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Spotlight on Services: Domestic Violence Programming

Written By: The Women’s Center staff 

Domestic violence can take many forms: physical violence, sexual abuse, rape, emotional abuse, economic deprivation, threats, intimidation, isolation. Any situation where a partner is exerting or wielding power and control over the other repeatedly is abuse. This crime knows no boundaries in our communities – it affects all socioeconomic levels, ethnicities, genders, ages, neighborhoods, regions.

Here at The Women’s Center, we provide a healing environment and the safety, space, and support victims of domestic and sexual abuse need to make decisions about their future. Our services offer support and encouragement as our clients begin their healing journey to move from victim to survivor, toward a future free from violence for themselves and for their families.

Many of our clients are experiencing a crisis when they first reach out to us for shelter — they may be facing immediate danger from their abuser or struggling with trauma. We immediately provide crisis intervention, help determine a plan for safety, and ensure that all basic needs are met. We know that often, victims need much more than just a safe place to stay and to work through the harmful effects of domestic violence, so we work hard to make sure we’re providing any and all resources and supports needed to assist them.

Some of the ways we help our clients succeed beyond immediate safety and shelter:  working with them as they plan for and secure, safe, affordable housing; equipping them with the tools necessary to find a living-wage job; connecting them with resources to help them address physical and mental health needs; and showing them through support groups and workshops that abuse is a systemic issue and is never their fault, and that they are not alone — there are resources available to them and people who care about them.

Our children’s staff works with kids to help them adjust to their new environment, develop strategies for maintaining safety, help with homework, and assist in whatever other ways they can to keep our youngest clients on a path toward healthy development. We also plan fun family activities every week and special field trips throughout the year to help families strengthen relationships with one another.

Clients who need ongoing case management, subsidized housing, or additional time to locate permanent, safe, affordable housing may enter our transitional living program. We have ten housing units, all located on our one-square-block campus for safety and easy access to our other programs and services.  Clients can live in these units for up to two years.

Our trained, experienced counselors use evidence-based, trauma-informed approaches to help adults and children overcome triggers that they can experience long after the abuse ends. Counseling is provided both individually and in support group settings.

When we say we work hard to make sure everything a survivor needs to heal and move forward is right here, we mean it. All clients have access to: crisis counseling and support groups; alcohol and other drug abuse programming for clients struggling with the co-occurrence of victimization and substance abuse; mental health support; legal advocacy to assist clients with filing restraining orders and provide support throughout the criminal and civil court process; family support counseling to teach survivors about healthy communication and positive parenting techniques; employment and life skills counseling, financial empowerment, and personal development; and free childcare while participating in any of these services.

Our 24-Hour Hotline is always available and always answered no matter the time or day, with immediate help and information provided by staff who are trained to assist with any and every question and concern. If you or someone you know needs help, call the Hotline at 262.542.3828.