News Release

Contact: Yating Campbell
For Immediate Release

Be Silent No More: Silent Witness Display Showcases Victim Stories
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Speaking Up Can Save Lives

San Francisco – Domestic violence thrives in silence and it's up to us to help break the cycle by speaking out against domestic violence and supporting services to help victims. California State Board of Equalization Chairwoman Fiona Ma, CPA along with Assemblymember David Chiu, San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang, and Executive Director of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium Beverly Upton hosted a news conference as part of the Silent Witness National Initiative, remembering the victims that lost their lives as a result of domestic violence.

"These educational displays in the lobby of my San Francisco office help the public glimpse the tragedy behind these violent acts. But there are things the public can do to help. They can talk to their children about healthy relationships, they can help victims, they can volunteer at a shelter, or they can donate funds on their California income tax returns," said Chairwoman Ma. "Help break this destructive cycle by helping victims find a safe place and get help."

2016 Domestic Violence Awareness Month - ED SF Domestic Violence Consortium Beverly Upton, members of the Filipina Women's Network, SF Supervisor Katy Tang, Assemblymember David Chiu, Chairwoman Fiona Ma, and community activist Debra WalkerThe Silent Witness program has been instrumental in the discovery and promotion of successful domestic violence reduction projects and resources," said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), who in his first term successfully passed a law (AB 418) to help domestic violence survivors escape life-threatening situations. "As a society, we must continually work to elevate the awareness of domestic violence and do everything we can to end it – and to save lives."

"The Silent Witness Exhibit and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month reminds the public to listen to the voices of survivors to create change for the future. We must not forget their stories and urge everyone to continue the fight to end the cycle of violence," said San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang.

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), nearly one-third of all women murdered in the United States in recent years were murdered by a current or former intimate partner. In 2010, 1,017 women, more than three a day, were killed by their intimate partners. A survivor's safety and well-being is most at risk during episodes of violence and when attempting to leave an abuser. Domestic violence shelters are a key part of safety planning to prepare ahead of time and be as protected as possible.

AB 1399 (Baker), recently signed by the Governor, creates a checkoff box on California personal income tax return forms to allow Californian's to donate to the newly created Domestic Violence Victims Fund. Domestic violence shelters will be able to apply for a grant from the new fund, administered by the California Office of Emergency Services, to help provide much-needed assistance to victims.

"These victims have been forever silenced. It's up to us to remember their story, to remember their name, and to help educate the public about terrible losses domestic violence creates for everyone," said Executive Director of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium Beverly Upton. "Chairwoman Fiona Ma has shown the long-term leadership that it will take to end domestic violence in our communities."

"It is important to remember every year in October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month that our work is not done. Abuse perpetrators of women have now shifted to human trafficking because of its lucrative income potential," said Founder and CEO of the Filipina Women's Network Marily Mondejar.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month reminds the public to listen to the voices of survivors to create change for the future. If you are in danger call 911 or reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Tell your stories using #DVAM2016 and be silent no more.

Watch the news conference on Facebook live and see a gallery of photos of the event.

Board Member Fiona Ma, CPA, was elected to the Board of Equalization in November 2014, to represent the Second Equalization District. She represents 9.5 million residents in many of California's coastal counties, from Del Norte to Santa Barbara, including the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Ma served in the California State Assembly from 2006 to 2012, serving as the first Asian woman Assembly Speaker pro Tempore since 1850. While in the Assembly, Ms. Ma focused on improving California, authoring legislation to create jobs and grow the state's economy. As an Executive Board Member of the National Conference of State Legislators, she worked to keep California's economy competitive with other states. Ms. Ma has been a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California since 1992. For more information, visit Board Member Ma's website.

The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes.

Note: This news release may discuss complex tax laws and concepts. It may not address every situation, and is not considered written advice under Revenue and Taxation Code section 6596. Changes in law or regulations may have occurred since the time this news release was written. If there is a conflict between the text of this news release and the law, decisions will be based upon the law and not this news release.

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