C4DP has a longstanding commitment to addressing the root causes of domestic violence and has developed several first-in-the-nation programs for individuals to learn how to change their belief systems and behaviors to prevent violence toward their partners. Up until March 17, 2020, ManKind, WomanKind, and Mujer Gentil 52-week programs were held in person and facilitated in a supportive group format. Class members attend because they are either self-referred or are required by probation to attend.
As the pandemic unfolded, these classes were temporarily cancelled due to the group setting. The team began to research options for transitioning to web-based learning going forward. Challenges included determining how best to use technology to create online agreements for participants, collect fees online, and develop user guides to train staff and class participants on how to use the tools. After several months, on June 3, we held our first online class via Zoom. We now have all three programs up and running online with regular attendance.
When asked how COVID was impacting their relationships, many reported that sheltering with their partners has been difficult, and they were grateful they had the skills they learned in the class to tap into. These strategies include the knowledge that they have a choice in the moment to breathe and walk away. They are reminded to use mindfulness and notice how the body changes when they get upset.
One man was anxious to get back to class so he could regain visitation with his children; another mentioned how important these learned skills were because he was now home with his kids and didn’t want them to witness his previous pattern of yelling at his partner. Many appreciate the support they get in the group setting, feeling connected to others who are experiencing similar issues. Others miss the in-person groups, feeling that Zoom calls don’t have the same sense of community and connection.
No matter where in the process class members are, we remind them that they are on a journey towards a life of peace and equality. It is in those moments when they feel violent that they need to hold themselves accountable, to step back and be mindful of the choices they are making. We encourage anyone who wants to know more about the programs to call us – 415-457-6760