Thursday, 11 October 2018 21:20

Bangor to introduce new domestic violence policy, training Featured

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BANGOR - Starting shortly after Election Day, Bangor City Councilors and eventually all city employees will undergo domestic violence prevention training.


The city will also start a new "Domestic Violence in the Work Place" policy.


The idea for change came originally from Bangor City Councilor Sarah Nichols, who said she brought forward concerns after the city was wrapping up negotiations last year with Waterfront Concerts.


"I became very aware that we had a huge hole in just our policy in general," said Nichols.


Alex Gray, a promoter for Waterfront Concerts, pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault of his former girlfriend. That guilty plea came up in council meetings earlier this year from citizens concerned Bangor would stay in a contract with a company represented by Gray.


Originally, Councilor Nichols suggested adding a clause on how the city negotiates contracts. But at the time not much could be done about who the city negotiated contracts with, because they didn't have a domestic violence prevention standard themselves.


"It was brought to our attention that we can't hold people to a standard that we can't hold for ourselves," said Bangor City Councilor Laura Supica, "it's an epidemic in our state and we have to start taking steps."


So in a collaborative effort that involved Councilors Laura Supica and Clare Davitt, Bangor's Assistant City Manager Richard Cromwell, and Casey Faulkingham with Partners for Peace, a new policy domestic violence policy was created. Councilors said this policy better prepares the city as an employer to provide resources and protect those who have dealt with abuse or stalking.


Partners for Peace, a local group which helps those affected by domestic violence, will also put on training sessions for city employees. Councilor Supica said employees of Maine's state government have to undergo domestic violence training. For her other job at the state level, Councilor Supica said her mandatory training was very helpful and inclusive. Partners for Peace's training will include looking at the underlying reasons of why people turn to violence.


Now when the city is looking at contracts, councilors said they'll ask if the company has a domestic violence policy.


"You have two businesses, everything looks equal," said Councilor Supica about which company she would be more likely to sign on to, "but this one has a domestic violence training policy."


Ultimately, councilors said they hope this move will have a ripple effect.


Councilor Nichols said she hopes this will help people,  "be able to identify signs and be able to help others maybe in the work place or even outside of the workplace...send a lot of ripple effects through the community. It's a good place to start, not to end."


Training sessions for councilors will start right after elections. Eventually every Bangor city employee and all new city employees will have to go through the same training.


Kelly Mitchell

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Kelly Mitchell joined the news team in March of 2018. She grew up splitting her time between York, ME and Haverhill, MA, but her favorite childhood memories took place along the rocky coast of southern Maine. She's now e...