JDI's focus on health
Sexual and domestic violence are public health issues that pose significant risks to the physical, psychological and emotional well-being of children and adults in every community in Massachusetts. The statistics are staggering: 1 in 5 women are raped at some point in their adult lives; and 1 in 4 women experience sexual and/or domestic violence in an intimate relationship. The health consequences of sexual and domestic violence can be acute, chronic and even fatal.
Virtually all survivors have contact with some type of medical setting – whether in a hospital, health center or medical office, or in primary and specialty care settings. The trauma of experiencing violence may be the direct reason for seeking medical care, or a less-obvious, undisclosed issue that is undermining the survivor’s health. As a result, health care providers are well positioned to:
- identify the issues of sexual and domestic violence (sometimes before a survivor has reached out to a sexual and/or domestic violence organization);
- address the health consequences of violence;
- connect survivors with support services; and
- engage with community partners in violence prevention efforts.
Enter JDI’s Strengthening Health Care Collaborations Project. Currently funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, this project is designed to is to improve the well-being and safety of survivors by strengthening partnerships between community-based sexual/domestic violence organizations and health care organizations. Given the expertise within community-based organizations, enhanced collaborations with health care will increase access to supports for survivors, promote trauma informed and best practices, and lead to better coordinated responses that address the diverse needs of survivors.
A survey of JDI member programs identified survivors’ health care needs such as logistical, financial, language and cultural barriers to access services. It also helped prioritize programs need for technical assistance, training and leadership development to enhance partnerships with between sexual/domestic violence organizations and health care.
A Project Advisory Group comprised of leaders in JDI member health care programs has been formed to share knowledge and resources, increase the visibility of health-related programming, and support proactive health care responses to survivors.
The first Health Care Learning Forum, “Advocating for Survivors’ Health and Well-Being,” held in June 2016 drew 40 participants from 27 programs.
Participants shared their innovative efforts with hospitals, community health centers, high school- and college-based health services, nursing programs, and medical and dental schools.
Pictured (L-R): Sandra Elien from MGH's HAVEN program and Joanne Timmons fromBoston Medical Center's Domestic Violence Program.
For more information about this project, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-248-0922.