In 1995, a diverse group of A/PI women came together to discuss the issue of domestic violence in the A/PI community and the resources available to assist survivors.
These women, the Founders of DVRP, surveyed area service providers in order to determine whether A/PI survivors of domestic violence were accessing services and what local agencies were doing to provide services to the A/PI community. The results of this survey estimated that there were over 500 abused A/PI women that were utilizing these agencies but there were very few culturally and linguistically appropriate services available to meet all of the survivors’ needs.
In response to the lack of services, the Founders created the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP) to provide services to all A/PI survivors of domestic violence in the D.C. area and educate the larger community about the problem of domestic violence. DVRP was incorporated as a non-profit agency in 1996.
1996 to 1998: DVRP remained an all-volunteer organization. The volunteers provided referrals and support to abused women who contacted DVRP. They also organized a speakers bureau of trained DVRP volunteers to participate in speaking engagements, trainings, and educational discussions with hospital staff, law enforcement, local law school clinics, and community-based organizations.
1998: DVRP hired a part-time woman’s advocate to provide assistance to survivors of domestic violence and conduct community education events. DVRP held three community dialogues in VA, MD, and DC to solicit input from the A/PI community regarding their experiences with domestic violence, and the resources available, or the lack thereof, to assist survivors.
2000: DVRP received funding to conduct a needs assessment survey of abused Asian women in D.C., called Project AWARE (Asian Women Advocating Respect and Empowerment). A researcher from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health also worked with DVRP to design the survey and to compile the results. One hundred seventy-eight Asian women participated in the survey.
2001: DVRP hired a full-time Executive Director and transitioned the part-time employee into a full-time Community Outreach Director. The Community Outreach Director position was instituted in order to increase awareness about domestic violence and services for survivors.
2002: DVRP began the Advocates Program, training six volunteers to serve as advocates for survivors of domestic violence.
2003: DVRP started the bilingual advocates component of the Advocates Program, based on a nationally renowned model program from the Asian Women’s Shelter in CA. DVRP hired an Advocates Program Director to supervise the advocates, provide training, and oversee all aspects of DVRP’s direct services. DVRP held its second Advocates Program training, training eleven volunteer advocates and eight bilingual advocates. DVRP also started a Community Outreach Volunteer Program to enlist A/PI community members in efforts to organize around the issue of domestic violence.