Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. Training and Education Activities


RWA is involved in extensive training and education activities; in addition, other agencies and parts of the system conduct their own trainings on domestic violence, participate in cross- training with RWA, and share some other mechanisms (e.g., a monthly lunch) on related topics. RWA participates in ongoing educational efforts such as "Teens, Crime and Community" which deals with violence in dating relationships among other topics. A staff member from RWA conducts school classes on domestic violence issues whenever asked, and has also worked with 13 school districts toward using the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) curriculum on domestic violence. She has talked to teachers in these schools, and done in-service training for them.

RWA annually conducts trainings for new law enforcement officers (at the law enforcement training academy), social services workers, nurses and nursing students, in workplaces and for employee assistance program staff, for judges, court clerks, and probation officers. RWA and other agencies participate in cross-training with social services (child and adult protective services), mental health agencies, chemical dependency treatment agencies, and the staff of the local crisis shelter for children. Cross-training means that RWA helps the agency in question understand the possible role of domestic violence in their caseloads and how to approach such cases, and the agency helps RWA understand its goals, legal and regulatory requirements, and constraints in recognizing and dealing with domestic violence when it appears in their caseload. Prosecutors and medical doctors have been the hardest groups for RWA to reach, for training purposes and otherwise.

RWA has recently begun to try to involve local clergy in combating domestic violence. To this end it has enlisted several clergy in preparing training workshops, and recently offered three workshops in different parts of the Range. All clergy were invited (close to 150), and 19 attended, including several from fundamentalist churches. Although less than 15 percent of the invitees came to these workshops, the attendees seemed to get the message, to become more committed to the role of clergy in creating a community climate in which domestic violence is not tolerated, and to recognize some of the steps they could take to further this goal.

Finally, a group of staff from RWA, the sexual assault services organization, a local day care center, and other people meet monthly for lunch to discuss different topics related to women. Domestic violence is a common topic for discussion.