Maliseet Advocacy Center puts new members through domestic violence training

HOULTON, Maine — After receiving a grant last year to help expand its operations, the Maliseet Advocacy Center has recently added new members to help in its mission to help survivors of domestic violence and abuse. 


As part of their training, members partook in the Core Comprehensive Advocacy, Intervention, Response and Ethic Training (CAIRNET), which teaches individuals how to recognize domestic violence, as well as provide a response to people who may be calling that have been affected by abuse and violence. The training is mandatory for those who work at the advocacy center. 

The training was originally slated to be held at the Hope and Justice Project in Presque Isle, but had to switch to an online format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We talked about advocacy techniques, how to connect and understand with the caller,” said Stephen Tibbert, prevention educator at the Hope and Justice Project who led the CAIRNET training. “We help to strategize any state complaining they may have, discuss housing, civil court procedures if that’s something a caller is interested in pursuing.” 

Tawoma Martinez, one of the four new members of the Maliseet Advocacy Center who underwent the training, formerly worked as a corrections officer for the past 16 years before joining. She says her new role will allow her to see the other side of the families affected by the people she is used to seeing in prison. 

“It’s given me a good background in dealing with people from all walks of life,” Martinez said. “I’m hoping to help make a difference.” She also says she will work with Hope and Justice as part of their jail program as well. 

The Maliseet Advocacy Center had received a grant of more than $700,000 last year from the U.S. Department of Justice to help improve its services, in particular expanding its shelter to be staffed nights and weekends to provide 24-hour service all days of the week. The new hirings are to help as shelter aides in this undertaking, as well as help with their domestic violence hotline phone. 

The Hope and Justice Project will be conducting another free online class beginning on Aug. 3 and held Mondays and Wednesdays over Zoom, which will also provide training to take calls from people in crisis situations and help them recognize the abuse that’s happening to them. 

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