RENO – University of Nevada, Reno’s Extension this month said it has launched a new program aimed at helping victims of domestic violence remain safe and set out on a new path. The efforts of the Domestic Violence High Risk Team Program will focus on communities in Elko and Clark counties.
The new high-risk teams will follow up with victims of domestic violence after law enforcement to provide them with resources and support. Their emphasis will be on calls that have a high risk for fatality.
The program ties in with Extension’s long-running Heart & Hope program which teaches victims of domestic violence healthy habits including communication and planning skills.
Officials with UNR’s Extension said the need for greater support for domestic violence victims has been made clear through the recent data.
The Violence Policy Center has ranked Nevada in the top five states in the nation for domestic violence deaths for the past five years and the state’s Department of Public Safety reports an incidence of domestic violence happens nearly every 17 minutes in the state. The pandemic has increased the number of calls to domestic violence hotlines as well.
Following a call to law enforcement to report domestic violence, the high-risk teams will connect with the victim to provide services including counseling, shelter, legal assistance and other needs, using services already available in the community.
“We’re excited to be able to work with some great community partners, especially those with established services who are already helping to support victims of domestic violence” Pamela Payne, an assistance professor and principal investigator for the grant-funded program, said. “Our hope is to learn more about each county and area specifically so that we can tailor our resources to their needs.”
Payne will work with team coordinators Brenda Brace in Elko County and Tricia Braxton Perry and Clair Thomas in North Las Vegas.
Brace worked for several years within Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services and was a volunteer with the Heart & Hope program. Braxton Perry has worked with Extension programs for nearly a decade and prior to that spent eight years as a New York police officer. Thomas has experience in education and trauma yoga.
Extension’s high-risk teams are funded by a $173,207 grant from STOP Violence Against Women Act Program, administered by the Office of the Attorney General.
Source: UNR Extension