Community Empowerment Program
In creating the Community
Empowerment Program, we
have incorporated a variety of
organizing, resource develop-
ment, community education,
in-depth training and direct
service. Our committed staff
brings this new approach to
New York City’s communities.
We believe that a holistic
approach to building a commu-
nity response is necessary to
end domestic violence. We
hope that our work will stimu-
late discussions about preven-
tion strategies and lead to fun-
damental changes, de-creasing
and eventually eliminating
violence in the home.
Alisa Del Tufo and Mary Haviland, Co-Executive Directors of CONNECT
Domestic violence is a pervasive, insidious feature of everyday
life for families in New York City. When social service agencies
first began to actively address family violence issues in the
1970s, their efforts focused on crisis intervention and shelter
services. In the past decade, there has been a shift in resource
allocation at the local, regional, and national levels to support
police and court responses to violence in the family. Recognizing
the need for a more comprehensive response that is rooted in
the community and highlights prevention, CONNECT has devel-
oped its Community Empowerment Program (CEP).
The Community Empowerment Program nity to get involved in the early stages of
is a robust, flexible approach to family child abuse and domestic violence ulti-
violence prevention and intervention that mately hoping to prevent violence from
accommodates the great diversity of com- occurring. Informed by the particular cul-
munities typical of New York City and tural and social needs of the communities
other urban environments. Our experience with which we work, CEP harnesses the
demonstrates that successful initiatives trust and good will of community-based
must be diverse and multi-dimensional organizations (CBOs) and helps communi-
incorporating strategies such as communi- ties create domestic violence strategies
ty dialogue, effective interventions with that are enduring. As community preven-
survivors and their children, criminal jus- tion programs and interventions take root,
tice protections, and positive male involve- CONNECT’s role in the community dimin-
ment as well as batterers’ intervention and ishes enabling us to begin the program in
accountability. CEP prepares the commu- another community.
Phase I Identify and Engage Community
1. Review existing data to develop a community profile. • Run workshops targeted to specific organizations, including
A) Infrastructure faith-based groups.
• CBOs such as social services, health services, & day care providers
3. Seek support from the community and begin on-going dialogue.
• education: elementary, secondary & community college/university
• elected and appointed government officials
• existing task forces and networks
• civic leaders
B) Indicators • grassroots leaders
• domestic incident reports • clergy
• children in foster care • community board and school board members
• public assistance • media
• employment 4. Initiate community-specific research studies.
• immigration • contact assessments
• availability of domestic violence and other social services • needs assessments
2. Launch education and awareness efforts. • focus groups
• Provide community-specific domestic violence resource information. • street surveys
• Host community forums and events.
Ellen Eummer: Program Director, Flatbush Haitian Centre –
Family Preventive Services Program
CONNECT’s training has enabled my staff to recognize and identify more families
in which domestic violence is a precipitating factor in child abuse. They are better
able to engage the victim in dialogue when they feel more comfortable in general
talking about violence in the home. The camaraderie and collaboration, education,
and financial resources that we receive from the CONNECT network have been
tremendous. I think there is a deep sense of spiritual motivation throughout the
network to work for the betterment of our communities.
Community-led initiatives can facilitate the research on expanding financial resources
delivery of domestic violence information, for new initiatives.
education and support to residents. With its
multi-disciplinary, diverse, and committed CONNECT Training Institute (CTI), an inno-
staff, CEP partners with communities to vative educational program evolved out of
address critical domestic violence needs. CONNECT’s awareness that the traumatic
Our model builds on existing social infra- effects of family violence might be averted if
structures including, for example, day care, interventions are not only offered earlier in
health care, and faith-based organizations. women and children’s experiences but also
Focusing on prevention, early intervention, within the communities where they live.
and policy reform, CONNECT provides CTI’s educational philosophy rests on our
community residents and organizations with belief that communities and victims them-
capacity building, educational materials, selves want to participate in the develop-
trainings and workshops, technical assis- ment and implementation of programs and
tance on program development, and policies that work to transform violent
behavior within families.
Phase II Establish the Foundation for a Community Response
1. Initiate public dialogue on research findings; include new 3. Strengthen the community response to domestic violence.
community sectors in the discussion. • Enroll partner staff in the CONNECT Training Institute.
• Develop work plans and Memorandums of Understanding
2. Identify preventive strategies
• create forums for discussion of preventive strategies with
community members • Provide technical assistance and capacity building.
• assist with the development of structures that can support • Develop model programs
these strategies, committees, networks, and programs. • Continue education & awareness activities.
• Develop relationships with non-traditional sectors
such as small businesses, libraries, arts groups.
• Offer grant writing assistance and collaborative
Lisa Degeneste: Program Director
“ Communities have
always found unique ways for organizing around issues -- like housing,
finances and childcare -- that impact the whole community. Supporting
the formation of networks to respond to family violence is one way of
supporting the communication of information, the transfer of knowledge
and the dialogue which must occur for the problems of domestic vio-
lence and child abuse to be unveiled, demystified and eradicated.
Tricia Halonen and Rham Robinson, Youth Coordinators,
Highbridge Community Life Center
“ Building youth/ adult partnerships creates a win-win situation for all peo-
ple involved in community change. Adults learn the value of young peo-
ple: curiosity, creativity, and energy. Youth benefit from the adults’ experi-
ence, wisdom and mentorship. Our youth conference, which was co-
sponsored with CONNECT, was an educational, supportive, and empow-
ering experience for the youth and adult participants alike. CONNECT
has also helped us to incorporate family violence prevention education
into our youth program, through trainings on relationship violence, girls
empowerment and understanding men who batter. We are now regularly
discussing these issues with the teens in our mentoring program.
4. Encourage awareness education and grassroots leadership
• youth network
• men’s forum
• speak-outs on community issues
• clergy education
• media cultivation
• Link community resources.
• Introduce community leaders to city, state, &
national domestic violence resources.
Antonia Clemente, Director, Trinity Healing Centre
“ Faith-based organizations make a difference for victims
of domestic violence by addressing theological beliefs that
may keep victims in abusive relationships, and providing a safe
place for survivors to go. Coming from a faith-based approach,
I was interested in the concept of bringing other segments of
our community together to address the plague of violence in
the family. The CONNECT approach of providing educational
information, networking with community based organizations,
schools, hospitals, and the faith-based entities was an impres-
sive approach of reaching out to the whole community.
Through intensive education and training, Family violence emerges from socio-politi-
CTI prepares survivors, grassroots leaders cal beliefs and attitudes that promote and
and community service providers to cre- sustain violence against women and chil-
ate programs in their communities and dren. CEP facilitates the creation of cul-
expand the range of options available to turally affirming, community-focused
families struggling with violence. CTI pro- responses to violence in the family and
vides training for group facilitation in five directs resources to communities in order
key areas: Abusive Partner, Battered to sustain these initiatives. Community
Women’s Empowerment, Child Witness to accountability is the key to success of any
Violence, Parenting Education, and Girls preventive approach because it responds
Empowerment. to needs of victims and perpetrators while
beginning to eliminate societal structures
that support family violence.
Phase III Supporting Sustainable Community Leadership
1. Encourage development of community strategies for 2. Building network structures and workplans.
domestic violence prevention. • Create strategic alliances to support task forces
• Continue outreach to new community sectors. and committees.
• Consolidate relationships with non-traditional sector. • Explore creative ideas for increasing community awareness
• Facilitate mechanisms to support various domestic and prevention initiatives.
violence activities. • Provide assistance to execute prevention initiatives that
• Expand projects initiated through small grants. incorporate diverse sectors of the community.
• Develop enduring structures to increase community
awareness and build a community response.
Quentin Walcott, CTI Program Developer
“ The core of our approach is the safety and empowerment
of women and children. We also look at the perpetrators of
violence, who are overwhelmingly male. We examine why
they batter and abuse, and develop prevention techniques
and interventions for them. It is absolutely critical to keep
men accountable for both their behavior and the conse-
quences of their actions.
Marlon Walker, Early Head Start Teacher, CTI Batterers’
One of the ways I get men into the
fathers involvement group is by offering them computer training. I use
what I learned in batterers intervention training to lead the conversa-
tions. I do an hour of conversation and an hour of training, but some-
times it gets so good we don’t even get to the training. The mothers
are telling their early head start teachers that they see changes in
their lives. One father even told me that he’s abusing and wants help.
I referred him and others to a Batterer’s Intervention Group.
Safe families and
are CONNECT’s goals.
CEP is our strategy.
Shreya Jansens-Simmons: Youth coordinator at
South Asian Youth Action
I wanted to teach a class
on healthy relationships, but I didn’t have the expertise. I found
out about CONNECT when we had a needs assessment at our
office and when I learned more about what CONNECT does, I
thought it would be a really good fit for me to do a curriculum
with them. Our collaboration has given me more ideas about
how to present this information creatively, such as using a liter-
ary narrative or video clips. I am more aware of resources and
presentations that don’t rely simply on discussion.
CONNECT’S CEP: A Snapshot • Community Work • 234 Sidewalk Surveys • 138 CTI Participants • 106 Organizational
Needs Assessments • 102 on-site training workshops • 78 CBOs established as CONNECT partners • 64 Community
Needs Assessments • 25 Memoranda of Understanding • 22 Focus Groups • 20 CONNECT Small Grants totaling
$98,000 • Community Events • Crown Heights Community Celebration • Crown Heights Father’s Day Event • Family
Violence Prevention Family Day • Black and Latino Men Speak!: Men of Color Speak on Manhood, Masculinity,
Machismo and Violence in Their Communities • Bronx Youth Conference: Teen Relationships*Love*Sex*Violence •
Communities Speak for Peace: Experiences of and Responses to Family Violence • Speakout on Malicious Reporting to
Administration for Childrens’ Services • Community Breakfast at Brooklyn Hospital • Family Love Not Family Violence •
Technical Assistance and Capacity Building • Case Management/Review • Development of Culturally Appropriate
Public Education Materials • Domestic Violence Screening Tool Applications • Financial Resource Development • Focus
Groups Facilitation and Analysis • Program
Development • Develop ment of Program-
Specific Public Education Resources • Support
Group Development • Small Business
Outreach • Work Place Domestic Violence
Policy Development • Educational
Workshops • Child Witness to Violence •
Church Responds to Domestic Violence: A
Training for Christian Clergy and Lay •
Leaders Domestic Viol- ence 101 • Domestic
Violence in Church: Breaking the Silence, A
Gathering of Pastors’ Wives • Domestic Violence and the Church’s Response: A Lenten Series • Domestic Violence
from an (Interfaith) Faith-based Perspective • Domestic Violence from an Islamic Perspective • Domestic Violence Grant
Writing Seminar Series • Economic Empowerment • Healing the Trauma: Training on Child Sexual Abuse • HIV and
Domestic Violence • Criminal Justice and Domestic Violence • Hospital Physician/Staff Training • Hospital Volunteer
Training • Law Enforcement and Domestic Violence • Teens/Youth and Domestic Violence • Understanding Men who
Batter and Abuse • Disabilities and Domestic Violence • Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence • Immigration and
Domestic Violence • This data was collected January 2002- March 2004
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