Emotional support is important when you are in any crisis situation, and the 24-hour Safe Harbor hotline is a major resource center. Contrary to what many people think, the Hotline offer victims of sexual and domestic violence more than shelter, counseling and court advocacy. The hotline representatives are trained to safety plan, brainstorm and offer suggestions to callers based on their individual situations.
Financial abuse prevents victims from having access to resources and money. Domestic abuse often leads to isolation from families and friends. Asking the client about their support system is key in finding other options for their safety other than an emergency shelter. In many cases the victim simply wants to return to their family but has no transportation or money.
At a community outreach affair at Ebenezer Baptist Church over a year ago, I sat beside Carol Adams, a Richmond City police officer and domestic violence advocate. She whispered in my ear and said, “If any of your clients need a bus ticket to go home, let me know.” I took her up on the offer about two weeks later, and Carol went online to purchase tickets for a mother and her three small children to return to New York City. Carol even met the family at the bus stop and wished them well. I was so touched by this act of kindness by the Carol Adams Foundation.
In the last year Safe Harbor reunited victims with families in Florida, Maine, Oregon, Washington DC and New York by providing bus tickets and offering supportive counseling. Some of the victims were in the emergency shelter, on the streets and in the bus terminal. Taxi fare and bus fare were given in some cases to assist with transportation cost upon their arrival home, in the place where they truly want to be.
Director of Safe Houses