Disrupting domestic violence

Community members hold a candle light vigil.
A candlelight vigil honors a victim of gun violence in St. Paul.
Christopher Juhn for MPR News 2017

A third of the people killed in Minnesota in 2020 were killed by a spouse, intimate partner or other family member — and the vast majority of these deaths were women. Advocates working to prevent family violence say the stress and close quarters during the pandemic increased violence in the home and calls for help.

Is this cycle of violence unbreakable? Programs to help people who use violence, mostly men, have shown that people can change their behavior. The ones that show most promise are groups where men are held accountable and understand how cultural norms and their own past trauma influence their choice to use violence.

MPR News host Angela Davis talks to advocates who help survivors heal and abusers change. 

If you are being abused and need help, Day One is a network of domestic violence and sexual assault community programs in Minnesota. Their crisis hotline is 1-866-223-1111.


  • Melissa Pegrangelo Scaia is director of international training at Global Rights for Women and co-founder of Pathways to Family Peace, a program for domestic violence offenders to work to end their use of violent and abusive behaviors.

  • Amirthini Keefe is executive director of Domestic Abuse Project in Minneapolis, a nonprofit organization that runs advocacy programs for victims and survivors and therapeutic programs for victims and survivors, adults who use violence and children who witness violence.  

  • Biiftuu Ibrahim Adam is the victim, family and community relations coordinator at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a new role created in 2020 to support victims and families during crime investigations. 

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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