January 12, 2022

City hires new director domestic violence programming

Danyette Smith (left) with Domestic Violence Network Executive Director Kelly McBride. Jill Sheridan/WFYI

Danyette Smith (left) with Domestic Violence Network Executive Director Kelly McBride. Jill Sheridan/WFYI

The city of Indianapolis has created a new position to address increased domestic violence.
Danyette Smith will become the Office of Public Health and Safety’s first director of domestic violence programming. 

The new position is made possible through partnership between the city and the Indy Public Safety Foundation.

Smith comes from a nonprofit background, establishing a grassroots group Silent No More after her own lived experience with domestic violence.  She said more coordination between existing contacts is a top priority.

“Continue to collaborate with the organizations that are already doing the work so we can amplify what they’re doing to make sure that those services are being directly connected to those that need them most,” Smith said.

People experiencing domestic violence can face numerous social barriers including affordable housing, childcare, employment, and financial independence.

Smith said streamlining services is another goal.

“We want to make sure that those barrier busters are available to them. So we want to get them connected directly, so that way they don’t have to go through four or five organizations to get what’s needed,” Smith said.

The program will bring on three advocates or community workers who will be dedicated to the program

In a news release, Lauren Rodriguez, OPHS director, said the move addresses ongoing gun violence. “Domestic violence continues to be a huge contributor to gun-related deaths. By expanding and amplifying the existing efforts in our community, this work helps save lives.”  

The new program is part of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s three-year, $150 million plan to address violence in Indianapolis.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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