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Empowerment, Education Are Critical Weapons To Combat Domestic Violence



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On one of the final days in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a key local agency standing on the front lines in support of victims of this insidious offense since 1975 quietly completed a branding shift that also articulates an important message loud and clear.

The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury is now The Center for Empowerment and Education.

That does not mean the agency, with its hundreds of staff, clinicians, and volunteers, who have been among the primary, proactive interveners between domestic violence survivors in Newtown and their abusers for nearly half a century, as well as survivors of sexual assault, has just recently made empowerment and education their primary goal. It has always been the driving mission behind The Center’s good work by any other name.

For many domestic violence survivors to stand up and step away from their attackers, it is paramount they feel confident in our society, their community, and know that myriad professionals trained to respond and help them have their backs. That confidence, which may be almost impossible to conceive during their darkest moments under the physical, verbal, emotional, and/or financial abuse, is a spark that often stokes the eventual fire of empowerment.

We have seen countless cases where confidence that transforms itself into empowerment has provided life-changing inspiration to abuse survivors. But to reduce and hopefully one day eliminate domestic violence from our society there must also be a significant prevention effort.

That is where the Women’s Center has always excelled — and it is now a foremost element of its new agency identity. By educating children from preschool to young adults of college age and through adulthood about recognizing and appropriately responding to domestic violence they witness or experience, The Center will continue to equip community members with tools necessary to avoid or escape from it.

At the same time, The Center’s professionals have provided expert guidance helping parents, caregivers, educators, and peers to recognize warning signs and engage youths who may be showing signs they are predisposed to becoming abusers, so they too have the appropriate support to successfully initiate change.

The Center also provides its expert services to area businesses, social and civic groups, and faith-based organizations with guidance about developing healthy relationships, anti-bullying, staying safe on college campuses, gender images in the media, and more, according to its website.

Finally, advocacy is provided to individuals with the goal of supporting, guiding, and safety planning around unhealthy relationships and dangerous situations for those still with their abuser, as well as for those who have ended their relationships. Advocacy is available onsite at The Center headquarters, as well as its offices at Western Connecticut State University and Danbury Superior Court.

Advocacy is also available at hospitals, and from the well-trained and effective members of Newtown’s Emergency Communications staff, Police Department, and their colleagues across the region thanks to effective partnerships with The Center.

While we clearly have a long way to go, and many challenges to overcome, our Newtown community is well served and in good hands when facing domestic violence among us thanks to the long-tenured experience and expertise of what we now celebrate as The Center for Empowerment and Education. Visit the agency and learn more at wcogd.org.

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