To create an environment of social justice where the truth can be told every staff person and board member must have a true understanding of domestic violence, its causes, and its holistic impact on everyone in the environment and its social implications.
Social Justice requires accountability by everyone, not just victims and offenders. We must own our mistakes as providers and allies, we are not always right; we do not always understand and sometimes, despite our best intentions, the rules are not always fair or just.
We must also hold offenders accountable for the crime that is domestic violence and hold them accountable to complete all of the SAME requirements required of the victim. Holding the abuser responsible, too, for parenting and behavior modifications and hold them accountable by following up – ask the victim/survivor if the offender has changed his/her behavior and enforce the protection orders.
And with greater courage and integrity, we must hold accountable-peers in law enforcement, mediation, judges, attorneys, social workers, pastors who fail to intervene, protect and enforce the laws. Hold accountable those who victim blame and leave the offender without consequences that will ultimately lead to greater danger for both the victim and the children.
We must even look within our own movement for a power and control, lack of cultural relevance and sensitivity; marginalized members of our staff; lack of tolerance or representation exists at every level of our own services.
ACFP holds the position of a strong collaborative philosophy. Though experts in the daily service to victims and offenders and their families, we are not the only ones who will or who can handle this issue. ACFP believes that knowledge is power. We must empower the victims and families experiencing abuse and trauma with the same knowledge and skills and tools that we give our community partners.
Our solution is to partner with our systems that have traditionally or historically been blocks and barriers to victims, rather than keep them on the outside. Our partnership with Citrus Heights Police Department and Child Protective Services (CPS) is a great example of creating systemic change. All three agencies have been impacted by our collaboration and have increased our effectiveness as community responders. Together we create social justice and equality. We are better equipped to offer the same services to everyone regardless of what member you might be in the family system.
We all understand that everybody in the family system and in our community is impacted by domestic violence which begins at home. ACFP is constantly developing customized training for anyone and everyone because we believe that to advocate we must educate. ACFP is now reaching out into our community educating and empowering folks to be able to work with us as we all work for social justice.