To the editor:
A recent article in the Daily News explained that the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, along with other national leaders in the field of domestic violence prevention, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a four-year demonstration initiative around the nation to reduce the incidence of domestic violence homicides.
This groundbreaking effort was announced last week at an event in Rockville, Md., by Vice President Joseph Biden, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and other leaders from state and local law enforcement. I had the great pleasure of joining Suzanne Dubus, CEO of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, and other representatives of the Center at this occasion.
When Vice President Biden spoke about this initiative he reminded us that while the initial grant targets only 12 communities for replication, it will be “consequential”, meaning that it will build from 12 communities to 100… to 1000… as people notice the outcomes that others are having in curbing the incidence of domestic violence homicides. As a result, today the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center’s extended family – the staff, the Board, our donors, volunteers and our community – is at the focal point of an historic effort to change the way our nation sees and responds to domestic violence in every city and town.
Along with our partners, the Lethality Assessment Program in Maryland and the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, we have been hand-picked by the Department of Justice to lead this important work and frankly it could not be a more exciting time to be involved. This effort originated in the Center’s “Greater Newburyport Domestic Violence High Risk Team” that was created eight years ago in the aftermath of the murder of one of our clients. An analysis of the events leading up to that tragedy led to the major lesson learned: that domestic violence homicide is predictable—and therefore preventable.
By training and supporting others to replicate our model, lives will be saved. There is nothing more important than that. However, the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center remains equally committed to providing the local counseling, advocacy and legal services that we first began offering 30 years ago for clients here on the North Shore. In 2012 we helped nearly 1400 victims of domestic violence, more than any previous year, at no cost to them.
While we are hopeful that national exposure will attract new sources of financial support to help fund our local programs we are also grateful for, and continue to depend upon, every individual, business and organization in our region that supports the very important work of the Center here at home. You can take pride in knowing that it is the local work being done to stop domestic violence here in Newburyport and neighboring towns that is now being adopted by many others across the state and across the country.
Thank you to all who have contributed, and continue to contribute in so many ways, every day.
Chairman, Board of Directors
Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center