National workshop to address domestic and sexual violence to be held in Pagosa

By Carmen Hubbs

Special to The PREVIEW

The Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program is sponsoring a full-day workshop for faith leaders, advocates and community members to address how to better support victims of domestic and sexual violence in our community.

The program, which will be facilitated by national speakers from the Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence, will focus on strengthening partnerships between community providers and faith communities.

Abuse can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, first language or faith. One in three women and one in five men have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence or stalking at the hands of an intimate partner.

What does faith have to do with domestic violence or sexual assault? A study of older adults found that “respondents, especially minorities, often indicated that their ‘first stop’ would be a member of the clergy if they were to discuss their with anyone.”

However, faith leaders do not always feel prepared to respond. To make matters worse, sometimes abusers use faith as a weapon against a victim. Faith leaders are uniquely placed to reach out to victims and help direct them to services and safety, as long as they have the right knowledge and skills to do so.

Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence has been awarded funding by the Office on Violence Against Women to provide these trainings throughout the United States. For more information about Safe Havens’ work, please visit its website,

The workshop is scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 12 at the Ross Aragon Community Center. It is free and lunch will be provided.

For more information or to register, contact Carmen Hubbs at 264-9075.