Melissa Petrangelo Scaia, M.P.A.
Melissa experienced domestic violence in a young relationship, sexual violence as an adult, and has worked in the field of domestic violence since 1999. She began as a youth advocate working with children who lived with domestic violence. She has also been an advocate for adult victims of domestic violence since 1999. During her tenure running a local domestic violence program, it became a five program agency with national recognition.
Melissa trains professionals globally, nationally and statewide in Minnesota. She has served as an expert witness in both criminal and civil cases of domestic violence in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Melissa (Petrangelo) Scaia has worked to address gender-based violence for over 24 years locally in Minnesota, nationally, and globally. She works internationally with her colleague Laura Williams as part of the Global Alliance for Women’s Safety and Equality (GAWSE). Currently, she is contracting with UN Women to provide training and technical assistance globally and provides training and technical assistance on working with criminalized survivors through Domestic Violence Turning Points. In her current work, she brings a wealth of experience as the former Director of International Training at Global Rights for Women, co-founder of Pathways to Family Peace, and executive director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP), also known as “the Duluth Model.” Before working in Duluth, she was the executive director of Advocates for Family Peace (AFFP) for 17 years, a local domestic violence advocacy program where she advocated for victims of domestic violence. She has also led and organized three Coordinated Community Responses (CCRs) to address domestic violence in Minnesota. Most recently, since January 2020, she has been co-facilitating the Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to domestic violence in the city of Minneapolis, MN. She has been a consulting trainer for many national training organizations on domestic violence and child abuse, including the Center for Court Innovation (CCI), the Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP), and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ). As a qualified expert in the state of Minnesota, she testifies as an expert witness on domestic violence in court cases in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She wrote her master's thesis on the effects of domestic violence on children and wrote her doctoral dissertation proposal to address supervised visitation, children and domestic violence. She has contributed to numerous publications related to domestic violence offender programming, supervised visitation, women’s use of violence, and domestic violence. She co-wrote a curriculum and DVD for working with men who batter as fathers entitled Addressing Fatherhood with Men Who Batter. She also co-authored a curriculum and DVD with Ellen Pence, Ph.D., and Laura Connelly for working with women who have used violence in intimate relationships entitled Turning Points: A Nonviolence Curriculum for Women. Most recently, she authored Safe Consultations with Survivors of Violence Against Women and Girls, a guide with UN Women on how to conduct focus groups and interviews with survivors. She has been selected for numerous roundtable advisory discussion groups for the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) through the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence. She has served on a National Consulting Group on Batterers Intervention Programs, as a National Advisory Committee Member for Law & Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation for survivor-based healing, and chairs the Women Who Use Force (WWUF) Committee of the National Batterers Intervention Program Network. She has also researched topics related to domestic violence: 1) women’s use of violence and 2) using videoconference software to conduct men’s batter intervention programming (BIP). She has participated in several United Nations Expert Meetings related to domestic violence and has worked with numerous UN Women regional offices and local women’s organizations globally. Hamline University awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award for Women in Public Service this past year. Outside of work, she is a mother of two, a Minnesota State High School League volleyball referee, and has a passion for photography.