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Project Connect

 What is Project Connect Minnesota?


Project Connect seeks to improve the public health response to domestic and sexual violence and reproductive coercion. Project Connect Minnesota, one of six participating states,  is focused on promoting healthy relationships among Minnesota’s youth and adults through clinical intervention. Clinics involved in Project Connect are trained to screen and talk about healthy relationships with all clients. Safety cards are given out to every client as a quick and easy safety resource.


Violence Free Minnesota works with local health clinics to increase their capacity to educate and respond to dating and domestic violence, sexual violence, and reproductive coercion among youth and adults. We work with the following clinics:


  • Family Tree

  • Face to Face

  • myHealth

  • Minneapolis School Based Clinics

  • Annex Teen Clinic

  • Women’s Advocates, our domestic violence program participant


Clinics are also developing partnerships with their local domestic and sexual violence agencies in order to make referrals and ensure that all clients receive the care and support that they need. 

Why is Project Connect in Minnesota necessary?


Relationship abuse is a pervasive problem that has both immediate and long term health consequences:


  • 1 in 3 adolescent girls in Minnesota is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner – a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth.

  • From 2016-2018, females ages 25-29 years old in Minnesota had the highest number of all domestic violence-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations across gender identity and age.

  •  The third most common diagnosis for females in Minnesota with domestic violence-related emergency room visits or hospitalizations is physical abuse complicating pregnancy, birth, or in the six weeks after birth.

  • Health care providers are uniquely positioned to have an impact on relationship abuse. We know that women who talked to their health care provider about abuse were:

    • 4 times more likely to use an intervention, and

    • 2.6 times more likely to exit the abusive relationship.


While many Minnesotans of all ages have witnessed and experienced physical violence in their relationships, emotional and verbal abuse is often more prevalent and can escalate into physical violence.


Survey results show that 92% of youth believe it is helpful for providers to talk about healthy and unhealthy relationships to young people, and that their provider cares about their safety.


Learn more about Project Connect's impact.


In January of 2013, Violence Free Minnesota (then known as the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women) was selected to be a participant of Project Connect: A Coordinated Public Health Initiative to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Women (Project Connect 2.0), supported by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office on Women’s Health (OWH) with additional support from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

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