By NATALIE MARTIN
The DoVE Project will begin a new group for male survivors of domestic violence, filling what the nonprofit says is a significant need on the island.
“This is an identified gap in service,” said DoVE director Elizabeth Archambault. “(Men) don’t get the benefit of a group of their peers.”
Archambault called the new group, which will meet weekly, a confidential advocacy group, saying a trained volunteer would form the group around the needs of those who attend. The leader won’t provide counseling or therapy, she said, but could provide some education around domestic violence issues if men are interested or could simply lead weekly discussions.
A similar group for women has been well-attended, Archambault said. While DoVE’s trained advocates offer one-on-one assistance to both male and female survivors of domestic violence, many women have also taken advantage of DoVE’s women’s support group, where they are able to connect with others who have had similar experiences, she said.
“I think it’s the best thing we do,” Archambault said. “They support each other in a way that’s different than an advocate-client relationship.”
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that 29 percent of heterosexual men experience some type of domestic violence in their lifetime, as well as 26 percent of gay men and 37 percent of bisexual men.
About 4 percent of DoVE’s current clients are men, Archambalt said. And while men are less likely than women to attend group offerings, some Vashon men have requested such a group. and nonprofits in other areas offer similar groups for men.
“We’re very excited that we are able to do this,” she said.
The group begins as DoVE, which began in 2011, continues to grow and expand its services. Last year DoVE served 43 active clients and answered 275 crisis hotline calls, up from 27 clients and 117 hotline calls in 2012. Last year the organization, which was once affiliated with Vashon Youth and Family Services, got its nonprofit status, moved into offices, saw a 50 percent increase in personal donations and had eight volunteer advocates trained to facilitate groups such as the new one for men.
“I fully believe that once we start offering more services for men, men will start (taking advantage of them), as soon as they realize they can be supported in this way,” Archambault said.
DoVE’s men’s advocacy group will begin in March at a confidential location. Those interested in taking part in the group should contact DoVE in advance at 462-0911.