THE HISTORY OF THE MAYOR’S COMMISSION ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, RAPE & SEXUAL ASSAULT

Twenty-Five years of engaging the community

The Mayor’s Commission on Domestic Violence, Rape & Sexual Harassment was instituted by Mayor Paul Helmke in response to a social movement to educate our citizens and to eradicate these crimes on our community. Since 1993 every one of our elected officials has renewed the City’s Commitment to this mission by reaffirming the original ordinance that created this very important commission. In 2017 Mayor Tom Henry requested that the ordinance once again be reviewed, updated and finally approved through City Council. This review resulted in the appointing of Commission members from several different agencies representing varies perspectives:

  • Burmese Advocacy Center
  • YMCA Women's Shelter
  • Victim Assistance
  • Center for Non-Violence
  • Amani Family Services
  • Educators from local schools
  • Nurses from local hospitals
  • Urban League
  • Child Protective Services
  • Sexual Assault Treatment Center
  • Local Magistrates and Judges
  • Allen County Prosecuter's Office
  • Allen County Sheriff's Office
  • New Haven Police Department
  • Fort Wayne Police Department
  • Members of the media
  • Local attorneys

Recent Work

The Commission meets monthly to create, organize, and facilitate opportunities and specific events for community education and outreach on domestic violence related crimes. In the last several years, some projects sponsored by this Commission include:

  • 911 bags officers give to children whom witness domestic violence in their homes.
  • Distributing updated pamphlets and emergency crisis cards in several languages.
  • Hosting events with panels and national speakers on topics such as sex trafficking, impact of these crimes in vulnerable immigrant and refugee populations, legal trends for prosecuting intimate crimes, and online bullying.
  • Public Service Announcement bus huts.
  • Organizing victim walks and remembrance vigils throughout the community.
  • Creating policies and systems to provide Domestic Violence Information education to the youth in our community.
  • Advocating and providing a voice to primary and secondary victims throughout the criminal justice system including in the Courtroom.
  • The Pitch – an educational event held at the Parkview Field designed to engage and educate men in the fight against domestic violence related crimes.
  • Identifying and engaging other community organizations to assist in the fight against domestic violence related crimes.

Working together to provide real help to real people

The Commission focuses discussion each month to brainstorm and share ideas from diverse perspectives from various agencies to identify the practical and immediate needs of survivors of these crimes, and to continually evaluate and improve the victim services available in our community. Historically, the Commission has provided a forum for multiple agencies to exchange and circulate updates of services currently being provided by their agency. This forum allows for a cohesive network of care in our community by sharing information so each agency can make informed and meaningful referrals to the people they serve. The ongoing aim of this Commission is to ensure our community has policies in place to prevent these crimes and that when these crimes happen in our community, that we have safety nets for families, and streamline agencies coordinating resources together, to provide victims options and pathways toward healing from these crimes.