Project Description Narrative:
Milwaukee domestic violence homicides have soared since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In two weeks, six women lost their lives to domestic violence in Milwaukee County. They were mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. All were women of color. All died by gunfire." This profound loss demands creative solutions.
One of the central flaws of the current response to domestic violence is the placement of all accountability and action on the victim. The victim must call for help, seek shelter, develop a safety plan, file a restraining order, attend a support group, and provide a victim impact statement in court. The burden of safety and change is placed squarely on the victim's already deflated shoulders. However, the one who causes harm possesses the power and control in the relationship. What if that individual was held responsible and offered a voluntary helpline in the hopes of deterring violence?
This project will bring Wisconsin an alternative resource for those who cause harm to their intimate partner and family relationships that would serve to de-escalate family violence and reduce the risk of harm. The goal is to develop a model program for Milwaukee, served by Alma Center, and then to expand this pilot into a rural community, served by Rainbow House Domestic Abuse Services. Once both urban and rural models are established, the plan is to expand the program statewide.
Community partners: Rainbow House Domestic Abuse Services, Inc.