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Empowering Freedom: Domestic violence survivors find care from Friendship Home through Emergency Shelter program

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 9:04 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Where can you turn when home isn’t a safe place? One in three women in Nebraska has experienced sexual or physical violence and stalking by an intimate partner, according to the CDC.

This week we’re partnering with Friendship Home in a five-part series called “Empowering freedom from domestic violence.”

We spoke with a survivor who said Friendship Home’s Emergency Shelter program was a life-line.

“I’ve healed a lot and I’ve grown a lot,” said Joyce.

Joyce is a survivor of abuse and out of caution we’re hiding her identity, “Even though it’s a bad situation, you become accustomed to that way of life.”

The last few years she’s been relearning how to live a different life.

“How am I going to do this? And can I do this by myself,” said Joyce explaining the thoughts she’d once had.

Joyce was married to her husband for nearly 30 years and she said their relationship didn’t start off violent but over time his verbal, emotional and physical abuse escalated.

“Finally I became homeless with him and it was really ugly. I made a decision to just, enough was enough. I can’t do this anymore,” she explained.

That’s when Joyce reached out to Friendship Home and with her five kids, escaped into their Emergency Shelter.

“But you’re afraid. The fear sometimes can paralyze you,” said Joyce.

Last year 544 survivors of domestic violence stayed in Friendship Home’s Emergency Shelter. To break that number down even further, that’s 192 adults and 352 children.

“We’re able to be there and just guide them through the entire process,” explained Heidi, a Transitional Housing Specialist with Friendship Home.

Emergency sheltering usually lasts six to eight weeks and advocates first help survivors come up with a safety plan.

“Because that’s when the abuser escalates the most because they’ve lost some part of that power and control,” said Heidi.

From there the focus is healing. Friendship Home helps these families with essentially everything.

“You go down and you come back up and somebody just reaches their hand out and help you out, that’s what Friendship Home is. It’s a life-line,” said Joyce.

For those who may be reading or watching Joyce’s journey, she has a simple message, “Seek help. Do not be afraid to ask for help.”

Friendship Home averages 500 calls a month whether that’s for Emergency Shelter, advice or just to simply listen. Advocates said when the pandemic first started they were worried because calls dropped which meant that survivors were stuck at home with their abusers, but calls are now picking back up.

Domestic Violence Resources

If you’re experiencing violence at home, help is out there. You can call Friendship Home’s Crisis Line 24/7 at (402) 437-9302 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (866) 331-9474.

Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence compiled a list of the following resources for survivors throughout the state:

  • The Bridge in Fremont: Office (402) 721-4340; Crisis (888)721-4340
  • Crisis Center-Blair located in Blair: Office (402) 533-4411
  • Crisis Center-West Point located in West Point: Office (402) 372-2204
  • Bright Horizons in Norfolk: Office (402) 379-2026; Crisis (402) 379-3798 or (877) 379-3798
  • Bright Horizons - O’Neill located in O’Neill: Office (402) 336-1774
  • Bright Horizons - Ainsworth located in Ainsworth: Office (402) 382-5676
  • Catholic Charities The Shelter in Omaha: Office (402) 558-5700; Crisis (402) 558-5700
  • Center for Survivors in Columbus: Crisis (402) 564-2155 or (800) 658-4482
  • Crisis Center, Inc. in Grand Island: Crisis (308) 381-0555 or (866) 995-4422
  • Domestic Abuse/Sexual Assault Services in McCook: Crisis: (308) 345-5534 or (877) 345-5534
  • The DOVES Program in Gering: Office (308) 436-2787; Crisis (866) 953-6837
  • Haven House in Wayne: Office (402) 375-5433; Crisis (800) 440-4633
  • Healing Hearts & Families in Broken Bow: Crisis (308) 872-5988 or (800) 942-4040
  • Heartland Family Service in Papillion: Crisis (402) 292-5888 or (800) 523-3666
  • Hope Crisis Center in Fairbury: Office (402) 729-2570; Crisis (877) 388-4673
  • Hope Crisis Center- Crete: Office (402) 826-5727
  • Hope Crisis Center - Beatrice: Office (402) 223-6635
  • Hope Crisis Center - Seward: Office (402) 643-3056
  • Hope Crisis Center - York: Office (402) 362-7527
  • Parent-Child Center in Lexington: Crisis (308) 324-3040 or (800) 215-3040 for Spanish (308) 324-1942 or (866) 351-9594
  • Project Response in Auburn: Crisis (402) 274-5092 or (800) 456-5764
  • Rape/Domestic Abuse Program in North Platte: Crisis (308) 534-3495 or (888) 534-3495
  • S.A.F.E Center in Kearney: Crisis (308) 237-2599 or (877) 237-2513
  • Sandhills Crisis Intervention Program in Ogallala: Crisis (308) 284-6055
  • SASA Crisis Center in Hastings: Crisis (402) 463-4677 or (877) 322-7272 for Spanish (402) 463-5806
  • Voices of Hope in Lincoln: Crisis (402) 475-7273
  • WCA-Domestic Abuse/Sexual Assault Program in Omaha: Crisis (402) 345-7273 for Spanish Crisis (402) 672-7118

Native American Domestic Violence Programs

  • Ponca Tribe of Nebraska in Niobrara: Lincoln area (402) 438-9222 x204; Norfolk area (402) 371-8834; Omaha area (402) 734-5275 x3618; Sioux City area (712) 258-0500
  • Omaha Nation Abuse Intervention Project: (402) 837-5391
  • Omaha Nation Community Response Team Rural Domestic Violence Program in Walthill: Crisis (402) 922-3712; Crisis Line Toll Free:(844) 299-9612
  • Santee Sioux Nation in Niobrara: (402) 857-2302
  • Winnebago Domestic Violence Program in Winnebago: (402) 878-2272
  • Winnebago Tribal Court: (402) 878-2570
  • Family Violence Council in Lincoln: (402) 489-9292
  • Women’s Fund of Omaha Domestic Violence Council: (402) 827-9280

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