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October 10, 2017 05:11 PM

Forming Healthy Habits: The DAIP Program

Mitchell, SD

We've brought you stories about shelters where victims of domestic abuse can go for help, but they aren't the only ones who need to turn their lives around.   

"It's very rewarding for me to see that I can help change this family's life by helping this man to change his habits to form healthy habits," Mary Froning said.

Froning teaches the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, or DAIP, at the Mitchell Area Safehouse, a shelter for women and children. The men in her program don't stay at the shelter, but they go to class in this room for 90 minutes a week for 27 weeks. 

"It's nice that we can help the families as a whole, instead of individualizing, and just saying that we're here for victims," shelter coordinator Coleen Smith said. "We're also here for the family." 

Some program participants, but not all, come here via the court system.

"Anyone that is in a domestic assault or simple assault that needs the program gets referred to our program," Smith said.

"We do have the occasional gentleman that knocks on our door and says, 'I need to get into your program,'" Froning said.

The program does have its challenges.

"My biggest hurdle, I think, of making this program successful is getting these men to realize that they are abusers," Froning said. "Oftentimes, the abuse is more emotional or psychological or even verbal." 

There are also financial hurdles. Each session costs the participant $20. Not everyone can afford it.

"There are grants for victims, but not for the perpetrators," Froning said. "So, it's a cost to them to come to this program." 

The goal is to help both the victims and the perpetrators.

"We're not just educating the victim/survivor in the cases, we're also educating the perpetrator, 'cause we want to help the family as a whole," Smith said.

For more information on the Safehouse, visit their Facebook page.

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