Prevention and Education Programs
How can we prevent domestic violence from happening in the future? Community education and leadership are two key ways. Our prevention team works with families, neighbors, coworkers, service providers and friends to find ways to promote healthy individuals, relationships and communities. This way we can reduce and prevent dating and domestic violence. State officials and agencies from across the state have recognized REACH for our focus and expertise on domestic violence trainings and prevention strategies.
Our prevention program helps community members and professionals be able to recognize, respond to, and prevent domestic violence. Through both informal dialogues and professional trainings, REACH shares information about the dynamics of dating and domestic violence, how to spot the signs, where to refer someone for help, and safe ways to intervene. We train police departments, medical professionals, social service agencies, military personnel, local businesses and corporations, and faith organizations. REACH also trains employers to help them create policies and practices that support employees who are survivors of domestic violence. We provide information on complying with state law around Domestic Violence Employment leave and resources available to survivors in the community.
In many cases the first people who become aware of an abusive relationship are friends, family, and neighbors. We engage people to work for change around this issue in their community. We come together in a variety of informal spaces (such as living rooms, cafes, libraries) to start conversations about dating and domestic violence, promote community ownership of these issues, and support community-driven projects. In Waltham we work closely with a team of volunteers who plan events, such as the Waltham Neighborhoods Fall Festival and Say Hi to Your Neighbors week, that build social connections and make people feel less isolated.
In many of our trainings and dialogues, a representative from our Survivor Speakers Bureau will share their story and lend perspective. We train and support speakers to share their specific experiences with dating and domestic abuse as part of the discussion of the impact of abuse on individuals and families and the role of the community in supporting survivors.
If you are interested in having a professional training or community conversation, please contact our director of prevention programs at Jessica@reachma.org
Peers Against ViolencE (PAVE) is a youth-focused REACH program. PAVE engages youth and adults who work with young people to learn about dating abuse and healthy relationships and become active leaders in dating violence prevention.
Through PAVE, REACH partners with schools to create lasting change through dating violence prevention programs tailored to the unique needs of each community. REACH’s multi-session class curriculum engages youth in understanding healthy relationships, identifying warning signs of dating abuse and building skills to prevent abuse. REACH supports school administration and faculty through ongoing technical assistance, support, and staff training. Through workshops and parent nights, REACH engages parents and other caring adults in understanding dating abuse and adolescent relationships and fostering healthy adult-teen conversations.
REACH provides on-going training and technical assistance to local peer leadership programs and youth groups. Through a partnership with Waltham High School, REACH coordinates the PAVE Peer Leadership program. PAVE Peer Leaders gain the skills necessary to plan and implement dating violence prevention programs and awareness events at their school, facilitate workshops on dating violence, and engage their peers in conversations about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
If you are interested in learning more about our youth work, please contact our youth education specialist at Dani@reachma.org