October 1, 2020 By [email protected]_84 Off

Northwest Assistance Ministries gives virtual tour of Family Violence Center for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Leading into Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Northwest Assistance Ministries wants to let people know that help is available by hosting a series of awareness-building virtual events. The nonprofit began the month with a virtual tour of their Family Violence Center, opening the door for people to begin to reclaim their power.

“With the COVID-19 crisis we had to think of new ways to introduce what we’re doing, bring attention to this awful situation that is happening in so many areas,” Brian Carr, chief advancement officer for NAM, said. “This isn’t the year to have group outings and have people come for public events and things of that nature. We want to try to create opportunities that the public can learn about domestic violence.”

The Family Violence Center provides a large swath of services for anyone experiencing domestic violence, including a hotline for people looking for help, counseling for parents and children, behavioral health specialists and more.

“Sometimes counseling might be one or two sessions,” Carr said. “It may take years of counseling to help these victims see that it’s not them, that they didn’t cause it, that they did not bring this upon themselves.”

Hotline employees are trained to handle calls from people experiencing domestic violence, including calls made in unsafe situations.

“Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic the number of calls coming into our Family Violence Center hotline have risen exponentially,” NAM’s President and CEO Les Cave said in a press release. “For anyone going through this hardship, we hope that they will reach out for help, and we want them to know that NAM is here for them.”

Carr hopes this virtual tour can give those in abusive situations a glimpse into the end of their battle in a more accessible way.

“They’ll be able to see that stepping out and taking that first step to get yourself out of that situation is not the end of the world,” Carr said. “In fact, it’s a new beginning. It’s important to see that they’re not going to some dark and dingy place. They’re going to some place where there are people that care.”

The NAM Family Violence Center posted the virtual tour of the center on the organization’s website Oct. 1. Also known as the FVC, the center is a secured suite in the main NAM building, said Sheryl Johnson, Director of the Family Violence Center.

People arriving at the FVC must use a wall phone to gain entry into the center. Visitors wait to see an advocate in the waiting room, and a second secured door separates the waiting room from the FVC’s offices.

“Safety for all of our clients, staff and visitors is one of our primary concerns,” Johnson said.

Case managers and volunteers have a space in the FVC to answer crisis hotline calls. The NAM Family Violence Hotline number is 281-885-HOPE or 281-885-4673.

“These calls are answered 24/7 so that those experiencing a crisis — even in the middle of the night — have a trained and experienced advocate to speak with,” Johnson said. “Hotline advocates can help you create a plan of escape, make suggestions on increasing your safety or help you access a full range of services here in the family violence center.”

Advocates also have private offices in the FVC where they can provide clients case management services such as finding a safe place to stay, or signing up for government programs like food stamps.

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