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Continuum Solution

A Continuum Solution: Plymouth County´s Response
to Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault.



Introduction:

The development of a Plymouth County Continuum Solution to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is based on a comprehensive and standardized approach to best practices and methods.

Coordination, communication, and consistency among all stakeholders is imperative if we, as a county, seek to continue reducing incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault and eliminate fragmentation of services.

The Continuum Solution will build on existing alliances between community organizations, victim service providers, law enforcement, court systems, schools, healthcare providers, and mental health communities, while developing outreach strategies to build on those alliances.

Enhanced collaboration will reduce victimization by reducing the number of anonymous victims and the number of those not receiving assistance, as well as increase the number of offenders who will be apprehended, monitored, and sanctioned appropriately.

The overall goal is to promote prevention and education, reduce victimization and enhance the well-being and safety of each member of our county through a holistic infrastructure.


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The Goals:



The goals of the Continuum Solution are defined and quantifiable:

(1)   To maintain an open forum for communication and consensus between stakeholders
          so that victims receive access to all relevant information and the best possible care.

(2)   To promote and coordinate education and prevention initiatives throughout
          Plymouth County.

(3)   To create and implement consistent procedures and practices used by the
          criminal justice system and service providers throughout Plymouth County.

(4)   To improve the tracking of domestic violence and sexual assault cases as they precede
          through the criminal justice system.

(5)   To enhance accountability for the prevention of violence through stakeholders,
          community and offenders.

(6)   To continually explore the goals, objectives , expected outcomes and unexpected outcomes
          that result from an alliance to reduce victimization,as well as identify the links between actions
          and outcomes.


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Action Items:



The Plymouth County Continuum Solution to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault encourages that each stakeholder and community engage in 5 action items to achieve the identified goals.

These action items are generalized to ensure that the Continuum Solution remains relevant over time as specific issues may change, and serve as a framework which can unite each agency´s approach to domestic violence and sexual assault.

(1)   Identify local stakeholders in your community, and across the county, with whom you can coordinate
          (i.e. victim service providers, law enforcement,court personnel, community organizations, schools,
          businesses, faith-based organizations, batterer intervention providers health care providers and
          mental health communities).

          Once the appropriate stakeholders have been identified, initial contacts should be made so that
          discussion can begin.  The topic of discussion is simple:   How does each practice, procedure,
          or form enhance or compromise public safety?

(Please note:  this question has been extracted from
the Domestic Violence Intervention Project of Duluth, MN).


(2)   Develop a regional information system that will allow stakeholders to remain involved
          with, and receive updates on county concerns or initiatives, the Continuum Solution to
          domestic violence and sexual assault.

(3)   Develop community norms that support, not stigmatize, victims of domestic violence
          and sexual assault, and place the burden of change on the community, not individual victims.

(4)   Ensure that services are culturally appropriate, specific, and tailored to the particular needs
          of each victim so that all victims, including those in marginalized populations, are receiving
          assistance and are empowered through choice.

          Maintain an open line of communication with marginalized populations to keep them involved
          in the development process.

(5)   Protect confidentiality of staff and volunteer communications with victims.

(6)   Account for the power imbalance and history of abuse inherent to domestic violence and
          sexual assault.


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Issues for 2010



Since the Continuum Solution will remain general, specific issues for review
may be identified on a rolling basis.

These issues can be reviewed using the goals and action items as a guide.

(1)   Safeguarding files and records, and the informed use of written waivers of confidentiality.

(2)   Review of law enforcement and judicial guidelines as they pertain to domestic violence and
          sexual assault.

(3)   Mandatory participation in Batterer Intervention Program per the court and a review of
          sanction combinations to enhance accountability.

(4)   Acknowledging and addressing the harm done to children who witness or are victims of
          violence.

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