ALSO builds alliances among organizations, government agencies and individuals to end gender-based violence.
During 2016-2017, ALSO hosted an ongoing learning community for a small group of practitioners working to end women and children experiencing and witnessing violence. In partnership with Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence, the Exploring Safety Learning Community brought together grant recipients of the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women Consolidated Youth Grant Program to address topics of victim-defined advocacy, wherein practitioners define services exclusively through the needs of victims and witnesses of violence and safety beyond leaving. Victim advocates engage in creating solutions for safer circumstances, when shelter or leaving home is not an option.
In the culminating meeting, the second of two, which followed a year of virtual community-building by phone and online forums, practitioners pitched plans to incorporate these elements directly into their work.
As one participant put it:
My biggest take away from the [Exploring Safety Learning Community] was that the field was created by us and can be changed by us. That thought has motivated me and resonated with me since I first attended the Learning Community in June of last year. It continues to drive me and my desire to make changes. As I have shared, my ideas and thoughts regarding the availability of accessible services for offenders as a means to heal the whole family are not the most popular at our agency, but I am motivated to see change happen. Because of the support I have received from the Learning Community, I talk about my hope for our New Choices program with every person I can. I thank you [Jennifer Rose, ALSO] and Jill Davies [of Building Comprehensive Solutions] for your push to make me think more critically – the ESLC was one of the best experiences I have had since I started working in this field. I hope that I am able to be a part of something like it again in the future… (Malarie Carlson)
More than a learning experience, this opportunity created a space for community, safety, and creativity among practitioners, which will translate to healing and safety for communities across the country.
Support our gender-based violence work today.
Written by Carlee Taggart
ALSO Program Manager