Governor Announces Domestic Violence Initiative to Develop Safe Havens and Model Supervised Visitation Practice

Contact: Susan Shafer (517) 335-6397

October 9, 2002


Governor John Engler today announced Michigan has been selected to participate in the "Safe Havens" demonstration initiative and will receive a federal grant of about $1.1 million to build on domestic violence "safe havens" and develop a supervised visitation protocol.


The U. S. Department of Justice will make the award to the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board. The board will work with four visitation centers and other partners to carry out the demonstration project.


"The project will strengthen Michigan’s ability to provide safe havens for battered parents and their families," Engler said. "Grant funds will increase visitation capacity around the state and create a model practice."


The project goal is to provide survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking and their children safety in supervised visitation and exchange settings. Objectives of the two-year program are to:


  • provide survivors a safe, affordable age- and activity-appropriate means of visitation and exchange between parents separated because of domestic violence;


  • reduce trauma and anxiety to children of batterers who are afraid of visitation with an abusive parent;


  • eliminate the risk of emotional and physical abuse to children and/or child abduction during visitation;


  • increase information available to Local Supervised Visitation Centers staff and courts;


  • increase existing center capabilities to provide safe, supervised visitation; and


  • create policies, a model protocol and training opportunities.


"A network of domestic violence facilities and other partners will implement the program," said Family Independence Agency Director Douglas E. Howard. "Together, they will increase their ability to provide safe visitation and develop a protocol for an exemplary program."


In the first year, four partner agencies will develop new security measures to improve safety. In the second year, funds will support increased number of people served through the partners. Meanwhile, the project’s administrative partners will develop the model procedure and policies and provide training to court partners.


The Domestic Violence Board will team up with the State Court Administrative Office, Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and four local centers—HAVEN in Pontiac, Child and Parent Center in Jackson, Muskegon County Safe Haven Project in Muskegon, and Child and Family Services of Northwest Michigan in Traverse City.


"The project’s target population includes survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking and their children in six counties with nearly 1.7 million people," said James Fink, chairman of the Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board, whose members are appointed by the governor. "The policy, protocol and training development aspect will benefit all 9.9 million residents of the state."


For more information contact Debi Cain, executive director of Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board, at (517) 373-8144.