What to Know About Domestic Violence Victim Services in St. Joseph
Imagine you are a young woman, perhaps with a child or two, and your home is not a safe place. You may want to go somewhere that is safe but you aren’t sure how you can afford to support yourself and your children and it feels like you have no options. What would you do? Since 1981 the St Joseph YWCA has been there to help protect women against domestic violence. We provide a temporary shelter along with other services to help women and children escape danger and move forward with their lives.
Every nine seconds in the United States, another woman becomes a victim of physical abuse (Partnership Against Domestic Violence). That statistic translates into one quarter of all women in our country who are facing domestic violence at some point in their life. Many times the danger reaches a point where women have to escape the situation in a hurry, and then a new set of options and resources is needed to move forward. The YWCA is there to help on both fronts.
The YWCA staffs a 24-hour hotline victims can call when they feel afraid or endangered. Our local YWCA team is fully trained to receive these calls and give women information about safety planning and the options that are available. Often a hotline phone call is the entry point women utilize before accessing additional support services. We also offer a Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children as a resource to help prevent family homelessness. Victim Services also consists of the Rape Crisis program, professional counseling for victims, and the Bliss Manor Housing Program.
Women who reach out to the YWCA also have other tools for rebuilding their lives. We offer support groups, life skill groups, rape crisis assistance and referrals to further resources. Last year the YWCA St Joseph provided 1,354 professional counseling sessions, 6,650 hours of victim advocacy and 2,054 hours of case management. We housed 413 women and children for an average of a month and a half and led 266 support and educational groups.
It is crucial that we help women and children escape situations of domestic violence and find the tools they need to heal. Today in our country, over 3 million children have a front row seat to domestic violence every day. Furthermore, 40-70 percent of all female murder victims were first victims of domestic violence.
At the YWCA we offer all these services and more at no cost to women. We are on the front lines in terms of safeguarding women and children against violence in the home. We’re also busy restoring what’s been broken through abuse. Our team, volunteers and community partners work to give women a renewed sense of dignity by offering them help and hope. Find out how you can come alongside us in our mission today.