Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Positively Pittsburgh Live! Domestic Violence Awareness 10-15-12

Positively Pittsburgh Live!
Domestic Violence Awareness

Patricia Cluss, Ph.D.,Director of STANDING FIRM
Grace Coleman, Executive Director, Crisis Center North
Amelia Williams, Owner, Jewelry Art by Amelia, Ring of Hope Campaign 


Patricia Cluss, Ph.D.
Patricia Cluss, Ph.D., is the Director of STANDING FIRM: The Business Case to End Partner Violence. Dr. Cluss is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a licensed psychologist in private practice. Her clinical and research interests are in the area of women's health and mental health issues and in behavior change strategies for individuals and medical providers. 

She engages in research and program development related to intimate partner violence, smoking cessation for special populations, and pediatric obesity. In the area of intimate partner violence, she chairs the WPIC Intimate Partner Violence Task Force and serves as a board member of Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Dr. Cluss has also published a number of articles about domestic violence in various academic journals.

STANDING FIRM: The Business Case to End Partner alerts employers to the human, safety and financial costs of partner violence on the workplace and workforce and arms them with tools for effective organizational action. Partner violence  costs businesses, whether they know it or not, in terms of increased health care costs, decreased productivity, absenteeism, and the very real threat of a workplace violence event. And, just as importantly, it is the RIGHT thing to do!

STANDING FIRM encourages employers to: recognize the business case for addressing partner violence in their organization; respond by taking effective organizational action steps; refer to available community services.

Some alarming statistics:
  • Partner violence (PV) is responsible for one-fourth of all workplace violence incidents.
  • 48% of abusers surveyed report difficulty concentrating on work
  • The CDC estimates that PV costs our nation $8 billion a year

 Joining STANDING FIRM is free, for more information please visit
Grace Coleman is the Executive Director of Crisis Center North (CCN), a domestic violence counseling and educational resource center in Pittsburgh, PA. Grace works, daily, to make the Pittsburgh community safer, by lending her expertise to the Allegheny County Victim Services Policy Board and the Domestic Violence Task Force, as well as numerous other committees and task forces dedicated to addressing domestic violence in southwest, PA. Grace has served as the Western Vice President of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) and was selected by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) to serve as a core faculty member to the Pennsylvania Victim Assistance Academy (PVAA). Additionally, Grace has contributed to the field’s overall knowledge by co-authoring numerous research articles which have appeared in such journals as Adolescence; the North American Journal of Psychology and The Journal of Injury and Violence Research.

In October 2010, Grace began work with Kristy Carnahan, Supervisor of Counseling Services at CCN to establish CCN's Canine Assistant Therapy Program, in honor of domestic violence awareness month. Grace is passionate about what canines can bring to the field of victim services.

The mission of Crisis Center North is to empower victims of domestic violence and cultivate community attitudes and behaviors that break the cycle of violence. 

In order to accomplish this mission, the organization commits to:
  • Provide services that empower those victimized by domestic violence.
  • Expand awareness about the impact that domestic violence has on the community and to provide community members with viable options to interrupt the cycle of violence.
  • Improve the response of systems to meet the needs of domestic violence victims.
Crisis Center North began in 1978 through the efforts and resources of 13 women and generous volunteers in the community. Founding mother Dee Walk’s involvement began in 1974, after the death of her husband Kenneth, a prominent counselor in the North Hills. For many years, Kenneth volunteered to offer counseling to victims of domestic violence, when the term, “domestic violence,” had not yet been coined. After his death, battered women with nowhere to turn continued to show up on Dee’s doorstep. Concerned, Dee began to work with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and listened to the women coming to her door. Over time, and through planning, The North Hills Women’s Center opened its doors.  In 1982, the agency incorporated and changed its name to Crisis Center North.   

Today, Crisis Center North is a nonprofit counseling and educational resource center serving victims of domestic violence, their children, and teens involved in violent dating relationships. The Center has been a program member of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) since 1983. The Coalition, the oldest in the nation, is a model statewide organization of 61 programs. PCADV insures that member organizations maintain the highest standards and provide quality services to victims of domestic violence across the Commonwealth. Crisis Center North provides free and confidential services to victims of domestic violence, including: a 24-hour hotline; individual and group counseling for children and adults; support and counseling for family members and friends; legal advocacy; medical advocacy; case management; economic empowerment programming; and school and community-based prevention education programming. The agency is unique in that it is not a shelter, rather programming focuses on emergency advocacy services and longer-term issues like housing, education, and employment.
For questions or requests unrelated to counseling or advocacy matters (including employment opportunities or workshop or training requests), please feel free to call 412.364.6728 from 9am-5pm, weekdays, or email the Center at

Jewelry Art by Amelia was launched in 2009 with the motto that "no rules need apply in jewelry design, and no pattern or style is ever obsolete." Amelia's designs blur the boundaries of jewelry and art by incorporating elements of mood, attitude and emotion.Clients can obtain her distinguished selection of merchandise exclusively through private exhibits, personalized appointments and office presentations.

Amelia Williams
Amelia Williams designs all pieces of jewelry with inspiration and meets with clients individually to determine their distinctive style. She has nine different categories of jewelry "moods" for clients.

She custom designs bridal jewelry primarily with Genuine vintage Austrian crystals and uses a variety of jewelry components including sea shells, Austrian crystal, glass, wood, resin, semi-precious stones, and genuine gold/silver metals.

Jewelry Art by Amelia has a team of artisans specializing in glass making  bead weaving, and lapidary designs. Companies and nonprofits can commission Amelia to create exclusive statement jewelry designs.

Amelia designed the handcrafted Ring of Hope Jewelry Collection, launched in July 2010 and available at, to benefit Domestic Violence awareness. A portion of proceeds are donated yearly to participating qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that support Domestic Violence Awareness.

Amelia is also a Domestic Violence survivor, Public Speaker and Advocate for Survivors of Domestic Violence Awareness. She is available to speak about her domestic violence story at rotaries, schools, and business organizations.

Jewelry Art by Amelia, is a member of the following organizations: Pittsburgh Professional Women, Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Women's Power Lunch and Visit her website at

This was reported as a reproduction of PositvelyPittsburghLive news done by Joanne Quinn-Smith. (c) Joanne Quinn-Smith and PositivelyPittsburghLive(TM) 2012 All rights reserved.

Tara Darazio is a Positively Pittsburgh Live reporter, an independent copywriter, blogger, article writer, and social media strategist. If you are in need of writing assistance, or need help with your social media efforts connect with Tara on LinkedIn here.

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