Archive for September, 2010
By Leesa Plumblee, Shelter Counselor, Safe Harbor
“In a survey of 4,000 adults, witnessing marital violence as a child was the major risk factor predicting which adolescent girls would grow up to be domestic abuse victims.” I obtained this statistic when I attended a training this year regarding the impact of family violence on adolescent witnesses by David Pelcovitz, PhD. This statistic explains the great importance of providing therapy for children who witness domestic violence in their homes. These are the children that I have the pleasure to work with each day in our Safe Harbor shelters.
Children who have been exposed to domestic violence may exhibit signs of low self-esteem, emotional or behavioral problems, feelings of guilt or responsibility, or be at high risk for drug/alcohol abuse. These are just a few of the common characteristics of children who are exposed to family violence. Children are victims too. Many times, children who have been exposed to violence carry these characteristics with them into adulthood, because they have never been taught healthy skills for dealing with their feelings or for resolving conflicts.
Safe Harbor was granted funds from the Office of Violence Against Women in early Fall 2009 to begin a Transitional Housing Program for victims of domestic violence. In January 2010, Safe Harbor began to serve the clients in our Shelter Programs by offering them the opportunity to participate in the newly formed Transitional Housing Program that serves 15 families within the 4-county radius that we serve (Anderson, Oconee, Pickens, and Greenville). In this program, participants can choose from living in a housing unit provided by the Upstate Homeless Coalition, or they can choose to live in an apartment of their choice. In both phases of the program, the participants will receive rental assistance payments from Safe Harbor on a decreasing scale. For example: Safe Harbor will pay 100% of their total amount of rent and utilities if they live in an apartment, for 6 consecutive months; then Safe Harbor will pay 75% of the total amount, and the participant will be responsible for 25% of the total amount of her rent and utilities for the next consecutive six months. The transitional housing program will continue assisting the participant with her rent and utilities in this manner, gradually decreasing the amount of assistance each six months until the client is responsible for paying the total amount of her rent and utilities in full after a 2 year period.