WILLISTON, ND – Lutheran Social Services Violence Free treatment program is now being offered in the Williston area.
According to Dennis Larkin, program director, the agency’s expansion of its domestic violence treatment program to Williston this month was undertaken after meeting with representatives from local service agencies including the Family Crisis Shelter, Williams County Social Services and Northwest Human Service Center. Also participating were representatives from Williams County Court, Williams County Sheriff’s Department and North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCR) Parole and Probation office.
Larkin noted that Williston’s Family Crisis Shelter, the service agency for victims of domestic violence, provided services to 121 victims in 2011.
Lutheran Social Services Violence Free provides group treatment for people who have been charged with, pled guilty to or found guilty of a domestic violence offense. Self-referrals are also taken for individuals who are abusing their partners. An important component of the program is involvement of the batterer’s partner in treatment.
“Domestic violence is not the same as anger,” Larkin noted. “Domestic violence is caused by a belief system that fails to see women as equal to men. A majority of domestic violence offenders are males who use behaviors such as emotional abuse, physical abuse, isolation, intimidation, blaming, or some combination of these, to gain power and control over a partner.“
Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota has operated this treatment program, formerly known as Freedom from Violence, in the Bismarck-Mandan area since 1997, serving more than 1,000 batterers and their families. Lutheran Social Services Violence Free is the only program in the Williston region that meets the North Dakota Adult Batterer’s Treatment Standards set by the North Dakota Council on Abused Women’s Services jointly with the North Dakota Adult Batterers’ Treatment Forum.
Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota is a nonprofit social services agency serving thousands of North Dakotans annually with affordable housing, food, disaster response, counseling and therapy and other social services. Established in 1919, Lutheran Social Services serves clients without regard to race, religion, gender or economic status from offices in five cities including Williston.