The Advocates’ shelter is the hub for our programs. All our services start with a listening ear, and a nonjudgmental heart. Our advocates don’t tell people what they should do. They listen and learn what each person needs, and they help to connect them with the tools, skills, and services that will help them accomplish their goals.
At the shelter, we can house women, and their children and animals who are ready to leave their abusers. It is critical that we accept animals. Abusers often try to control their partners by threatening to harm their partner’s animals – or by carrying out those threats.
While we cannot shelter men, we will help them to connect with other programs and resources – and we have options for providing temporary housing until they can get to help.
Of the 575 or more adult clients we support each year, only about one-fifth stay in shelter. The rest use one or more of our other services via phone or walk-in basis or appointment. Victim Advocate staff help clients identify their goals and connect them with needed services and resources.
Some days, we might just provide a client with the emotional support they need to tackle a problem. Other days, we help women, men, and families connect with housing, food, employment, mental and emotional health services, education, child care, medical care, and transportation. Each day, we receive an average of 105 requests for services!
People experiencing abuse may express a wide variety of emotions – sadness, humiliation, guilt, and anger. They can also feel incredibly alone. We offer support groups to help people not only begin the healing process, but to forge new relationships with people who understand their most private struggles. When support groups are not enough, we connect clients with professional counseling services to help them recover.
We offer a wide-variety of services for anyone who has experienced sexual assault. We offer support groups and counseling as people move towards healing. We will accompany a rape victim to the hospital or police station – or meet them there. We even provide support services to his or her immediate family and/or partner, so we can also help them to heal and move on from the attack. We help with even the smallest of details – like bringing a set of comfortable clothing to the hospital.
The sexual assault beading support group has been such a gift. It is such a safe and welcoming place. This week, we made new necklaces out of broken ones, and the symbolism was so important. I often feel so worthless because of the abuse I experienced – creating something beautiful and new reminded me that I have value as well.