Grant to help domestic violence victims in Sikeston area

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Standard Democrat

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Domestic violence victims in the Sikeston area will now have more services available to them than ever before.

Bootheel Counseling Services recently received a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health that allows the agency to work more closely with the House of Refuge and encourage victims of domestic violence or intimate partner violence to get the help they need.

Jennifer Hartlein, director of fund development and public relations at Bootheel Counseling Services, said the two-year grant was designed to benefit women who receive services at either agency. It will help offset costs for individual and group counseling services for women who are victims of domestic violence, she said.

"By working together, we hope to reach more women in need of services," Hartlein said. "We will focus on three key components for treatment: self esteem and evaluation of self worth; assertiveness and evaluation of assertiveness; and healthy decision-making that promotes a life without violence."

The hope is also to have peer-led groups at both the House of Refuge and Bootheel Counseling Services, Hartlein said.

"We look forward to collaborating with House of Refuge on this grant project," Hartlein said. "Both agencies have a long history of serving individuals in our community."

Crystal Peyton, executive director of the House of Refuge, agreed. She said being able to partner with Bootheel Counseling Services is really beneficial because there are so many women who are victims of domestic violence.

"This grant is really great because we don't have a whole lot of options for women who need counseling at our facility," Peyton said.

Sometimes -- because of the abuse -- victims may have depression and substance abuse problems, and they really need counseling to help them, Peyton said. Without this grant, that option is really limited, she said.

"A lot of time clients don't have insurance that would cover counseling of any sort, and if they do, they may have only one or two sessions covered," Peyton explained.

On average 160 clients -- both residential and nonresidential -- come through the House of Refuge in any given year, Peyton said. Nearly 200 hot line calls are received in a given year, too, she said, adding numbers are typically a bit higher during the holidays.

While women and children are typically those who use the House of Refuge, men also benefit from the Refuge. There's no housing for men, but the Refuge does offer off-site services and referrals for men who need assistance, Peyton said.

Both Hartlein and Peyton pointed out the announcement comes just in time for October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

"It's important for people to realize domestic violence isn't just being hit," Peyton said. "There's a psychological aspect to it as well. There's the emotional abuse women can go through that can be even more harmful than the physical violence, and I think people tend to forget that."

Those needing assistance from the House of Refuge may call the toll-free crisis hot line at 877-633-3843, or for more information, visit Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence's website at mocadsv.org.

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