Our Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program Goes Virtual as Domestic Violence Rises During Pandemic Lockdown

PHOTO: WWLP-22News InFocus on May 10 addressed the dangers of domestic abuse while being quarantined. On the show, Audra Winn, clinical director of Outpatient Services at Gándara Center, discussed our programs and important domestic abuse protection and prevention resources in our community.

Domestic abuse has been rising during coronavirus lockdowns not only across America, but also around the world. Indeed, on April 5, the United Nations called for urgent action to combat the surge in domestic violence.

Domestic violence goes up whenever families spend more time together, such as the Christmas holiday season and during summer vacations. Because of this fact, Gándara Center managers who run the agency’s Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program (IPAEP) anticipated this surge and acted quickly when lockdowns were first enacted to make sure our services were still offered to those who needed them.

Since 1999, Gándara’s IPAEP has run group sessions for men with a history of domestic or partner violence. The groups meet in two-hour sessions, weekly, for 40 weeks. “That intervention never stopped when social distancing guidelines kicked in,” said Gloria Torres, Gándara’s criminal justice services coordinator. “We began running virtual groups on March 20.”

IPAEP interventions focus on stopping violence by helping the batterer to identify, confront, challenge, and change controlling and abusive behavior towards their partner and children. Gándara Center Director of Clinical Services Audra Winn said that behavior change and accountability is the program’s focus. “These men learn new ways of dealing with frustration and conflict in their intimate relationships,” she said. IPAEP also stays connected with the victim to see if any issues pop up during the program.

To be sure, because of the lockdown, all families in society have been getting used to spending much more time with one another, but Torres pointed out that some families with strife in the past and present are also coping with the stress of lost jobs and financial insecurities. “When you put a family together 24/7, conflicts happen,” said Torres. “But when you talk about cases that have a history of domestic violence—where there are already conflicts in the family—when you put those factors together, any little argument can flare up. So the men in our group are learning how to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence, psychological abuse, or verbal abuse.”

Also compounding the problem is that institutions that would usually help these families—such as schools—are closed. Teachers and child welfare workers don’t see students, and doctor visits are limited. Child custody schedules have to be altered, causing even more tension.

Fortunately, help is available for those who need it. Although Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts are closed, telephonic and/or video hearings are used for most emergencies. And if a restraining order is necessary, in Springfield one can go to the Metro Unit Substation at 75 Dwight Street to obtain one.

And Gándara Center’s IPAEP services, like all its services, will continue in this time of need, 24/7 and on-call after hours. The agency’s Outpatient Clinic number is 413-736-0395. “We also serve domestic violence victims and survivors,” said Winn. “If someone is not our client yet but really needs our help in this type of situation—either having abusive behaviors or is a victim of this—we will get this person registered and get them help.”

By |May 15th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Our Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program Goes Virtual as Domestic Violence Rises During Pandemic Lockdown

Coronavirus Resources: Useful Links

By |May 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Coronavirus Resources: Useful Links

Gándara in the Media: COVID-19 Impact

Several Gándara Center subject experts have been featured in the media in the past few months as the world—and our community—adjusts to the impact of the Coronavirus.

On April 7, Doris Harris, coordinator of Gándara Center’s NOEL program (Navigating, Outreach, Education, Linkages), was interviewed by Western Mass News in a story about volunteers bringing meals from the Springfield Public Schools to families during the school closings. Doris delivers meals to the people NOEL serves. WATCH FULL STORY

Clinical therapist Rahiza Gallardo-Vásquez, (pictured top left) was interviewed on April 7 by The Republican’s weekly Spanish-language sister newspaper El Pueblo Latino about practical advice to exercise social distancing. READ THE INTERVIEW

On April 10, Dr. Rahiza Gallardo-Vasquez was interviewed by The Republican’s weekly Spanish-language sister newspaper El Pueblo Latino on dealing emotionally with confinement and boredom during social distancing. READ THE INTERVIEW

Dr. Rahiza Gallardo-Vazquez was interviewed yet again on April 7 by The Republican’s weekly Spanish-language sister newspaper El Pueblo Latino on practical advice to exercise social distancing. READ THE INTERVIEW

On April 17, WWLP-22News spoke with our Director of Clinical Services Audra Winn about communities seeing an increase in substance abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. WATCH FULL STORY

Our Outpatient Services Director Dr. Madeline Aviles-Hernandez (pictured top right) was on WWLP-22News InFocus on April 23 discussing the fact that Black and Hispanic populations across the country—including Massachusetts—are disproportionately contracting COVID-19 and dying from it. This trend is drawing attention to the racial and socio-economic disparities in health and health care in America. VIEW THE INTERVIEW

Gándara Center Outpatient Services Director Dr. Madeline Aviles-Hernandez was also on The Latin Media Collective on April 24 discussing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the recovery of people who are dealing with substance use. VIEW THE INTERVIEW

On April 24, WWLP-22News spoke with Sara Moriarty, director of Hampden County Tobacco Free Partnership, a program within Gándara Center, about how vaping can increase the risk of developing Coronavirus by compromising the respiratory system—and how infections from the virus could be worse for vapers. WATCH FULL STORY Sara addressed the same subject on Western Mass News the same day: WATCH FULL STORY

WWLP-22News InFocus on May 10 addressed the dangers of domestic abuse while being quarantined. On the show, Audra Winn, clinical director of Outpatient Services at Gándara Center, discussed our programs and important domestic abuse protection and prevention resources in our community. VIEW THE INTERVIEW

On March 20, our CEO Lois Nesci discussed on WWLP-22 News how best talk to children about COVID-19, a topic that’s bound to come up at the dinner table. WATCH FULL STORY

Lois was also interviewed on the same subject on Western Mass News on March 24. She emphasized being honest with children about the virus without scaring them. This includes parents monitoring what their kids watch on television and see on social media. WATCH FULL STORY

Earlier Coverage

On March 20, Dr. Rahiza Gallardo-Vazquez, a clinical therapist at the Gándara Center, spoke about concerns related to COVID-19 and mental health with the Latin Media Collective, which is based in Holyoke. WATCH FULL CONVERSATION

On March 27, Western Mass News interviewed Gándara clinician Ruth Trujillo-Acosta, who discussed ways to keep children we serve safe while at home with schools being closed until at least May 4. WATCH FULL STORY

Western Mass News also interviewed Gándara Recovery Coach Supervisor Heriberto Rodriguez  on March 29, about recovery coaches turning to one-on-one virtual meetings with recoverees to keep their connection. WATCH FULL STORY

On April 2, in The Republican’s weekly Spanish-language sister newspaper El Pueblo Latino, clinical therapist Rahiza Gallardo-Vásquez authored a column of practical tips about considerations for our grandparents when they are caregivers to children—or if they can’t spend time with their grandkids because of necessary social distancing—during the COVID-19 outbreak. READ THE COLUMN

 

By |May 12th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Gándara in the Media: COVID-19 Impact

Gándara Center Seeks Donations in Response to Coronavirus Crisis

We are here. Especially now, when our care is desperately needed during the Coronavirus outbreak. We continue to fulfill our mission of caring for our state’s most underserved populations, and that is why we need your help.

In this time of uncertainty, your gift is vital to sustaining Gándara Center’s essential services. Contributions from our community will help the agency meet the many new financial demands of this unprecedented crisis: increased support for staff, personal protective equipment, technology adaptations for virtual care, and more.

For years, generous supporters of Gándara Center have stepped to the plate to help us fulfill our mission. Now we are faced with a global threat that touches every person on the planet, including the people Gándara Center serves: the most vulnerable in society. Our agency, which provides culturally sensitive behavioral health, substance use, prevention and educational services, needs your help—now more than ever.

Help keep Gándara Center strong—and on the front lines—as we provide vital services to over 13,000 children, adults, and families each year in more than 40 locations across Massachusetts.

Please donate today. Thank you!

 

By |May 11th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Gándara Center Seeks Donations in Response to Coronavirus Crisis