December 2005

Raising Awareness of Domestic Violence


During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, Catholic Health Initiatives and its market-based organizations called attention to the issue of domestic violence. "Our emergency departments continue to see large numbers of women who are victims of domestic violence," said Richelle Webb, director of advocacy and community health for Catholic Health Initiatives. "In addition to caring for the victims, Catholic Health Initiatives is committed to finding ways to prevent domestic violence in our communities." Non-violence has been a priority on Catholic Health Initiatives' advocacy agenda for several years. "Non-violence initiatives contribute to healthy communities and healthy workplaces," said Webb. "Violence prevention issues, such as gun control, often become a priority for healthy community coalitions created by our market-based organizations." To promote Domestic Violence Awareness Month, several market-based organizations hosted or participated in special events. St. John's Medical Center, Joplin, Mo., held a conference with guest speaker Rachel Regan Boersma, PhD, RN, an expert on the effects of violence. St. Joseph Health Ministries, Lancaster, Pa., was a sponsor of the "Creating a Safe Place: A Community Response to Family Violence" conference. "We promoted the conference to all of our parish nurses and their 43 faith communities," said Ann Goropoulos, director of community initiatives for St. Joseph Health Ministries. "In addition to helping people harmed by violence, we need to find ways to prevent violence," said Webb. "There are shelters for victims of domestic violence, but what they really want is to stay in their homes and have the violence stop. That's what we hope to help accomplish." To assist market-based organizations in advocating for non-violence, Catholic Health Initiatives has partnered with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). To request a list of NCADV-affiliated programs in states served by Catholic Health Initiatives, contact Richelle Webb at richellewebb@catholichealth.net.