Crisis Center North announces expansion of Mobile Advocacy Program
Friday, September 6, 2019 | 2:56 PM
Partnering with Community Sites to Reach Underserved
Victims and Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence.
(Pittsburgh, PA, September 6, 2019) Crisis Center North (CCN) announces the expansion of its Mobile Advocacy Program serving victims and survivors of intimate partner violence after obtaining a $350,000 grant from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).
Mobile advocacy is an innovative service that enables anti-violence advocates to work in the community, meeting survivors of intimate partner violence in predetermined safe locations that are both secure and convenient for the client. This critical program mitigates the barriers for some victims who might not be able to receive crisis services at traditional brick-and-mortar domestic violence agencies, due to factors such as lack of transportation, scheduling issues, etc.
The VOCA-funded mobile advocacy expansion supports CCN advocates to work with traditionally underserved and marginalized populations, including individuals identifying as LGBTQ+; people with substance use concerns; immigrants; people of color; and clients without access to any form of transportation.
“For me, true healing only became possible when trauma-informed care and addiction therapy crossed,” explained one client of the program. “The help I received from Crisis Center North’s Mobile Advocacy was unlike any other type of care, because it was always self-directed; and, I never once felt alone.”
The mobile expansion enables CCN to leave its flagship office to serve survivors of intimate partner violence at community college campuses, transitional housing organizations, disability advocacy groups, and inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facilities. All sites are kept private for client confidentiality, but are accessed through site referral or when calling CCN’s 24/7 crisis hotline. CCN has also recently launched a new location in Sharpsburg, as well as in faith communities, while maintaining prior community partnerships. In addition, the expansion has enabled CCN to hire a third mobile advocate to better serve the changing needs of the community while meeting clients in predetermined safe places.
When CCN’s Mobile Advocacy program was first piloted in fall 2017, it was immediately clear that the program was reaching a previously underserved clientele, due to the overwhelming response.
“We were tired of telling survivors no or that we couldn’t see them because of transportation or location or schedule,” expressed Stacy de las Alas, CCN Assistant Director. Thus, CCN took the initiative to build the program around the needs of the community, rather than making survivors fit into the traditional victim service mold, de las Alas furthers.
Since the 2017 pilot, the mobile advocacy program has continued to steadily grow, having served over 400 unduplicated victims of domestic and intimate partner violence in the northern and western regions of Allegheny County.
According to Shannon Shaffer, CCN Mobile Advocacy Coordinator, “It is not uncommon for our clients to state how they have never had the chance to talk with anyone about their experience before…that they simply couldn’t access traditional victim services.”
ABOUT CRISIS CENTER NORTH: Crisis Center North (CCN) is a non-profit counseling and resource center that provides services to victims and significant others of domestic and intimate partner violence in northern and western Allegheny County. Services provided include individual and group counseling, case management, legal and medical advocacy, economic empowerment, housing-first programming, and prevention education. Since 1978, CCN has empowered victims of domestic violence and cultivated community attitudes and behaviors that help break the cycle of violence. The Center’s services are free, professional, and confidential, and provided to individuals regardless of race, age, gender, disability, economic status, sexual orientation, or nationality.
For individuals experiencing domestic violence, please contact our 24/7 confidential crisis hotline at (412) 364-5556, or toll-free at 1 (866) 782-0911. Please visit www.crisiscenternorth.org for more information.
If you would like more information about Crisis Center North or this topic, please contact Jeremy Armstrong at (412) 364-6728, or via email at [email protected]