Archive | November 2001

“Lessons Learned”

Violence against women is a pressing public health issue world-wide that has devastating physical and emotional consequences for women, children and families. Women are frequently targets of both physical and sexual assault by their intimate partners. In the United States alone, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (Violence Against Women, A Majority Staff Report,” Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 102nd Congress, October 1992, p.3.) About one in four women are physically or sexually abused at some point in their life, and domestic violence now leads as one of the top three causes of homelessness in America (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000, U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005).

Research indicates that often victims require access to comprehensive and holistic programs to break the cycle of violence. Unlike many parts of the world– in the United States, domestic violence programs and services have been available to assist abused women to build long term safety and security for themselves and their children for more than three decades. Recognizing that capturing lessons learned from service provision is key for any programs long-term success, domestic violence advocates have sought to not only to provide services but also to capture, track, analyze, and disseminate the information gleaned from service provision to local, regional, national, and even international audiences.

Whether serving as a program administrator or as the executive director of a domestic violence agency, Nichelle Mitchem, has been afforded the opportunity to share lessons learned in direct service provision at local, regional, national, and international audiences. The international participants in the lessons learned sessions have included but not been limited to battered women’s advocates from Belarus, China, Japan, and Kazakhstan. In these meetings with battered women’s advocates visiting the United States, Nichelle has often discussed the prevalence of domestic violence, the availability of programs and services for battered women, and lessons learned in direct service provision to battered women and their children.

Research indicates that the pervasive problem of domestic violence takes everyone to make it stop. If you suspect that someone you know is a victim of any form of domestic violence, please talk to him or her, show your support, and encourage the person to seek help from a domestic violence agency. Keep in mind that expressing your concern for their health and well-being will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.

For information about available programs for victims of domestic violence in your community, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at http://www.thehotline.org. Domestic violence can be eradicated with an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art