Monthly Archives: September 2013

October Domestic Violence Awareness Events

Girls Got the Blues Concert
Sunday, October 6th
8pm – 10:30pm
Theatre on San Pedro Square
29 N. San Pedro
San Jose, CA 95110
Purchase your tickets here!

DVC Annual Conference
Friday, October 25, 2013
8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Santa Clara Marriott Hotel
2700 Mission College Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Click here to register!

South Bay First Thursdays & AACI Present “Helping Those Who Help Others”
Thursday, October 4, 2013
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Registration is at 6:30pm
Asian Americans for Community Involvement
2400 Moorpark Ave, Room 210
San Jose, CA 95128
Click here for more information!

Community Solutions 7th Annual Bilingual Play
Historias de Mi Madre VII: El Puente
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Gavilan College Theatre
5055 Santa Teresa Blvd.
Gilroy, CA 95020
For more information regarding Historias de Mi Madre, call (408) 776-6205 or visit the Facebook page

Next Door Solutions Receives $500,000 Legal Services Award

For many years Next Door Solutions has been applying for a grant from The Office on Violence Against Women to provide legal services to victims of domestic violence. This year we’re very happy to announce that Next Door has finally received a $500,000 grant from The Office on Violence Against Women to provide legal services to 530 victims of domestic violence and teen dating violence in Santa Clara County. Through a novel partnership between Next Door, the Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley and Legal Advocates for Children and Youth, Next Door will be able to provide legal advocacy, assistance, and services for three years. Services will include culturally and linguistically appropriate restraining order assistance, legal and immigration advocacy, safety planning, risk assessments, court accompaniment, and referrals and linkages to Next Door’s comprehensive array of services as well as other social services agencies. Pro Bono staff will provide clients with counsel and advice, limited action/representation, settlement negotiations, court representation and assistance with divorce, custody, visitation, and restraining orders due to domestic violence. Legal Advocates for Youth will provide legal assistance to youth experiencing domestic and teen dating violence in the areas of restraining orders, custody, and any other related civil legal needs and will provide resources related to family law, court, and custody issues where appropriate. This innovative partnership will also provide outreach and educational materials to high schools, local employers, and landlord associations so they can address teen dating violence and domestic violence issues that arise in their schools, workplaces, and housing sites.

Death and Taxes

This is one of an occasional post from Margaret Epperheimer, a nine-year member of Next Door’s Board of Directors.

Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who first wrote “nothing is certain in this world, except death and taxes”?  I take the liberty of revising this to: “Nothing is certain, except that someone is going to die today at the hands of an intimate partner, and we will all pay the price.” Just ask the family of Martha Casillas.

It’s understandable if you missed Martha’s stabbing death earlier this month. It was a particularly bloody weekend in San Jose when police logged homicides #35, 36 and 37 for the year. Martha was #36. Hers was the sixth killing in 2013 that authorities have linked to domestic violence.  It’s unlikely to be the last.

Nonetheless, I’ll make this positive observation: In the decade since I became involved with the local domestic violence cause, police, politicians, media and the community have displayed increasing sensitivity, support, outrage and action at what many are calling an epidemic. Look around. One in four women you know has suffered some form of domestic abuse, and, by extension, so have her children. The scourge spans socio-economic strata, as witnessed by one of Next Door’s more active support groups in the well-heeled community of Los Gatos.

Back to Martha Casillas: By all accounts, she was a hard-working, devoted mother of three children ages 6, 13 and 22. She stayed with her abusive husband of 23 years until he threatened their youngest son with a knife in mid-August. Mario Chavez was arrested. Martha got a restraining order and moved the family. It was after Chavez was out on bail that he tracked down Martha and stabbed her while the two younger children watched TV in the next room. The 22-year-old is currently seeking custody of her two brothers.

A decade ago, police, politicians, media and the community may have just left Martha Casillas as #36 and moved on. Not today. Most everyone recognizes now that domestic violence awareness, prevention and support are vital. People are taking action. As an example, a group of talented and enterprising women have banded together for the second year in a row to stage “Girls Got the Blues Singing for Next Door” in honor of October National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Last year’s event was a sell-out.

Marianne Adoradio, a founder of the Silicon Valley Blues Society, and Lara Price of the Lara Price Blues Revue, have once again collaborated to bring together a group of all-star, all-female singers and musicians for a rare appearance Sunday, Oct. 6, 8 – 10:30 p.m. at Theatre on San Pedro Square, 29 N. San Pedro, in downtown San Jose. Admission is $20 in advance or $25 at the door ( A number of local businesses have donated valuable raffle items. All net ticket sales and raffle proceeds will benefit Next Door.

This would be an easy and fun way to support a great cause. I’ll be there. I hope to see you.

Join us at Girls Got the Blues on October 6

2nd Annual Girls Got the Blues flyer.pdf

Girls Got the Blues 2nd annual flyer

Purchase your tickets here!


Governor Signs Leno Legislation Strengthening Protections for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking

Dear Next Door Solutions Community,

On August 19, 2013 Governor Brown signed one of the Partnership’s priority bills, SB 612 (Leno) into law. This bill expands the list of permitted documentation for survivors seeking to terminate their leases to relocate for their safety, and also adds human trafficking survivors to those included under this provision. Please see Senator Leno’s press release below for more details. Thank you all for submitting letters and taking action in support of the bill!

August 19, 2013

SACRAMENTO – Survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking received significant new protections today with Governor Jerry Brown’s signature of Senate Bill 612. The bill, authored by Senator Mark Leno, gives survivors of human trafficking the right to terminate residential leases in order to protect themselves against their abusers. The bill also strengthens existing protections for survivors of domestic violence who are forced to vacate a rental property for personal safety reasons.

“Today’s signature by Gov. Brown helps keep California families safe by ensuring that survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and other abuses can relocate when their lives are in danger,” said Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. “SB 612 strikes the right balance between protecting the safety of survivors and ensuring the certainty of contracts between landlords and renters.”

Senator Leno’s bill increases protections for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, elder or dependent abuse, and human trafficking who need to terminate a residential lease early to escape a dangerous environment and ensure their safety.  SB 612 also expands the type of documentation a victim can present to a landlord to demonstrate that abuse has occurred. The bill, which received bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature, is co-sponsored by the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Western Center on Law and Poverty and the National Housing Law Project. It was supported by the California Apartment Association, the largest rental housing organization in the nation, and received broad support from numerous organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Crime Victims United, the California Police Chiefs Association and the California Catholic Conference.

“For many victims, the ability to relocate quickly can mean the difference between sleeping safely at night and living in fear,” said Kathy Moore, interim executive director of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. “Victims shouldn’t have to choose between safety and housing, which is why our coalition co-sponsored SB 612. Expanding the list of allowable documentation of abuse will mean more victims and families will be able to flee violence without incurring excessive financial costs.”

“Western Center applauds Governor Brown for signing SB 612, providing critical tenant protections to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking,” said Western Center on Law and Poverty advocate Michael Moynagh. “No survivor of abuse should be stuck in a lease that could put them in further harm.”

“The National Housing Law Project applauds the California Legislature and Governor Brown for increasing housing protections and security for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, elder and dependent abuse, and human trafficking,” said Karlo Ng, National Housing Law Project Staff Attorney. “The ability for survivors to provide documentation from a qualified third party, such as a domestic violence counselor or medical professional, is critical for survivors who need to escape the abuse immediately and cannot contact the police or obtain a protective order for fear of continuing violence against them.”

The bill will officially become state law on January 1, 2014.

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