Friday, June 7, 2002
Local support for domestic violence victims
In the near future Carlisle residents will receive a mailing from DVAP, the Domestic Violence Assistance Program, that explains what support the Concord- based program offers victims of domestic violence and abuse who live in the area.
DVAP project a community effort
The DVAP program started in 1998, when Concord police chief Leonard Wetherbee went to the existing Network for Women's Issues in Concord, talked about the violence and abuse problem in Concord, and told them an advocate program was needed. At that time there was no community support in place, and persons in need were "falling through the cracks" in the system. Wetherbee sees violence and abuse as community problems. Initially and now the program has been a collaborative effort between the Concord Police Department and community volunteers. In 1999 the Acton police said they needed services for victims of domestic violence and Maynard police said they also needed help. In 2002 Lincoln, Stow and Bedford police also became partners in the program. Carlisle has been involved with DVAP for about a year and Chief David Galvin says the police have referred all domestic violence cases to them. He says, "They have been exceptional, their work is always professional and thorough."
Kiersten Warning and Allison Scobie-Lloyd met with Wetherbee as members of the Women's Issues group, and stayed to become co-directors of the new program They began to recruit and train community volunteers to do crisis intervention with individuals and families living with domestic violence. DVAP is housed at the Concord police station, and has about 40 volunteers a week going to the police station. So far about 70 people have been trained and work not only at the police station but at Emerson Hospital. It is not always easy work: Warning says, "It takes courage." With the service area roughly defined by the activities of the Concord District Court, their services are branching out and they plan to start training a new group of volunteers this fall.
DVAP has two part time staff. What do they do? Often, they just sit and listen. They do a risk assessments and a lot of "safety planning" with persons living with violence. They provide technical assistance for other professionals who want to assess risk. They also sponsor a support group for women with controlling partners that meets weekly. They refer to other support services but are limited by the absence of safe houses in the area (a few volunteers are available on an emergency basis to provide shelter). Abuse victims are sometimes referred to SAFELINK, which knows safe facilities throughout the state.Present funding for the program is through Community Chest, and for some towns, the United Way. Warning anticipates that DVAP will apply for state and federal funding in collaboration with the Concord Police Department in the future.
DVAP's toll-free number is 1-888-991-4639. Their phone is manned during the following hours: Sunday, 2-5 p.m.; Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 6-9 p.m. The SAFELINK number is 1-877-785-2020. Victims of violence may call SAFELINK on an emergency basis in the same way they would call 911 for another kind of emergency.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito