Wanted: Innovative solutions to Alaska domestic violence

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

The state of Alaska is conducting what could be considered a revolutionary talent search as part of Gov. Sean Parnell's 10-year plan to make the Last Frontier a safer place for families, particularly those living in rural areas. The Alaska Department of Health & Social Services administrators are seeking proposals from eligible applicants - anyone in communities outside of the Municipality of Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna, Fairbanks North Star, Kenai Peninsula and Juneau boroughs - to participate in the state's Rural Communities Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pilot Program. In its online notice about the pilot program the HSS Department indicates it's looking for new ideas on how to address domestic violence and sexual abuse and that it's not interested in "the same old thing."

The state has approval to fund four years' worth of new programs it considers creative and innovative, as made clear in its online solicitation: "In an effort to reduce domestic violence, sexual assault and substance abuse in rural Alaska, the intent of these grant funds are to establish rural community pilot projects to develop innovative, multi-disciplinary, collaborative approaches/strategies to domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA) early intervention and prevention. The long-term goal is to build increased infrastructure and capacity across the state to intervene earlier, to prevent incidence of DV and SA, and to promote communities free of interpersonal violence of all kinds. The hope is that regions and/or communities will be creative, explore ideas beyond how DV and SA are usually addressed, and think about developing a seamless, holistic and inclusive approach to DV and SA that meets the unique regional and cultural needs of the identified service area. DBH is not looking for the status quo - this proposal must to be creative, paradigm-changing, culturally responsive, and comprehensive."

Groups interested in submitting their ideas were to give the state notice by Dec. 10. Applications are due in early January and it appears the intent is to get at least some of the approved projects underway beginning in February. Read more here.