Recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month
“I will say that when I first arrived, I was very afraid for my safety and always on edge, but while being here and receiving counseling and doing workshops, I now feel more safe and protected, and I know what to do in situations now.”
– client of our Domestic Violence Shelter at Family Shelter Service of Metropolitan Family Services DuPage
Our residential crisis shelter program welcomed Megan* (name changed to protect her identity) and her four children after they escaped a lethal domestic violence situation; her abuser had threatened to harm Megan and her immediate family, forcing her to leave home. Once safe in our residential crisis shelter, Megan met weekly with Lizbeth Chaidez, her Safe Adult Advocate.
In those conversations, Lizbeth offered Megan one-on-one emotional support and counseling, connected her with a legal advocate through our shelter’s partnership with the Legal Aid Society, and shared resources to assist Megan in securing employment and housing, as well as setting and working toward budget goals. Megan’s kids also met with a children’s advocate weekly for counseling.
Megan and her children are now safe and happy. After leaving our shelter, she reached out to thank Lizbeth for all the support she received through the shelter. Megan shared she’s now working for a major airline and found a beautiful home. She’s won full custody of her children, and now that they’ve moved into a new home, they’re happy and excited about going to a new school in their district.
When a child service program referred Ana to Metropolitan, she did not have custody of her child or any support from her family, and shared that she felt alone in this world. Once she found consistent emotional support with Tracye Brown, her Safe Adult Advocate, she also began attending our weekly Domestic Violence Educational Group and connected with other survivors.
Ana recently shared an update with Tracye:
“I wanted to thank you so much for helping me reunite with my daughter! I regained custody … Her father has no contact with her, and I have moved out of state with my new partner, daughter, and the baby we had together. I couldn’t have done this without the support and help from Metro, and especially without you. I hope all is well and you continue to change lives.”
Did you know? On average, more than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the US will experience rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner.
At Family Shelter Service of Metropolitan Family Services DuPage, we continue to provide wraparound services to survivors of domestic violence in DuPage County. Our staff use evidence-based approaches to navigate their work with survivors, build trusting relationships, and assist with accessing the care and services families require.
Metropolitan’s Domestic Violence programs include a range of services:
- Emotional Support Counseling and Case Management Services
Staff provide safety planning, individual and group counseling, case management, and connections with additional resources for survivors of partner abuse and their children, and for teens and children who have witnessed domestic violence.
- Court Advocacy
Advocates embedded at the Domestic Violence Courthouse accompany clients to court, helping navigate the civil and criminal processes of breaking free from their abuser. Advocates also assist clients with safety planning and accessing resources, such as housing and shelter, food, clothing, transportation, and financial assistance.
- Human and Sex Trafficking
Attorneys with the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services, as well as experienced pro bono volunteers, represent survivors of human/sex trafficking on legal issues regarding their exploitation or immigration status. Services are available in more than 20 languages and include establishing legal residence in the U.S., filing criminal charges against their trafficker, accessing safe housing and/or cash assistance, and connecting with a range of additional resources.
- Legal Representation
LAS attorneys assist with Orders of Protection and dissolution of marriage petitions, which include allocation of parental decision making, parenting time, child support, division of property and debt, and maintenance.
Participants in our Domestic Violence programs also benefit from Metropolitan’s wide range of holistic support services in education, emotional wellness, economic stability, and empowerment, available at our community centers across the greater Chicagoland area.