Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ellen Pence 1948-2012


Photo by minnesota.publicradio.org/Laura Yuen

I am very sad at the loss of a huge advocate in the field of domestic violence. Ellen Pence (1948-2012) passed away January 6th from breast cancer.

Ellen co-founded the Duluth Model. It is a program that was developed to reduce domestic violence by providing a Coordinated Community Response (CCR), meaning several local agencies (including police, probation, courts and human services) work together in response to domestic abuse.
The primary goal of CCR is to protect victims from ongoing abuse. This model is used in all 50 states and more than 17 countries, including in our area.

According to Duluth Assistant City Attorney Mary Asmus, a friend of Pence’s for almost 30 years, “Before Ellen, the criminal justice system did not intervene in domestic violence issues. Police did not arrest. People didn’t get prosecuted. Nowhere in the state or country. She is really behind all of it. It all goes back to her. She is the mother of our coordinated community response.”

She trained thousands of people during her career around the issue of domestic violence, and dedicated her life to ending violence against women. She was a leader for those of us in this field. 

She is gone from us, but her spirit remains, as does her legacy. She has inspired many with her research and her activism. It is up to us to continue her work and take up where she left off. No one can fill her shoes, but we can continue her work to end the violence.

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