Events Listings for Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

10:28 am - No one is immune.

Domestic violence is one of the most misunderstood and overlooked societal concerns plaguing our community. With ten domestic violence murders (five in central Massachusetts) to date, it has been a deadly year in Massachusetts.

Highly concerned with the recent rash of intimate partner homicides, the YWCA jumped into action gathering college, law enforcement, healthcare, legislative and human resource experts together for a community forum at Fitchburg State College in February. The forum, led by Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray, was preceded by a meeting among experts on what needs to be done to increase awareness, who needs to be targeted, and how to strengthen laws.

Understanding that not one program, agency, or organization can solve the issue of domestic violence, the YWCA’s domestic violence programs utilize promising practices and a community-wide approach in identifying families at-risk and keeping families safe.

In Northern Worcester County, BWR has created the Ayer High Risk Response team, which joins local police, probation, hospital, batterer’s intervention and domestic violence advocates to identify those cases that are most dangerous using a danger assessment scale and creating a proactive response. As of February, there were 15 women on a high-risk list, and 16 on a watch list.

Daybreak’s Coordinated Community Response Network (CCRN) in Worcester connects local agencies with resources to recognize, respond and refer those impacted by domestic violence to the appropriate services with access in a timely manner. CCRN has essentially provided a systematic community response for local agencies and organizations under a universal action plan to domestic violence.

A common reaction to the recent homicides is to link these acts of domestic violence as direct results of  a down economy. It is important to point out that financial strain does not breed domestic violence, but rather it makes a problem that had already existed much worse.

Many people can easily spot transparent acts of domestic violence like being kicked, punched, etc. But the non-physical violent acts like intimidation, forced isolation, financial restraints are just as serious and not as easily identified. In some cases, they are even bigger indicators of a more dire problem.

Since non-physical acts are difficult to recognize, education and involvement is key. The YWCA Domestic Violence programs educate the public about domestic violence and promote violence prevention as well as provide a bystander intervention program for family and friends of domestic violence victims looking for resources and support.

For more information regarding the YWCA’s Domestic Violence programs, click here.

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