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Featured Charity: Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Learn about common misconceptions of domestic abuse, signs of abuse, and more in this week’s Featured Charity Blog.
What our organization does:
Founded in 1976, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence is the nation’s oldest statewide domestic violence organization. Our mission is to eliminate personal and institutional violence against women through programs providing support and safety to battered women, direct services, public information and education, systems advocacy and social change activities.
Over the years built a network of 60 community-based programs serving victims and their children in all 67 Pennsylvania counties. Among the free and confidential services offered by our programs are safe shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, support groups and children’s programs to more than 2.5 million individuals.
How you can help:
Although it can take multiple attempts to successfully end an abusive relationship, many victims have successfully broken the cycle of violence. Victims who reach out for the assistance of experienced and knowledgeable advocates are able to find the financial, emotional, educational and employment help they need to break away and stay away.
Be familiar with the signs of physical and non-violent abuse:
- Signs of physical abuse: Some signs of physical abuse include bruises (or long sleeves on warm days to conceal bruises), black eyes, cuts, marks on the skin, broken bones and dizziness, unconsciousness and memory loss when there is head trauma.
- Signs of non-violent abuse: Someone may become more quiet than usual, withdrawn, isolated from friends and family, worried about appeasing and keeping happy their partner and generally more fearful.
What friends and family can do to help:
- Ask the person if something is wrong, if they need to talk about something or need some help.
- Tell them about the National Domestic Violence Hotline number they can call at 1-800-799-7233 for a referral to their nearest local domestic violence services program. An advocate there can help them develop a safety plan.
- Offer to watch their children while they go to an appointment with an advocate, or take in their pet(s) while they are in shelter. Let them know you care, you won’t be judgmental, and you are there for them.
How your company can help:
The advocacy and training that PCADV provides on a statewide level and the life saving services that your local Program provides on a community level are both needed to create a safe environment for victims and their children, educate the public about domestic violence, change attitudes and combat indifference.
Please consider investing in our work. Stand with us as We Say NO MORE domestic violence in Pennsylvania!
Your gift will be an investment in the health, safety and future of our families and communities.
- Raise Awareness: Your organization can help raise awareness about domestic violence and the free and confidential services available to victims. Encourage your workplace to invite speakers and put up posters with the hotline number on bulletin boards and in restrooms.
- Donate Money or Items: Local domestic violence shelters operate on a shoestring budget. The last few years they have seen their state and federal funding cut while demand for their services has increased. Consider donating money or calling to ask what donated goods they need.
Why we are successful:
Many, but not all, of our founders and advocates were once victims themselves. We are drawn to this work because of concern for a group of victims that often doesn’t elicit much public sympathy. It’s still common for people to blame victims of domestic violence for not leaving, when we know from statistics and anecdotal experience that victims are most in danger when they end or leave the abusive relationship.
We’ve seen many abused women flee to a shelter with their children in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothing on their backs. Thanks to our services and donor support, within a short time an abused women receives counseling and is given the opportunity to further her education or brush up on employment skills, and soon she has a job and has moved her children into a safe new home.
What we wish more people knew:
There are many reasons for abuse; including having grown up in a home where family violence was the norm. Abusers come from all educational, income, racial, ethnic and religious groups. For most of them, the violence is a means of maintaining power and control over their victim.
Some common myths and misconceptions about victims include that they could stop or leave the violence if they really wanted to, that the violence is somehow their fault and that they only come from lower socio-economic classes. Violence and abuse can happen to women in any socio-economic class and are never the victim’s fault. They are solely the fault of the one committing the violence and abuse. No one deserves to be abused.
Learn more about Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
Web Site: www.pcadv.org
Mailing Address: 3605 Vartan Way, Suite 101, Harrisburg, PA 17110