19 Sep Preventing Violence: Community Engagement Makes the Difference
Families and community members play a crucial role in preventing family violence for many reasons:
- Studies show that abused women turn first to those closest to them—extended family, friends, and neighbors—before they reach out to an organization or professional service provider. Relatively few access shelter services. And they seek out government institutions—police, courts, and child protection agencies—last.
- Community members often know which families need help and which services can make a difference.
- Community members know the cultural values, traditions, and practices that support violence—as well as those that can be used appropriately to intervene and stop it.
Over the years, WTLC has committed itself to community prevention efforts by facilitating three major programs: the personal empowerment program, parenting classes, and an Empowerment Series offered on-site at our partner agency, Colette’s Children’s Home.
The Personal Empowerment Program (PEP) is a 10-week long psycho-educational course that aims to educate survivors on the aspects of intimate partner violence, how to create and foster healthy relationships, recognizing red flags, creating safety plans, and much more. In addition to the consciousness raising activities, PEP also serves as a support group for survivors. Many survivors in the groups find it easier to talk to others that have experienced similar situations, even if under different circumstances.
The parenting program is a 6-week long curriculum that is made with the intention of preventing child abuse. It largely focuses on communication, child development, and the impact of trauma in a developing child’s brain. It encourages parents to resolve conflict in an age appropriate, clear, and communicative manner. Moreover, it touches on ways that parents can manage the stressors in their own lives so as to not negatively impact that of their children. The class is open to anyone that may be interested in parental education and support.
The Empowerment Series is a 5-week long course that educates participants on the aspects of domestic violence, healthy relationships, mental health and self-care, and more. This course is provided for shelter participants at three different Colette’s shelters. The aim of these programs is to empower victims and survivors through raising their self-awareness, providing education and resources, and starting the process of healing from domestic violence trauma. Although some of the topics are heavy, it helps initiate the process of healing and ending both their personal and generational cycle of violence.
In addition to the courses offered, WTLC hosts a 40-hour Domestic Violence Advocacy Training in March and August of every year. The training allows individuals to do volunteer work or pursue employment as a domestic violence counselor. The training provides individuals with a foundational knowledge on understanding the dynamics of domestic violence, providing realistic and trauma-informed support to victims and survivors, and much more.
Lastly, the community outreach department also offers workshops and trainings covering topics on domestic violence, human trafficking, bullying, self-esteem and relationships, and teen dating. WTLC is committed to helping victims and survivors, as well as ending the cycle of violence where it starts and before it starts.
If you or someone you know may benefit from any courses or trainings, please contact WTLC’s Helpline at 877-531-5522.