Music Therapy Response to Domestic Violence

The Michael Bolton Charities (MBC), in partnership with New Haven’s BH Care-Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence, has launched an innovative music therapy program for children and women exposed to domestic violence.

The goal is to run an effective pilot program, with outcomes evaluated and assessed, that can be replicated across the State of Connecticut and beyond. Additionally, there are plans to provide music therapy to mothers and children accessing services at the New Haven Family Justice Center (FJC), which will be a one-stop center of critical services for domestic violence victims and their families under one roof.

Responding to Need       

In Connecticut, during a 24-hour period, domestic violence hotlines average more than 8 calls every hour, more than 300 domestic violence victims find refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing, more than 500 adults and children receive critical support services and more than 100 requests for services go unmet due to lack of resources. In New Haven alone, there are more than 150 reported cases of domestic violence and abuse each week.

Extending Music Therapy

A well-established health care profession, music therapy uses carefully selected music and music interventions to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs. While music therapy will not cure or solve problems brought on by crisis, music therapy can help children and adults in crisis learn and use positive coping skills and express difficult feelings and emotions. Because music therapy is a powerful and non-invasive medium, unique outcomes are possible.

The goal of The MBC in creating such a program for children (and their mothers) exposed to domestic violence is to bring the positive potential of this unique therapy to bear on the often enduring effects of domestic violence. Through the use of interactive, client-preferred music, individuals participating in music therapy services will have opportunities to address their individualized needs, such as to address and cope with their feelings related to abuse or violence.

Program Partner

BH Care-Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services (UCDVS) is dedicated to increasing awareness of domestic violence and its effect on the community, empowering those victimized by providing advocacy and safe and effective services, and to working for social change to eliminate domestic violence. UCDVS believes that all persons have the right to live free from violence and fear, especially in their own homes.

UCDVS provides services to residents in Greater New Haven, including: support groups, legal advocacy, volunteer and internship programs, teen program, walk-in crisis service and 24-hour hotline, transitional housing, community education, family violence victims advocates and court-based advocacy, a “virtual shelter” program for late-life victims of domestic violence, developing options for victim education classes and an emergency safe house.

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