By Kyra Price, UW Stout Harvey Hall News Service
The Bridge to Hope is collaborating with the Menomonie Police Department to advocate for domestic abuse in an on-going video series. The Bridge to Hope and the MPD released a new video in the series earlier last month.
The video series is titled Bridging the Gap. Their first video covers topics of Women’s History Month, and the changing domestic violence programs available.
MPD Crime Prevention Specialist, Brenna Jasper described the collaboration experience with The Bridge to Hope. “We work very closely with them. We talk about topics that effect both of our agencies,” said Jasper.
Law enforcement is using new and evolving domestic violence tools to help victims.
Jasper said, “There is a tool we use called the legality assessment. It’s a series of questions that have been heavily researched that have correlation to victims who have had close experiences with fatality.”
“We were the second state to implement it,” said Jasper. The process of addressing domestic violence is different than it was a couple years ago.
Jasper explains that The Bridge uses very specific language when talking to the victim. The MPD follows up with the victim too. “From there we developed the domestic violence team,” said Jasper.
From the Bridge to Hope, Director of Sexual Assault Victim Services, Angie McIlquham said, “The MPD has done a lot of training with victims.”
The Bridge to Hope wanted to combat the spread of misinformation surrounding abuse. “We want people to be aware of the reality of different kinds of abuse,” said McIlquham.
Bridging the Gap began filming in January of 2021 and released in February of 2021.
The Bridge to Hope reached out to the MPD about receiving calls from worried community members about alleged attempts at human trafficking. The event prompted the creation of the video series.
McIlquham said it is important to ask, “What is the information being share? Is it accurate, and how can we get the right information out there?”
McIlquham said The Bridge to Hope is dedicated to raising awareness about the reality of people who face abuse. “We thought having the partnership and getting the information out to the community was so valuable,” said McIlquham.
The Bridge to Hope also offers resources for people in need.
Domestic violence services have evolved, and Bridging the Gap seeks to foster that growth. “The end goal is to have a safer, healthier community. The Bridge to Hope and the MPD share these common goals,” said Jasper.
McIlquham said, “We have a much better connection with the MPD. In turn, it leads to our victims trusting the law enforcement more. It’s been a unique experience.”
Jasper said the MPD has had these conversations at state-wide conferences.
“From an outreach perspective, we want the greater community to know that we have these programs in place, and they’ve been established for a few years now. They are being looked at elsewhere now too.”
This is only the beginning of the educational series. Jasper said, “For domestic violence awareness month, we want to do a follow up video that discusses myths surrounding domestic violence.”
“The thing for people to know, is if you think this situation is going on, keep reaching out, keep at it. Don’t give up,” said Jasper.
The Bridge to Hope is located at 2110 4th Ave NE. They are available to contact at their office, 715-235-9074 and through their crisis hotline, text 715-505-3640.
The MPD is located at 615 Stokke Pkwy. The MPD non-emergency hotline is 715-232-1283.