I am thrilled to announce a wonderful resource for victims of domestic violence. The first national online searchable domestic violence provider database in the United States went live this week. You can find it at www.domesticshelters.org.
Why is this so exciting?
Why am I so excited about this? I am the domestic violence advocate for my church. I have received frantic phone calls from women who have seen my name and phone number hidden on our church’s bathrooms. These are often women I have never met or spoken to. On a few occasions, they are calling to ask me where they can escape their abusive partners, today. At that point, I have begun calling all the shelters I know of in our area. I have an incomplete list of nearby DV shelters taped to the wall of my office. Most of the time, the shelters tell me they are full. If they aren’t full they tell me the victim must call them herself. They don’t actually say they have an opening, just that she must call them. At that point, I must call the victim back, and suggest she call that shelter.
Needless to say, this is not a very effective way for a victim to find a safe shelter to escape to.
Those days are over. Domesticshelter’s database, which was created by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), in partnership with Theresa’s Fund, (an Arizona-based private family foundation working to raise funds to fight domestic violence*), makes finding an emergency shelter near you quick and easy. DV victims can find a shelter for themselves easily on a computer, tablet or smart phone.
How Do You Use It?
Once you enter the site, you enter a portion of your address, such as your city, or your zip code, or just click on “my location,” and the program will discern where you are. You can click on which language you speak, which specific services you need, such as emergency local transportation, or assistance with orders of protection, and within how many miles you want the shelter to be located, (5, 10 15, 10, 50 or 100 miles), then hit enter.
The database will display a list of domestic violence shelters, sorted by those closest to you. Click on one, and you will see information about that shelter. Because the database is new, many of the shelters have little information available at this time. You may only find their hours of operation and their business phone number. At the bottom of each shelter’s information is a line that reads,
“Do you work at this location? Click here to claim this location or watch the ‘How to claim’ video.’”
This spot is for employees to enter additional information about their shelter. To look at a shelter that has completed entering in their profile, check out UMOM New Day Centers in Phoenix, AZ by clicking here. Once you click on their shelter, you will see they speak 12 languages, including sign language and Vietnamese. If you click on their emergency services, you will see they have food and clothing, case management, and 4 other services. If you click their Children Services, you will see they have a Daycare facility, after school programs, pet therapy, and six other services for children. What a great resource!
What else does domesticshelters.org offer?
On the home page, the site will educate you how to leave the site, and clear all signs you’ve been there, so your abuser won’t find out you’ve been searching for a DV shelter. Also, they have several helpful articles, such as:
- When it’s time to go (safety planning)
- How to get a personal protection order
- Do you know where your money is (achieving financial freedom).
You can also find Chat rooms for victims, and a list of state, national and global coalitions against DV.
Dear Lord, I thank you for all the people who have worked so hard to bring the project to fruition. I pray you will bless them. Please give courage to all the victims of domestic violence who will be able to escape their daily fear and pain because of this great resource. Walk with them, and keep them safe, please Lord. Amen.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
* For more about how these two organizations teamed up to create this online database, click here.