HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Agencies across the Mountain State are partnering with the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health to launch a new program in West Virginia to support those experiencing substance use and domestic violence.

According to Marshall University, the new program called “Weave West Virginia: Weaving Together Communities of Support for People Experiencing Substance Use and Domestic Violence” is designed to help those who are in an intersection of substance use disorder and violence from an intimate partner, particularly those who are pregnant or postpartum.

Officials with the university say intimate partner violence can include “substance use coercion,” which is when the abuser uses substance use to control their partner by preventing them from meeting recovery goals, and often preventing them from seeking support. Officials say intimate partner violence can create a barrier for survivors to access healthcare and social services. The goal of Weave West Virginia will be to break this barrier by increasing survivors’ access to and coordinating services from substance use disorder treatment, domestic violence advocates and healthcare providers.

“Weave West Virginia is a partnership deeply connected to West Virginians,” said Dr. Jeffrey Coben, interim cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. “Safety and support are crucial to the affected population and this initiative is an embodiment of West Virginia communities coming together to weave a strong, connected system of support where community is at the core.”

According to Marshall University, the partnership, supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, includes the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Behavioral Health, the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership and the Marshall University Research Corporation’s West Virginia Behavioral Health Workforce and Health Equity Training Center. , to increase access to and coordinate services between substance use disorder treatment services, domestic violence advocates, and healthcare providers.

Organizers say they hope Weave West Virginia will serve as a model for other states to help improve health and services for those in need of support services.