In 2002, Front Royal, Virginia Police Chief Ron Ricucci enlisted the help of the Mary Byron Project in finding new solutions to address his community's number one problem: domestic violence. Mary Byron Project Executive Director Marcia Roth and board member Stephanie Stidham visited Front Royal in January 2002 to conduct an audit of the community's response to domestic violence. Roth and Stidham spent two days meeting with representatives of law enforcement, local government, medical personnel, victim's services, and those who deal with the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of perpetrators. Their goal was to identify changes needed to eradicate dv in the community.
After visiting the community and interviewing more than 50 individuals, the Project staff issued a report leading to changes in the way Front Royal addresses the crime of domestic violence. Recommendations in the audit could be replicated by law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
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On December 1st, 2004, the Mary Byron Project held its second annual gala event, which marked the 10th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act and the VINE service, two milestones in the ongoing fight against domestic violence. With the tagline, "This is the Time," the event raised more than $60,000 for the project.
In 1994, U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. took on the crusade of authoring and urging the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which combined tough law enforcement strategies with safeguards for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. That same year, the nation's first system of automated victim notification was launched in Louisville in response to the murder of Mary Byron. Within 10 years, VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) had spread to 1,500 communities in 39 states, including 20 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas.
Dr. Astrid Heger, founder and Executive Director of the Violence Intervention Program at the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center, delivered the keynote address at the event. Margaret Davis, Principal Deputy Director of the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice, also spoke. The Mary Byron Project used the event to name Biden as Honorary Chair of its National Advisory Board, a group of leading experts in domestic violence and criminal justice policy from across the country. Biden accepted the honor via a videotaped message, as he was leading a Congressional delegation to the Middle East and unable to attend.
As the nation marked the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness month in October 2001, the Mary Byron Project launched a program called "Brake-ing the Cycle of Domestic Violence." Randy Kennedy, a software engineer for Appriss Inc., the company that provides the VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) service and helps sponsor the work of the Mary Byron Project, cycled 1,720 miles around the perimeter of Kentucky to raise awareness and funding for the Mary Byron Project and the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association. As a result of his effort and dedication and through the support of corporate and individual sponsors, the Mary Byron Project raised almost $50,000.
In 1993, a tragedy that shocked one local community led to far-reaching changes for crime victims throughout the country. In 2003, the Mary Byron Foundation honored these advancements with gala fundraiser and a public awareness campaign.
"A Decade of Change" recognized efforts to fight domestic violence since Mary Byron was murdered 10 years ago. Innovations such as VINE, an automated victim notification system, as well as ground-breaking legislation and services, are providing crime victims and their families with a greater sense of security and a better quality of life.
Film and television actor Victor Rivers, spokesperson for the National Network to End Domestic Violence, served as keynote speaker at the fundraiser. Rivers also lent his talents to a public service announcement available for nationwide broadcast. Margaret Davis, Principal Deputy Director of the Office on Violence Against Women in the U.S. Department of Justice, attended the Foundation's gala fundraiser and commended the Foundation for its work on behalf of domestic violence victims. Overall, the event raised more than $45,000 to support the Foundation and its work.