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What to Expect From a Domestic Violence Program

What to expect if you call a program:

  • A caring listening ear. All programs have people who can listen and help you sort out options. 
  • Advocacy services. Most programs have specially trained advocates who can help with  welfare, CPS, disAbilityservices, immigration, housing, employment protections, and more.
  • Emergency shelter. Many programs offer shelter or safe homes. 
  • Transitional housing. Some programs have longer term housing for survivors.
  • Support groups. Some programs run groups for children, youth and adults.
  • Legal advocacy. Most programs offer information about protection orders and other civil matters. Most do not provide legal counsel, but can refer you to free or low cost attorneys.
  • Crisis services. Many programs offer 24-hour crisis services.

What to expect if you go to an emergency shelter:

  • Shelters are free — no fees are charged to stay.  Many shelters have time limits for how long you can stay.
  • Most shelters have shared kitchens, common areas, and bathrooms.  Shelters provide the food but if you have special dietary concerns (i.e., gluten-free, allergies), you should let the staff know. 
  • If you have children, you will probably all share one bedroom.
  • If you are alone, you may have to share a room.
  • You are responsible for taking care of your own children.
  • All shelters must welcome service animals.
  • However, most shelters cannot accommodate pets. Many will work with you to make arrangements to have your pets cared for elsewhere.
  • Shelters have laundry facilities and supply linens (sheets, towels and blankets).
  • Many have emergency clothing and toiletries available for the first few days of a stay.
  • You will be asked to honor the privacy of other residents by not discussing their names or situations with anyone else.
  • Shelters are concerned about everybody's safety, so you may be asked to keep the location a secret.
  • Visitors are generally not allowed.
  • Shelters can be stressful---you will be in a group living situation with others who are experiencing tough times too!