Harm-Reduction Partnerships with ARCW

As part of Embrace’s harm-reduction approaches to increasing a survivor’s safety in relationships and working to create violence-free and resilient communities, Embrace began a partnership with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) in 2018. Embrace recognizes that in order to truly “meet survivors where they are at” this means understanding substance use is a common coping mechanism to a traumatic event. By focusing on a survivor’s strengths and encouraging safer practices, it is possible to attain safety from both trauma and addiction. Some safer practices Embrace offers include Naloxone administration, making condoms available to survivors, and providing access to clean injection items. To prevent and reverse all survivors’ opiate-related overdose deaths, nasal Naloxone is available onsite in all Embrace offices and the safe shelter as part of the organization’s harm-reduction approach. Embrace also participates in the ARCW’s LifePoint Needle Exchange program which is a key service in the prevention of HIV, Hepatitis C, and other STIs by ensuring survivors have access to clean injection items and proper disposal of used materials so they can’t be left anywhere to hurt someone. All Embrace staff are in the process of being equipped with information about safer injection practices, testing and treatment providers for survivors who have decided to quit using drugs. Embrace hopes these harm-reduction approaches will better support survivors living with co-occurring trauma and substance use as well as provide one more innovative way for Embrace to reach out to survivors who are using. Embrace is a safe place for you no matter what you are experiencing in your life.  

Barron County Law Enforcement Trained in Homicide Prevention

Embrace is excited to announce that law enforcement departments throughout Barron County have all committed to becoming trained in the nationally-recognized domestic violence homicide prevention program, the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). The Barron County Sheriff’s Department, Rice Lake Police Department, Turtle Lake Police Department, Cameron Police Department, Cumberland Police Department, Chetek Police Department, and Barron Police Department have already begun to incorporate the evidence-based LAP assessment and referral protocol into their department’s recently updated incident investigation worksheets. As part of the protocol, Embrace’s advocates will be available 24/7 to provide survivors at high-risk of homicide with immediate support, safety planning, and resources to navigate the systems. The collaborative LAP program is proven to prevent domestic violence homicides in our communities. All officers and deputies from the participating agencies will be fully trained in the life-saving program by late spring 2019.

Examining Complicity in White Supremacy and Centering Women of Color

With recent conversations taking place around the Embrace offices examining white privilege, racism and white fragility, the Embrace team concluded that even as a staff of committed, aspiring allies to People of Color, we still have a lot to learn about providing equitable advocacy and support to Survivors of Color. This year, instead of staying individually silent in our aspiring allyship goals, Embrace staff have enthusiastically agreed to have necessary, group conversations about our complicity in white supremacist systems and find ways that we, as an organization, can make greater strides to center Women of Color in our everyday work. Coworkers have created a safe place for learning and are encouraging each other to step into that emotional discomfort to unpack and dismantle our internalized racism. To support our discussions, Embrace staff are discussing articles such as McIntosh’s Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack and following the journaling and discussion prompts in Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy Workbook designed for people holding white privilege to examine their complicity in a system that is designed to oppress and marginalize People of Color. In addition to exploring the workbook as a staff, Embrace’s Wellness Committee, also dubbed the “Fun Committee,” is leading the 2019 wellness events with an intentional focus on educating Embrace staff about intergenerational trauma and the intersecting oppressions historically marginalized communities face. Embrace hopes these collective efforts will help dismantle the oppressive system of white supremacy we live in and allow staff to more fully adopt a philosophy of centering the “last girl” or the most marginalized Women of Color in our work.