Public Policy Overview
Public policy is a critical part of comprehensive and effective victim advocacy. Through public policy efforts, advocates can work to change sexual assault laws and policies to better serve victims and hold perpetrators accountable for their crime. Through its public policy program, VSDVAA offers advocates an opportunity to get involved in changing the way Virginia responds to sexual assault.
The Action Alliance monitors the development and implementation of state and federal laws that affect victims of sexual and domestic violence, non-profits, and sexual and domestic violence programs. We work closely with victim advocates to ensure that our public policy work meets the needs of survivors and programs across Virginia. We also work collaboratively with state agencies including the Department of Criminal Justice Services, Department of Health, Department of Social Services, Department of Housing and Community Development, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State Crime Commission and others.
Action Alliance staff and membership attend public hearings, provide comments on proposed legislation, assist state agencies in policy development, serve on grant review committees, partner with state-level agencies on grants, assist in statewide training and resource development and provide expertise on the issues of sexual and domestic violence. We provide public policy information to sexual and domestic violence victim advocates and allies in the movement. The Action Alliance holds an annual Legislative Advocacy Training Day and Lobby Day in order to inform members and elected representatives about legislation related to sexual and domestic violence.
Public Policy Priorities
Public Policy Updates
Legislative Advocacy Resources
Communicating With Your Legislators
There are many opportunities to communicate with your elected officials and advise them of your position and concerns on specific issues. This is an important and effective way to participate in the political process and make sure that your voice is heard. General guidelines when you communicate with your legislators include:
Find out what committees your legislator is on. The first step with most legislation is to be reviewed by committee. If your legislator is on a committee that reviews the legislation you are interested in, you can express your opinions about the bill when it is in the process of being considered and amended in committee – the best opportunity to get a bill amended, killed or kept alive. You can find out what committees your legislator serves on at the Legislative Information Services website ( http://legis.state.va.us/), or by contacting the Action Alliance. If your legislator is not on a committee that reviews the legislation you are interested in, ask them to talk to legislators who are on the committee and share your concerns.
Encourage your legislator to use you as a contact. Include your contact information in any communication with your legislators. That way, you can be a resource and establish a relationship with your representatives.
Links to Other Policy Organizations
Action Alliance's Public Policy Committee is an excellent way to get involved in the public policy process. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact Kristine Hall or Gena Boyle at 804.377.0335. E-mail is not a secure form of communication. To ensure confidentiality please call the Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.838.8238 (V/TTY).