Domestic Violence Services

October Monthly Mission: 

Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA

In Pennsylvania, more than ten million are abused each year in the United States. One in four women and one in seven men experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner. The mission for October is Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pennsylvania.                                                     

The mission of Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pennsylvania is to increase awareness of domestic violence and its effect on the community, to empower those victimized by providing advocacy and safe and effective services, and to work for social changes designed to eliminate domestic violence.                                                     

DV Services currently offers a variety of “violence-free” presentations to students, pre-K through college.                          

Pre-K through Middle School program focus on identifying and naming feelings, positive communication, self-esteem, conflict-resolution and bullying-prevention.                                             

Middle School-College programs address Dating Violence and Cyberbullying.

Coaching Boys into Men

Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM) is an evidence-based program that provides high school athletic coaches with the tools they need to address critical topics with their players: respectful relationships with dating partners, consent and what to do if a player witnesses harassment or sexual assault. The program empowers athletes, who are often leaders in school culture, to model healthy, respectful behaviors for their peers. The #MeToo movement has focused on sexual harassment in the workplace, but sexual harassment begins much earlier. Middle and high school students say that sexual harassment from classmates, teachers and staff is a regular occurrence at school, that it is not taken seriously, and that perpetrators are rarely held accountable. The NO MORE K-12 video series features local high school students talking about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in school.

Facts about sexual harassment in school:

· While any student can experience sexual harassment, girls are targeted more frequently than boys with girls of color experiencing higher rates of being kissed or touched without their consent  And, the majority of LGBTQ students have experienced some form of harassment at school

· More than 20% of middle school age male athletes admit to having sexually harassed someone in the last three months

· More than half of 7th-12th grade girls have experienced some form of sexual harassment

Schools have a legal obligation to protect students from sexual harassment, to intervene when it occurs and to take steps to prevent sexual harassment from happening. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. Title IX requires schools to take steps to prevent and respond to sexual harassment including sexual violence .                  

Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA provides safe houses in Washington and Fayette Counties to women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. All services are free of charge and completely confidential. They can provide transportation to the safe house if located in Washington, Greene, or Fayette counties.

The safe house is staffed 24/7 by trained domestic violence Counselor/Advocates and volunteers. Those staying in the safe house who wish to talk one-on-one to a Counselor/Advocate may do so at any time of the day or night.                      

Support groups are held strictly for residents in the safe house on a regular basis. While they are not mandatory, most women find them to be informative and helpful.                                                               

Safe house residents are asked to identify the goals they wish to accomplish during their stay. The safe house staff are available to help those during their stay achieve their goals by providing information and referrals, options, advocacy with area agencies when needed, and various applications.                                                      

Children’s Advocates are available to work with children in the safe house. Children may be seen individually or in a group setting to talk about age-appropriate topics relating to domestic violence, such as hands are not for hitting, bullying, and safety planning.                                                

Many women who are in need of safe housing are unable to bring their personal belongings, and they often do not have access to money for food, clothing, or personal care items. Food and donated clothing are provided and always available to women in the safe house.                           

Your contribution matters! Every day, DVSSP works to empower those who have been victimized by partner violence and reassure them that they deserve to be safe and free from violence. By supporting Domestic Violence Service of Southwestern PA, you are helping women and children who may feel alone and providing them the comfort of knowing there is a safe place to go.