With nearly one in three women reporting abuse at some time in their lives, Jenesse Center, Inc., is always seeking to reduce the number of tragic outcomes related to domestic violence. Jenesse Center, Inc., founded 27 years ago, is launching a pilot workplace oriented campaign, South Los Angeles’ Domestic Violence Education Project: “Stop the Hurting.”
Attempting to impact how local businesses view and deal with domestic violence and related issues, “Stop the Hurting” is a two-year Employment and Workplace Action Plan/Policy Advocacy Project designed to address high incidences of domestic violence within the South Los Angeles business community by raising awareness of the need for training and implementation of related employee assistance programs.
Funded by the California Endowment, the $300,000 project will be launched during a Thursday, January 24, 2008 breakfast at the City Club on Bunker Hill.
“It is our intent to effect fundamental change in policies, attitudes, and behaviors in the South Los Angeles business setting,” explained Jenesse Associate Director Adrienne Lamar. “We are aware that domestic violence carries over into the workplace and we want employers to know that there is a resource available to them to help their employees,” she said. “Domestic violence has an impact on the entire community and not just the person who is injured or killed.”
While Jenesse has been working on implementing its’ “Stop the Hurting” campaign for more than a year, the need for such a program became even more apparent with the recent murders of Monica Thomas-Harris and local resident, Sophia Broussard.
Both mothers leaving two children each behind, the story of Monica Thomas-Harris was heavily covered earlier in January by the L.A. Times when while released from prison her estranged husband killed her and then committed suicide after a series of prior kidnappings and physical abuse.
South Los Angeles resident, Sophia Broussard was stabbed 60 times in September 2007, allegedly by her partner who also had a criminal record related to previous domestic abuses. In this case, Ms. Broussard’s five year old daughter was present when the stabbings occurred and her 20 year old son discovered his mother’s body.
In both cases, in addition to family and friends, employers and co-workers were aware that all was not well.
“We don’t want employers going through the grieving process questioning what they could have done,” Ms. Lamar commented. “Our program will help them establish, adopt and implement policies that will provide a safety net for their employees.
“Stop the Hurting will work directly with small- and large-businesses to raise awareness and change policies in order to decrease the incidence of domestic violence in South Los Angeles,” she added.
“We were particularly impressed with Jenesse’s approach of targeting employers in an attempt to prevent more domestic violence incidences,” offered Karen Escalante-Dalton, program officer for The California Endowment. “We considered this a unique approach, especially from an agency that has provided assistance to victims for years. And, we are encouraged that they want to provide prevention strategy,” she said. “We consider this an upstream approach.”
Seeking short- and long-term prevention remedies, “Stop the Hurting” will aid the development and dissemination of model policies for local businesses to adopt and implement; conduct outreach and education of employers on model policies; train managers, supervisors and individual employees on ways to identify domestic violence and action steps to take; establish confidential means for employers to seek resources and referrals; and incorporate domestic violence intervention and prevention into employee training programs and manuals.
In addition, the “Stop the Hurting” pilot project also will incorporate all of the current services provided through Jenesse Center, Inc.
Founded in 1980 and currently the oldest domestic violence prevention program in South Los Angeles, Jenesse houses women and children from 30 days up to two years through its 156-bed emergency and transitional shelters. Jenesse also provides a variety of other support services to more than 1,000 families annually including mental health counseling, independent life skills classes, computer training, job referrals, after school programs for children, field trips, tutoring, and legal assistance offering help with obtaining restraining orders for domestic violence victims.
Appreciative of The California Endowment grant and the foundation’s confidence in Jenesse Center’s ability to deliver, Jenesse Executive Director Karen Earl commented, “We have worked long and hard to provide the type of programs necessary to serve victims of domestic violence. We now want to work harder toward preventing the need for shelters and intervention programs. We can do this through education, education and more education,” she said. “And, we’re always seeking like-minded individuals, organizations, businesses and funders to partner with us”, she added.
For additional information on South Los Angeles’ Domestic Violence Policy and Community Education Project: “Stop the Hurting,” contact Ms. Adrienne Lamar at (323) 299-9496.