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Grant Gives Domestic Violence Victims an Advocate

New advocate offers “trauma-informed care approach” to domestic violence victims.

Planned Parenthood health center staff will gain advanced training to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault thanks to a new grant with the leading domestic violence organization in San Diego. The grant also funds an advocate to help victims at any of our health care centers in San Diego County.

This grant, which started in February, strengthened our longstanding relationship with The Center for Community Solutions, which provides domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse services to people in San Diego County. The grant allows the two non-profit agencies to cross train. Our affiliate will teach staff from The Center for Community Solutions about women’s reproductive health care needs. And our staff will be trained on the best way to screen for and handle domestic violence with a “trauma-informed care approach.”

“People who have been the victim of domestic violence and sexual assault need a softer touch when our staff members try to get the information they need,” said Planned Parenthood Education Outreach Program Manager Chrissy Cmorik, who is helping to implement the grant.

The second part of the grant funds a dedicated domestic violence victim advocate for our health centers in San Diego County. Domestic Violence Victim Advocate Marylin Carrillo is on call to come to the health centers whenever a staff member believes a person needs help. The liaison follows the victim through the legal, health care and social services process to help get the person needed resources.

“The advocate will go with the victim to the police department, she will go with the person to court,” said Cmorik. “Now we are able to offer victims of domestic violence and sexual assault the help they need, rather than just handing them a telephone number.”

This grant was given as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislation requires that health care insurers treat domestic violence screening as a preventive care service, meaning it is completely covered by insurance and not charged to the patient. The ACA also set aside money for this type of grant that would more directly help people escape and receive treatment for domestic violence and sexual assault.

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