Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How Maine’s courts can help domestic violence victims achieve justice: First, know thyself



Decisions rendered by the courts can contribute to saving people’s lives or hastening their death. But judges’ orders are only as good as the information provided to them about a case and the training they’ve received. They can’t know what they don’t know. In the same vein, court administrators, prosecutors, defense attorneys and the public can’t know what they don’t know about how their judicial system operates and succeeds or fails. They should.

In the 10th Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel report, released April 24, a group of 30 advocates, attorneys, health care workers and police recommended many excellent potential reforms to the way Maine works to prevent and respond to domestic violence. The panel, which reviewed 21 intimate partner or intrafamilial homicides that occurred between April 2009 and September 2013, presented specific ideas for improvement in various sectors, such as law enforcement, health care, prosecution and the Department of Corrections.

Suggestions for one sector — the judiciary — deserve emphasis here. The system that applies Maine’s laws is often overlooked as part of the response to domestic violence, and it can seem isolated from and intimidating to the public. The truth is that there is much the state doesn’t know about how Maine judges and others make decisions when it comes to family matters, protection from abuse orders, and criminal domestic violence cases because no one tracks the outcomes or has researched the trends.

The ideas in the panel’s report ranged from simple recommendations, such as making sure judges use legible handwriting in filling out protection orders, to more substantial refinements, such as considering a requirement that the exchange of children happen in supervised visitation centers when a protection from abuse order is in effect, and creating a way to document the status of weapons confiscated during the protection from abuse order process.

Other ideas involve training court clerks on the dynamics of domestic abuse to better help people seeking relief from the court system and to better guide victims on the differences between various types of protection orders, and training judges on when best to order offenders to complete batterers intervention programs.

These are all clearly needed improvements suggested by experts in the field, and they are also just the start. To know what else to change, the state would benefit greatly from having more information about what’s actually happening in the courts. An integrated, accessible, statewide records management system wouldn’t just allow police to accurately gauge an offender’s background and focus resources on high-risk cases, it would provide the tools for the courts and those who work in and with them to know where they can improve.

For instance, how many victims filing for protection from abuse orders don’t follow through with the order in the end, and why? Do judges show gender bias in their decisions relating to family matters or criminal cases in supervised visitation centers Seattle? How many victims of domestic violence are also victims of sexual assault, and are they getting the correct services? What are the conviction rates for cases of domestic and sexual violence, have they changed over time, and why?

Maine doesn’t have answers to these basic questions because its records system isn’t digitized or widely accessible; and it hasn’t received the funding to do the research or modernize its system. Until it does, it will be difficult to know what other, deeper reforms to pursue. It may be that judges’ training should be updated, or the court process itself should be changed. But it’s hard to know what steps to take when the data isn’t clear.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How Can Small Business Owners Deal with Poor Credit



A poor credit score can have a huge impact on your personal finances. In some cases it can restrict you from getting certain types of credit or even stop you from getting credit altogether. For individuals, dealing with a bad credit score can be tricky enough, but if you’re hoping to start a business, having a poor personal credit score can create further obstacles. This isn’t to say that those with a bad credit score should forget the idea of starting their own business. In fact, if you know where to look and who to turn to, there are plenty of financing options designed to help those with a poor credit rating overcome this and successfully launch their business.



Funding

Those with a poor credit score often find that they have more issues than most when applying for business funding, as this can often get in the way and prevent lenders from agreeing to provide them with a loan. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with a poor credit score, it’s probably best to simply bypass the big banks and look into other, alternative methods of obtaining start-up capital instead. Thankfully, there are various different ways in which entrepreneurs can get funding, even if their credit score isn’t the best. For example, crowdfunding or angel investors are quickly becoming some of the most popular alternative methods of funding a start-up.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

5 Key Ingredients to Host a Successful Business Conference



Hosting a conference can help business owners build credibility and brand for their business. It can also provide you with number of leads to grow your business. Successfully hosting a business conference, however, requires lot of effort and advanced planning. If it is not done right it can do more harm than good to your business. That’s why it is important to pay careful attention to every minute detail and start planning well in advance. Listed below are 5 key ingredients you need to keep in mind to host a successful business conference.

Determine Topic


You need to determine what the conference is about. Selecting a very broad topic will dilute the message, while a very narrow topic will limit the number of attendees. You need to strike a careful balance in selecting the topic that will enable your goal to host the conference and attract large number of attendees you are targeting.

Book Speakers Early


Inviting well-known speakers will help you attract large number of attendees. Those speakers also tend to be very busy so booking their appointment well in advance help you secure their spot for your conference. Once you find a speaker that is perfect match for your conference, get in touch with him quickly and provide him with full details of your event. Make sure you know how much they want to be paid before you confirm a booking too and don’t be afraid to ask them to promote your event socially after they have agreed to make an appearance.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How Online Study Can Boost Your Business Skills


People start small business for number of reasons. Perhaps you are skilled in providing a service or in a trade, and would rather do it for yourself than work for a company or you have a passion for a niche and want to sell products relevant to it. Maybe you have a great idea that you think could make a big impact in a certain market, or maybe you have something you do as a hobby like crafting and think you may be able to earn some money out of it. Because there are so many different types of people who go into small businesses these days, the skills that you have starting out may not be traditional business skills. You may be great at what your business actually does, but all that behind the scenes activities such as managing money, HR, marketing and so on may not yet come easily to you. Fortunately, there are number of ways you can pick up better skills online, in whatever areas of business trouble you most.

Online Degrees

Getting a fully fledged online business administration degree with a college like Arizona State University can be one way to really round out your business skills and become a competent entrepreneur. Getting an online business degree allows you to study in your own time, but also gives access to highly skilled tutors who can answer your questions, as well as giving you a very full coverage of all different areas of running a business.

How Maine’s courts can help domestic violence victims achieve justice: First, know thyself

Decisions rendered by the courts can contribute to saving people’s lives or hastening their death . But judges’ orders are only as good...