by Kara Kavensky
Creating hope for individuals impacted by domestic violence is more important than ever. In the first three months of this year, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department received over 1,300 domestic violence-related calls. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a dramatic rise in domestic violence incidents and the rate was already alarmingly high before the pandemic. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. The Domestic Violence Network (DVN) works with communities to provide education on how to prevent domestic violence and also connects those impacted by domestic violence with the tools and resources they need to break the cycle. “Once someone is in the program, we ensure that people thrive,” says Danyette Smith, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Domestic Violence Network. To educate people on domestic violence, DVN works to organizations and churches to bring training into a community. To educate people on domestic violence, DVN works to organizations and churches to bring training into a community. The three pillars of DVN are: collaboration, prevention, and education.
vention, and education. The importance of education on this topic cannot be overstated, for it is through education and training that help individuals drop the baton of domestic violence. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually and men, who as children, witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents. Education could help curb this. “For the past three years, we have gone door to door within the 46218 zip code. Domestic violence is a community problem, not just a personal one for an individual,” says Danyette, who is a survivor of domestic violence. “Awareness is critical to making a change for the better in people’s lives.” Self-sufficiency is the goal for those breaking the cycle from domestic violence. Attainment of a sustainable job is an important component of this strategy. This is where Eleven Fifty Academy comes in. Eleven Fifty is a viable option, as it is through their training that someone gets on an accelerated path to a career in tech. The DVN is working with Eleven Fifty staff and instructors to train them on how to identify and how to support individuals impacted by domestic violence. “We want to assist in any way we can to help break the cycle of violence,” says Chief Learning Officer Jonathan B. Huer, EdD. “Cultural competency training for our instructors will help raise our collective awareness to these concerns and enable us to better facilitate a successful experience for our students.” The economics of working towards ending domestic violence is heavily favored: those directly impacted by domestic violence lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs. The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion. It’s been rough for individuals to remove themselves from their circumstances during the pandemic, as COVID restrictions have forced shelters, such as The Julian Center, to be at half capacity. Indiana has experienced a 113% increase in domestic violence deaths within the past year. Many organizations are working extra hard to provide other resources due to these limitations. “I personally know how hard breaking the cycle of domestic violence is and I also know the freedom and peace once it’s broken,” says Danyette. “Helping those wrapped in the cycle is my mission, while allowing a light through me to shine so they can see their path ahead while in their darkest moments. DVN brings power to my mission because we not only help victims get the resources needed to break the cycle, but we also help get organizations, communities, and even teens aware and educated on domestic violence for prevention. Together we can help end domestic violence!” The Domestic Violence Network is partnering with Eleven Fifty Academy and the Advancing Tech in 46218 initiative. Advancing Tech in 46218 (AT46218) takes a holistic approach to opening the world of tech to people looking for opportunities in one specific zip code in Indianapolis. Eastern Star Church, Eleven Fifty Academy, Martin University, Ivy Tech Community College, Goodwill Industries’ Excel Program, InnoPower, and numerous community partners have developed an entirely novel approach to the important work of skilling people up to meet the demands of employers. And most importantly, AT46218 is providing individuals the opportunity to transform their own lives with high-paying careers in tech. This collaboration is implementing promising strategies designed to improve the livelihoods of individuals and families facing complex and varied challenges associated with poverty and financial insecurity. On their own, each of these organizations is putting in the hard work to transform lives and empower people towards good jobs and a vibrant life. Together, they’ve created a viable network with the promise of increasing opportunities for an entire community.