Cambridge to Host Domestic Violence Workshop

According to Transition House Executive Director Risa Mednick, there are consistently about 1,000 cases of domestic violence reported to to Cambridge Police Dept. annually.

As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Cambridge’s Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative (DGBVPI) will be hosting two events highlighting the issue this coming week, a training on working with domestic violence survivors on Oct. 16 and a Purple Thursday solidarity campaign on Oct. 19.

Public health research from the CDC documents one in three women; one in four men and one in five teens experience domestic and sexual violence.

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Elizabeth Speakman, Coordinator of the Cambridge Initiative on Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention, said the training on Oct. 16 will cover types and impacts of abuse, how to support someone who is being abused, and challenges of leaving an abusive relationship.

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"It will also serve as a forum to meet and talk with local domestic and sexual abuse service providers," she said. "It highlights the interconnection of public and nonprofit resources, especialy direct intervention and housing services offered by Transition House."

Speakman said the Transition House reaches over 400 people each year in the surrounding community, offering individual, family and group counseling support, and housing 100 survivors annually.

Domestic violence is a huge problem locally and nationally, Speakman said.

"It’s one that society tends to shy away from. We live in an extremely violent and misogynist culture — we see this in headlines everyday," she said. "But domestic violence is portrayed as aberrant behavior unique to some relationships. When 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men are experiencing violence in their relationships, it’s truly an epidemic."

Since its inception, Speakman said, the DGBVPI has been a big success story.

"It’s a multi-sector collaboration that engages a cross section of the Cambridge community in understanding domestic violence and actively working on preventing it," she said. "We work on system change through important partnerships with Cambridge Housing Authority and Cambridge Police Department among others."

Cambridge’s support for domestic violence victims goes back decades. In 1994, the Cambridge, Massachusetts City Council passed a resolution defining the city as a Domestic Violence Free Zone directing all municipal and city affiliated organizations to work collaboratively to reduce family violence.

For more information on Domestic Violence Awareness Month, resources and support available in Cambridge, click here.

Courtesy Photo / City of Cambridge

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