Change Agents 6/4/20: Domestic Violence

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

A conversation with Pam Gagnon Da Silva (a licensed professional counselor at Next Step) and Maggie McArthur (a paralegal at Next Steps who works with women who seek protection from abuse through the courts)

Pam Gagnon Da Silva works with clients on helping them find emotional and physical safety. This can take an long time.

Maggie McArthur works closely with police and prosecutors. Both police officers and the DA’s offices are working collaboratively with

Pam Gagnon Da Silva discussed the disturbing impact of Covid 19 on domestic violence. With people being required to shelter in their homes victims of domestic violence feeling more at risk, with their partner being home all the time. Some women are not able to talk by phone with Pam because she could be overheard in the home or because the abuser may can determine who the victim has been calling.

Pam and Maggie discussed the impact of their work on themselves. They try to leave their work at the office. This is difficult under all circumstances. However, with people working from home because of Covid 19 the lines between work and home are far closer.

Pam Gagnon da Silva, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Next Step, a domestic violence project working in Hancock and Washington Counties.
Maggie McArthur is paralegal at Next Step and works with victims of domestic abuse and coordinates with police and prosecutors.

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.