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President's Message (Jean Aoki)
Changes to the State Excise Tax? (Astrid Monson)
Member Survey
Coordinated Community Response System to Domestic Violence (Val Kanuha)
Fairest Among Thousands (Betty Smith)
Making Democracy Work: Campaign Finance Reform (Toni Worst)
Wetlands & Agriculture: Public Interest and Public Benefits
League Local News - Hawaii County
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Education Committee (Mary Anne Raywid)
General Election Statistics for 1996 & 1998
Population Explosion: 6 Billion People in 1999
Scorecard on Gambling Positions
Model UN Project (Helene Hale)
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A Coordinated Community Response System to Domestic Violence

Dr. Val Kanuha, Assistant Professor of the School of social Work at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, addressed the League's Violence Prevention Committee on Tuesday, November 17th. She gave an excellent analysis of a Coordinated Community Response system and the following are excerpts from her remarks:

"I am a Hilo girl, born and raised my folks are still there. I have been away on the mainland for about 20 years, coming back and forth almost every year, about twice a year.

I am a social worker by training and came to domestic violence work from working with battered women and children who were abused. I didn't know I was a feminist until I started working in this area.

I have done domestic violence work at every level from working with shelters to training medical people. I have done battered women's support groups. I have done a lot of training and development with battered women's programs all over the country, including looking at everything from cultural competence, diversity issues, to looking at how we can be more responsive to women and children while still preserving a kind of strong feminist analysis. I come to this work still holding and still believing in a strong feminist analysis of violence. That is an important framework. I would want people to understand that it guides why I approach this work in the way that I do.

Let me tell you a little bit about the background of a Coordinated Community Response (CCR). What happened is that CCR started with battered women's advocates, battered women's programs, advocates who worked with family service agencies, and Child Protective Service workers who were saying, "Something is wrong. We keep meeting with the police but they just don't do things in a consistent way, or we keep meeting with the prosecutors and they say they are going to do something and they don't." How do you address these cases?

Simultaneously in Duluth, MN and in Minneapolis, MN, two initiatives started which you can call either community intervention or community coordinated response. The idea was that everyone would formalize their policies and procedures with regard to how they responded to cases of domestic violence.

What happened is a result of all these players getting together and saying lets really organize how we are doing things. They started tracking how cases were handled from what we call the first response. From the moment a women called in to 911, they started tracking every single person who had contact with this one woman until the end. We wanted to talk to them. What system did they represent? What procedures were they trained in? What values did they have? What kind of supervisor structure was present in the organization? Where were the gaps in each of the providers who touched on these cases.

Mandatory and probable cause arrests came out of the CCR model. Batterers' treatment programs came out of the CCR model. The training of juries around this violence theory, and how battered women respond, why women recant, that all came out of the CCR model.

So that most of the major legislation and orders for protection came out of the CCR Model. Everything that is now taken as givens with domestic violence and battered women's response came out of this particular initiative.

What is CCR?

CCR is an interconnected system of formal, organized activities that ensures accessibility and accountability regarding domestic violence across all institutions and services within a designated community, with three primary goals: victim safety, offender accountability, and changing the social climates to zero tolerance for violence.

Let me go through what the key terms and concepts are in that definition.

The key thing about a CCR is that it is an interconnected system that is structured around some formal entity. It may be a coalition, it may be a task force, it may be an agency that is specially designated, but it's an interconnected system that has a hub of a wheel that keeps everybody going.

The second thing is that a CCR is formal and it is organized. It is not as loosely structured as many networks and coalitions are. How that is established is through some formal memorandum or agreement between the various players structured through some entity.

The third key term is about all institutions and agencies. When thinking about it, it is just that - it's the League of Women Voters, it's the police department, it's prosecutors, it's the courts, it's child and adult welfare agencies, it's domestic violence services including perpetrator and offender treatment, women's programs, advocacy, emergency dispatchers, 911 services, health centers, mental health centers, religious institutions, schools, and other government and non-governmental agencies. The key thing here is that I didn't say who the people were. In some ways the individual people are not so important. What are really important are the institutions.

The fourth key term is this issue of the designated community. Are we talking about the whole state of Hawai'i or Honolulu or by islands or by regions or by what?

The fifth key term is the three goals. It seems to me that the CCR's that work the best are the ones that always place in the forefront, victim safety, offender accountability and changing the climate ... not who said what about who and who is doing a bad job.

How Do We Initiate a CCR

One of the main activities is to establish and assist your baseline response. Essentially, what you want to do is find out what is happening. All systems get assessed in the same way, shape of form.

First step is to know what is happening in our community. The second step or activity, is that there has to be some kind of consensus across all institutions regarding the finding of this assessment. The third activity is this formulating of a coordinating body. The most common models are a community coordinating council or a community intervention project. The fifth activity is team building, training, TA or whoever the bodies are, systems are, and institutions are, who are going to be part of the CCR.

The three final activities, which in some ways are the most important ones are monitoring and systems change - through that and around that is formal and consistent protocols and procedures - and then evaluation. With intervention projects, for example, there is actual case monitoring so that if it looks like a pattern is emerging in terms of how prosecutors are handling particular kinds of battered women, the intervention project goes in and meets with the prosecutor and says, you know, we have been monitoring and we looked at these six cases and every time a battered woman comes in with a drug addict, you guys do this with her. Now we need to look at what is happening with that....

The formal consistent protocols, we say we have them, and then we are refining them. Is it working? Is it not working? You are always testing.

Making CCR Work

The problems with CCR, why it works or doesn't work, are mostly self-evident. Number one, there has to be buy-in from key institutions.

Another problem is distinguishing between this intervention project or coordinating council and all the other various coalitions, task forces, ad hoc committees that every community has.

Final thing of course, is that it takes a very, very long time for this to happen. In places like Duluth, a city of 70,000, it took them almost five years before they really felt that they had a system that they could at least identify where the gaps were after they started the first round of initiatives. You have to be very patient with the process. Those are some of the elements of CCR and I have to say, that in my short time being back and hearing from many of you here, I think there is a great potential that CCR could work here in Hawai'i. It would require a lot of conciliation and mediation and people really willing to put those three goals at the forefront. I think the League could play a good role in helping this, but it really requires everybody at the table.

Val Kanuha

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