Everyone Deserves a Safe Community
Newton-Wellesley Hospital has a long-standing commitment to providing care and assistance to those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. Since 1993, the Hospital has engaged in various programs aimed at education, detection and prevention. In 2008, Newton-Wellesley established a formal Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program to provide comprehensive services, conduct training/education for healthcare providers, and strengthen and expand key collaborations with other community and public service agencies.
The Community Hospital Is the Ideal Setting
Locating specialized, confidential abuse programs within a hospital setting has been proven to minimize the barriers that many survivors encounter when using traditional social service agencies. The combination of universal abuse screening, patient trust in healthcare providers, and the perceived neutrality and safety of a hospital setting result in increased access to assistance.
“Abuse in highly educated and affluent communities is largely invisible. Residents of the western suburbs, for example, often will avoid shelters and grassroots agencies but are more likely to disclose information to family doctors,” aid Erin Miller, DV/SA Coordinator. “Indeed, this is just one reason why the program at Newton-Wellesley is so important.”
- Direct services – The first priority of the DV/SA Program has been to serve survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The program provides free and confidential services to survivors, including crisis intervention, safety planning, individual and family counseling, an anonymous hotline, and advocacy.
- Education/Training/Consultation – Integral to the program is a commitment to provide consult/training services to Hospital staff, primary care physicians (PCPs), social workers, and community partners/agencies to help identify, assess, and assist DV/SA survivors.
- Local and Statewide Collaborations – The program has also continued or established key collaborations with over 30 community and public service agencies/organizations and participates in a number of larger DV/SA initiatives.
The program initially provided free and confidential services to survivors, including crisis intervention, safety planning, individual and family counseling, an anonymous hotline, and advocacy. These services have been suspended due to the overwhelming demand. Philanthropy will make it possible to reinstate these services - see below for more information.
Since 2009, more than 800 individuals have received confidential services, 1,000 physicians and caregivers have been trained, and more than 30 community collaborations exist. In fact, 200-300 individuals seek our help each year – and this demand for services has grown beyond the Hospital’s capacity.
Philanthropy Needed to Fund Additional Resources
The growth in the need for direct survivor services has been overwhelming. At the Annual Gala in May 2012, funds were raised to support the hiring of one full-time DV/SA Advocate to provide crisis intervention and counseling directly to clients. Direct services are extremely labor-intensive, and health insurance doesn’t cover the specialized support needed during and after a crisis.
In addition, a portion of the Gala proceeds will be used for an Emergency Survivor Fund to financially assist those survivors who are trying to leave their abusive situations. This fund serves as a financial lifeline by providing cash for such emergency necessities as food, lodging/rent, transportation, legal assistance, etc.
While the Gala proceeds will provide adequate funding for the next five years, there remain opportunities for ongoing philanthropic support of the DV/SA program. By adding to these funds, you can help ensure that the Hospital will be able to meet the needs of survivors in our community for many years to come.
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