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Domestic Outreach Center
6207 Brownsville Road
Finleyville, PA 15332
phone: 412-559-1197
fax: 724-348-4688
Organization Background
Up to 10 million American children witness domestic violence annually. Studies have shown that men who witnessed domestic violence as children are twice as likely to abuse their own partners or children in adulthood. In addition, up to 40% of juvenile offenders witnessed domestic violence in their homes.

Clearly, domestic abuse results in a cycle of violence in which abusive behavior is passed from parents to children. The Domestic Outreach Center seeks to break this cycle of violence through offender rehabilitation. Teaching personal accountability creates responsible adults who are less likely to repeat patterns of abuse.

The Domestic Outreach Center was established in 2000 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Where most domestic violence organizations assist victims, Founder and Executive Director, Linda Sherman, recognized a dangerous void in programs. Abusers were often vilified and their problems ignored. Ms. Sherman realized that the most effective way to stop the cycle of violence was to work with abusers. The Domestic Outreach Center provides training and techniques necessary to control anger and put and end to abuse.

The Domestic Outreach Center’s abuser-centered approach is unique among domestic violence organizations. By working with abusers, the Domestic Outreach Center seeks to end the cycle of violence, producing responsible partners and parents and keeping families together.

The Mission of the Domestic Outreach Center is: "To effectively minimize abuse by teaching accountability and responsibility." To serve this mission, the Domestic Outreach Center provides tuition subsidized psycho-educational services for persons who have committed simple assault, domestic abuse, or domestic violence. Through cost-effective group programs, individuals are taught that abusive behavior is not acceptable and that they must accept responsibility for their actions. The lessons stress that techniques can be applied to every aspect of life, seeking to create responsible partners, parents, and employees.

To achieve this mission, the Domestic Outreach Center operates on four core values:
In order to end a cycle of abuse, you must work with both victims and abusers.
Every individual must be treated with respect. If individuals feel patronized or ignored, problems will perpetuate.
The ultimate "losers" in domestic abuse situations are the children.
Accountability and responsibility are the key to understanding. Excuses and blame must end to break the cycle of violence.
Currently, the Domestic Outreach Center has twelve employees including instructors, court coordinators, and administrative staff. It operates eight weekly group sessions in six locations.

Current Programs
The Domestic Outreach Center currently operates a Batterers' Intervention Program and Anger Management Classes. The Batterers’ Intervention Program is available to men only, must be court mandated, and is designed for men who are involved in a domestic dispute with an intimate partner. The Anger Management Classes are for individuals who need to resolve anger issues as identified by court mandate or outside party referral.

In both programs, the Domestic Outreach Center teaches five principal philosophies:
The only person you can control is yourself.
If you continue to do what you’ve done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve got.
If you can’t change your mind, then you can’t change anything.
If you know the whys, you can design the hows.
As important as why inappropriate behavior occurs, is why the behavior is inappropriate.
Through weekly group sessions, these core philosophies are taught using a psycho-educational approach. Group sessions are led by professional educators who have the knowledge and experience to follow the curriculum and convey key points in a structured environment that keeps the clients’ attention so that learning occurs.The curriculum was developed by Executive Director, Linda Sherman, and is directed toward domestic violence.

The program currently consists of twenty-four weekly ninety minute group sessions. During each class, individuals are asked to recount events that brought them to the anger management program, discuss current situations, and participate in the weekly lesson. Lessons are designed so individuals at varying stages of their program can participate and benefit, and the curriculum is cyclical. Regardless of where the individual enters the curriculum, by the end of their 24-week session they will have participated in all lessons.

Groups consist of individuals at varying stages of their program, and the composition of each group changes on a weekly basis as new participants join and others graduate. New clients hear the experiences of those in similar situations who through the DOC program, have taken personal responsibility for their abusive actions and made the commitment to end abuse.

Rates of Success
Since its founding, the Domestic Outreach Center has counseled over 1,000 individuals, teaching them to be more responsible partners and parents.Executive Director Linda Sherman attributes this success to several factors including an effective curriculum based on research, the composition of group sessions, and an ongoing commitment to best practices.

The Domestic Outreach Center curriculum is a culmination of years of anger management research.The workbook includes clear lessons and activities that are accessible to individuals at all education levels and from any socio-economic background. It is specially designed to be cyclical, so individuals can enter at any stage in the lesson book and still learn. In addition, the curriculum is deliberately flexible so that lessons can be tailored to the circumstances of individuals participating in a particular group session. The Domestic Outreach Center is constantly evaluating and updating its curriculum to reflect new approaches to anger management issues.

The strength of the curriculum is coupled with an outstanding quality of instruction to produce a highly effective abuse cessation program. All instructors are qualified professionals with graduate level training in education.container_fciThe strong emphasis on professionalism and mutual respect encourages participants to take the lessons and activities seriously. The commitment of the staff is clearly evident during any group session and provides an atmosphere conducive to learning.

The diversity of the participants in Domestic Outreach Center programs contributes to its amazing success rate.Individuals from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds, education levels, and professions participate together in the program. The universal appeal of the lessons strengthens the curriculum. An emphasis on interaction between group members during a session means that individuals can learn from the experiences of others.Each group session concludes with "stamps and strokes" where group members rebuke or commend each other for contributions to the day’s discussion. This not only clears the air at the conclusion of each group, but also allows group members recognize and reinforce each other’s progress.

Finally, the Domestic Outreach Center seeks to provide a supportive environment to individuals participating in group sessions. Referrals to counseling, drug and alcohol programs, and additional assistance are provided and encouraged.

The Domestic Outreach Center programs have been overwhelmingly successful. The intervention of the Domestic Outreach Center has been proven to break the cycle of violence in its early stages. Because of the commitment to providing quality programs, the Domestic Outreach Center will continue to teach individuals the importance of personal responsibility and accountability thereby reducing the occurrence of violence in our community

Future Goals
The Domestic Outreach Center is currently undergoing an exciting period of expansion including:

The establishment of at least two new locations and the addition of several new weekly groups.
The development of the "Families First" program to target and assist individuals with small children, ensuring that domestic violence is not passed to the next generation.
The introduction of a new one-day Retail Theft Education Program which targets first-time offenders referred by stores or court mandated to participate in education programs.
The adaptation of the Domestic Outreach Center’s highly successful anger management curriculum to offer seminars for social service training and corporate clients.
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