If you have experienced rape and/or abuse, you are not alone and we are here to help you. Our hotline is answered 24 hours a day by trained staff and volunteers.

Many of our services, including professional counseling and advocacy services, are available to survivors who are not living in our shelter. We can help you create a plan for your safety even if you decide not to leave. You can call our hotline 24 hours a day at: 816-232-1225 or 1-800-653-1477. The YWCA Shelter is open 24 hours a day, with staff available to help you.

Victim Services Questions and Answers:
  1. What counts as sexual or domestic violence? Is one or two times of hitting enough? How long does it need to go on?
  2. What should I do if I have been a victim of sexual assault
  3. What do I do if I am experiencing domestic assault or violence against myself or my children?
  4. What happens if I report domestic assault or sexual assault to the YWCA? Will my boyfriend or significant other go to jail?
  5. Can I just come to the Women’s Shelter with my children, without calling ahead? When? What do I bring?
  6. How do you handle children at the YWCA if I bring them with me for help?
  7. Will you help if my boyfriend or spouse who has been abusing me comes to the shelter to find me?
  8. How long can I stay at the Women’s Shelter? What information do you need from me when I come?
  9. Will I have to report my boyfriend or significant other to the police if I talk to the YWCA about abuse?
  10. What can I tell a friend who is experiencing abuse? How should I help?
  11. What kinds of help can you give me if I come there because I’m in an abusive or violent situation?
  12. Will I have to pay money if I come to the YWCA for help?
  13. Will I have to testify in court if I report abuse to the YWCA?
  14. I don’t have transportation to get to the YWCA for help. Can you help?
  15. Will filing a complaint about abuse or asking the YWCA for help affect future job applications? Will it be on my record?
  16. Is my identity kept secret if I come to you for help, and for my children?
     

    YWCA Childcare Questions:

     

  17. I want to go back to work or school, but I can’t afford childcare. Can the YWCA help me?
     

    Women’s Resources Questions:

     

  18. I need a mammogram or Pap smear but I can’t afford it. How can the YWCA help?
     

    Donating Items or Volunteering at the YWCA:

     

  19. What should I do if I have some items I would like to donate?
  20. What kind of items do you need?
  21. Can you pick up my donation?
  22. Do you have a “Needs List”?
  23. Are you in need of monetary donations?
  24. How does the Missouri Domestic Violence Shelter Tax Credit work?
  25. I am interested in volunteering for the YWCA. What do your volunteers do?
  26. Can I volunteer only a few hours a month?
  27. Do I need training?
  28. When is the training?
  29. Can children volunteer?
  30. What is bliss manor?

If you are thinking about leaving a violent relationship, you may want to keep the following items in a safe place where they will not be found: (If you are in immediate danger and find a chance to leave, don’t worry about these things; just leave!)

  • Change of clothing for you and your children
  • Money
  • Checking and savings account books
  • Birth certificates, social security cards and marriage certificates
  • Medical and other insurance cards and immunization records
  • Items of sentimental value
  1. What counts as sexual or domestic violence? Is one or two times of hitting enough? How long does it need to go on?
  2. What should I do if I have been a victim of sexual assault?
  3. What do I do if I am experiencing domestic assault or violence against myself or my children?
  4. What happens if I report domestic assault or sexual assault to the YWCA? Will my boyfriend or significant other go to jail?
  5. Can I just come to the Women’s Shelter with my children, without calling ahead? When? What do I bring?
  6. How do you handle children at the YWCA if I bring them with me for help?
  7. Will you help if my boyfriend or spouse who has been abusing me comes to the shelter to find me?
  8. How long can I stay at the Women’s Shelter? What information do you need from me when I come?
  9. Will I have to report my boyfriend or significant other to the police if I talk to the YWCA about abuse?
  10. What can I tell a friend who is experiencing abuse? How should I help?
  11. What kinds of help can you give me if I come there because I’m in an abusive or violent situation?
  12. Will I have to pay money if I come to the YWCA for help?
  13. Will I have to testify in court if I report abuse to the YWCA?
  14. I don’t have transportation to get to the YWCA for help. Can you help?
  15. Will filing a complaint about abuse or asking the YWCA for help affect future job applications? Will it be on my record?
  16. Is my identity kept secret if I come to you for help, and for my children?
  17. I want to go back to work or school, but I can’t afford childcare. Can the YWCA help me?
  18. I need a mammogram or Pap smear but I can’t afford it. How can the YWCA help?
  19. What should I do if I have some items I would like to donate?
  20. What kind of items do you need?
  21. Can you pick up my donation?
  22. Do you have a "Needs List"?
  23. Are you in need of monetary donations?
  24. How does the Missouri Domestic Violence Shelter Tax Credit work?
  25. I am interested in volunteering for the YWCA. What do your volunteers do?
  26. Can I volunteer only a few hours a month?
  27. Do I need training?
  28. When is the training?
  29. Can children volunteer?
  30. What is Bliss Manor?

What counts as sexual or domestic violence? Is one or two times of hitting enough? How long does it need to go on?

When people think of domestic violence, they often think only about visible bruises and black eyes. In reality, domestic violence is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that adults and adolescents use against their current or former intimate partners. Abuse can take many forms – physical, sexual, psychological and economic. The abuse can, and often does, increase in frequency and severity over time.

Sexual violence is defined as non-consensual conduct of a sexual nature. This definition encompasses a wide range of sexually violent acts including sexual harassment, voyeurism, exposure, sexual exploitation, sexual assault, rape, forcible sodomy, incest, child sexual abuse, ritual abuse, statutory rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault and intimate partner sexual assault. The key issue that distinguishes sexual violence from non-assaultive forms of sexual behavior is the absence of consent. Consent is the act of giving permission and both parties must be physically and mentally capable of consenting to sexual behavior.

All forms of abuse are detrimental to the victim and any victim of domestic or sexual violence can seek our services regardless of how many times or how long the violence has been occurring.

What should I do if I have been a victim of sexual assault?

There are a number of potential options if you have been the victim of sexual assault, including seeking medical treatment, having a forensic examination and filing a police report. An advocate trained in working with victims of sexual violence is available to answer your questions, provide emotional support and inform you of the options that are available. To speak to an advocate, please call our 24-hour crisis hotline at 816-232-1225 or 800-653-1477. If you are in immediate danger, call 911 and seek assistance from law enforcement.

What do I do if I am experiencing domestic assault or violence against myself or my children?

Depending upon your situation, there may be a number of options available for help. If you and/or your children are in immediate danger, call 911 and seek assistance from law enforcement. If you are not in immediate danger and are interested in talking to an advocate about the options that are available, you can call our 24-hour crisis hotline at 816-232-1225 or 800-653-1477.

What happens if I report domestic assault or sexual assault to the YWCA? Will my boyfriend or significant other go to jail?

Any information that you provide to staff or volunteers of the YWCA is strictly confidential and will not be revealed to anyone, including law enforcement, without your permission.

Can I just come to the Women’s Shelter with my children, without calling ahead? When? What do I bring?

The YWCA Shelter is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, so there is always someone available to talk to you. If possible, we encourage you to call ahead so that we can make necessary preparations.

How do you handle children at the YWCA if I bring them with me for help?

All minor children are welcome in shelter when accompanied by their parent or legal guardian. We have 2 full-time staff in shelter that specialize in working with children. Children’s Program staff will meet with you and your children throughout your stay in shelter and educational/support groups are available for children ages 4 years and older.

Will you help if my boyfriend or spouse who has been abusing me comes to the shelter to find me?

Your identity and information is kept strictly confidential and will not be released without your consent. Anyone who inquires about a shelter resident is informed that we can not confirm or deny whether or not someone is a resident. The shelter is a locked facility that can only be entered by residents and staff.

How long can I stay at the Women’s Shelter? What information do you need from me when I come?

Length of stay in shelter is based on many factors and we do our best to help women connect with community resources and find permanent housing within a few months of entering shelter. We do not require any forms of identification in order to enter shelter, but it is helpful if you have birth certificates, social security cards, etc. as those documents are frequently required to access other community resources and government benefits. If you are on prescribed medications, it is also helpful if you can bring those with you to shelter.

Will I have to report my boyfriend or significant other to the police if I talk to the YWCA about abuse?

Whether or not you decide to report the abuse is completely your decision and no information will be released to law enforcement without your written consent.

What can I tell a friend who is experiencing abuse? How should I help?

Abusers often try to isolate their victim from family and friends as a tactic of control. Let your friend know that you are available to listen and try not to judge her decisions. The woman experiencing domestic violence is the expert on her own life and it is important to respect her choices, even if you don’t agree. Let her know that the violence is not her fault and that there are services available to help. Encourage her to call our 24-hour crisis hotline at 816-232-1225 or 800-653-1477 even if she is not ready to leave the abuser. We can help her plan for her safety and tell her about our counseling and other services.

If you see or hear abuse occurring, call 911 immediately for law enforcement assistance.

What kinds of help can you give me if I come there because I’m in an abusive or violent situation?

A Case Manager will meet with you within a few days of coming to shelter. The Case Manager will talk with you about your needs and goals and help you access resources at the YWCA and/or in the community that can help. You will have the option of participating in domestic violence support groups, money management and other life skills groups, parenting classes and individual counseling.

In addition to our shelter services, we have a number of services that are available to non-residents, as well. Our counseling services are available to victims of domestic or sexual violence free-of-charge. An advocate can meet with you to discuss safety planning and inform you of your options. We can also help you with filing for an ex-parte order of protection and/or the Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program if you are interested in either of those options.

Will I have to pay money if I come to the YWCA for help?

Most services provided by the YWCA are free-of-charge including our shelter, advocacy and counseling services.

Will I have to testify in court if I report abuse to the YWCA?

Whether or not you decide to report the abuse to law enforcement is completely your decision and no information will be released by the YWCA without your written consent. If you do decide to file a police report and there is a prosecution, you may need to testify. If this situation arises and you have concerns about testifying, we can help you contact the Domestic Violence Victim Advocate at the Buchanan County Prosecutor’s Office to answer your questions.

I don’t have transportation to get to the YWCA for help. Can you help?

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are fleeing your abuser, law enforcement will typically transport you to the shelter.

Will filing a complaint about abuse or asking the YWCA for help affect future job applications? Will it be on my record?

Any information that you provide to staff or volunteers of the YWCA is strictly confidential and will not be revealed to anyone without your permission.

Being the victim of a crime should not have any adverse affect on job applications and you would not have a police record. If you file for an ex-parte order of protection, the victim identifying information is redacted from all public records.

Is my identity kept secret if I come to you for help, and for my children?

Yes, your identity and information regarding you and your children is kept strictly confidential and will not be released without your consent.

It is important to note that many of our staff members are mandated reporters. If you disclose that your minor child has been physically or sexually abused, we are required to make a report to the Child Abuse Hotline.

I want to go back to work or school, but I can’t afford childcare. Can the YWCA help me?

The YWCA Discovery Childcare has competitive rates and accepts state subsidy payments.

I need a mammogram or Pap smear but I can’t afford it. How can the YWCA help?

We can make a referral to the proper agency to have a FREE Pap test, clinical breast exam and a mammogram if they are uninsured or are insured w/a high deductible and they fall within very generous income guidelines.  Free transportation is offered as needed.  Also the ENCOREplus program is available to make presentations regarding proactive breast health to groups of all ages.  We can also do presentations in Spanish.

What should I do if I have some items I would like to donate?

The YWCA greatly appreciates your donations, but we have very limited storage space. Please call ahead to check on what items are needed at the current time. Donations of large items (furniture, large TV’s, etc.) are not typically accepted.  We do work closely with other community agencies such as AFL-CIO Community Services and Habitat for Humanity that will allow our women and children to use vouchers to shop for the donated items. We are happy to recommend partner agencies that have the capacity to accept your donations.

What kind of items do you need?

The women and children living in our shelter are always in need of personal care items (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.) and new socks and undergarments. Items such as household goods (dishes, pots & pans, etc.) and linens (towels, pillows, blankets, etc.) are also needed when women move out of our shelter and into a home. New toys, nightlights and gift items for adults and adolescents (girls & boys) are needed for holidays and, throughout the year, for birthday gifts. Seasonal, used clothing is sometimes needed, but please call in advance.

Can you pick up my donation?

Unfortunately, we do not have the staff or resources to pick up most donations. If you have a donation and no way to bring it to the YWCA, please call and ask. We can not guarantee that we can pick up your donation, but we will do our best to make arrangements.

Do you have a "Needs List"?

Yes. An updated needs list is posted on our website or you can call the main office at 816-232-4481 to obtain the list.

Are you in need of monetary donations?

Yes, monetary donations are always needed and appreciated! Donations of $100 or more qualify for a State of Missouri Tax Credit.

How does the Missouri Domestic Violence Shelter Tax Credit work?

After receiving your generous donation of at least $100, we will send you an Application for Claiming Tax Credits. This credit allows you to use a 50% credit on your Missouri State tax return and is available for all contributions totaling $100 (i.e. two contributions of $50) and over for the year. When you receive the Application for Claiming Tax Credits, complete your portion of the application and return to the YWCA along with a copy of your cancelled check (front & back). The YWCA will sign the application and send the completed application to the Department of Social Services. Once the Department of Social Services authorizes the tax credit, you will receive confirmation in the form of an eligibility certificate. The certificate is then attached to your Missouri State Income Tax form.

I am interested in volunteering for the YWCA. What do your volunteers do?

Volunteers in the Victim Services Department provide services in many different areas. Hospital advocacy volunteers provide direct service to victims that go to the hospital for domestic or sexual violence. Volunteers in the shelter can provide assistance with childcare, children’s groups or can provide other assistance such as organizing storage rooms. We have other volunteer opportunities in our “New Start Store” and need volunteers to organize donations, stock shelves and provide assistance to women “shopping” in the store. Several other volunteer opportunities are available and we can help design a volunteer activity that works with your skills and interests.

Can I volunteer only a few hours a month?

We can use volunteers for a few hours a month to a few hours a week. Many of our volunteers plan a once-a-year volunteer activity. Whatever you are willing and able to give is needed to help the YWCA and the women and girls we serve.

Do I need training?

All of our volunteers providing direct services (i.e. hospital advocacy, children’s services, etc.) are required to attend 48 hours of advocacy training. If you are not interested in providing direct services, the Volunteer Coordinator can talk with you about the training requirements for other activities.

In addition to training requirements, all volunteers must pass a criminal background check.

When is the training?

Advocacy training classes are held twice a year. Special training times can be arranged through the Volunteer Coordinator.

Can children volunteer?

School age children can help with the assistance of their parents. Teaching children to help others in need is an awesome experience for everyone involved.  Call the Volunteer Coordinator who will meet with the parent and child to come up with an age appropriate volunteer experience.

What is Bliss Manor?

For victims of violence who are in need of long-term housing and support, Bliss Manor Housing Program serves as a bridge between emergency shelter and permanent housing. Safe, income-based apartments are provided in a secure facility. On-site services like workforce development classes, individual therapy, case management and health/wellness challenges assist with healing and maintaining residential stability.

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