The need for Womanspace services continues to grow. The development of innovative programs, community collaborations and volunteerism makes the breadth of our services and outreach possible. In the past three years, the number of victims of interpersonal violence served in direct client-based programs experienced a 57% increase in the number of women served, 158% growth in the number of children served, and a nearly 70% increase in the number of men served.
Family violence is one of the major health, safety and economic problems in the country today. The pattern of control that abusive partners use to manipulate their victims is a travesty and a growing problem that permeates silently through neighborhoods and communities close to home.
Children exposed to domestic violence may experience a wide variety of stressors which can affect their social, emotional and behavioral health.
During 2010, Mercer County reported 2,923 domestic violence offenses, including 2 homicides.
• Of those, children were involved or present during 31%—or 906—of the offenses.
• During 2010, Mercer County police reported that 202 children were present while the non-offending parent received crisis assistance from a Womanspace Victims Response Advocate.
• A child is 10–17 times more likely to encounter serious emotional and behavioral problems if they have witnessed domestic violence than a child in a non-violent home.
Womanspace feels it is important to provide children with an opportunity to let their voice be heard, accepted and understood.
Recently, Womanspace moved to a new, larger home that is enabling long-needed growth. For the first time in 35 years of advocacy, all counselors, emergency response coordinators, educators and administrative staff are now located at one, handicapped accessible location.
A cornerstone of this expansion was the launch of the Children’s Program. Womanspace will concentrate on children ages 18 and under, along with their non-abusing parent/caregiver. Using developmentally appropriate modalities of therapeutic care, children will have a safe place to express their fears and understand they are not responsible for the violence. By also being involved, the non-offending parent will receive support for themselves and learn how to support their child’s emotional well-being moving forward.