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Breaking the cycle of violence

Last month, in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Odyssey House collaborated with the Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE) to provide a series of workshops for more than 100 clients and staff. The workshops, held at the Manor and MABON, covered topics such as safety and prevention strategies, de-escalation of violence, conflict resolution exercises, group discussion, and self-awareness/self-care and healing exercises.

Providing education around alternatives to violence is essential in treatment programs as many clients have complex histories of trauma and abuse, and previously have had little opportunity to address them. Bringing CAE to Odyssey House presented an opportunity to do something fresh and new while providing essential information to help increase safety and control over certain behaviors.

The feedback from the participating clients was overwhelmingly positive and showed that the information resonated with them. Some specific comments include: “I will try to use words instead of fighting,” “I feel that I learned skills for a lifetime,” “I’ll be more aware of the role my reactions can have with regard to disputes or conflict,” and “It made me realize that fighting doesn’t resolve anything.”

Founded in 1974, CAE is a Brooklyn-based organization that develops and implements violence prevention programs for children, teens, women, LGBTQI individuals, people living with HIV/AIDS, people in recovery, survivors of domestic violence, and other at-risk communities.

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