How Core Advocacy Training Changed My Perspective


Pictured left to right: Catherine Reed, Outreach Team Leader at Partners for Peace, Susan Garrettson, Volunteer, Denise Jackson, Volunteer, Kristen Iarrobino, Operations Administrator at Partners for Peace, Elizabeth Tilton, Resource Developer at Partners for Peace, Angie Alfonso, Prevention Educator at Partners for Peace, Courtney Wright, Volunteer, Lisa Andersen, Shelter Case Manager at Partners for Peace, Ryan Hardy, Office Support Advocate at Partners for Peace

This blog post is by Elizabeth Tilton, Resource Developer at Partners for Peace.

6 months ago, I didn’t know what CAIRET was. Like many people, I assumed that anyone who answers the 24-hour helpline provided by Partners for Peace and the helplines at their 8 sister projects across the state must have some kind of training, but I hadn’t put much thought into what that training looked like.  Yesterday, I became a graduate of the Spring 2019 class!

In 2018  The Maine Coalition to End Domestic (MCEDV) created the Core Comprehensive Advocacy, Intervention, Response and Ethics Training (CAIRET). This program is now used statewide to provide consistent, high quality training opportunities for all domestic violence resource center advocates. An added benefit to this coalition-wide training is that it allows survivors to receive similar advocacy regardless of where they live.

The 44 hour classroom training covers topics such as the emergency shelter process, the civil and criminal justice systems, social change advocacy, understanding oppression and, the “nuts and bolts” of working a helpline shift. It also prepares new advocates for in person and phone advocacy using role play, and observation.

For me, one of the most eye opening lessons was the “stay vs. leave” activity. Like many people, my first instinct is “this caller needs to leave RIGHT NOW!” Through this lesson, I learned that, statistically, a survivor is actually in more physical danger while planning to leave, or during the process of leaving. It helped me shift my perspective to how I can best help someone plan more for their safety rather than focusing on their choice to stay.

Through the process of completing this training I have chosen to face biases I didn’t even know I had. I’ve been challenged to expand the way I think about personal safety and I’ve been taught self-care and boundary building strategies that have prepared me to support survivors to help create a future free of violence.

If you are interested in joining our next CAIRET class or other ways to volunteer with Partners for Peace, please contact us at 207.945.5102.