This Week, A STOP-Funded Delaware Domestic Violence Agency Provides Holistic Services to a Mother and Her Children
Grounded in the knowledge that domestic violence and child abuse can co-occur in the same household and with the understanding that the children of survivors have too often been removed from their home, People’s Place began engaging in a collaborative working relationship with the Delaware Division of Family Services (DFS). The purpose of the SAFE Program is to ensure that Family Service workers have an understanding of domestic violence, as well as the pressures faced by survivors of domestic violence and the choices they make. People’s Place, a non-profit, community-based organization that offers advocacy and services to survivors of domestic violence and their families, began partnering with Family Services several years ago. The agency first received a STOP subgrant in 2009 to support two domestic violence liaisons (DVL), who are housed in the Division of Family Services offices located in Kent and Sussex Counties.
Survivors of domestic violence who are involved with Family Services are referred by the DFS staff to the SAFE Program DVLs. The DVLs offer advocacy, education, help with safety planning, and referrals to services offered by other programs within People’s Place (e.g., case management for assistance with obtaining employment, financial assistance, and transportation), as well as agencies in the community.
In one example of assistance that the SAFE Program provides, Lisa was referred to the DVL by a DFS worker. Joe, the father of her kids, grabbed her in front of the children and took her cell phone from her to prevent her from calling the police. The DVL assisted Lisa in filing a petition for a protection from abuse (PFA) order against Joe and in thinking through her safety plan. Joe was arrested and charged with several crimes including endangering the welfare of a child and offensive touching. As a condition of his release, he was ordered to stay away from Lisa and the home she lived in with their children. The DVL connected Lisa to financial resources that paid Lisa’s rent for three months and that provided her with phone cards to allow her to use her cell phone in case of an emergency.
The DVL also successfully advocated for use of donated SAFE funds by Lisa to pay a utility bill and to purchase a vehicle. In December 2009, the SAFE Program provided the family with Christmas gifts and delivered them to the family. Since then, Lisa occasionally contacts the DVL for general resources and provides updates on how she and her children are doing. Lisa has secured part-time employment, moved in with her parents, and has her children actively participating in counseling sessions.
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