Spokane, Washington. – The YWCA serves inland northwest residents in many ways, including through various domestic violence programs.
“We have a domestic violence safe shelter in a home setting, where each survivor has their own individual room,” said Jeanette Hauk, CEO of YWCA Spokane. “We believe that creates what we call ‘Beloved Community’ and the ability for survivors to start moving from crisis to stability, to look for additional housing and to find out what their next steps are after fleeing the perpetrator.”
YWCA’s domestic violence services recently received funding from the Avista Foundation – a grant that will support the many different types of domestic violence services handled by the YWCA.
“Funding is not only to support the shelter, but it’s also to make sure that our clients have all the necessities they need when they flee the domestic violence situation,” Hauk said. “Sometimes they come with just the clothes on their back. They have nothing, no bedding, no clothing for themselves or their children.”
Every year, the YWCA provides more than 15,000 services in the domestic violence program. That number includes calls to the domestic violence crisis hotline, someone who moves into the shelter, or a hotel room provided by the YWCA.
“In addition to helping people in that moment of crisis, we also help them find housing, or with legal services,” Hauk said. “We also provide them with additional safety planning, for instance helping them understand what they need to do with their phone so that they can't be tracked if the perpetrator is stalking them.”
The goal of the YWCA’s domestic violence program is to empower the survivor to make good decisions for their future, a task that may sound simple but is very challenging to accomplish in the aftermath of a domestic violence situation.
“We provide parenting classes, art therapy, nature walks, and therapeutic yoga to help with the healing,” Hauk said. Therapists are available to help survivors work through traumatic experiences and help with any mental health issues that may surface during healing.
The YWCA also works with healthcare professionals and helps them ask the right questions of the patients they contact. A simple question on a doctor’s form like “do you feel safe at home” may be the first time a domestic violence survivor dares to talk about what’s going on.
“Healthcare professionals, whether that's dental hygienists, nurses, or physicians, can ask that question,” Hauk said, “and we can help educate anyone about what domestic violence looks like, how to support someone who has experienced domestic violence, and where to find help.”
At Avista, we recognize our unique position gives us the chance to contribute in an impactful way and make a real difference in people's lives. Since 2002, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling over $13 million to organizations that support vulnerable and limited income populations, education, and economic and cultural vitality. For more information on grant applications and geographical areas covered, please visit avistafoundation.com.