Updated: Jan 29, 2019
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is our opportunity to highlight what we do, where we are and what we are moving towards, as well as raise awareness of the voices of survivors.
The Willow builds safer communities through shelter, services, and support to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. We believe survivors. We empower survivors. We work with and assist survivors in reaching their goals of safety and stability.
I (Megan Stuke) would like to start by thanking the commission and city staff who have worked with us year after year. We truly would not be where we are if not for the support of our community and the support of the commission. For that, we are incredibly grateful. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is our opportunity to highlight what we do, where we are and what we are moving towards, as well as raise awareness of the voices of survivors.
The Willow builds safer communities through shelter, services, and support to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. We believe survivors. We empower survivors. We work with and assist survivors in reaching their goals of safety and stability. Our agency and our community must commit to continuing to break down cycles of violence and abuse through prevention, outreach, legislation, and active pursuit of policy that dismantles systemic inequality and assists the most vulnerable through services that are available, accessible and inclusive.
We are pursuing three programs this year we believe will continue our mission of breaking the cycle of violence in our communities. The first is grant funding to provide The Willow with a Lethality Assessment Coordinator. Lethality Assessments are an on-site survey delivered by law enforcement responding to domestic calls who can then connect the survivor to an advocate on the phone at the scene. Statistics show that 58% of survivors who make this on-site contact eventually seek services, a huge increase from current policy. Lethality Assessment Programs are now being used in Johnson County, Ottawa, and by the KU Police Department to great success, and it is our hope we will see them in Lawrence and in Douglas County soon.
The Willow also seeks to make our services more accessible through a move towards a low-barrier model. The low-barrier model replaces our current rules-based system with a collaborative structure promoting continual conversation and mutual agreements between advocates and survivors, building a more trusting and engaged relationship. The Willow will be undergoing a significant training from a national organization in order to develop the skillset to provide a more welcoming environment for all survivors in which we can facilitate more comprehensive, trauma-informed care.
Finally, The Willow is celebrating its community partnerships through our Partnership Progress Impact lecture series. One example: Survivors are eight times more likely to stay in abusive relationships if an animal is in the home because of their fear of leaving the animal. Therefore, The Willow partners with Lawrence Humane Society to foster pets of survivors, so they can leave without fear for their animals. This presentation, held in March, highlighted the work of both organizations. We have held six community presentations with partner organizations since March.
This is who we are and where we are going as we enter Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2018. The remainder of this year’s DVAM will feature our Stronger Today 5K virtual run, a workshop on Telling Your Story with writer Molly Krause this Thursday, and a panel titled --One in Four: Voices of Male Survivors, on Saturday, October 20th. I hope you will consider joining us for one of these. If any of you would like to know more about any of these programs, please contact us and we’d be happy to provide information, trainings, outreach, or assistance. Thank you again for supporting Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and thank you for your continued support of The Willow.
This post is a transcription of our speech before the Lawrence City Commission reading of the Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2018 Proclamation