Mayor Kathleen S. McLallen

Haven/Community Policing to Combat Domestic Violence

The Novi Police Department developed a partnership with Help Against Violent Encounters Now (HAVEN) in June 1996, under a grant of $81,162 from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing, to hire, train and equip a police officer to work strictly on domestic violence, and to hire victim advocates to respond, care and counsel victims of domestic violence.

HAVEN is the Oakland County, Michigan, domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse center. HAVEN has a staff of eight trained victim advocates, and serves a population of more than one million people in an area of 900 square miles. Under the new partnership with the Novi Police Department, HAVEN personnel will now respond to domestic violence incidents within Novi city limits. The integration of the victim advocate and police response to domestic violence is an innovation and has mandated a change in the response procedures of both agencies to domestic violence incidents.

Under the new pilot program, coordinated responses between HAVEN and the NOVI Police Department should reduce disparities in access to, and use of, the information infrastructure in order to improve aid to victims. This multi-site and multi-situational approach has expanded the services that are available to Novi residents. It has also increased the resources available to the police department when responding to domestic violence cases. It has ensured that critical intervention services are made available to all victims to reduce or end the cycle of violence within the family unit. Community awareness and problem solving techniques are utilized to assure that victims are empowered with adequate information to make informed decisions about their circumstances and options.

A domestic violence victim team is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, solely for the Novi Community. This advocate team consists of the Novi Police Domestic Violence Officer and two victim advocates from HAVEN. The domestic violence victim team was developed for immediate intervention in domestic violence incidents -- to respond to the scene of domestic violence within one hour of being notified and to make contact with the victim and their family.

The position of Police Domestic Violence Officer was established to work with HAVEN advocates to design a plan for early intervention strategies focusing on police and advocacy responses, documenting and tracking various criteria to assist in early intervention for the victim and long-term accountability for the abuser. Project progress in relation to goals and objectives is reviewed regularly and recommendations for changes addressed. The system is continuously evaluated.

Activities include crisis intervention services on a 24-hour basis; court advocacy services; ongoing support and advocacy; integrated services of the Novi Police Department and HAVEN which ensure a coordinated comprehensive approach to the crime of domestic violence; and monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of this coordinated comprehensive approach on a regular basis.

CONTACT: Officer John Nelson, 45125 West Ten Mile, Novi, MI 48375, Telephone - (810) 347-0537, Fax - (810) 347-0570.

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