Geiger Institute hopes to end domestic violence homicides
The Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center goes national with the launch of the Geiger Institute, a nationwide initiative to end domestic violence-related homicides.
“When COVID hit and we all went to our distant worlds,” said Suzanne Dubus, CEO of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center (JGCC), “we had to rethink how we were going to work with communities, help more communities at the same time, create deeper partnerships with communities and better respond to community needs.
“It’s the Geiger Institute. It’s really exciting. COVID has taught us important lessons and now everything is falling into place.
JCGG began in Newburyport in 1982 with a mission to empower individuals and communities to end domestic violence by providing free, comprehensive services to help adult and child survivors heal from the trauma of domestic violence, as well as preventive school programs and a court-ordered education program for those who use violence in an intimate relationship.
Over the past 40 years, JCGG has grown to include 16 local communities from Newburyport to the Merrimack Valley, including Amesbury, Merrimac, Salisbury, Haverhill, West Newbury, Newbury, Groveland, Georgetown, Rowley, Methuen, Lawrence, Andover, North Andover, Boxford and Ipswich.
The JGCC’s domestic violence homicide prevention work began in April 2005.
As JGCC defenders tried to help an Amesbury woman protect herself from her abusive husband, she was killed in her home while her daughter was on the phone with police. In the aftermath of the murder, JGCC advocates sought to understand where the system failed and how to prevent it from happening again.
“Since 2005, we have developed our domestic violence homicide prevention work at the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center,” Dubus said. “We started this work as advocates, developing the High-Risk Domestic Violence Team (DVHRT) model, and then the Law Enforcement Danger Assessment (DA-LE), seeing from firsthand how these solutions can be implemented right here in our backyard.”
Greater Newburyport DVHRT now includes Jeanne Geiger Crisis Centre, Amesbury Police Department, Holy Family Hospital, Newbury Police Department, Newburyport Police Department, Newburyport Probation Service, The Salisbury Police Department, Anna Jaques Hospital, Essex District Attorney’s Office, Essex County Sheriff’s Department, Massachusetts Parole Board, and Merrimac Police Department.
“We had really, really fantastic results,” Dubus said. “The large number of survivors have been able to stay safe in their own communities.”
The most recent report from our Greater Newburyport Domestic Violence High Risk Team shows eight domestic violence (DV) homicides in the 10 years prior to the team’s inception in 2004, and no DV homicides since inception. team spot.
“Domestic violence is as much of an issue in the Greater Newburyport area as it is in other communities,” she said. “It’s hard to prove that something isn’t happening, but time and time again we’ve heard stories that if this work hadn’t been created and done, we would have had a high body count.”
To date, the JGCC has provided training and technical assistance to more than 250 jurisdictions across the country working to prevent domestic violence-related homicides. The federal Department of Justice, Bureau of Violence Against Women, has recognized the DVHRT model as a “leading promising practice” in preventing DV homicides.
The DA-LE is an 11-question evidence-based risk assessment tool that identifies victims most at risk of intimate partner homicide or near-fatal assault and is designed to be easily administered by officers. law enforcement.
The Geiger Institute marks a turning point for the Crisis Center, which plans to grow its staff, develop new partnerships, raise funds and scale its work to increase safety for marginalized communities.
“The Geiger Institute was created by the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center,” Dubus said. “It’s not a separate entity, but we realized that if we wanted to do this work across the country the way it can be done, we needed a much more sophisticated way of delivering our training and our technical assistance.”
The Geiger Institute’s mission is to “partner with communities to implement proven homicide reduction strategies, develop new solutions, and evaluate effectiveness. Through these collaborative partnerships, we create pathways to safety for those most at risk of fatal intimate partner violence.
“Current or former intimate (romantic) partners commit 14% of all homicides in the United States, with more than 70% of victims being women, disproportionately women of color,” Dubus said. “Research shows that many intimate partner homicides are predictable, and if they’re predictable, they can be prevented.”
The Geiger Institute offers the approaches developed by the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, the Domestic Violence High Risk Team (DVHRT) model and the Danger Assessment for Law Enforcement (DA-LE), as well as training and technical assistance. Communities can also partner with the Geiger Institute to create new personalized solutions to reduce intimate partner homicides.
“We’ve been looking forward to this launch for some time and want to grow our team and expand the solutions we offer,” said Dubus. “The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the urgency, as we continue to see an increase in the severity and complexity of domestic violence cases.
“Our goal is to support communities with high rates of domestic violence-related homicides and to create solutions in partnership with those communities that will reach those who are most marginalized and most at risk of being killed.”
The Geiger Institute will be a “two-way street”.
“We want the lessons we learn locally to be passed on to the nation,” Dubus said, “and conversely, we hope the lessons we learn in our work across the country will flow back to our local community.”
To learn more about the Geiger Institute or to join the growing team, visit www.geigerinstitute.org.
To help you or others, the JCGG Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 978-388-1888 for free, secure, and confidential assistance.