At the 2018 Power of the Purse, Women for Women announced the recipients of the largest grant in the giving circle's history. $450,000 over three years was awarded to the Buncombe Partners in Prevention collaborative that includes Helpmate, Mountain Child Advocacy Center, Our VOICE and Pisgah Legal Services. The goal of the project is to promote healthy relationships where people live, learn, work, play and worship, which will ultimately reduce the perpetration of sexual violence, domestic violence and child abuse in Buncombe County.
With the funds, Our VOICE, Helpmate and Mountain Child Advocacy Center will each employ Prevention Educators who will provide educational presentations, policy consultations and public information promoting healthy relationships and parenting norms. Helpmate and Our VOICE will provide intake services at the Buncombe County Family Justice Center, as demand for services is expected to increase as prevention messaging becomes more widespread. Pisgah Legal Services will designate a staff member as a Public Policy Advocate to research best practices for violence prevention policies, draft sample legislation and policies and disseminate information to support advocacy for appropriate public policy changes.
On average, every 2 hours in Buncombe County, the Department of Health and Human Services receives a report of child abuse. Weekly, 50 survivors of domestic violence reach out for help from Helpmate. To address the staggering rates of violence, service providers banded together to overhaul victim services and launch facilities such as the Buncombe County Family Justice Center and the Mountain Child Advocacy Center. These efforts intervene after violence has occurred. Prevention is necessary and an effective strategy. Using proven public health strategies and consistent messaging, the Buncombe Partners in Prevention project will work to change social norms and create a community free from abuse.