Project Connect: A Coordinated Public Health Initiative to Prevent Domestic and Sexual Violence

Now in its third year, Project Connect is one of only 10 projects around the country selected  for Office of Women’s Health funding through Futures without Violence. The project aims to build a coordinated system with long-term capacity for training Maine health care providers, especially family planning and school-based health center staff, to identify and respond to intimate partner violence, sexual assault and reproductive coercion.

Some Project Connect activities in Maine include:

  • Regional trainings to help health care providers develop skills for assessing whether their clients are experiencing reproductive coercion.
  • A statewide training for school-based health center staff on the issue of reproductive coercion.
  • E-learning opportunities for health care providers.
  • Training in reproductive health issues for domestic violence and sexual assault advocates.
  • Strengthening the relationships between health centers and organizations working in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault, in order to provide better support and safety planning for women and teens experiencing sexual coercion.
  • A pilot program with several school-based health centers, to increase their ability to assess for and support teens experiencing intimate partner violence, sexual assault and/or reproductive coercion and to develop referral strategies, policies and procedures relative to these issues.
  • One domestic violence program will implement a new reproductive health assessment and coercion assessment with a local family planning program and develop a referral procedure. This will serve as a model for other programs throughout the state.

Check out these handy palm-sized cards about healthy and unhealthy relationships.