Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DV101 - Education and Awareness

Welcome to the first installment of “From the Front Line of Domestic Violence”. I’m MaryAnne Metheny and I’m the CEO of Hope House. Hope House is a not for profit agency that provides two safe, emergency shelters and comprehensive outreach services to those who have been impacted by domestic violence. We are in our 26th year of service to the community of Eastern Jackson County in the Kansas City, Missouri metropolitan area.

I’ve been with Hope House for 17 years. I started here as one of the first Women’s Therapists, then became Shelter Director and worked my way up to becoming CEO in 2006. I came to Hope House because of my passion for working with women and children. I see my job as helping those who have lost their voice due to the violence regain their voice again.

The primary purpose of this blog is to EDUCATE - about domestic violence and about the programs at Hope House. But it’s also to EXPLAIN why our services are so desperately needed, and why we continue to ask for financial support from the community. The services we provide cost money, and through this blog, I hope to show you that even modest donations of time and money will result in changed lives… for families right here in the KC metro area.

So let’s start with the education piece. Ready for a little DV101? (Feel like you’re back in college?)

The first steps for the community in helping us break the cycle of domestic violence (DV) are awareness and acceptance of public responsibility. Awareness is not just knowing that violence exists, but knowing why it happens, how it happens and who it happens to.

The responsibility aspect is knowing what to do once you are aware and then acting on that knowledge. It means being able to see that DV is a community issue and not a “family problem” to be resolved in the home. It takes a whole community response to address this issue and it’s my hope that this blog will help to bring people together to address this complex and devastating issue that impacts so many in our communities.

It is my intent to share information, but to learn as well. What’s working? What isn’t working? What progress has been made? What surprises you about what we do or don’t do? What questions do you have? Where do we collectively go from here?

I look forward to this new journey of discovery and sharing the experience with you.

MaryAnne Metheny, MSW, LCSW
CEO of Hope House


  1. What do all those letters after your name mean? I know the "CEO" part silly....the others? Congrats on your new blog. I hope it is well read. Good luck with it.

    Are abusers forced by the court to pay for their victim's care if they are convicted?

  2. Joco, thank you for your question and for reading my blog. I appreciate your following me and bringing attention to the issue of domestic violence.

    I am sorry it has taken me a bit to respond but the response to your question is complicated and I wanted to do the research to make sure I was adequately and accurately responding to the question.

    We first need to differentiate between civil matters and criminal cases. In civil matters, which would be protection orders, here is what the law says:
    Under Missouri Revised Statues: Chapter 455 ( Section 455.050 it says:
    ": 455.050. 1. Any full or ex parte order of protection granted pursuant to sections 455.010 to 455.085 shall be to protect the petitioner from abuse or stalking and may include..." If you go to this section there is a whole list of things they could be ordered to pay for including: rent, medical bills, court costs etc.

    In a criminal case the response would be slightly different. They could be ordered to pay for medical bills if they are convicted.
    Based on our experiences we are not seeing this happening a great deal.

    As for your other questions about what the letters mean, MSW=Masters in Social Work; LCSW=Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

    Thank you again for your questions. I hope this answers them!