Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault appoints new executive director

Juneau's Sandy Samaniego has more than 20 years experience in field

Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reflecting on her recent appointment as executive director for the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Juneau's Sandy Samaniego says she is excited and honored.

"Prevention is key," Samaniego said. "Providing safety is critical. Securing resources for and giving balance to these two crucial prongs of the council's strategic plan for addressing domestic violence and sexual assault are among the greatest challenges lying ahead. I look forward to assisting with these challenges."

With nearly 20 years of experience in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault, Samaniego began her work on the board of the local women's shelter Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies about 20 years ago.

She also served as the executive director for the victim service program in Fairbanks, where she was chair of the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Samaniego was most recently employed by the Sealaska Heritage Institute as their chief of operations.

"Ms. Samaniego's skills and pragmatic approach will enable CDVSA to actively engage with our communities so that positive changes may occur," said Joe Masters, commissioner of the council. "I am confident Ms. Samaniego will be able to carry out the purpose and the mission of CDVSA. Her knowledge on the issues is extensive and it is evident that she is dedicated and motivated to working towards an Alaska that is free from domestic and sexual violence."

The council, a part of the state's Department of Public Safety, provides funding for for about 20 shelters and victim service programs statewide in hopes of addressing the complex issues of domestic violence and sexual assault.

"These issues are priority public safety issues. However, these issues are not just a criminal justice problem," Masters said. "Domestic violence and sexual assault are also social and public health problems. CDVSA is best suited and situated to address these issues in both the public and private sector."

Samaniego began work with the council on Aug. 17.

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