October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Bullying Prevention Month. On October 1st Empower Yolo commences its Seventh Annual Paint Yolo Purple Month of Action campaign. October’s Paint Yolo Purple (the color purple representing domestic violence awareness) campaign is meant to raise awareness about domestic violence and anti-bullying, support survivors and help fund Empower Yolo’s life-saving services. 
Domestic violence was an epidemic before the pandemic with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men reporting they experienced (some form of) physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). In California 34.9% women and 31.1% men experienced intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes (NCADV). As the pandemic persists, 84% of respondents reported they believed the incidence of intimate partner violence increased according to NCADV’s “Assessing challenges, needs and innovations of gender-based violence services during the COVID-19 pandemic summary report.”
This year’s awareness efforts will highlight health care and domestic violence. With the cost of intimate partner violence exceeding $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health care services domestic violence continues to be a pervasive health care problem; See The Facts on Health Care and Domestic Violence, Family Violence Prevention Fund, page 1. 
Sutter Health is doing its part to help support health care needs of victims of abuse through its Sutter Family Medicine Residency Program Clinic (“Sutter FMRP Clinic” or the “clinic”). “We have our intrepid behavioral scientist, Dr. Samantha Kettle to thank for the clinic; she has been meeting with community leaders in Yolo County to investigate where there might be unmet medical needs that could involve the Sutter Family Medicine resident doctors.  That way they are exposed early in their medical careers to interfacing with the community,” says Dr. William Zepf, Sutter Family Medicine Residency faculty & physician attending at Empower Yolo clinic. 
The clinic provides annual/physical exams for adults, or other health issues (diabetes, blood pressure, etc.), pregnancy care, infant and child visits, family planning (birth control pills and other methods), medication refills, and health education about almost any topic.
Two resident doctors, a supervising medical attending, and Dr. Kettle go on site to Empower Yolo’s safe house each month for a clinic session. “The resident doctors have told us they are interested in community service, and the medical clinic at Empower Yolo is one of the ways we incorporate this into their training,” says Dr. Zepf. 
Health care providers are in a unique position to help victims of domestic violence because they can help treat their injuries – both physical and mental health conditions – and help provide information, resources, referrals and support.  “Sutter FMRP Clinic brings peace of mind for families who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, and child abuse. Many families here at the safe house have been through various types of traumas. The clinic allows Empower Yolo families to be seen by professionals and access high quality health care. It even helps clients financially by reducing the amount of copayments and clinic fees. Having access to preventive health care is important for families to move forward with their healing,” says Sonia Jimenez, Shelter Director, Empower Yolo. 
Sutter FMRP Clinic believes it’s important to support health care needs for survivors of domestic violence and their families.Of the many difficult things that happen when someone is experiencing domestic violence, missing out on health care is yet another issue, since oftentimes health insurance may not be available, transport may be difficult, etc. Having some health care available at no cost, and located right at the shelter will hopefully remove some barriers to obtaining medical assistance,” says Dr. Zepf. 
Programs like Sutter FMRP Clinic in partnership with Empower Yolo help respond to more clients in a comprehensive manner. “The clinic at the safe house helps us immensely. In the past, we would coordinate transportation to and from the clinics with clients. Having the clinic here gives us the opportunity to focus more on clients’ long-term goals and empower clients to gain independence. Specifically, check ups for the kids helps the child advocates make sure that the children have their yearly physicals done in order to start school; and this helps relieve pressure off the mothers as well,” says Jimenez. 
Health care providers in the Sutter FMRP Clinic are an essential link in the coordinated effort to break the cycle of violence and build a healthy community. Responding to domestic violence in a health care setting like the clinic can make an immense difference for survivors’ physical and mental health, safety and quality of life. “The Sutter Family Medicine Residency is happy to have the privilege of providing medical care at one of the places in Yolo County where it is most needed,” says Dr. Zepf.
We are grateful to the Sutter FMRP Clinic for partnering with us in our mission of promoting safe, healthy and resilient communities. “Empower Yolo clients and employees are extremely grateful to have the Sutter FMRP Clinic come into the safe house. It brings us joy to see clients have the opportunity to access health care. We’ve witnessed the positive impact it has on clients’ mental and physical health. It brings the clients hope for a brighter future,” says Jimenez. 
Seventh Annual Paint Yolo Purple Month of Action Campaign:
In an effort to highlight various domestic violence issues our awareness campaign will be a hybrid of online and in person events. We will also be highlighting different departments within the agency that provide domestic violence services. 
Empower Yolo’s efforts to help survivors of domestic violence have been unwavering throughout the pandemic. In 2020 Empower Yolo provided safe shelter or transitional housing to 272 survivors (of which 76 were children) of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking for 15,331 bed nights.  In addition to shelter, Empower Yolo also offers many other services to survivors of abuse including: legal advocacy, therapy and support groups for adults and children, transitional housing support, financial empowerment services, healthcare enrollment and so much more.  
On Thursday, October 7 at 12 noon, join Celina Alveraz, Associate Director of Empower Yolo for a DV 101 zoom session discussing domestic violence issues. For more information or the link to join the session visit: empoweryolo.org. On Tuesday, October 12 at 6 p.m., join the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, policy makers and the community in a town hall discussion about what’s being done with data to keep our communities safe and ensure justice and fairness for all.  The topic will be Domestic Violence in Yolo County.  The Town Hall will be hosted by Marcus Wiggins and guests will include:  Celina Alveraz – Associate Director of Empower Yolo; and Jonathan Raven – Chief Deputy District Attorney and past president of the board of the Yolo County Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center (now Empower Yolo). On Sunday, October 31 Empower Yolo will participate in the “Day of Duty” Halloween Giveback Experience with ClipDart at Davis Community Church, 12-6 p.m. The event is for at-risk youth and children, or those experiencing mental unwellness due to issues such as domestic violence or food insecurity. 
Thanks to an anonymous donor we are thrilled to announce we have $10,000 in matching funds to help support programs and services. For every dollar donated in the month of October it will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000. The impact of your donation will be doubled. A special thank you to our anonymous donor who has supported Empower Yolo over the years. We are grateful for your generosity and ongoing support. This is the first matching campaign we’ve hosted in recognition of domestic violence awareness month. Help us reach our goal of raising $10,000 to help support our emergency safe house, and to run vital programs for our clients. Donate any time this month in honor of or in memory of survivors you know who have been impacted by domestic violence and bullying at: empoweryolo.org.
If you’d rather make an in-kind donation we will also be running a food and gas gift card drive throughout the month to help support survivors at our safe house; gift cards to any grocery store, fast food, or gas station of any denomination are welcome and appreciated.  Donations can be dropped off at our main office, 175 Walnut Street, Woodland or Empower Yolo Resource Center at 441 D Street, Davis during office hours. 
For dates and details about the campaign download our calendar at: empoweryolo.org.  Follow us on Facebook @empoweryolo, Instagram and Twitter @empower_yolo. Help us Paint Yolo Purple by following us in October to learn more about domestic violence and anti-bullying, how you can support survivors of abuse, and help our departments which are providing life-saving services.
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