Victims assistance is available at the YWCA
Domestic violence has been a reoccurring story line in our local community over the past several months. It is defined as emotionally and/or physically controlling an intimate partner, often involving tactics such as physical assault, stalking and sexual assault.
Approximately one in four women will experience violence in their lifetime. The YWCA of Schenectady, doing business as the YWCA NorthEastern New York, has been a safe haven for victims of domestic violence for almost 40 years. The YWCA works in collaboration with community partners to offer comprehensive services that address immediate safety at a secure shelter. as well as advocacy services at several venues including the YWCA campus, Schenectady County court system and suburban courts, the Schenectady County Department of Social Services and the Schenectady Police Department. Advocates also assist clients in conjunction with victims services offered at the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office.
Counseling services offer short-term crisis support in a safe and confidential environment. Additional services include a collaborative program with the Schenectady Animal Protective Foundation to shelter the pets of victims who access the shelter program but have no shelter for their animals.
To ensure continued safety for victims, the YWCA distributes cellphones at no cost that can access 911 in case of an emergency — the phones are donated by community members. The program also works closely with the Schenectady County District Attorney’s office to implement and monitor the AWARE necklace program, which heightens victim safety at home.
Domestic violence needs to be addressed by a community working together to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable. One of the most important steps to achieve this goal is to become educated about the problem and share that information within your personal networks. Knowing the facts concerning domestic violence, and the services available to address this societal tragedy, empowers all of us to be part of the solution in ending this vicious cycle.
Please call the YWCA for helpful print material and take the first step to join us in a community response. We are located at 44 Washington Ave. in Schenectady. Counseling, advocacy, group meetings and the domestic violence shelter (undisclosed location) are all provided in a confidential setting. A professional staff, a secure environment, and 125 years of experience allow the YWCA to help domestic violence victims begin to feel safe and to rebuild their lives.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call 374-3386 for immediate help.
The writer is director of the YWCA Domestic Violence Services.