October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, and as such we has chosen Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) of Dane County as our Organization of the Month.
What is the mission of DAIS?
DAIS’ Mission is to empower those affected by domestic violence and advocate for social change through support, education, and outreach. The mission hasn’t changed so much as we’ve simply increased the emphasis on Empowerment in our service model. Empowering DV victims to make their own decisions is critical in not repeating the dynamic of power and control that they experienced with their abuser.
What does DAIS do that may be lesser known?
While many people who’ve heard of DAIS likely know about the 24-7 Helpline and Emergency Shelter, they may not know that DAIS has a strong Prevention, Education and Training program which brings information about DV into schools, churches, businesses, community centers, and more. Anyone can request a speaker or trainer to come out and give a presentation. Learn more here: http://abuseintervention.org/about/education/
What are Community Support Services at DAIS?
DAIS staff and volunteers are available to meet with clients throughout Dane County, not only at the DAIS location. Legal Advocacy is one aspect of Community Support where advocates (who are not attorneys and do not provide legal advice) can sit with victims during court appearances, answer questions about legal processes, and assist in completing paperwork for things like restraining orders. DAIS has several bilingual advocates and also use a translation service as needed so that language is not a barrier for those seeking support.
How can I support DAIS?
If you have a little time
Learn more about the issue, and then share what you learn with others.
→ Starting a conversation brings the issue out of the shadows, raises awareness, and improves outcomes for our communities.
If you have more time
DAIS has an extensive volunteer program with numerous roles and ways to help.
→ Visit the DAIS website for more information and to get started
How does DAIS reflect community values?
DAIS has four core values, which they feel reflect the values of our community. In their words:
Mutual Respect We believe the basis for our effective working relationships, within the organization and with our external stakeholders, is a shared knowledge and appreciation for individual differences. We believe individuals have the right to make their own choices concerning personal safety and how they live their lives. We strive to create and foster relationships based in understanding and appreciation for both self and others.
Openness We believe that in serving the community and each other, we benefit from being receptive and responsive to ideas, behaviors, cultures, peoples, environments and experiences. We are accountable not only to our funders and donors, but also to each other as well as the people we serve and the community as a whole. We strive to foster an environment where people feel at ease to share opinions and to question.
Collaboration We believe in the equal distribution of power and privilege throughout society and believe that by working together with each other and with our community partners, we can achieve more than working independently. We strive to create an environment where people exchange strengths and complement others weaknesses without judgment and with a shared commitment to the purpose.
Shared Responsibility Domestic abuse is a community issue. All members of the community, including abusers, must take responsibility. We work with volunteers, individuals, co-workers, community groups and systems to fulfill our mission and strive toward our vision. We believe that we all have a part to play in creating a safe and peaceful community.
How can I support DAIS as a business or community group?
Businesses and other groups in the community can help in the following ways: post DAIS information for others to access, host a drive for in-kind donations or funds, host a tabling event where DAIS volunteers bring materials about DV, volunteer as a service group to assist with projects at the DAIS facility, sponsor DAIS events or programs with financial support, pledge employer matches to a workplace giving campaign, or suggest new ideas!
What does the future for DAIS look like in terms of goals short and long term?
DAIS sets annual strategic goals to ensure continued forward progress on our mission. Several current short term goals revolve around our commitment to Cultural Competence, both as an employer and a service provider. The more we understand about diversity in our community, the better prepared we are to provide services which honor that diversity and meet the specific needs of clients. Many long term goals revolve around improving the systems in our community which can work together to support victims and address DV at its root.
How and when did the annual fundraiser Dine Out for DAIS begin?
Dine Out for DAIS began in 2010. The inspiration was to use our community’s love of local food as a point around which to gather, raise awareness about DV, and also raise funds to support our programs. It’s an easy way for businesses and individuals alike to learn about the issue and participate in making a difference.