New Domestic Violence Prevention Program Leader


New Role Comes on the Heels of Governor Patrick’s Public Health Advisory on Domestic Violence

NEWTON, Mass. (June, 2008) – Newton-Wellesley Hospital has just appointed its first ever full time, dedicated Coordinator for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention. Erin C. Miller, a seasoned domestic violence educator, has been appointed to this new position.

Domestic violence-related deaths have nearly tripled in Massachusetts during the past three years, from 19 in 2005 to 55 last year, according to Jane Doe Inc., which advocates against domestic violence and sexual assault. There have been 24 deaths this year.

Driven by the increase in domestic violence deaths in the state of Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick and the Department of Public Health recently issued a public health advisory. Advisories such as these are used to alert the public and healthcare community to pay attention to a serious issue. This latest action by the DPH is a reminder to healthcare providers that valuable resources exist for victim advocacy, counseling and shelter services, as well as programs to hold batterers accountable and prevent domestic violence incidents.

“The recent increase in domestic violence-related deaths in Massachusetts is alarming,” said Miller. “Domestic violence is unacceptable and I applaud Newton-Wellesley for playing an integral part in educating patients and physicians about routine screening, appropriate referrals, and the overall importance of abuse prevention.”

Miller comes to Newton-Wellesley Hospital from the YWCA of Eastern Union County in New Jersey, where she managed an emergency shelter, transitional housing and 24 hour hotline programs and services. She also has extensive experience training domestic violence response teams, rape crisis counselors, hotline volunteers, child protective service personnel and educators, among others. Miller’s areas of specialization include same sex domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and the impact of domestic violence on children.

“Abuse in highly educated and affluent communities is largely invisible,” added Miller. “Residents of the western suburbs in particular often will avoid shelters and grassroots agencies but are more likely to disclose information to family doctors. Indeed, this is just one reason why the program at Newton-Wellesley is so important.”

The Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program at Newton-Wellesley Hospital offers policy and practice consultation, in-service trainings and community awareness and prevention services for healthcare providers. For survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, the following services are offered: crisis intervention, individual counseling, safety planning, advocacy, referrals to community resources and assistance with legal, educational and housing concerns.

Miller’s new position isn’t the first time Newton-Wellesley Hospital has been involved in the fight against domestic violence. In fact, 15 years ago, the Hospital formed the Domestic Violence Prevention Council consisting of physicians, nurses, social workers, and administrators. The Council developed protocols, certified domestic violence educators, increased public awareness and developed a curriculum for education.

In addition, Newton-Wellesley Hospital has enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with The Second Step (TSS), a transitional home for survivors of domestic violence and their children. Since 1996, the Hospital has worked with TSS to provide residents with access to a variety of wellness and educational programs, as well as assistance in locating employment, medical care, fundraising, and recruiting volunteers. In addition, Newton-Wellesley’s nurse practitioners went out to TSS monthly to educate adult residents about hospital services, as well as offering free stress management, smoking cessation, weight management and parenting courses. The partnership originally started through the CEO Project, a program designed by Polaroid Corporation to encourage local businesses to combat domestic violence. Currently, Newton-Wellesley runs a “Gift Snowman” drive around the holidays, where employees donate Christmas presents to Second Step adults and children.

For more information about the domestic violence/sexual assault prevention program, call 617-243-5421. All program services are free and confidential.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital is a full system member of Partners HealthCare System, Inc. (PHCS), a nonprofit organization that includes acute care hospitals Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's/Faulkner Hospitals, The North Shore Medical Center, and specialty hospitals McLean Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, as well as Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, and the community-based doctors and hospitals of Partners Community HealthCare, Inc.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital provides a wide range of services, including medical, surgical, obstetrical, orthopaedic, neonatal, pediatric and psychiatric care. Newton-Wellesley has been serving its community for over a century. The medical staff of the Hospital includes nearly 1,000 physicians practicing a full range of specialties. NWH is a major teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine and also has established post-graduate training programs for Harvard Medical School residents.

Rachel Kagno
Public Affairs & Marketing
Newton-Wellesley Hospital

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