News Items from UNC Greensboro

UNCG’s North Carolina Network for Safe Communities (NCNSC) has partnered with John Jay College and the High Point Police Department (HPPD) in the recently launched National Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Initiative (NIPVII), a program which, in June, received a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The grant was awarded to replicate a strategy originally implemented in High Point, NC and replicated in Lexington, NC, to combat intimate partner domestic violence (IPDV).

For five years Dr. Stacy Sechrist and Mr. John Weil, of the NCNSC under the UNCG Office of Research and Economic Development and Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development, Dr. Terri Shelton, have worked with the High Point Police Department, the High Point Community Against Violence (HPCAV), the National Network for Safe Communities, and other partners to develop, implement, and evaluate the “Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative” (OFDVI), as it is called in High Point, and the replication of the strategy in Lexington, NC, which was funded by a grant from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office). At five years in action, the High Point OFDVI initiative has been extremely successful, and has gained national attention. It has also been implemented in other cities and counties throughout North Carolina. IPDV-related victim injuries and calls have declined in both High Point and Lexington since the implementation.

The “focused deterrence” model was originally developed by David Kennedy at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and was first used to reduce gun and street gang violence in Boston. The model has since been adapted and applied to reduce violence associated with various crime dynamics, including chronic violent offenders, gang or group-related violence, violence associated with open air drug markets and now to intimate partner domestic violence.

The OFDVI strategy relies heavily on participation from the community, building accountability, transparency and trust to ensure a swift response toward IPDV offenders. Information concerning IPDV offenses is closely tracked, and offenders are classified specifically in order to deliver clear and effective deterrence messages. Assistance services to enact positive life changes, such as educational opportunities, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment and community resource access, have also been made more available to improve victim and offender outcomes. The strategy also seeks to avoid re-victimization through identifying and resolving systematic barriers in the judicial process.

The National Network of Safe Communities (NNSC) will continue its work in partnership with police, prosecutors, probation and parole officers, victims’ advocates, social service providers, and community members to protect and support victims in each of the selected cities, and UNCG will assist in its implementation and assessment.

By Susan Kirby-Smith

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