The Domestic Violence Action Network

Community Service

The Domestic Violence Action Network is the community outreach program established by the CEO of ISA in 1999. Originally staffed by volunteers it provided safety and security for domestic violence victims waiting for space in a shelter or until the police had the abuser in custody. Working with a local police department in Georgia we helped some twenty of thirty victims and then the program was replaced by something more formal and official. 

In 2011 when Independent Security Advisors LLC was formed, we brought back the program, this time using students and instructors from our training programs and affiliated security companies we staffed longer duration protective details for victims. We added transportation to and from the court as well as relocation when the threat was assessed as high. Money for the program was donated by individuals, religious organizations and local businesses with the occasional fundraisers like 5k runs, softball tournaments, and flag football games.

Lessons Learned

In late 2016 the program underwent a major redesign when we decided to stop working with the victims directly.  We were seeing the same people repeatedly call for help and use up our resources only to return to the abusive relationship again and again. We knew the statistics, we understood this could happen, and we found that without the support and counseling services available from the local or state domestic violence organizations and advocates this would continue.  Police department domestic violence action officers told us victims who were trying to escape an abusive relationship or situation without a support network were failing more than succeeding. 

So we partnered with DV organizations and when they determined a victim needed our services and was ready to break the cycle of violence we were there. Now the victims had a support network and we had a clear mission, prevent violence, give the victim a chance to breathe and recover. End the fear they and their families lived under like a cloud. But as well as this worked money was again an issue. Another problem we faced was while they would call us for help, they didn’t want to be openly associated with us. It might affect fundraising and nothing could get in the way of a donation to their coffers.

Finding Religion

So some domestic violence 501c3 non-profits didn’t want to pay for our services or accept donations from our benefactors if the money has to be set aside for us. Official state agencies were worried about liability, never mind the fact we are fully insured and assumed liability as soon as we arrived on site.  So we doubled back and looked at some of those organizations that had funded us previously and found the answer. Houses of Worship, Churches, and other religious organizations are designated as 501c3 non-profits and are not in the business of making money or fighting for grants. In general, they don’t have a political agenda that prevents them from working with others and they don’t turn away those in need.       

Today

So today we are happy to announce we have joined with One Way Outreach Ministries of Chicago to expand our domestic violence intervention and house of worship safety and security programs. By working with a non-denominational faith-based 501c3, we can expand both programs nationally but down at the community level. We are free of the politics and working with a faith-based organization, we hope to have access to the support network of counseling, shelters, and other services provided by the houses of worship as well as the local or state domestic violence organizations.

Team Effort

Working in partnership with domestic violence organizations and advocates we will continue to provide close protection, transportation, relocation and court escort to victims of DV. And unlike some 501c3 DV organizations that claim to help victims with “security services”, but don’t work with law enforcement, we fully engage with local police and others to work together in stopping the violence.

This new program will also allow us to expand our house of worship safety and security programs. Providing threat assessments, training, and security services specifically tailored to religious organizations and houses of worship we hope to stop the violence we are seeing across the country in those very places we used to see as a sanctuary. 

Troubling Numbers

House of Worship Security; Since April 20, 1999, there have been 18 fatal church shootings, including the 2017 shooting at First Baptist Sutherland Springs in Texas, with 26 deaths including an unborn child. While personal conflict and gang actions accounted for most events (nine each), the deadliest events (with the most victims) were rooted in domestic violence. Though only six of the attacks were domestic violence incidents, domestic violence attacks resulted in 32 murder victims

2017 was the most violent year for faith-based organizations in American history. The most violent years prior to 2017 were 2015 (77 deaths), 2012 (76 deaths), and 2014 (74 deaths). Without the inclusion of Sutherland Springs Church, 2017 had 92 violent deaths (118 including Sutherland Springs).

No politics, no hidden agendas, no underlining desire for financial gain. Just doing what faith-based organizations have done from the beginning, we will help those in need.

Looking for Partners and Friends 

Any domestic violence organization, charity, advocate or DV law enforcement action officer who is interested in adding our program to your toolbox only need to call us. There are no costs to you, we will conduct fund raising and work with law enforcement. If you would like to join us in providing help directly to the victims contact us at mparker@dvan.us. 

To Donate 

Donations are tax-deductible, and you can specify domestic violence or house of worship security for your donation. One Way Outreach Ministries of Chicago is presently establishing an online donation line and will announce when it goes active.

Services to victims are free. YES FREE, no charge.

House of worship donations covers travel, lodging and meal expenses for our security consultants so they can get into the field, work with the church staff and local law enforcement and reduce the threats of violence in our churches and other religious institutions. 

We hope you will continue to support our efforts and welcome your comments or questions. 

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