CITY OF MANCHESTER, CT
Mayor Stephen T. Cassano

Manchester Domestic Violence Outreach Team (DVOT)

Hartford Interval House, Inc. (HIH) and the Manchester Police Department have worked cooperatively to combat domestic violence for a number of years. In 1995, HIH was able to open a satellite office in the "Eastside" neighborhood of Manchester, where the police department had a community policing pilot program with two Police Area Representative (PAR) officers established. The PAR officers and HIH developed a working relationship with both sides learning from and building trust with the other.

In January, 1997, under a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the two agencies formalized their relationship beyond a case-by-case basis. Both organizations recognized that domestic violence is a multi-faceted problem which must be addressed by a multi-disciplined approach. The two goals of the program are: 1) to establish a coordinated community response to domestic violence and; 2) to deal proactively on domestic violence issues in order to reduce the incidence of domestic violence.

A Domestic Violence Outreach Team (DVOT) was created. The team is composed of one Grade 5 police officer from the Manchester Police Department and one civilian outreach worker from HIH. Their task is: 1) to provide the impetus for the creation of a multi-disciplinary Domestic Violence Task Force; and 2) to provide case consultation, advocacy, information and referrals, support and domestic violence education in the Manchester community.

The DVOT will function as a coordinator to prevent domestic violence and protect victims. It will:

  • assess and recommend services to victims and their families;
  • assist families in obtaining needed service;
  • provide information and expertise to community leaders, agency directors and their boards, and to the general community regarding prevention of domestic violence;
  • mobilize needed services for abusive families;
  • collect information on the incidence, nature, and contributing factors of domestic violence within the community of Manchester.

The task force will position itself, along with the HIH victim advocate, to serve as a resource to the local judiciary system for families in need of intervention. The team will work to identify and articulate gaps in service to families experiencing abuse.

The Domestic Violence Task Force will be developed. Representation will be invited from law enforcement, probation, shelter, substance abuse counseling, employment services, medicine, mental health, shelter, prosecution, clergy, judiciary, social services and family services. The general purpose of the task force shall be as follows: 1) to effectuate coordination between agencies, departments and the courts with victims of domestic violence and abuse; 2) to promote effective prevention, intervention and treatment techniques which will be developed based upon research and data collection; and 3) to improve the response to domestic violence and abuse so as to reduce incidents thereof.

The DVOT will be responsible for developing a proposed criteria for case presentation to the task force, and will also recommend and coordinate the development of a service delivery plan that identifies necessary services such as legal, medical, social, mental health and employment services. The task force will periodically review cases and reassess service delivery plans.

Under this new combined effort, success will be measured by the number of education, information and training sessions provided by the combined entity, the Domestic Violence Outreach Team (DVOT), and community attendance at those sessions. The success will also be measured by a follow-up survey of community awareness about domestic violence which will be compared to an initial survey.

In the short term it is expected that there will be an increase in the police case load as victims are encouraged to file criminal complaints, along with an increase in the number of arrests as police officers learn from the DVOT about the dynamics of domestic violence. This will carry over into the criminal court system where there will be an increase in criminal cases and resulting increase in the caseload of Family Relations and Adult Probation. There should also be an increased demand for social services from town and state agencies and non-profit organizations.

In the long term, if the intervention by DVOT and the task force is successful in addressing the underlying problems of families experiencing domestic violence, and if the prevention messages are heard and understood, there will be a decrease in recidivist domestic violence cases. The creation of an effective system of prevention, education, intervention and correction/treatment should reinforce lasting commitments from the community and its' leaders.

CONTACT: Officer Rene Tourville, Manchester Police Department, P.O. Box 191, East Middle Turnpike, Manchester, CT 06045-0191, Telephone - (860) 643-3334, Fax - (860) 643-2939; or Penni Micca, Manchester Police Department, P.O. Box 239, East Middle Turnpike, Manchester, CT 06045-0191, Telephone - (860) 643-3334, Fax - (860) 643-2939.

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