COVID19 Services are Virtual: Since March 16, 2020, all services have been provided virtually and in-person services will not be resumed until public health authorities in Illinois confirm that it is safe to resume in-person services in settings where distancing is not possible.
The Center for Advancing Domestic Peace is the only free-standing not-for-profit in Cook County and surrounding suburbs that focuses primarily on providing services to those who have harmed an intimate partner.
Our mission is to stop domestic violence where it starts by helping those who have harmed to take responsibility for their behavior, create healthy relationships and strengthen their communities.
The Center’s partner abuse intervention services are offered for men and women in English and Spanish and are available without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, educational level, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. Sliding Scale fees are available based on individuals financial circumstances.
Assessments and groups are provided through offices in Chicago and Wheaton.
Partner Abuse Intervention (PAI) – Beliefs & Skills for Domestic Peace
We are currently providing assessments by appointment Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (late appointments and Saturday appointments may be arranged depending on availability of staff). The 2-hour, comprehensive strengths-based and trauma-informed assessment is designed to determine appropriateness for group intervention and to screen for conditions that may affect a person’s ability to benefit from intervention. When accepted, clients are referred to an orientation group.
Each participant who is accepted is scheduled for an orientation session, a one-hour group during which the basic group format, policies and rules are explained to the participants and they receive directions for connecting with the group they have chosen. Orientations are typically scheduled twice monthly.
Partner abuse intervention groups are governed by the Illinois Administrative Code Title 89, part 501,which recommends co-facilitation by a man and a woman in each group. Facilitators must have completed the 40-hour training on Domestic Violence and a separate 20-hour training specific to PAI issues. To complete the intervention, participants in Illinois are required to participate in a minimum 24 consecutive weekly group meetings. Completion is based on meeting certain completion criteria, not merely on the number of groups attended, and the intervention can be extended if it is interrupted but excessive absences or if the participant is not complying in other areas (completing assignments, paying fees as agreed or renegotiating them, or engaging in disruptive or aggressive behavior in group). Monthly reports on progress toward meeting completion criteria are forwarded to the agent who referred the client for our services. A copy of the monthly report is given to the participant after it is sent to the referring agent.
Real Men Advancing Peace (RealMAP) and Sisters Peace Circle
The Center has two aftercare programs for person who have completed the 24-week program. The program for men is Real Men Advancing Peace (RealMAP), which provides two monthly groups (currently provided online) that give participants the opportunity to share their challenges and successes with input from staff co-facilitators. This program also provides for regular telephone contact with members who due to work or childcare responsibilities are unable to attend meetings. The contacts may be brief or lengthier depending on the participant’s needs. Prior to Covid 19 restrictions, we also organized monthly family events such as skating and bowling outings, movie attendance, trips to museums and other events to provide opportunities for participants to practice improving their skills as attentive and caring fathers. This is reinforced by discussions in the support groups of the challenges of fathering after violence as well as the importance of recognizing and addressing the traumatic effects of witnessing domestic violence.
For women we offer the same services as part of a program called Sisters Peace Circles, with groups, telephone contact and family events that have included family photographs, yoga days spa days in addition to the larger event that also include RealMAP. We have also invited all aftercare participants to some events that provide assistance with resume writing, interview skills and professional headshots, which also included new interview-appropriate clothing and tips on grooming.
Case Management and Individual Support:
The Center works to address the needs of the whole person and thus provides case management and individual support to assist individuals with collateral needs, that include mental health and substance abuse referrals, among others. We have found case management to be instrumental in increasing program participants’ ability to successfully complete their partner abuse intervention services allowing them to address important other issues in their lives especially now as more individuals need referrals for Covid-19 relief assistance such as housing, employment, financial assistance and more.
Individual Support and Counseling:
Center staff are available to provide some brief individual counseling to help prepare individuals for group services when needed and to also provide individual support when unintended situations arise to assist the individual to regain their equilibrium and to stay on track with their partner abuse intervention services.
Due to COVID-19 many individuals enrolled in services have required more one-on-one support in order to maintain their program participation and to cope with circumstances such as homelessness and unemployment caused by the pandemic. Staff members have been providing individual support both before and after regular group meetings, phone and text support on an as-needed basis to assist program participants with the many challenges they are currently facing.
Since the majority of the Center’s PAIP participants have histories of experiencing either community violence or domestic abuse as children or youth, addressing this trauma amidst the stresses of COVID-19 in their lives is very important and often requires brief individual counseling and/or referral for behavioral health services.
Neighborhood Barbers for Peace:
With assistance from the Chicago Foundation for Safe and Peaceful Communities, we began a program to recruit barbers, barber shops, barber colleges and cosmetologists. We provided handouts, brochures and posters, conducted “DV 101” workshops (and later DV 102, more advanced workshops) and worked with barbers to assist them in becoming community resources for domestic violence information. Barbershops are one of the few community locations where men gather and where they let down their mask of toughness for a little while, and barbers have a unique opportunity to provide information. The barbers can provide information and suggest the benefits of partnership without being directly critical or scolding.
One barber actually started regular Sunday afternoon sessions where he would show a domestic-violence related educational video and lead a discussion with patrons in the shop. Unfortunately this came to a halt due to the Covid mitigation efforts but we are prepared to resume this and have had discussions with barbers about how to be ready when restrictions are lifted.
Community Awareness Education
The Center’s staff members are available on request (depending on availability, which can change when census increases or caseloads are high) to join with partners from victim service agencies to provide information and education about domestic violence in general and the role of partner abuse intervention in particular. Some examples include provider fairs offered by several police districts and our work with the Domestic Violence Subcommittees of several Chicago Police department districts. The Center staff have provided the partner abuse segment as part of the 40-hour training for the Network, Apna Ghar, Family Rescue and other organizations.