A Word from Our Executive Director
Happy Spring as we move into the warmer months with longer days! This newsletter finds us busy with strategic planning. The process will include people who are connected with New Hope in a variety of ways. We are excited to develop a flexible plan and specific actions we will take over the next several years. Our plan will allow advocates to further support victims of domestic abuse and concerned others.
April brings the chance for community members to be involved with New Hope’s Community of Hope Matching Challenge. All donations received from now through April 30th will be matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000!
That means that your contributions will have double the impact and provide twice the help for survivors of domestic abuse. Survivors of domestic abuse need to know that they can count on their neighbors and that the communities they live in foster trust, kindness, acceptance and belonging so that everyone can live free of fear. Please join us with your donation!
Roundtable Discussions are coming to Knox County! These discussions are meant to increase awareness about domestic abuse in rural areas while providing an opportunity to share with others. Our Roundtable Discussion this past October in Boothbay Harbor brought parents, law enforcement, healthcare providers and clergy together. Be sure to look below for more information on both this and our Community of Hope Matching Challenge!
Our residential, legal and education teams advocate every day for survivors of domestic abuse. Anyone interested in becoming more involved is welcome to visit our volunteer page by clicking here. Some volunteer options such as our helpline require training. Others such as events and assistance with mailings do not. Let us know if you’d like to join us. We’d love to have you!
With very best regards to all,
Rebekah Paredes, Executive Director
April Community of Hope Matching Challenge
We are asking everyone to join us in creating a place where people feel safe, supported and included.You can do this by participating in our Community of Hope Matching Challenge. All donations received from now through April 30th of this year will be matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000! Donations will have double the impact and provide twice the help for survivors of domestic abuse. Survivors of domestic abuse need to know that they can count on their neighbors. Communities that foster trust, kindness, acceptance and belonging allow everyone to live free of fear. Click here to donate. Thank you!
Safe housing is more than a residence. It’s strongly connected to fundamental human needs like identity, dignity, empowerment, confidence and independence. A 2021 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found a significant reduction in post-traumatic stress disorder and depression for victims of domestic abuse who resided in stable housing. Child survivors experienced fewer school absences, emotional difficulties, and problems with peer interactions. Stable housing allows victims to begin healing from the trauma they have experienced. They are able to develop and pursue career and employment opportunities and begin a life based on self-determination.
Our programs provide both short and long-term rental assistance. Some families need short-term support for 3-6 months and others receive support for up to two years. In the last six months, New Hope's residential services team has supported a total of 19 families through our housing programs. This includes 40 children! Of these families, four families (with six children between them) exited our program and remain stably housed in permanent housing. During this same time period, we supported 34 individuals and families with 1,646 nights of emergency sheltering! This program provides housing for anywhere from a few days to a few months.
The past two years have seen significant growth in the residential services we offer. We are currently exploring ways to further expand this program to meet the needs of the communities we serve.
Domestic Violence Roundtable Discussion: May 19th in Knox County
Join us for this important discussion! We will host a free Domestic Violence Roundtable Discussion from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday, May 19th in the Osprey Nest at the Midcoast School of Technology in Rockland. Everyone is welcome!
Roundtable Discussions are meant to increase awareness about domestic abuse while providing an opportunity to learn, share, network and make plans about this important issue in our local communities. New Hope Midcoast staff, trained specifically in advocacy regarding domestic abuse and supported by the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV), will facilitate. Morning snack and full lunch are included at no charge. Attendees will be sent two brief articles to read in advance.
Registration is required by May 12th. Click here to register or call (207) 691.5969. Certificates of Attendance will be issued for those applying for professional CEUs.
Support from mental health care providers is a crucial part of a coordinated response to domestic abuse. In 2012, the Maine Homicide Review Panel recommended that mental health licensing boards require continuing education on domestic abuse. This led to the passage of LD1238, An Act to Improve Professional Training for Licensed Mental Health Clinicians.
Earlier this month, our community education team hosted Intimate Partner/Domestic Violence Intervention Training for mental health providers. Thirty-seven participants received certification for participating in this two-day program that was designed for social workers, substance use disorder counselors and other mental health professionals as well as community members. The curriculum included foundational information, content on the lasting impact of domestic abuse, intervention strategies, and trauma-informed and culturally competent responses. Participants engaged in case studies, watched videos, collaborated in activities, and identified best practices for supporting survivors. The latter includes how to connect abusive individuals with appropriate interventions. The purpose was to increase skills and confidence in responding to domestic abuse.
The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence and mental health professionals collaboratively developed the curriculum that acknowledges the important role that mental health care providers play in our communities. Participants frequently share that they walk away from this experience with tangible skills and tools. One participant from our most recent group shared: “I am leaving this training with valuable, concrete resources, screenings and strategies for supporting survivors and working with families. I am grateful for more input and resources for community connection.”
We thank the University of Maine Hutchinson Center for collaborating with us to make this training possible. Anyone interested in attending a training may register at https://hutchinsoncenter.umaine.edu/professional-development-programs/intimate-partner-violence/
Shop for Hope Is Coming!
Abuse Toward Animals is a Red Flag
The connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence is well documented and complex. A 2017 study by the Animal Legal Defense Fund found that 89% of women who were with an abuser reported that the abuser threatened, harmed or killed their pet. Women who own pets may stay with their abuser due to fear for the pet’s safety.
Witnessing animal cruelty that was part of domestic abuse may result in psychological trauma. Fifty percent of children living with domestic abuse report that the abuser threatened to harm or kill a pet. Children who witness domestic abuse may imitate the abuse or unleash anger in hurtful ways.
The plaintiff in a 1982 court case stated that her partner had abused the family dog in front of herself and the children. A month later, she was found dead. The victim’s brother stated that his sister told him that the incident with the dog made her feel threatened at home and concerned for her own and her children’s safety. He later testified to this in court. More than 26 years later, the courts found that abuse of a pet was effectively committed against the witnesses (the abuser’s partner and their children) and that it was equivalent to domestic abuse. The defendant was convicted.
Animal cruelty, while its own crime, shares the same base as domestic abuse: the need for power and control. This has led many to suggest that we have animal abuse registries just as we have sex offender registries. While this has not yet happened, one thing is certain: animal abuse should signal concern for one’s safety and the safety of others.
We Thank our Corporate Partners!!
Allen Insurance and Financial, Ballou and Associates, Bangor Savings Bank, Camden Dermatology, Camden Law, Cates Real Estate, CedarWorks, Colby & Gale, Inc., Dead River Company, Eastern Tire & Auto Service Inc., Edward Jones: Ken Gardiner, Camden, First National Bank, Gemini Marine Canvas, Grasshopper Shop of Rockland, Horch Roofing, Maritime Energy, Renys, Rockland Savings and Loan, Rockport Steel, and 2A architects, llc