The Community Advocacy Project (CAP) was first developed, with generous funding from the George Gund Foundation, in 1986. The program was predicated on the belief that women with abusive partners should not be expected to shoulder the burden of protecting themselves and their children alone. A review of the literature suggested that access to community resources might help women escape intimate violence and improve their overall quality of life. Community-based domestic violence programs have used paraprofessional advocates to assist women in obtaining resources for years. Based in large part on these earlier efforts, and in collaboration with survivors and advocates, the author created The Community Advocacy Project.
Not unlike other interventions, the Community Advocacy Project was grounded in a number of assumptions. An exhaustive review of the scholarly literature coupled with numerous conversations with survivors of intimate male violence had led the author to the following conclusions:
- intimate male violence against women is too widespread to be attributed to intrapsychic dysfunction or “relationship problems;”
- intimate male violence against women is tolerated, if not condoned, by many segments of the community, including the criminal justice system;
- women with abusive partners are by-and-large active helpseekers who go to great lengths to protect themselves and their children;
- the community response to domestic violence is a critical factor in whether a woman will be victimized (and revictimized) by an intimate partner or ex-partner.