Your Voice talked with Rita Smith about the warning signs of domestic violence (DV), the different forms of DV and how the Covid-19 quarantine is effecting the uptick in DV cases.
Rita Smith was previously the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, where she had worked since late 1992. She now serves on the domesticshelters.org board. Rita Smith began working as a crisis line advocate in a shelter for battered women and their children in Colorado in 1981. She has held numerous positions in Colorado and Florida since then in several local domestic violence and sexual assault programs and the state coalitions, including Program Supervisor and Director. She was the Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for nearly 23 years. She is currently one of the senior advisors for the National Football League, and consults on other projects as a national expert on violence against women. She has been interviewed by hundreds of newspaper reporters, appeared on many local and national radio and television news shows, including the Washington Post, USA Today, People Magazine, NPR, The Today Show, Good Morning America and Oprah Winfrey Show. She has co-authored several articles or chapters for books including a manual for attorneys working with domestic violence victims in Colorado, and an article on child custody and domestic violence published in the fall of 1997 in The Judges Journal (an American Bar Association publication). In December of 2011 she was named Distinguished Alumnus of Polk State College, and in November of 2013 she was chosen by the Association of Florida Colleges for the LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award. She believes that advocacy and social change are intricately connected, and cannot be done separately. She graduated from Polk State College in 1974 with an AA degree in Psychology. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Michigan State in 1976. She lives in Denver, Colorado.