The United States Department of Justice has awarded a three-year, $499,945 grant to Delta Health Alliance to create rapid response teams in four Delta counties to address violence against women. The four counties are Bolivar, Leflore, Sunflower, and Washington.
Called the Delta Abuse Response Team network, or DART network, these teams will provide services for victims of domestic violence, working in tandem with other organizations.
According to Dr. Karen Matthews, Delta Health Alliance CEO, “The new program will offer a new multifaceted approach to addressing the critical needs of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in rural communities in these four counties. This collaborative program is designed to operate in close coordination with existing victim service providers, state and local agencies, law enforcement, healthcare clinicians, housing officials, and neighborhood associations.”
The Rapid Response network will consist of specially trained counselors to serve in initial response teams for reports of interpersonal violence; victim legal advocate, who will provide information and access to resources; robust training programs for local law enforcement, social workers and community leaders specifically on the topics of stalking and sexual assault; and logistical support for partner programs in need of expansion into underserved areas.
According to Dr. Patricia Davenport, Our House Executive Director, “The DART network will enable our team to provide valuable services to women and families who might otherwise not have had access to them. The planning included input from other programs in the area, to ensure that these services complimented existing initiatives, filled ongoing gaps in services, and avoided duplication of effort. Working as a team and with input from victims groups, these partners have come together to develop a comprehensive plan to provide victims of interpersonal violence, which includes domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, with the protection and services they need to pursue safe and healthy lives, while strengthening and improving our communities’ capacity to provide justice for victims and hold offenders accountable.”
Partnering organizations joining the DART network are: Leland Medical Clinic, Universal Parenting Place at Leland Medical Clinic, ACE Awareness Foundation, Our House, Inc., Bolivar County Community Action Agency and their rapid rehousing service; the Social Services Collaborative; and North Mississippi Rural Legal Services and the Cities of Leland, Indianola, and Greenwood. Services for DART will be provided in Bolivar, Leflore, Sunflower and Washington counties.
Delta Health Alliance (DHA), is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is changing health and wellness outcomes in the Mississippi Delta by improving access to services, promoting healthier lifestyles, improving care coordination between providers, expanding educational opportunities, and increasing regional use of evidence-based models in developing new programs and services. Since 2001, DHA has provided a wide range of programs in the Delta in the areas of health, wellness, family services, and education. To find out more about Delta Health Alliance, go towww.deltahealthalliance.org or follow DHA on Facebook.