A room filled with paintings and sculptures, art that hits close to home for Elaine Whitefeather.
A passionate advocate in the fight against domestic violence. She’s executive director for A Community for Peace center in Citrus Heights. She’s also a survivor.
“Our work has been for 20 years helping domestic violence programs, create really very culturally relevant, culturally sensitive and to the community size kind of program,” Whitefeather said.
With the help of a small group of devoted women, all survivors and support from the local police force, they came up with a one-of-a-kind program that helps attack the problem in a very unique way – Domestic Violence Response Team.
“When we came together, we formed our DVRT first response program which is our signature program. The only one in the state,” Whitefeather said.
This program allows for these volunteers advocates to ride along with Citrus Heights Police officers, respond to calls, and provide onsite counseling support to women, children, and men who may experience domestic abuse.
“Whenever they have that individual personal interaction with the victim and her family, 70 percent of the time, that family is in this agency within 48-hours for services,” Whitefeather said.
That’s a 62 percent increase in victims following up for services since the program started. All which wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Citrus Heights Police Chief Christopher Boyd.
“Every officer in our department is invested in this endeavor, we all spent time every year training and learning more about the topic. It’s very complex but we know that as a community and as a police department we can make a difference,” Boyd said.
So what does the future hold for DVRT? Making a difference together to one day bring help and hope throughout the county.
“I’d really like to see DVRT go county wide, and I do not know how we’re about to go about doing that but in the next three years I’m looking to see if we can become DVRT for Sacramento County, ” Whitefeather said.
To learn more about DVRT and A Community for Peace, you can go to their website at acommunityforpeace.org.
Cristian Tapia contributed to this report.