Archive for the Domestic Violence Crisis Services Category

Urgent Needs for our Domestic Violence Clients

Urgent Needs for our Domestic Violence Clients

Domestic violence affects women, men and children in our country, state and local communities. While the most important way to support domestic violence is to educate yourself and others on the realities of this issue, there are tangible items needed to help victims of domestic violence in crisis. Below are some of Compass Center’s supply needs. Please donate to our cause today.

One $20 gas card donation:
– helps a client get to court in Hillsborough to file their domestic violence protective order.
– enables a client to attend their court hearings related to their domestic violence protective order.
– enables a client to travel to Hillsborough to attend court to follow through on criminal charges against their abuser.
– provides transportation for a victim to get to and from a medical provider or the emergency room following an incident of abuse in which there was physical trauma.

One $20 grocery card donation:
– pays for dinner and breakfast for a victim and child who have just entered emergency shelter placement.
– allows a victim to buy diapers and formula for her infant when she is going into shelter and does not have access to money due to financial abuse.
– pays for children’s snacks as they wait on their parent who is receiving domestic violence services.
– enables a victim to have food to eat the day they are fleeing their abusive partner, seeking shelter and working with the court system.

One used cell phone donation:
– can be traded in for career, legal and financial program funding for victims in transition

Court Advocacy: Through an Intern’s Eyes, Molly Kirkpatrick

Court Advocacy: Through an Intern’s Eyes, Molly Kirkpatrick

Over the past couple of months, I have had the opportunity to go to domestic violence court in Hillsborough and serve as a court advocate on behalf of Compass Center. This role involves supporting victims of domestic violence through the court process by providing emotional support through what can sometimes be a re-traumatizing experience. Often times, victims may have to see their abusers in the courtroom, sometimes re-live their experiences by having to tell their story in a hearing, or be asked to provide sufficient proof to a judge and a room full of strangers to indicate that they are fearful and deserving of protection. Most of the time this whole process is stretched out over the course of a long, dragged out day, and most likely subsequent long days. The whole process can be a stressful and overwhelming experience for our clients, to say the very least.

In addition to the emotional stress the legal process can produce, we assist our clients through the numerous other barriers they may face in their court processes. One of the most significant of these barriers for victims is the very limited availability of low-cost or pro-bono legal counsel in the Orange County area. One might think, given the large population of law students and lawyers in the area, that it would be easy to find legal representation; however, this is not the case. Legal Aid of North Carolina is the only low-cost resource available to clients who are unable to afford a private attorney, however, due to the overwhelming need for Legal Aid’s services their office is burdened with many more cases than they are able to take. The court process is complicated and nuanced and best handled with the guidance of an experienced attorney. Given the difficulty our clients face in finding representation at a manageable cost, many of our clients have to proceed with no legal support through their court process, putting them at a possible disadvantage.

Another barrier that many of our clients face in their court process is transportation to and from the Hillsborough courthouse. Compass Center does all that it can to assist clients through this complication that often arises, which can sometimes require innovative and creative problem solving. Some of the ways that Compass Center has been able to support clients through this barrier include helping with bus passes or providing bus schedules, working with clients to find rides with family members or friends, or sometimes even coordinating cab services to and from court.

The combination of all of these barriers for our clients indicate how stressful, re-traumatizing, and alienating the experience can be for victims and highlights the need and importance of Compass Center’s Court Advocacy Program in providing support. Although the Court Advocacy Program cannot provide legal advice for clients or assist with the gap in legal services they face, it can help clients in feeling more supported on many levels. In addition to supporting clients through their court processes, Compass Center Court Advocacy Program works to connect clients at court to additional Compass Center services including support groups, safety planning and connecting clients with resources in the community. The Court Advocacy Program is also continuing to do its part in advocating for more resources for low-cost legal services in the area. I am grateful to have had an insider’s perspective on the happenings of domestic violence court proceedings and now feel even more passionate about advocating for victim services and supporting victims in any way I can.

Winter Support Group Offerings

Winter Support Group Offerings

Art of Healing Workshop for Survivors of Domestic Violence This Group is offered on the third Saturday of most months. Survivors of intimate partner abuse are invited to participate in these afternoons of art-making, processing, and community. Participants will be gently led through easy art and writing activities with a focus on expression, hope, healing, and strengths. No previous art-making or writing experience is required. Childcare can be offered upon request.

Domestic Violence Support Group: This 8-week group is open to women who have experienced or are currently experiencing abuse including emotional, verbal, economic, sexual, or physical abuse. Topics discussed include dynamics of domestic violence, the relationship between thoughts and feelings, boundaries, managing emotions, self-esteem, and self-care. The group is free. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Child care can be offered as needed. The next group will begin in January 2015.

Divorce and Separation Support Group: This 8-week group is open to women who have experienced or are contemplating separation and/or divorce. The group will address common issues that women face during this process such as grief, loss, anger, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, legal and financial concerns, parenting/co-parenting issues, and managing change. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. There is a $40 fee associated with this group, but can be waived as needed. Child care is offered upon request. The next group will begin in February 2015.

Spanish Language Domestic Violence Support Group: This 6-week group is open to Spanish-speaking women who have experienced or are currently experience abuse including emotional, verbal, economic, sexual, or physical abuse. Topics discussed include dynamics of domestic violence, the relationship between thoughts and feelings, boundaries, managing emotions, self-esteem, and self-care. The group is free. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Child care can be offered as needed. The next group will begin in February 2015. Please contact Claire, our Director of Latino Services, for more information: 919-929-7122 or latinoadvocate@compassctr.org. This group is being offered jointly with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.

Self-Esteem Support Group: This 8-week group is open to women who want to work on building their own self-esteem and encouraging others in doing the same through discussion, writing, and expressive arts. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, non-judgmental, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Screenings for this group are on-going. The next group will begin in March 2015.

Survivor-Led Writing Support Group: This 8-week group facilitated by survivors for survivors of domestic violence is being offered through a grant from the Orange County Arts Commission. The group will strive to create a safe place for writing, sharing and exploring different ways of using writing in the service of healing. A screening interview may be required to join the group. The group will begin in late Spring 2015.

If you are interested in any of the groups above, please contact the Support Group Coordinator at 919-929-7122 or groups@compassctr.org

Fall Support Groups

Fall Support Groups

Art of Healing Workshop for Survivors of Domestic Violence: This Group is offered on the third Saturday of most months. Survivors of intimate partner abuse are invited to participate in these afternoons of art-making, processing, and community. Participants will be gently led through easy art and writing activities with a focus on expression, hope, healing, and strengths. No previous art-making or writing experience is required. Childcare can be offered upon request. Registration is required for each session. The next group will be Saturday July 19th, 2-4PM. Please RSVP.

Domestic Violence Support Group: This 8 week group is open to women who have experienced or are currently experiencing abuse in an intimate partner relationship including emotional, verbal, economic, sexual, or physical abuse. Topics discussed include dynamics of domestic violence, the relationship between thoughts and feelings, boundaries, managing emotions, self-esteem, and self-care. The group is free. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Child care can be offered as needed. The next group will begin in mid-August 2014.

Survivor Led Writing Support Group: This 8-week group facilitated by survivors for survivors of domestic violence is being offered through a grant from the Orange County Arts Commission. The group will strive to create a safe place for writing, sharing and exploring different ways of using writing in the service of healing. A screening interview may be required to join the group. The group will begin in September 2014.

Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse: This 8-week group will be offered as a joint group between Compass Center for Women and Families and UNC Horizons. The group is open to women who have experienced are currently experiencing an abusive relationship and substance abuse. The group will be facilitated by a licensed therapist at Horizons and a trained domestic violence advocate from Compass Center. The group will begin in September 2014. If you are currently or have been a Horizons client, please contact Lauren Quick-Graham, MSW, LCSWA, Outpatient Therapist at 919.966.9803. All other prospective group members can contact Connie Carringer at 919-929-7122 or groups@compassctr.org.

Divorce and Separation Support Group: This 8 week group is open to women who have experienced or are contemplating separation and/or divorce. The group will address common issues that women face during this process such as grief, loss, anger, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, legal and financial concerns, parenting/co-parenting issues, and managing change. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. There is a $40 fee associated with this group, but can be waived as needed. Child care is offered upon request. The next group will begin in October 2014.

Self-Esteem Support Group: This 8-week group is open to women who want to work on building their own self-esteem and encouraging others in doing the same through discussion, writing, and expressive arts. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, non-judgmental, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Screenings for this group are on-going. The next group will begin in October 2014.

The Violence Against Women Act: 1994 – 2014

The Violence Against Women Act: 1994 – 2014

We are all familiar with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), at the very least because of its prominence in the news over the past year.  The controversy surrounding its renewal provides insight into larger cultural trends, specifically with regards to the work we do at Compass Center.  As such, this is a good opportunity to review the history of the act and its importance nationally and on the state level.

In 1994, Joe Biden introduced VAWA as a senator.  The act was a result of community efforts throughout the 80s and 90s, and as such, placed great importance on community-level anti-violence campaigns.  In addition to providing rape shield laws (prevents a victim’s sexual history to be brought up during cross-examinations) on a federal level, VAWA also provides support for a range of community violence prevention programs like those found at the Compass Center.  VAWA also ensures that victims of sexual assault do not have to pay for their own medical examinations.  Additionally, VAWA provides funding that goes towards training more than 500,000 law enforcement professionals to deal with domestic violence cases.  In these ways, VAWA directly affects our clients.

VAWA was up for renewal in 2012, and its opposition demonstrates the attitudes of social conservatives in the United States.  Though the Senate voted to reauthorize VAWA with some extended protections, the House rejected the reauthorization and instead provided its own version; the House’s proposed act limited crucial protections for Native women living on reservations, couples experiencing violence in same-sex relationships, and undocumented victims of domestic violence.  The legislative battle continued into 2013, until late February when the inclusive version of the bill finally passed the Senate. President Obama reauthorized the Act on March 7, 2013.

The House’s attempts to limit the efficacy of VAWA target the most vulnerable populations.  Victims of domestic violence who are in same-sex relationships are already less likely to reach out for help due to wide-spread stigma; legally prohibiting them from receiving protection would only further institutionalize this stigma.

Additionally, Native women are more likely to experience domestic violence than either their White or Black counterparts.  Not only that, they are more likely to be survivors of interracial assault, which results in limited ability to prosecute White offenders who perpetrate violence on reservations.  For these reasons, VAWA’s protection of Native communities is crucial.  North Carolinian practitioners especially should take note: North Carolina has the 6th largest Native population in the United States, with more than 110,000 Native Americans living in the state as of 2004.

Fortunately, the version of VAWA that was reauthorized is an inclusive version consistent with the vision and mission of the Compass Center.  The fight for an expanded reauthorized version demonstrates that sometimes, working for under-served populations means facing widespread institutional resistance.  However, the reauthorization is a chance for us to see our values reflected by our government, despite a long fight.

Domestic Violence and Homelessness

Domestic Violence and Homelessness

The Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness participates in a statewide count of homeless individuals every January during the annual A Point in Time event.  During this count, agencies that work with the homeless population go out into the community and look within their own agencies to assess the number of people without a place to stay for the night.  This year Compass Center for Women and Families will be participating in the count.

As an agency offering domestic violence crisis services, Compass Center sees a variety of issues that come as a result of abuse including emotional distress, financial difficulty, and physical injury. During this time of year when the A Point in Time count occurs, we are reminded of one of the most pressing issues for some of our clients — homelessness.

When a victim of domestic violence manages to escape an abusive situation, it is often without the financial or social means to thrive on their own.  As part of the cycle of abuse, abusers often isolate their victim from friends and family, decide whether or not they can work, and control the finances.  Under these circumstances, a victim of abuse has few choices of where to go when leaving an abuser and is often forced into a state of homelessness to avoid returning to the abuser.

Women who leave an abuser without a stable place to go are also more likely to end up back with the abuser to avoid homelessness or end up in another abusive relationship because of their vulnerable state.  The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that 63% of homeless women have been victims of domestic abuse.  This number reflects how much domestic violence influences the lives of the homeless female population.

We must recognize the huge impact homelessness has on our community.  To do this we must look at the causes of homelessness and try and work towards change at the root of the problem. Whether that means preventing domestic violence, helping to treat those with persistent mental illness, or connecting clients to financial resources, Compass Center is a part of that effort in Orange County to help end the cycle of homelessness.

Gender-based Violence: A Global “Silent” Epidemic

Gender-based Violence: A Global “Silent” Epidemic

1 in 3 women globally in 2010 experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner. In 20 of 24 countries, most women tell no one they experienced violence. On average, only seven percent of women who experienced violence ever reported it to a formal source.

Early last month, The Daily Beast covered an alarming study on global gender-based violence. In this study assisted by Amber Peterman, of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Jennifer Bleck, lead researcher Tia Palermo reveals the silence and obscurity of gender-based violence. Around the world, gender-based violence is being overlooked, as victims fear coming forward, along with numerous systems that fail to protect women. Gender-based violence is any act of physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering, whether occurring in public or in private, based on one’s gender.

“Women don’t trust the formal sector,” said Ravi Verma, director of the Asia Regional Office in New Delhi of the D.C.-based International Center for Research on Women. “The police system is deeply entrenched into the same notions of patriarchy and gender inequitable perspectives and women don’t feel comfortable that they will be heard or their report will be taken in the right spirit.”

Instead, women are more likely to turn to friends and family. Women have found that formal institutions don’t work in low-income or underdeveloped areas; therefore, they seek help from those they can trust.

Among the top reasons for women not reporting abuse were embarrassment, fear, a belief that disclosure was pointless, and the notion that women must endure violence because it is a normal part of life.

Compass Center for Women and Families offers domestic violence crisis services, including support groups and a 24-hour crisis hotline: 919-929-7122. If you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse, we are here to listen and lend support.

For more information on this report, click here for The Daily Beast’s article.

LGBT Teens at Higher Risk of Being Victims of Domestic Violence

LGBT Teens at Higher Risk of Being Victims of Domestic Violence

According to the 2013 study, “Technology, Teen Dating Violence and Abuse, and Bullying” by Urban Institute, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teenagers are at a greater risk of dating abuse than heterosexuals.

Of the 3, 745 youth in 7th to 12th grades, in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey surveyed in the study, 6 percent of the respondents identified as LGBT.

Of the respondents:

  • 43 percent reported being victims of physical dating violence, compared to 29 percent of heterosexual youth.
  • 59 percent reported emotional abuse, compared to 46 percent of heterosexual youth.
  • 37 percent reported digital abuse and harassment, compared to 26 percent of heterosexual youth.
  • 23 percent reported sexual coercion, compared to 12 percent of heterosexual youth.

Compass Center for Women and Families offers domestic violence crisis services to women, men and families. We work with women and men, regardless of sexual orientation, who are experiencing or have experienced emotional, verbal, physical, sexual or other forms of abuse. We provide information and options and allow those we assist to make their own choices about the best options for them. We can also help people who are unsure if their relationship is abusive and would like to talk to someone about this.

If you  or someone you know is in need of our services, call our 24-hour hotline: 919-929-7122 , or email Susan Friedman, Director of Domestic Violence Crisis Services.

Six Tips for Helping a Loved One You Believe Is Being Abused

Six Tips for Helping a Loved One You Believe Is Being Abused
  1. Tell your loved one that she/ he don’t deserve to be treated badly and that no one deserves to be abused. This abuse is not their fault.
  1. Let your loved one know that there are ways to increase his/her safety, that she/he has options, and that, together, you can get the help that is needed. Compass Center for Women and Families can assist with the safety planning and with understanding options for dealing with the abusive situation.
  1. Tell this person what you have noticed that concerns you. Tell them that you believe (or know)  she/he is being hurt or controlled. Tell him/her that you are concerned for his/her safety.
  1. Avoid focusing on the abuser. Keep this person out of the conversation as much as possible. Remember -your loved one has strong feelings for this person. Focus on your loved one, his/her safety, and your love and concern for him/her.
  1. Encourage him/her to call the Compass Center for Women and Families 24-hour hotline to speak with an advocate or to come in for an appointment.
  1. As the loved one of someone who is being abused you can call Compass Center for Women and Families hotline and receive support, information and abuse education.

Thank You Molly Maid Chapel Hill!

Thank You Molly Maid Chapel Hill!

Since 1996, Ms. Molly Maid Foundation has empowered communities and supported the domestic violence awareness cause. More than a house cleaning service, Molly Maid builds relationships with the community to ensure women, men and families feel safe in their homes. Molly Maid began their relationship with Family Violence Prevention Center (FVPC) prior to their merger with The Women’s Center to become Compass Center. Annually, FVPC would host a silent auction fundraiser. With a small board, FVPC was often pressed for resources and time, and Dave and Mary Dickinson from Molly Maid Chapel Hill would step up to help.

“When helping was too time-consuming for others, Molly Maid was always there putting in their time and effort,” says Jane Leserman-Madison, former FVPC and Compass Center board member. “There is no other sponsor that I know of that puts that kind of energy, time and devotion into helping others.”

As time wore on, Dave and Mary became more than sponsors. They became friends and supporters committed to the creative and strategic processes necessary to raise awareness on domestic violence. Dave and Mary were hands-on and helped gather auction items, manage logistics and provide resources. Dave also served on the FVPC board of directors.

Around the time of the merger, Dave and Mary transitioned the business to their daughter Kathy and her husband Don, who are equally committed to the cause. Each year, Molly Maid holds a fundraiser to garner funds and support for domestic violence awareness. Employees work tirelessly sending out letters, solicitation requests to all customers and supporters. Further, throughout the month of October, a portion of all cleans go to support the domestic violence cause through Molly Maid’s Making a Difference drive. Money raised is then distributed to three locations in the area. In addition, our local Molly Maid cleans both our Henderson and Wilson St. offices for free once a month. As we reflect this October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Compass Center thanks Molly Maid for their support and commitment to the domestic violence awareness cause.

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