Addressing Domestic Violence in our Community
Domestic violence—often referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV)—includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression by a current or former intimate partner.
Domestic violence affects one in three women and one in four men in their lifetime, as reported by the National Coalition against Domestic Violence. In 2012, there were 28,729 incidents of domestic violence in Wisconsin referred to district attorneys. In Chippewa and Eau Claire counties, 1014 incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault were reported to law enforcement—meanwhile, in that same year, Bolton Refuge House and Family Support Center served over 2000 people threatened by domestic violence.
The Community Health Initative has identified IPV as a critical issue in our community and is working to ensure all victims of domestic abuse and intimate partner violence (IPV) have access to comprehensive services. The long-term goal is to decrease the number of incidents of domestic violence in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties.
Violence is preventable, which means early education and awareness are key elements in addressing the issue. Local partners of the Community Health Initiative addressing intimate partner violence utilize the “well-being framework” and the “theory of change” approaches in working with victims of intimate partner violence.
These programs have significant short- and long-term effects on the people they serve and are explained as follows:
The Well-Being Framework
- This model focuses on enhancing quality of life and is based on factors related to risk, protection, and promotion. For example, children who witness IPV are at greater risk of repeating similar abusive behaviors. Research has demonstrated, however, that this risk is reduced when they are exposed to positive factors like support from others (e.g., friends and family) and the promotion of closer relationships with others. By reducing or eliminating risk factors, while identifying positive factors in a person’s life, the model promotes the idea that quality of life can be enhanced and future incidents of IPV can be prevented.
Theory of Change
- Focuses on the positive impact of change for adult and child victims. This includes learning how to predict the feelings and actions of oneself and others. This allows victims to work on their self-effectiveness while maintaining hope for their futures. Promoting change also includes increased access to community resources, opportunities, and support mechanisms to help during the transitional period. Additionally, concepts such as safety planning, skill-building, supportive counseling, use of encouragement, empathy, respect, networking with other individuals and organizations, and information about adult child survivors’ rights, options, and experiences.
Programs working under the Community Health Initiative are focused on the overall goal of eliminating intimate partner violence through the continuance of these programs, along with further coordinated response from domestic violence agencies, health and medical care facilities, law enforcement, and the judicial system.
Collaborations under the Community Health Initiative provide the following services:
- Shelters and transitional housing to ease victims back to safe and independent living
- Individual and support-group counseling, personal advocacy, case management, legal advocacy, and other services that empower victims throughout the life span.
- Identifying mothers who are facing incarceration that have suffered abuse and trauma to instead be placed in rehabilitative programs so they can be rehabilitated and reunited with their children.
Community Health Initiative works with its collaborative partners to bring shelter and resources, counseling and case management, as well as advocacy to victims of domestic violence in order to give them the best opportunities for a good quality of life, while also reducing overall incidents of domestic violence.
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