The YWCA has long advocated for the health and safety of women and girls. And, the YWCA is the largest provider of abused women’s shelters and domestic violence services in the country, serving over 500,000 women and children annually. Violence against women takes many forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. These crimes impact millions of individuals and families in every community in our nation.
The YWCA supports anti-violence policies and programs that protect survivors, hold perpetrators accountable and work to eradicate sexual assault and domestic violence, trafficking of women and girls and dating violence. Specifically, we advocate for the continuance and full funding for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and legislation that ensures employment stability and economic security for survivors of violence against women. YWCAs around the country provide a variety of services and programs to address violence against women, ranging from emergency shelters, support groups and crisis hotlines. Here are a few examples of the types of YWCA programs helping women to regain safety and strength:
- YWCA San Diego County’s Becky’s House is a domestic violence program that supports the individual’s journey from victim to survivor to achiever. The program includes a 30-day domestic violence emergency shelter, three 18-month transitional living programs and a new Transition in Place program for survivors of domestic violence and their families.
- YWCA Central Alabama’s SOAR (Survivors Overcoming Abusive Relationships) Program is a volunteer group of domestic violence survivors whose mission is to promote, advocate and work for the elimination of domestic violence and provide a voice to victims of domestic abuse everywhere. SOAR provides a way for women to work together to change the systems that perpetuate domestic violence. This is accomplished through participation in local public education efforts, speaking engagements and working with the media to spread the message that violence against women is not acceptable.
- YWCA Pueblo’s (Colo.) Teresa’s Place: Visitation and Safe Exchange Program provides a safe and secure place for parents to visit or exchange their children when domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse or stalking has occurred within the family. This unique setup is designed to assure that children affected by an abusive relationship can have safe contact with the absent parent without having to be put in the middle of their parents’ conflicts or problems. This allows children to maintain a relationship with both of their parents - an important factor in having a positive adjustment during family dissolution.
- YWCA Annapolis and Anne Arundel County’s Adult and Child Counseling Services
support individuals who are victims of domestic violence, including women, men and children. The services provided range from access to a domestic violence safe house and 24-hour hotline to counseling, support groups and legal services to help victims leave their abusers.