Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 20, 2017

Crisis Center & Women’s Shelter offers victim services

Jul 15, 2014

The Crisis Center and Women’s Shelter has served victims of domestic violence for 35 years, and continues to be committed to serving victims in 11 counties with the new regionalization structure established this month.

The assigned area includes Appanoose, Davis, Lucas, Monroe, Jasper, Jefferson, Mahaska, Marion, Poweshiek, Wapello and Wayne counties. Discussion is continuing at the state level that indicates Keokuk County also will be included.

Communities are asked to confront a compelling set of facts:

• Adult domestic violence and child abuse and neglect often occur together;

• Responses are required of the community if violence in families is to stop. Domestic violence perpetrators do not victimize adults only. Studies reveal that in families where women are abused, often their children are abused as well. It seems redundant to say children who are abused and/or neglected tend to exhibit more developmental, cognitive, emotional and social behavioral problems. It is important to note that a wide range of studies has shown that some children who are not themselves physically abused, but who witness adult domestic violence, exhibit behavioral problems including both emotional and social problems. Living with a batterer has been described by survivors an experience that ranges from “walking on eggshells” to “living in a war zone.”

A battered woman with children must face a difficult dilemma. First, she must protect herself and her children from physical assault by the batterer. Most battered women care deeply about their children’s safety; however, a second consideration is life-generated risks including homelessness, unemployment, little or no income, transportation, day care and more. For women from diverse backgrounds, these life-generated risks are more complicated due to language skills and a lack of accessible resources that limit their options for safety and support.

The mission of the crisis center and women’s shelter is to provide services for survivors of domestic violence and to promote a violence-free society through community eduction and advocacy. The outreach service goal is to ensure families are free from violence and can access positive supports to safety.

The crisis center and women’s shelter’s priority area is domestic violence outreach. The purpose of outreach services is to provide comprehensive services for victims of domestic violence so that they can be safe and become self-sufficient in more permanent and stable housing. The crisis center believes safety for victims of domestic violence creates safety for their children which will reduce the need for out-of-home placement.

The center encourages communities to get involved in activities and events that will educate and inform adults and youth about domestic violence, teen violence and bullying.

The center offers prevention presentations from secondary education to prevention in the work place. Since 1979, the program has evolved from strictly the provision of safe shelter to a comprehensive continuum of services.

The services the center provides are designed to meet the broad needs of victims/survivors of domestic violence in recovery from violence and inherent trauma who are re-establishing their lives beyond the need for immediate safe shelter. These services are provided by certified outreach advocates who provide on site services and support groups in rural communities. Outreach advocacy services include crisis intervention, court advocacy, counseling, referral and networking for assistance to meet basic needs. Survivors fleeing domestic violence will be assessed to determine what safety option best fits their needs, to determine the lethality risks and safe, more permanent housing for victims and their children. Some survivors will be offered immediate emergency shelter in the community, however if the lethality risk is assessed to be high, victims will be referred to a comprehensive safe shelter.

Not only does the Crisis Center and Women’s Shelter staff meet the requirements of the Iowa Code 915.20A to maintain confidentiality because it creates safety for victims and because it is the law, but the staff attend regular trainings to continue to build their skills, ability and resources to be as effective as they can be for the victims/survivors that they serve. The center strives to provide “client driven advocacy” to meet the needs that individual victims identify rather than focus on the services that are readily available. This requires committed collaboration with other service providers as well as community based organizations. The center will work to continue to expand the relationships to benefit victims and families they serve.

For information about the services, becoming a volunteer or becoming a sponsor, call 800-464-8340 or 641-683-1750.


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