Dispatches from the Field: Sue Chandler, DOVE Inc.

Sue Chandler

Sue Chandler, Executive Director of DOVE, Inc.

Dispatches from the Field is a monthly feature at Innovate@BCSW designed to showcase the school’s commitment to field education, and to fostering fruitful relationships with organizations, both in Boston and around the world, who are providing critical services to those living at the margins of society. 

Agency partner: Sue Chandler, MSW, MPH, Executive Director

Organization: DOVE, Inc. (Domestic Violence Ended)

Services: DOVE “believes that all people have the right to live without fear of abuse.” The organization is hard at work to address this belief, through a variety of comprehensive support services to victims of domestic and dating violence.

Based in Quincy, Massachusetts, DOVE serves 17 cities and towns in Norfolk & Plymouth Counties.  It also has a physical presence at six police precincts and at Norwood Hospital, and offers programming in a number of high schools throughout its catchment area. View a map of the areas serviced by DOVE.

Services offered at these points of entry include: a 24-hour anonymous hotline, an emergency shelter, crisis intervention services, supportive education and counseling, educational and support groups, legal services, and assistance accessing governmental and community-based services. DOVE also conducts an educational prevention initiative in high schools to teach teens about dating violence, gender roles, and building respectful relationships.

This is Chandler’s first position in non-profit executive leadership; she has been at DOVE for five years. Since joining the organization, she has been hard at work to increase DOVE’s physical presence in the communities they serve, and to improve access for all of DOVE’s communities, including those who may not speak English. In the near future, she hopes to relocate into a new building to meet the organization’s growth, as well as further encourage the already burgeoning community interest in becoming involved in efforts to address domestic violence that she’s encountered in her work at DOVE.

Relationship with BCSSW:  Typically, DOVE is staffed with five to seven MSW students from the Boston area, with one or two from BCSSW. Both clinical and macro students have played important roles in the organization.

Clinical students from Boston College have provided individual support, danger assessment and safety planning, and court and police-based services to victims of domestic violence. They’ve also helped clients to create and work toward their own goals. Interns have also run support groups and responded to hotline calls in the shelter. Macro students have worked with DOVE’s Neighborhood Organizer and in the coming year will work with the YouthSpeak Teen Healthy Relationships and Dating Violence Prevention Program.

“I’ve found that the BC students are really great,” says Chandler. “They come in with a lot of experience, and bring with them lots of enthusiasm.

“One great aspect of our relationship with BC students is that they keep us apprised of some of the latest developments in social work higher education. All of them have taken the social entrepreneurship class, and what they’ve shared from this course has helped our thinking about finding innovative solutions in our own work.

“I’m really proud to partner with BCSSW. It’s definitely a win/win relationship, certainly from our perspective at DOVE.”

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