Prudence Crandall Center fights 'epidemic' of domestic violence

Published on Friday, 8 November 2019 21:03
Written by Catherine Shen


NEW BRITAIN - The devastating impact of domestic violence is preventable and through a dedicated community, this public health epidemic can be eradicated, said Tracy Brennan, an obstetrician-gynecologist with Women’s Health CT.

Brennan was the keynote speaker for the Prudence Crandall Center’s 46th annual meeting at Shuttle Meadow Country Club Thursday evening. She spoke before a packed room about the need for medical officials to be more aware about their patients’ medical history that could potentially show intimate partner violence.

The leading cause of death for pregnant women in the U.S. is murder, she said. Based on national data, 50 percent of those murders were committed by an intimate partner. To Brennan, it is a completely preventable situation and medical officials need to step up to help domestic violence victims find services and resources.

It is gratifying to see how many people are in this room that want to help families impacted by domestic violence, she said. “But we definitely need to do more, both as medical officials and as a community. We have the highest women mortality rate in any developed country in the world and we need to modify that by reaching out and provide more advocacy resources.”

For over 45 years, the Prudence Crandall Center has been a leader in the state’s efforts to reduce acts of domestic violence in the lives of victims, their children, and the community. The center is one of only a few programs in the country offering the full spectrum of shelter, housing and support services needed to offer practical, long-term solutions to the challenges faced by victims, according to the center.

In 2018-19, the center was able to offer 106 adults and children emergency shelter for safety, support, and a path forward from abuse. The center also provided onsite medical, dental, and mental health care for its residents. Parenting support activities were made available to help connect and strengthen the bond between parent and child, and 28 apartments of safe and supportive services and housing gave 81 adults and children the opportunity to meet their healing and self-sufficiency goals.

Barbara Damon, executive director of the center, said none of those services would have been made possible without the generosity of the community.

“We’re all in this together. We each have a role to play to help increase awareness and build a sustainable program to help the families lead a violence-free life,” she said. “The center is a lifeline for these families. Together, we can make a difference and solve this.”

Kelly Annelli, director of member organization services for Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, shared a personal story about experiencing the consequences of domestic violence from a good friend, who was murdered five years ago by her husband in front of their children.

“I’m here to carry her voice for her and make sure she’s never forgotten,” said Annelli. “Five years later, I’m still telling her story. Her voice brought me here and every day I try to help others in the way she would have wanted to.”

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Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Friday, 8 November 2019 21:03. Updated: Friday, 8 November 2019 21:06.