Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation Makes Grant Possible

Norma Peterson, Executive Director Document The Abuse

AURORA, IL, USA, June 18, 2024. The Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation—an organization which seeks to reimagine female empowerment through supporting programs offered by Aurora-area nonprofits—has awarded a grant to Document The Abuse in support of their work to educate the community about how to document abuse, threats, or fear of violence in a safe and impactful way.

“We’ve supported Norma Peterson and Document The Abuse for a few years now because of her passion for helping abuse victims and the quality of her organization’s training and resources,” said Amy Baudouin, Board Chair, Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation (AWEF). “While the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, in and of itself, is an incredible journaling tool, it would just be a piece of technology without the advocacy of Norma and her ability to coalesce large groups of people toward a common cause.”

Amy Baudouin, Board Chair

Norma Peterson

Norma Peterson, a sister-in-law of the missing Bolingbrook mother, Stacy Peterson, is the Executive Director of Document The Abuse which houses the work of the late domestic violence advocate Susan Murphy Milano, specifically the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA). Norma worked directly with Chicago native Murphy Milano behind the scenes during the high-profile case of her brother-in-law, Drew Peterson. Since its conclusion, Norma was finally able to speak about her family’s experience and become a public spokesperson for the safety of abuse victims.

The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit was created to help ensure that victims can document any type of abuse in a meaningful way. For victims who are in actively abusive relationships, it can be difficult and unsafe to abruptly leave their abuser. It is important during the stages of survival, victims have a secure place to document their abuse, which can benefit them when they choose to leave. All the documentation, such as police and hospital reports, photos, letters, emails, and messages help confirm their experience, can be added to as needed, and are notarized to help strengthen the legal process, even if the victim is not present.

“The EAA is a tool to help validate a person’s experience of abuse to help bring justice in a world that often relies on physical evidence and we are very grateful to the Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation for their support of our work,” said Norma Peterson, Executive Director at Document The Abuse. “The EAA can be used for anyone in a situation which has the potential for harm to an individual, be it physical, sexual, psychological, or financial. By educating victims on how to use the resources available, we can then help them empower themselves to change their environment.”

Document The Abuse has been working diligently to build awareness of the EAA in Aurora, the Tri-County area, and ultimately, throughout the U.S. Here in the Aurora area, Norma presents at conferences, works with local law enforcement and the state’s attorney’s office, and collaborates with domestic violence organizations to speak about the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit and its impact on receiving justice for survivors of domestic violence. Just in the past year, Norma served on the DuPage Family Violence Coordinating Council and was the speaker at the Aurora CUE Conference. She was interviewed on Good Morning Aurora and filmed for Crime Nation on the CW regarding the Drew Peterson case. She was a panelist for the National Victims of Crime Media Guide Roundtable and was featured on Buenos Dias Aurora.

Most recently, Document The Abuse and its partner DVSA Communities (another AWEF grantee) hosted its first “3 C’s Summit: Communication, Cooperation, and Collaboration” at Waubonsee Community College in downtown Aurora. The goal of the summit was to bring together a network of local domestic violence agencies, organizations, and women leaders from the Chicagoland area and the Aurora Community Resource Team. “We wanted to create an atmosphere of comradery and collaboration so we could create even more impactful solutions to help survivors in our area and throughout the state,” said Norma. “We hope this will be an annual event that grows into a bigger coalition for domestic violence prevention and policy reform.”

To learn more about Document The Abuse, visit their website; for more information on how the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA) is used, including how to access it click here.

For agencies and other nonprofits interested in learning more about receiving training on the EAA, including the certification process, please start here.

IF YOU NEED IMMEDIATE HELP, PLEASE CALL THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) OR CALL 911.

About…

The Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation mission is to elevate and empower Aurora-area women and future women by making grants to tax-exempt nonprofits engaged in meaningful, measurable work that helps women over the hurdles of inequity and exclusion, propelling them forward with life-changing programs and services.  For more information about grants made by AWEF, including our grant guidelines and online application, visit awe-foundation.org.

Document The Abuse has been providing programs and resources for victims of abuse since 2015. The organization houses the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA) on its website, which helps victims to document any type of abuse in a meaningful way. The EAA can be accessed at DocumentTheAbuse.com. In addition to making the EAA available to all at no cost, Document The Abuse provides training programs to help raise awareness of and educate others on how to use the EAA. In addition to supporting victims of abuse, the EAA is a valuable resource for anyone who advocates on a victim’s behalf. To learn more about Document The Abuse and the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, including how to access it from your computer click here or visit DocumentTheAbuse.com.