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Addressing Domestic Violence as a Health Crisis in North Dakota

Addressing Domestic Violence as a Health Crisis in North Dakota

Last year, over 6,000 domestic violence incidents were reported to crisis intervention centers in North Dakota. But the number is actually much higher, because only about half of the people who experience domestic and sexual violence ever report it. This is not a new problem, and back in 2015, several CHI St. Alexius Health facilities noticed a serious intimate partner violence problem. So they formed the CHI North Dakota Violence Prevention Program to address it head-on.

They’ve put together a ‘Non-violence Coalition’ at eight CHI hospitals across the state, made up of law enforcement, social workers, and public health officials. Their goal is to reduce domestic violence by teaching the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

The coordinators are also available to help those impacted by violence, find the resources they need to get themselves to a safe place.

The Director of the Prevention Program, Veronica Zietz, says everyone can help. She explains, “Everybody has the power to do one thing to prevent domestic violence. So if everybody can pick one thing, whether that be sharing a post on social media, or intervening when you hear somebody tell a gender-based joke. You know, there are so many things people can do to be a part of this movement.”

She says spreading awareness is the most important thing they can do, because when there’s awareness, people are more likely to seek help. The CHI North Dakota Violence Prevention Program will be hosting a free “Healthy Relationships” workshop in Bismarck starting October 16th. For five Wednesdays, starting on the 16th, the workshops will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

It will take place at the CHI St. Alexius Health Technology and Education Center, in the Andriette/Paul Meeting Rooms. The address is 1310 E. Main Avenue.

Renee Cooper Reporting