DVS just completed a full calendar of events throughout the month of October, in observance of DV Awareness Month. This observance has three goals: mourning lives lost, honoring the advocates who work to end the violence, and celebrating survivors.
Mourning lives lost. In 2011, Lancaster County launched the Silent Witness Project, a collaboration between the DA’s office, Penn Medicine/LGH and DVS. The project, which consist of life-sized silhouettes that bear true stories, honors lives lost in our county due to domestic abuse. As a result, family members have mourned their loved ones, and community awareness of the potential lethality of domestic violence has increased. The Silent Witnesses traveled to multiple locations in October, including the Ephrata Public Library, Penn Medicine/LGH, Elizabethtown College, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, and the Lancaster LGBTQ+ Center.
Honoring the Advocates. This is so critical. Domestic violence advocates, many of whom are survivors themselves, do not always see the positive impact of their work. They are affected by vicarious trauma, and burnout rates are high in our profession. At DVS, we are committed to spending more time supporting each other, celebrating our successes, and acknowledging the important work that we do, 24/7, to walk alongside survivors.
Celebrating Survivors. DVS chose a theme for our community outreach activities in 2022: “Connecting the Dots” … that is, connecting the dots between DVS and survivors, between DVS and our community partners, and between domestic violence and other challenges that survivors face.
One such dot is the connection between DV survivors and housing. Beyond physical safety, finding safe, affordable permanent housing is the uppermost issue on the minds of survivors displaced from their homes. It is also their biggest challenge.
We shared the exciting news in October – DVS has expanded the continuum of housing options that we are able to offer to survivors.
DVS secured a Transitional Housing grant from the Office on Violence Against Women to expand staffing and services at Bridge House, our transitional housing program with ten clustered-site apartments. Bridge House provides a critical interim step, or bridge, between crisis and permanent housing. Survivors may participate in the program for six months to 2 years and access a full range of supportive services. Hundreds of families have benefitted from Bridge House over the past 25 years, and in the last year, two residents transitioned directly to homeownership!
In 2019, DVS began a partnership with the Factory Ministries in eastern Lancaster county on a crisis housing to rapid rehousing project (TH-RRH) funded by HUD. This project, with housing and case management by the Factory and counseling/advocacy by DVS, is now in its third year.
Finally, in 2021, DVS was supported by the Homelessness Coalition to apply for additional HUD DV Bonus Project funds for three programs based at DVS: Crisis to RRH, RRH, and Coordinated Entry. This project was awarded and began on November 1. It will bring three new staff members to DVS, rounding out our continuum of housing options for survivors.
Thank you for celebrating with us. We appreciate your support of DVS, and of victims and survivors of domestic abuse!
Wishing you peace and safety in your homes,
Christine A. Gilfillan
Director of Domestic Violence Services
A Successful Launch
On September 29, we launched Domestic Violence Awareness Month at the Ware Center. Thank you Millersville University sponsor, STOP Team member, and longtime supporter of DVS: Chief Pete Anders and the Millersville University Police Department. Thank you for providing sponsorship for this event!
And thank you to Jody Heinrich, Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Maria Williams, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Anna Beasley, The Factory Ministries, for connecting the dots with our work and speaking at the launch.
A Catalyst for Change
We appreciate everyone who came out for an impactful evening to honor and celebrate the resilience of domestic violence survivors on Thursday, October 20. This year has been a year of growth and resilience for Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County. Our 2022 theme, “Connect the Dots,” speaks to the work being done to make the necessary connections between DVS and survivors, DVS and professional systems and organizations, and DVS and the broader community.
We also recognized DANA HAMP GULICK, an outspoken advocate and survivor working to raise awareness and eliminate domestic violence in Lancaster County, as the 2022 Catalyst for Change Award Recipient.
We are grateful to be in a community that recognizes the work that needs to be done and supports us. Thank you for connecting the dots with us!
Baked Goods for a Cause
Thank you to everyone who stopped by the 3rd Annual Bakers’ Uprising Bake Sale & Community Health for Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County! The bakers put their heart and soul into their baked goods to support victims and survivors of domestic violence and raised $3,070!
Thank you Bakers for taking a stand and supporting our community. It’s so great to be a part of such a collaborative community. If you would like to join in and become a part of their bakers collective, feel free to reach out through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on Instagram.
Speaking Witness: Stories from Domestic Violence Survivors
Storytelling has long been used as a way to connect, a means to record history and a catalyst for change. DVS hosted an intimate evening of storytelling focused on personal stories of intimate partner and domestic violence.
Survivors want us to know about their experiences in an effort to advocate for change and with the hope that others will avoid becoming victims themselves by learning from the life lessons they share. You are not alone.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamations
DVS was honored to accept proclamations from both Lancaster City and Lancaster County recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and DVS’s commitment to helping and supporting victims and survivors throughout Lancaster County. We are fortunate to live in a community that so strongly supports our efforts. We can’t do this work alone.
A Furry Support
Research shows abusers often have a pattern of violence towards all members of the household – including children and pets. When domestic violence survivors seek to flee their abusers, many are faced with the challenge of finding shelter for themselves, their children, and their pets.
CHALK About Domestic Violence
Let’s 𝘊𝘏𝘈𝘓𝘒 about domestic violence. In collaboration with the Lancaster City Bureau of Police, Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County is Chalking it Up for Domestic Violence Awareness to help end Domestic Violence by getting the word out!
Love Shouldn’t Hurt
A Community in Solidarity
Continuing the Conversation
Do you want to help domestic violence survivors, but you aren’t sure what you can do? We’re here to help. We hope you will join us in standing up for survivors in October and throughout the year. Here’s how you can get involved:
- Sign up to be an advocate.
- Start a Facebook Fundraiser.
- Set up a monthly donation.
- Share your story.
- Become a sponsor.
- Attend the events.
- Schedule a Circle of Support.
For more information, contact Angela Keen, DVS Volunteer & Community Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com
About Domestic Violence Services (DVS) of Lancaster County
DVS is a catalyst to eliminate domestic violence in Lancaster County through direct service, advocacy, and social change. DVS offers 24/7 hotline and text line, emergency shelter, counseling, children’s programming, legal advocacy and representation, and transitional housing. All services are free of charge and strictly confidential. DVS hosts professional trainings and community education and prevention sessions for schools, businesses and community and faith-based organizations. For more information, visit caplanc.org/DVS.