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A social start-up aims to improve support structures for victims of domestic violence

Hertie MPPs Ba-Linh Le, Babatunde Williams, and Lena Wagner tackle the problem through the work place and other peers.

Sometimes, meeting the right person at the right place can get you engaged even with mammoth challenges. This was the case for Ba-Linh Le and Lena Wagner, who met during their graduate studies of public policy last year at the Hertie School. While analysing public management solutions, Le and Wagner realised they both shared an interest in a major societal problem: domestic and partner violence. One year later, the two are on the brink of founding their own social start-up, together with two other partners: Frontline 100.

“Frontline’s goal is to build community responses to domestic violence,” co-founder and Master of Public Policy student Lena Wagner says. “Community response means that the close environment of victims, such as online groups, places of worship or the workplace, can support them,” she explains. As the working environment can be a safe space that is removed from violence committed in relationships or at home, Frontline develops trainings that enable co-workers and other peers to recognise the signs that come along with it. With the help of the community approach, the social start-up’s founding team of Lena Wagner, Ba-Linh Le, Abigail Branford, and Babatunde Williams (also MPP alum) addresses the subject from a new angle. Although support systems for victims of domestic violence, such as women’s shelters, already exist, according to Wagner, “they only reach a small percentage of victims and usually at a point where violence has already escalated, because partner violence increases in both frequency and intensity the longer it goes on for”. Approaching broader society and peers could therefore be the support that the support system needs.



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