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A nonprofit aims to curb California's domestic violence rates

Safety Through Connection is a new initiative that has been launched by Prevention Institute (PI) to help curb rates of domestic violence among some of California's most at-risk populations. The Oakland nonprofit plans to provide $50,000 to five different community organizations that have been successful in effectuating change among these populations on issues other than domestic violence.

A survey completed by one of the program's funders, the Blue Shield of California Foundation, captures how at least 58 percent of the state's residents have been domestic violence victims or know someone who has been. A PI spokesperson notes that the populations most vulnerable to domestic violence include those who live in rural or low-income communities, Native Americans, immigrants and refugees.

One of the reasons why the program's funders have turned to community-based groups to help in curbing the rates of domestic violence within these populations is because they're "insiders" to them. A PI spokesperson notes that members of these groups have had little to do with shaping initiatives in the past, but have instead had policies imposed on them.

When selecting recipients, the sponsors gravitated toward programs that sought to address the root causes of domestic violence, such as an individual's home life and workplace. They found that these both greatly impacted whether an individual engaged in or fell victim to domestic violence.

This initiative is intended to be more preventative whereas law enforcement agencies' programs tend to be more responsive or punitive.

The head of the Bay Area organization Urban Strategies Council (USC) notes that area residents have a preference for "healing strategies".

He notes that many of them, especially those of color, fear reporting domestic violence because they lack the financial means to support their household on their own, fear retaliation or don't want to have their kids taken from them. He concedes that any program that champions intervention over incarceration may motivate victims to speak up and get help.

Domestic violence rarely happens just once. Even if it does, it can leave a lifelong impression on the lives of those who fall victim to or witness it. Early intervention is key to minimizing the impact it has on you and others. Let a Riverside domestic violence and neglect attorney advise you of the resources available to you to help stop the cyclical pattern of hurt and pain in your life so that you can thrive.

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