Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Background About CAVNET

By Marc Dubin, Esq., Executive Director, CAVNET

CAVNET is designed to enhance collaboration among experts and advocates addressing violence against women, disability rights, human rights, and genocide. We operate a comprehensive, interactive online library/database/website, located at www.cavnet.org, several invitation-only/application-only listservs, and offer for sale a unique way to enhance your site - the CAVNET Database Builder Program (DBB), which allows you to add any of the cocuments from our online library to your site. (Visit www.familyjusticecenter.org (enter and go to library) for an example of the power of this program.)

I founded CAVNET in 1995, as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit, in an effort to facilitate greater collaboration among experts, advocates, and advocacy organizations working to address violence against women, human rights, and crime victims with disabilities. CAVNET's mission is to provide them with a better way to share information and resources, and to create an online library of information developed and used by experts, advocates, and survivors. To date, we have over a thousand participants from all over the world, and over 3,000 carefully selected items in our online library.

I operate CAVNET in my private capacity. I am also a Senior Trial Attorney in the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC, where I enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on behalf of the United States. (The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability). CAVNET is not affiliated in any way with the Justice Department. I also formerly served as President of the Legal Process and Advocacy Division of AAMR (American Association on Mental Retardation).

I was a prosecutor for 10 years, and for several years specialized in the prosecution of domestic violence and sex crimes cases. I also formerly served as Special Counsel to the Violence Against Women Office at the Justice Department.

President Clinton established the Violence Against WOmen Office in 1994 to coordinate implementation and enforcement of the federal Violence Against Women Act, and appointed Bonnie Campbell, the former Attorney General of Iowa, as Director. I am proud to say that Bonnie is a member of our Board of Directors.

I entered the Honors Program at the Justice Department upon graduation from law school and worked in the Civil Rights Division. I left after two years, to join the staff of Elizabeth Holtzman in Brooklyn, New York as an Assistant District Attorney. While there, I prosecuted a wide range of cases, including white collar crimes and the first case in New York State against corporate executives for dangerous conditions in the workplace (and, at that time, only the third such prosecution in the country) -- they were convicted of Aggravated Assault and several other crimes, for poisoning their workers and causing brain damage, by exposing them to mercury fumes (in a thermometer factory - Pymm Thermometer).

After six years, I left New York and moved to Key West, Florida, where I became an Assistant State Attorney. In that capacity, I was responsible for prosecuting all of the domestic violence cases in the lower Keys, (misdemeanor and felonies -- as well as the juvenile crimes, environmental crimes, child abuse, sex crimes, animal abuse, and gay-bashing cases).

I also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Florida, where I was Counsel to a HIDTATask Force investigating money laundering by drug dealers. In a case I helped develop, we recovered over 50 million dollars in drug assets from a single defendant (who was originally prosecuted in New Orleans). The seizure was the largest in the history of Louisiana, and recently, the Sheriff's office in the Florida Keys was given $25 million of the seizure for local law enforcement efforts. I worked as a prosecutor in the Keys for four years. I then rejoined the Justice Department, and assumed my present position.

After the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, I was detailed to the Violence Against Women Office, where I served as Special Counsel in the Office of the Director, Bonnie Campbell. As Special Counsel, I assisted in the interpretation and implementation of the Violence Against Women Act. After a year, the detail ended, and I returned to the Civil Rights Division. I then formed CAVNET, and operate it in my private capacity, on my own time. CAVNET operates several invitation-only/application-only listservs, and an interactive online library.

I believe that I am well aware of the cost of social injustice and of the abuse of power, and I am hopeful that CAVNET can play a role in educating people and help survivors,advocates, and experts. My parents instilled in me an awareness of the importance of public service, the cost of prejudice and abuse of power, and of the debt I owe.

Both of my parents came to the United States in 1952, from Lodz, Poland. My parents were both survivors of Hitler's concentration camps, and were the only members of their respective families to survive.(They each had 7 brothers and sisters) Before the war, Lodz had the second largest Jewish community in Europe. As of 1939, there were 230,000 jews in Lodz. The Germans moved them all into one area of the city, and walled it off. Eventually, an additional 25,000 people were brought in (20,000 Jews, and 5,000 Gypsies). The Germans then systematically starved and killed them.

Beginning in January of 1942, the Germans began transporting Jews from Lodz to the Chelmno death camp, at a rate of approximately 1,000 a day. Within 3 weeks, over 10,000 people had been transported. Between February and April of 1942, over 34,000 more were taken away and killed. These deportations continued month after month. In August 1944, the ghetto was closed, and all remaining residents were transported by train to Auschwitz. My parents and some members of their families were among this group.

As of 1944, of the original 250,000 Jews in Lodz, 30,000 were still alive.Shortly before the end of the war, on January 18, 1945, the Germans removed 66,000 Jews from Auschwitz, and in an effort to avoid discovery by the Soviet Army, which was advancing toward the camp, marched them in the snow for days, and shot them as they marched, trying to destroy the evidence of what they had done. My father was on this death march, but escaped by leading a group of prisoners into the forest, emerging only when the Soviet Army arrived.

By the time they were liberated from Auschwitz at the end of the war, in January 1945, only 15,000 of the original 250,000 jews in Lodz had survived. An estimated 1, 500,000 jews were killed at Auschwitz. All of my parents' families, including their parents, their grandparents, their cousins, their uncles, their aunts, their sisters, and their brothers, were killed.

Upon their liberation from Auschwitz, my parents were sent to a Displaced Persons camp, where they were kept for seven years. My sister was born in and spent the first six years of her life in the Displaced Persons Camp. In 1952, my parents emigrated to the United States.

CAVNET has been the resipient of a Ms. Foundation award, and has developed into one of the world's foremost repositories of information and resources on violence against women, human rights, and disability rights, and has a diverse membership from around the world. The application to join is located online, at www.cavnet.org. Please visit and consider applying today.

Please visit www.cavnet.org and www.cavnetblog.org for more information.

Comments About CAVNET:

"CAVNET is an irreplaceable tool. It allows us to keep current with the violence prevention leaders in America and "brainstorm" through other's perceptions and opinions. "

Coleen Widell
American Institute on Domestic Violence
Lake Havasu City, AZ

"CAVNET...allows experts and advocates to debate issues related to violence...., providing subscribers with a way to collaboratively address violence against women and children. Through its work, CAVNET positions groups nationally and globally to receive information and respond instantaneously."
– Ms. Foundation

"CAVNET has shown itself to be the premier online database concerning violence against women.... Not only does CAVNET provide timely and substantive research online, it does so in a way that saves time and resources. The busier you are, the more valuable it is. It's like having a research team of experts, available night and day... As former Director of the Violence Against Women Office at the Justice Department, I'm proud to be on CAVNET's Board of Directors, and grateful for the resource."
– Bonnie Campbell, Former Director of the Violence Against Women Office ,U.S. Department of Justice

"Amnesty International USA's Women's Human Rights Program has found CAVNET to be an invaluable resource as we learn about the longstanding and current work of US organizations and lawyers working to stop violence against women and also as a way to communicate with this network about what AI and AIUSA are doing on violence against women as a human rights violation.”
– Sheila Dauer, Director Women's Human Rights Program Amnesty International USA

"In addition to the volumes of material available and the networking, CAVNET also provides access to many of the world's leading experts who offer their advice and counsel..... There are many consultants, advisors, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc., on this list who charge hundreds of dollars an hour for the same advice you can get via CAVNET."
– Robert J. Martin, Vice President & Managing Principal, MOSAIC Threat Assessment Systems, Gavin de Becker & Associates

“Through the incredible level of networking, including the support and participation of people from around the country, CAVNET has become the premier listserv on violence against women issues. Through CAVNET, expeditious legal research is extensive and broad based. Important social and political dialogue is fostered, which allows us to continue to examine what we as a country, we in the different states and local communities are doing to respond to violence against women. These social and political conversations have empowered those of us working in this field, as well as those experiencing violence as part of their lives, to implement effective change with the hope and belief that some day, we will bring an end violence against women. Without CAVNET, these national conversations simply would not occur. CAVNET has brought together such a powerful, broad and eclectic group who, by a touch of the keyboard, can be current with the issues and have a national voice. It is those individuals participating in CAVNET who can and will create a world free of violence against women.”
– Nancy E. O'Malley, Chief Assistant District Attorney, Alameda County District Attorney's Office Oakland, California

"CAVNET is a valuable asset to this and to many organizations and individuals across the country. We are not able to travel the country and to stay in touch with what is going on in the field as often as we would like and run the day to day operations of this $1.5 million agency. CAVNET has enabled us to stay up-to-date on this dynamic field with its ever-growing body of research and information. It has also allowed us to gain information about other programs and issues within hours, sometimes even minutes. This is information that previously would have taken weeks to obtain. It lets us share information about our programs and other programs in Alabama with people and organizations we probably would not otherwise have had contact with. We cannot thank you enough for making CAVNET available to those of us on the front lines in this "war" against domestic violence."
– Kathy Wells, Executive Director, Crisis Services of North Alabama

"CAVNET gives me a wide variety of viewpoints from activist to academic to government as well as a rich treasure trove of ideas for enhancing or creating projects to reduce violence against women....The single most useful reference point for domestic violence and sexual assault.... I deeply appreciate the vision and commitment that underlie its creation."
– Nancy M. Ryan, Executive Director,Cambridge Women's Commission, Cambridge, MA

"CAVNET has been a resource of unmeasurable knowledge. When you become a " CAVNETer ", you join a family of people committed and focused on knowledge sharing and where job description or status has no barrier. Its is quite simply the "think-tank" to refer to at all times. When you put out a question to CAVNETers, you can be confident that the response is quick, informative and accurate. It's people helping people..."
– Colm Dempsey, Police Officer, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland

"CAVNET has saved me an enormous amount of time in researching a variety of information I would normally have spent hours doing on the web. ... It keeps me informed of the newest "trends" in resources, research, news coverage, and the thoughts of those working in the field....(T)his site gives me insight and prompts me to think. It also keeps me on the right track.”
– Heather Hall, Domestic Violence Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Corrections

"Timely and accurate information is crucial to violence prevention, and in our effort to educate about the relatively invisible topic of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) domestic violence, there is no better online database than that found on CAVNET. We rely on CAVNET to bring us valuable information and to disseminate our work to experts, advocates, and the public in a way no one else can. We are proud to be part of CAVNET's international network of content providers and participants, and recommend it without hesitation."
– Susan Holt, Program Manager, STOP Partner Abuse/Domestic Violence Program, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, Los Angeles, CA

"CAVNET is a true asset to the community.... I handled about 5,000 DV cases as a metropolitan judge in Albuquerque.... By sharing information and approaches to the problem of violence, and problems resulting from violence in our society, you provide a valuable clearing house for information and ideas."
– The Honorable Roderick Kennedy, Judge, NM Court of Appeals

“I recently retired after 25 years in law enforcement. I am now a victim advocate at Camp Pendleton MCB in California. Typically in law enforcement, training is offered only when legal mandates exist. Resources are few. Investigator's resources are determined by the size of their Rolodexes, which are carefully guarded. When CAVNET opened, a tremendous network opened and instantly began to vibrate with exchanges, resources, discussions, and (those nasty, dangerous thoughts known as) IDEAS. I've used the resources from CAVNET many, many times. And for every resource I have used, lives have been changed, and presumably some have been saved. Multiply my experience by the number of CAVNET members, and imagine how the world has been changed.”
– Diana Riehm, Victim Advocate, Counseling Services MCB, Camp Pendleton

"When I got a request from a person trying to help a young woman in Ecuador who is being stalked, I knew just where to turn: CAVNET. Within a day, several members sent me the names of nearly two dozen Ecuadorian organizations that may be able to help her! Without CAVNET, I would have had nothing to offer her in her language near her home. The CAVNET members are professional, knowledgeable, and very willing to share their expertise."
– Lyn Bates Vice President, AWARE

“CAVNET has been the most valuable resource of information for me throughout the last few years. As a victim of domestic violence including emotional and financial abuse and other abuses including child kidnapping, CAVNET has provided moral support and legal education, and has guided me to otherwise hard to find legal resources. In addition, CAVNET has put me in contact with specialists in domestic violence, and supportive and knowledgeable advocates. CAVNET has put together Advisory Committees providing excellent information which guided me while representing myself in court in a custody battle (www.custodyexpertise.org). I am most grateful for the help and empowerment that CAVNET has given me.”
– Survivor

“I turned to CAVNET recently for help for a young woman whose boyfriend was stalking and making inappropriate visits to her workplace. As a result I have received some great materials to share with her, including a check list of behaviors that would give one cause for concern”.
– Reporter, CNN Radio

"I have never had an electronic resource as useful as CAVNET. In addition to providing people with many opportunities to exchange ideas and information, CAVNET helps facilitate new friendships and promotes a high level of collegiality."
– Dr. Walter DeKeseredy, Ph.D, Ohio University