The Centurion

Local Domestic Violence Organization Offers Support and Expert Legal Advice

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Ella Garratt

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Only a phone call away, A Woman’s Place serves as Bucks County’s only domestic abuse organization and remains dedicated by offering support to over 3,000 clients annually as well as providing a range of options, including expert attorneys on staff.

With a 24-hour hotline available, women are able to get the help they need, discuss options with employees, or simply have a heart-to-heart conversation with trained professionals.

With a 7-bedroom Emergency Shelter, sometimes space gets tight—but A Woman’s Place extends its assistance by providing myriad options.

This may appear to be a large number of clients, phone calls and bedrooms, but domestic violence is more common than most people think – according to the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. Still not convinced? Domestic violence is especially important for college-aged students to be aware of, as 16 to 24-year-olds are the most commonly affected age group.

Jesse Steele, the Director of Development for A Woman’s Place, offered insight as to how the organization operates if there is an overflow of clients. “There is never a case in which a client calls and we simply do not have the capacity to offer services. If there is a specific service that is overloaded at a particular time, we rely on our incredible community partners and sister agencies to ensure clients get the services they need.”

While the majority of A Woman’s Place clients are female, domestic violence sufferers are not limited to just women—about 1 in 7 men experience abuse from an intimate partner. A Woman’s Place serves anyone and everyone seeking help, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Steele delved into the intricacies of offering clients not only support, but legal advice, saying, “Legal action isn’t necessarily the best option for every client, but A Woman’s Place does offer a range of options for our clients for whom the courts are the best option. Clients wishing to obtain a Protection from Abuse or PFA order can do so without necessarily requiring a lawyer, but the help of a trained advocate from our Legal Advocacy program is incredibly useful to our clients.”

Domestic violence cases rarely go to trial, and less than 2 percent of cases result in the perpetrator receiving jail time, according to the American Psychological Association. However, a legal battle is not always best option, which is why A Woman’s Place offers expert opinions with trained Legal Advocates.

Legal Advocates go beyond just providing pamphlets and anecdotes – they give individualized advice. “Legal Advocates explain the benefits and risks of a PFA, guide clients through the process of obtaining a PFA, and provide support through court accompaniment during the process,” says Steele.

Amidst the domestic violence and sexual assault news stories that have brought domestic abuse into the spotlight, A Woman’s Place is doing its part by breaking the culture of silence that surrounds domestic violence and brutality.

“A Woman’s Place helps more people to learn how to be allies to their friends, co-workers, and neighbors who might be experiencing abuse. Our community educators are a massive part of this work. Through our partnerships with 12 of the 13 school districts in Bucks County, we reached over 6,000 students in over 200 classrooms last year alone. We frequently provide healthy relationships education to businesses, faith communities, civic organizations as well,” said Steele.

If you or someone you know is threatened by domestic abuse, violence, or brutality, A Woman’s Place is an excellent place to get help, guidance, and assess future options.

 

 

 

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The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College
Local Domestic Violence Organization Offers Support and Expert Legal Advice