Vashon's new domestic violence program to be honored by King County coalition

DoVE, Vashon's new domestic violence program, will be given a "Take Action Award" by the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence at its annual reception next month.

The small start-up organization learned earlier this week that it's one of four to receive the award, which is given to individuals or organizations "that have taken outstanding action to help end domestic violence," according to a news release issued by DoVE.

Tavi Black, DoVE's project director, said the organization was thrilled to learn it will receive the award. "It's definitely exciting, especially since we're such a new program," she said.

DoVE was launched in April, after receiving a $10,340 start-up grant from Vashon's Healthy Community Network. The new organization, housed at Vashon Youth & Family Services, is working to fill a void that has existed for more than two years, when Vashon lost its last Island-based domestic violence advocate.

DoVE now offers a weekly support group for victims of domestic violence, and Black acts as an advocate for those in need of support. The organization is also working to raise awareness and understanding about domestic violence; next month, for instance, it's holding what Black called "DV101" for community members interested in learning more about the issue.

"We want to get a community conversation going around this," she said.

DoVE is struggling, however, to find a source of long-term funding, Black said. It's held some fundraisers, which have brought in around $4,000, and all told, it received $18,000 from the Healthy Community Network.

But funding sources that have traditionally provided support to domestic violence programs have, for the most part, dried up, Black said. The King County Women's Program, for instance, once again is not allowing new applicants to apply for funds. That news, Black said, was disappointing to DoVE.

Black said she hopes the commendation from the county will help the organization garner greater financial support. "We need something dependable," she said. "We're hoping for the best."

Meanwhile, she said, she has an advisory board of 13 that meets twice a month to provide support and offer direction. She's also begun working on a long-range strategic plan.

"We're essentially right on track," she said.

Vashon advocates have been concerned about adequate support for victims of domestic violence for years. At one time, Vashon had its own program — Island Domestic Violence Outreach Services (IDVOS) — which had two advocates and a strong presence on the Island. But it stumbled financially and ultimately fell apart in the wake of an embezzlement scandal; its director pled guilty to first-degree theft in November 2005.

In 2006, after Islanders lobbied the county for funds to support domestic violence services on Vashon, the Tukwila-based Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN) secured enough funding to hire a full-time Island-based advocate. She was transferred off the Island early in 2009 after DAWN lost some of its county funding.

The award presentation to DoVE will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Northwest African American Museum.

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