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A Bridge to Hope: Domestic Violence Services Network, Inc. (DVSN-DVVAP)

by Jacquelin Apsler, Executive Director

Autumn in New England invokes thoughts of family, feasts, vibrant colors, and anticipation of holiday cheer. Yet, for too many of our friends and neighbors, home is the scariest place to be. There are no warm colors. Family feasts are frightening. Terror replaces holiday cheer.

Domestic violence is prevalent and pervasive yet very well hidden in upscale, suburban communities like Concord and Carlisle. Individuals and families living with abuse feel shame, fear, and isolation.

Founded by the Concord Police Chief in 1998, DVSN, with its 70 volunteer advocates, attempts to alleviate that isolation by: 1) providing services to individuals involved in domestic incidents reported to its 11 partner police departments, 2) working with clients who call its confidential, toll free Help Line, 3) accompanying individuals seeking restraining orders in the Concord District Court, and 4) presenting a wide variety of public educational opportunities to raise awareness of the frequency and complexity of domestic violence.

Since its inception in 1998, DVSN has serviced 2500 families from over 125 communities. Volunteer advocates have donated the equivalent of more than 10 years of 40-hour weeks to service families in need. DVSN helps over 50 families per month and reached out to 108 Concord-Carlisle families in the past year. Funding from grants, agencies like the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest, and individual donors, supports advocate training and supervision, police training, as well as materials for victims, police, and the public.

For its positive impact, its collaboration with a wide variety of community agencies, and its continued hard work to fight against domestic abuse in suburban communities, DVSN was a recipient of the Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council’s ‘Climate of Freedom’ Award in 2005. With support from DVSN, individuals and families living with abuse learn that they are not alone; there is help; and there is hope.

Jacquelin Apsler, Executive Director Domestic Violence Services Network, Inc. (DVSN-DVVAP) Office: 978-318-3421 www.dvsn.org P.O.Box 1556, Concord, MA 01742 Help Line: 888-399-6111

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