October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. One in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.”(ncadv.org). Research shows that when children witness domestic violence, it can permanently alter their brains, causing anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem; difficulty sleeping, making friends, and concentrating in school; and higher rates of juvenile school drop-out, substance abuse, pregnancy, and crime.
To help mitigate the effects of domestic violence, CFS opened Safe Haven, our
supervised visit and safe exchange program. Our goal at Safe Haven is to remove stress
from parents so that they can focus their
energy on building and maintaining positive and healthy relationships with their children. Since Safe Haven began in 2004 with just seven families, the program has expanded to provide more than 40,800 visits and exchanges, serving over 2,400 children and families. In Fiscal Year 2023 alone, Safe Haven facilitated 1,053 visits and 793 exchanges. An average of 64 families and 81 children are served each month. Safe Haven creates staggered arrival times, separate entrances, communication services between parents, and visit supervision. This prevents children from suffering from witnessing or being a part of extreme conflicts or domestic violence. With the help of a recent grant from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) we will be expanding these services to our Harbor Springs office in 2024.
“The staff are very good with keeping me aware of the things that might be concerning.” --Safe Haven Parent
For more information on Safe Haven please visit: www.cfsnwmi.org/safe-haven
If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence there is help:
National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233
Women’s Resource Center in Traverse City 231-941-1210
Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan 231-347-0082
Call or text 211 for other local and state resources.