shared For if you always think of me I will have never gone.
1) Judge issuing Order for Protection
2) The poem in memory of those lost to domestic violence.
VAWO changed to the Office on Violence Against Women.
Federal Legislation made the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) a permanent division of the Department of Justice with a presidentially
Alexandra House dedicated a park bench at its 9th Annual Candlelight Vigil in honor of Anoka County Commissioner Margaret Langfeld.
Alexandra House held its first annual Building the Legacy Breakfast event.
MN Legislation: Allowed battered women the opportunity to extend their protection orders prior to their abuser’s release from incarceration, and to obtain police reports at no cost.
appointed, Senate confirmed director.
2003… Honoring the Lives Lost to Domestic Violence
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, Alexandra House honored the lives and memories of Anoka County women and children who were murdered as a result of domestic violence. It was important for us as a community to come together to honor their strength and courage, and to offer our support to those who were left behind. It was also an opportunity for us to reach out to those who were experiencing domestic violence and offered our help and support. The 9th Annual Candlelight Vigil, held at the Bunker Hills Activity Center, was particularly impactful. A tree was planted and dedicated in honor of Anoka County women and children who were murdered as a result of domestic violence. A bench was dedicated to then County Commissioner Margaret Langfeld for her tireless work on behalf of battered women and their loved ones.
1) The plaque for the red oak tree displays a poem in memory of those women and children whose lives have been lost to domestic violence. (see page 22 for poem) 2) Connie Moore, Executive Director of Alexandra House with Anoka County Commissioner, Margaret Langfeld.
MN Legislation: Domestic strangulation to be charged as a felony assault.
Connie Moore, Executive Director of Alexandra House and board member of MCBW, traveled to Washington D.C. with MCBW to advocate for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
2005… An Advocate for Victims Connie Moore, Executive Director of Alexandra House and board member of MCBW, traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA provides critical funding that supports rape crisis centers as well as collaborative projects between law enforcement and advocacy groups that enhance victim services and hold perpetrators accountable. She was joined by staff and board members from many other women’s groups across the State of Minnesota. While in Washington D.C., the Minnesota delegation met with senators to discuss the issue of domestic violence and the importance of reauthorizing the VAWA. “In 2005, we will be working with other domestic violence programs to advocate that congress reauthorize the “Violence Against Women Act,” which provides federal funding for a wide array of services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.” — Connie Moore, Executive Director of Alexandra House and board member of MCBW.
Members of MCBW rally in Washington D.C., to advocate for the reauthorization of the 2005 Violence Against Women Act.
Alexandra House, in partnership with the CDC, launched the Choose Respect Program for children in middle school.
2005… Preventing Dating Violence Alexandra House understood that violence in dating relationships was (and remains) a social issue that faced American youth. Unhealthy relationship behaviors can start early and have been linked to lifelong patterns of violence that can carry over into other relationships. Research studies indicated that 1 in 11 adolescents reported being a victim of physical dating violence. While Alexandra House advocates had for years been providing prevention education in the high schools, there was growing recognition that in order to prevent dating violence from occurring in the first place, we had to reach youth before the cycle ever began. In 2005, Alexandra House piloted the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Choose Respect Campaign in three local middle schools, which targeted youth aged 11–14 with messages about developing healthy, respectful relationships. The ultimate goal was to inspire youth to give and get respect in all their relationships and to help them develop the skills to make healthy, positive life choices. In 2007, Alexandra House was recognized by the CDC as a leading Choose Respect Program in the State of Minnesota and the Youth Services Coordinator, Dawn Rutt, was invited to the CDC headquarters in Atlanta (1 of 20 invited nationwide) to provide input and expertise on the future direction of the program.
1) Choose Respect
poster in Northdale Middle School.
2) Middle school
student participates in Alexandra House’s Choose Respect programming.
Alexandra House created the Follow Up Program.
President George W. Bush signed the Violence Against Women Act of 2005.
Alexandra House expanded the Follow Up Program, offering financial assistance to families.
Alexandra House celebrated 30 years of service to the community.
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline was launched and received its first call in February 2007.
Safe at Home, a statewide program, administered by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State that allows survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to maintain a confidential address was signed into law.
2006… Moving Beyond Crisis Alexandra House advocates struggled with the knowledge that women required numerous community resources and ongoing support long after their immediate crisis was resolved. Survivors needed legal assistance, employment, and affordable housing. Advocates knew that some form of follow-up or aftercare program would help victims access resources and community supports, cope with the emotional, psychological, and physical trauma they had experienced, and restore their self-esteem and independence. In order to meet this need, Alexandra House collaborated with Anoka County and created the Follow Up Program. Advocates met with survivors in a safe and personal setting—typically the survivor’s home—and worked with them to identify strengths and needs, gather the tools and resources needed to make positive changes, and achieve their self-identified goals. The survivor sets the tone for the type of relationship they have with the program, ranging from informal check-ins to very structured follow-up that tapers off from weekly to monthly to quarterly.
2007… Increased Support to Survivors Alexandra House expanded its Follow Up Program with the assistance of a Family Homeless Prevention Assistance Program (FHPAP) grant. These funds allowed advocates to provide financial assistance to the families served by the program. Depending upon the needs of the client, the financial assistance may have included a rental security deposit, first month’s rent, and payments on utility bills. In 2009, with the addition of new funding, this program expanded further and included a provision of housing assistance and housing subsidies.
Alexandra House advocate meets with a Follow Up client.
Alexandra House expanded its mission to include serving victims of sexual violence.
Alexandra House adopted a new logo to reflect its expanded mission.
President Obama was the first U.S. President to declare April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The White House, Department of Justice, and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) commemorated the 15th anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
2009… Expanding the Mission At the request of then Anoka County Attorney, Robert M.A. Johnson, and with the approval of the organization’s Board of Directors, Alexandra House expanded its mission in October 2009 to provide services to victims of sexual violence. Alexandra House provided on-site follow-up and services to victims of sexual assault who sought care at Mercy and Unity Hospital’s emergency departments. Alexandra House staff provided immediate support to victims during sexual assault evidentiary exams and services that included safety planning, help in accessing shelter, assistance in reporting to law enforcement, and referrals. Dating, domestic, and sexual violence are often intertwined, and by expanding its mission, Alexandra House was better able to effectively provide services to victims of domestic and sexual violence in Anoka County.
Alexandra House adopts a new logo to reflect its expanded mission.
The Anoka County Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) was implemented in collaboration with many partners including the Anoka County Attorney’s Office, law enforcement, municipal prosecutors, and corrections.
In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Alexandra House and Anoka Ramsey Community College held a Take Back the Night gathering.
Alexandra House was awarded the Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit of the Year Award.
Minnesota Legislation: Passed the Safe Harbor Law, which among other things, added the definition of sexually
exploited youth in Minnesota’s child protection codes.
2010… Earlier Intervention Saves Lives The creation of the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) was in response to a high number of domestic homicides that occurred in Anoka County over a relatively short period of time. In response to this alarming trend, Anoka County fully committed to taking a proactive approach to address the issue of domestic violence, with a particular focus on identifying and assisting those victims at greatest risk for injury or death. Multiple Anoka County law enforcement, criminal justice, and community agencies (Alexandra House included) joined forces to develop the Lethality Assessment Program with the goal of better identifying and protecting high-risk victims of domestic violence.
“From November of 2006 through February of 2011, 11 women died in domestic homicides in Anoka County, more women, per capita, than anywhere else in the Twin Cities. Further, the County’s domestic homicide rate was nearly
twice that of its closest suburban neighbors.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 28, 2011
Victim/Survivor talking to a police officer.
Alexandra House added Therapy Services.
A grant from the Greater Twin Cities United Way allowed Alexandra House to expand the Follow Up Program and offer short-term rental subsidies to assist survivors to secure and maintain safe, affordable housing.
2012… Therapy and Support Services Program
Nearly 35% of all victim/survivors served by Alexandra House reported having some form of mental health issue or diagnosis. Advocates worked diligently to find appropriate and accessible therapy resources for their clients within Anoka County, but realized there was a lack of affordable services that specialized in trauma related to sexual and domestic violence. To meet this need, Alexandra House implemented the Therapy and Support Services Program. Alexandra House hired a licensed therapist who offered individual and family therapy and mental health assessment services for children, adolescents, and adults free-of-charge. Services were targeted to those who did not have insurance, could not afford copays, or faced other barriers to accessing services in their community.
Victim/Survivor in a therapy session
The Alexandra House Youth Advisory Council was created.
Alexandra House’s on-site school moved to the Compass Bell Center within the Anoka-Hennepin School District.
2012… A Youth Advisory Council is Formed
The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) formed in 2012 and included students from Anoka County’s many public high schools. The council offered students an opportunity to learn about the field of advocacy and social services and encouraged them to take an active role in educating other youth about dating, domestic, and sexual violence. In their respective schools and communities, Council members planned and facilitated teen dating violence awareness activities. At a state level, Council members participated in “Action Day at the Capitol” and the Youth Intervention Programs (YIP) Rally Day. Both rallies allowed council members to share the impact of youth programming with Minnesota. “The Youth Advisory Council represents an opportunity to bring together youth from all over the community who offer their wisdom, insight, experience and voice to raise awareness about dating, domestic and sexual violence within their school communities and beyond.” —Connie Moore, Executive Director of Alexandra House
1) Youth Advisory Council members. 2) Youth Advisory Council members met with Senator Jim Abeler. 3) Action day at the capitol.
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