Pearl Crisis Center
What has been most instrumental to your progress?
Hiring a DV Court Surveillance Officer. We were able to find the “perfect” fit for our DV Court Surveillance Officer position. This officer has the right disposition and character that is needed to ensure the project succeeds. He is a deputy Sheriff and spent several years in Colorado working side by side with victim advocates. He understands domestic violence on all levels and is actually helping to educate other officers in our county on the issue. He is also helping to bridge the gap between advocates and law enforcement that has historically been compromised and strained. The participants enrolled in the DV Court have commented on how the officer respects them but firm. Victims seem to trust in his ability to keep them safe and have commented they are beginning to trust the system. The officer is a very “likable” individual who is genuine and compassionate about his work. He gets numerous praises from the entire MLCFVCC (Mille Lacs County Family Violence Coordinating Council) members.
Consistent monthly/bi monthly MLCFVCC meetings. One of the successes of the project is our 52 member team, from 13 differing community agencies/groups, including some representation from the Mille Lacs Band that consistently meet to discuss the DV Court project as well as domestic violence in our community. Since writing the grant new members have joined. It is amazing that after two years this huge group of people continue to come to the meetings. I co-chair the group and always comment at the beginning of each meeting how I’m so impressed by everyone’s consistent commitment to addressing/reducing domestic violence. These meetings allow key players of the DV Court to present on their specific area in which they work in the DV Court as well as address issues that may have arisen from the last meeting, (successful or unsuccessful).
The Courage Chest Activity. After attending the Bush Connect we were inspired to develop a tool that would allow people in the MLCFVCC meetings the opportunity to voice their thoughts. Even though most of the people who have been attending the meeting for over two years still do not feel comfortable fully sharing their thoughts and/or concerns with everyone in the room. People are often afraid to say what they really feel as their boss or supervisor is in the room, or their gender or race inhibits them from speaking up, or they have been shamed in past meetings for speaking up. So I created the courage chest. At each meeting attendees are given a blank slip of paper in which they can write anything down (they don’t put their name on it), crinkle it up and toss it into the chest (a large box placed in the middle of the room). Then at each meeting the Pastor draws one or two slips and reads the message to the group. We have been doing this for three months and I can see an increase of openness to share. It is easier to comment on a comment that isn’t mine.
Reflections on inclusive, collaborative or resourceful problem-solving
Thus far “collaborative” and “resourceful” has been most important in making progress in our work. I wish inclusive was included as I mentioned in the previous questions but not all members of what our community looks like are at the table, but this is an area we are beginning to work on. This project would not have been successful without the collaborative effort of those that have been coming for over two years. Those dedicated members have time, effort and strong compassion for making our community a safer place to live for everyone while ensuring safety nets and resources are in place. With such a large group there is always new information or new resources available for victims and the offenders.
Other key elements of Community Innovation
Not at this time.
One last thought
Yes, just want to say how valuable this experience has been for me (and my agency). Just speaking for us this has opened the door for so many new relationships within the system and is helping to mend broken ones as well. In my 16 year career here at Pearl this is the first time we have so many people coming together to address domestic violence. I’m extremely thankful and grateful for this opportunity.