"Leading domestic violence prevention through the empowerment of individuals and the community by providing advocacy, education and support services."
For those who have been abused and their children, the services of the WRC can be life-altering, even life-saving. This past year, the WRC provided 4,283 services to 1,175 clients. Our professional, supportive staff assists victims in navigating the psychological, logistical, and legal complexities inherent in domestic violence situations. Our services include:
Crisis Intervention. We provide a range of emergency and crisis services for domestic violence victims and their children. Our Emergency Shelter program meets the critical needs of victims by providing shelter, food, and other basic human needs. Shelter clients are also able to meet with a counselor within 24 hours, to assess their critical mental health needs. Other crisis services include a 24-hour hotline, walk-in services, advocacy, and referrals. This past year, our staff answered 1,691 hotline calls.
Intensive Case Management and Wrap-Around Services. Residential clients receive a myriad of supports to help them live lives free of violence. Examples of these supportive services include education and employment services, financial literacy, goal setting, and individual and family counseling. Our shelter is located in the Bristol Counties area. In 2019, 43 adults and 34 children spent 1596 nights in shelter, receiving these critical supportive services.
Court Advocacy. Our first interaction with domestic violence victims is often in the court system. It is here that our specially trained, compassionate advocates support victims by: guiding them through the completion of complicated paperwork; educating them on the language and complexities of the inner workings of the legal system; empowering them to tell their story to achieve the outcome that is the most appropriate for their family; and connecting them to a variety of community services so they can achieve desired independence. This past year, our court advocates provided 470 victims support.
Law Enforcement Advocacy. The Law Enforcement Advocate collaborates with law enforcement to provide improved responses to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Specific training and certifications provide the LEA with an ability to provide a trauma informed, victim focused response. Working directly with local Police Departments and having access to police reports, the advocate has the only position that enables the initiation of contact to non-offending parties in arrests and incidents not resulting in arrest. Crisis intervention, safety planning, referrals and information is provided based on the empowerment model. In 2019, our Law Enforcement Advocate supported 423 clients from five Police Departments.
Mental Health Counseling. Our highly skilled counselors provide both individual and group therapy for adults and children to support them through the trauma of being a victim of, or witness to, domestic violence. Many of the victims who receive these services are either not insured or are unable to access this benefit without risking their perpetrator discovering they are seeking help. Mental health counseling is a critical service in helping victims to build their emotional capacity to leave a violent relationship and to continue a life free from violence, and for their children to develop healthy intimate relationships as adults. In 2019, our counselors provided 1,779 sessions to 177 clients.
Transitional Housing. This crucial program empowers survivors of domestic violence and their children to live independently while continuing to benefit from case management and other supportive services. Transitional housing fosters financial independence, serving as a critical bridge for survivors seeking to live free from violence. All transitional apartments are provided rent free to clients for up to two years. Utilities are also paid by the WRC. In 2019, 37 adults and 32 children spent 8,350 bed nights in transitional housing program.
The Family Violence Option Advocacy Program (FVOAP) assists the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) clients who are victims/survivors of domestic violence. The FVOAP works with the DHS, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV), RI Works (RI’s cash assistance program), and the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Through the FVOAP program, clients may be able to obtain a waiver from certain requirements of the RI Works program or Child Care Assistance Program. The FVOAP also provides victims/survivors with other kinds of assistance such as immediate crisis counseling and safety planning. In 2019, FVOAP provided 1784 sessions to 340 clients throughout Rhode Island.
Community Outreach. Friends, family, and colleagues are often the first to know about a domestic violence situation. Our community outreach programs aim to ensure that individuals and professionals alike are aware of both the dynamics of domestic violence and the services available to victims; these informal support systems are critical to our success in being able to connect victims with the free and confidential services of the WRC. In 2019, staff from the Women’s Resource Center provided information about domestic violence and our services to the community during 36 presentations.
The WRC is committed to the eradication of domestic violence. We aspire toward a future where victims’ services are not necessary, where violence against women and girls is no longer inevitable, and where all people are able to live safe, healthy lives in vibrant communities.
The Newport Health Equity Zone (HEZ) is a city-wide coalition mobilizing residents and resources of the Broadway and North End neighborhoods to make Newport a place where everyone can thrive. Funded primarily through the Rhode Island Department of Health, the WRC serves as the backbone agency for this place-based collective impact project designed to decrease health disparities in Newport.
In a relatively short amount of time, the NHEZ has been able to accomplish important community- and societal-level outcomes focused on the social determinants of health. Centering on resident voice and using a resident empowerment approach, the HEZ has fostered the following outcomes:
The WRC is among a small cohort of organizations nationally who are engaging in health equity work as a domestic violence prevention strategy. We are nationally recognized leaders in the development and progress of this work, and have been invited to present at the Centers’ for Disease Control and Prevention and on several national webinars. Our team has also had the privilege of training domestic violence programs in other states as they begin to adopt evidence-informed prevention practice.
As long as domestic violence impacts families in our community, the services of the WRC will be needed. As an organization, we strive for a time when we will not be needed because intimate partner violence has ceased. Unfortunately, The Women’s Resource Center served 1431 Individuals in 2019, indicating domestic violence continues to put the safety and long-term health of victims and their families at risk in Newport and Bristol Counties.