On February 29, 2016, members of the Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse presented a report to the legislature detailing the state of Batterers' Intervention Programs (BIPs) in Maine. The report is the result of LD 150, a legislative resolve to study the use of BIPs in both pre-trial and post-conviction cases in Maine.
What Can You Do?
We all have a part to play in ending domestic violence.
Here are a few ideas about how you can get involved.
- Advocate—Contact your representatives and advocate for public policies that benefit survivors and hold perpetrators accountable.
- Be prepared—Does your work have a domestic violence policy in place? Does your children’s school have a dating violence policy? If not, initiate one. An effective policy, supported by training in how to implement it, will establish guidelines for a response to a problem before one arises, helping make schools and places of employment safer for everyone.
- Change the culture—As our Philosophy Statement explains, abuse is supported by and thrives in a culture that encourages the oppression of some by others. So confront sexism and the other “isms” that we all encounter daily. Become media savvy, and speak up when you see popular culture or people you know promoting values that condone sexual violence.
- Promote Domestic Violence Awareness—Throughout the year, you will find opportunities to join in awareness raising about this issue and show your support for healthy relationships. Attend a vigil, walk a 5K, write a letter to the editor, or Take Back the Night. By showing up, you send the signal that your community will not condone abuse.
- Be a friend—We know that many people experiencing abuse are afraid to disclose what is happening to family and friends. Educate yourself on how you can help, and don’t be afraid to ask your loved on if everything is alright in his or her relationship. Sometimes, having someone notice and believe you can make all the difference.
- Volunteer—Contact your local domestic violence resource center and ask them about volunteer opportunities. They often have many things that they need help with, ranging from long-term commitments to one-time events.
- Call the police—Too often, after a homicide we hear that someone heard shouting and fighting, but they never imagined anyone would really get hurt. If you are concerned about an altercation you witness or overhear, trust your instincts. By making the call, you could save a life.