Intimate Partner Violence Working Group (IPVWG) - Making a Difference for Over a Decade
Annually, Emory loses at least one employee life to intimate partner violence (IPV), which has a ripple effect on the colleagues, students and patients who were connected to them. In 2007, two Emory employees were killed because of IPV. These preventable tragedies in combination with the growing trend of sexual assault on college campuses, inspired Sheryl Heron, MD, MPH, Vice Chair for Administrative Affairs in the Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, and Paula Gomes, Psy.D., Executive Director, Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP), Human Resources, to launch the Intimate Partner Violence Working Group (IPVWG) in 2007. The realities of sexual assault and violence remain relevant in 2018 as evidenced by the global “Me Too” Movement.
As the national dialogue on consent and violence continues, Emory’s IPVWG serves as a resource for Emory to increase awareness, provide resources and education, and serve as a navigator to address these issues within our own community. On March 8, 2018, the IPVWG was recognized at the Center for Women - Women of Excellence Awards for its years of service to the Emory community.
In addressing the needs of individuals who seek help, Heron stresses, “It’s important to really listen to the person in crisis and let them guide you with where they are in processing what’s happened. Check in to see how they’re feeling and what kind of support they need.”
Gomes emphasizes, “Intimate partner violence is often an isolating experience, where the individual may feel cut off from family and friends, or is afraid they will not be believed. It’s important to let them know they’re not alone and help is available.”
Now under the leadership of Wanda Swan, Director, Respect Program, Campus Life, the IPVWG brings together multiple departments, offices and programs within Emory to offer a multi-disciplinary approach to deliver services and programs to support Emory staff, faculty and students. Resources include:
- The course, “Intimate Partner Violence: Awareness, Response and Prevention,” a part of the University HR Rep Certification Program.
- Financial support through the Emory University and Emory Healthcare Hardship Donation Fund programs for individuals facing relationship violence.
- An online resource center hosted by the Center for Women.
- A video series titled “Mitigating Violence Through Compassion,” hosted by the Emory Center for Emergency Prepared and Response (CEPAR) website http://emergency.emory.edu/threat-assessment/mitigate-violence.html.
- The Respect Program, which is dedicated to addressing relationship violence and social justice for students.
Emory’s IPVWG includes representatives from FSAP, the Respect Program, Employee Health, Human Resources, Counseling and Psychological Services, Center for Women, University Title IX Office, Emory Police Department, IPRICE, and Office of Spiritual & Religious Life.
If you are concerned about yourself or a colleague, please contact FSAP at 404-727-4328. If you are concerned about a student, please contact the Respect Program (470) 270-5360, CAPS (404)727-7450 or Student Intervention Services Team (404) 430-1120.
National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence State Report (2017) Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Violence & Stalking.
Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies and Practices (2017)