How Crisis Services helps people of Jackson County
Happy 2017! I don’t know about everyone else, but I am truly thankful to have survived the stress and strain of 2016 and am looking forward to the new year. Let’s believe 2017 will be a much happier and safer year for all of us.
Since I started writing this column in 2015, I often meet people out in the community who say they haven’t heard about us and ask me what we do at Crisis Services.
Crisis Services is a small non-profit (which means we depend on grants, corporate donations and occasional fundraisers to survive) located here in Scottsboro. There are three paid staff – I am the full-time Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and Lisa is our full time Domestic Violence Advocate. Christina has joined us and is working part-time as an Advocate and in Outreach. Our focus is helping survivors and their families deal with the aftermath of domestic violence and sexual violence. We are true advocates for our clients. We provide free and confidential crisis counseling during their initial trauma as well as on-going support for them throughout a period of time that may last a few days to a few years.
With survivors of sexual violence, (both male and female) I provide them with crisis counseling and I may even go with them for a forensic exam, stay with them when they work with law enforcement and the judicial system (if they choose to report), provide them with counseling opportunities and assist family members (called secondary victims) who are also traumatized by the assault on their loved ones. Frequently, I meet survivors many years after their assault who haven’t dealt with their complex feelings. I meet privately and sometimes in support groups with them to help them move forward with their lives. I also do outreach and teach classes in schools and colleges.
In the case of domestic violence, Lisa and Christina provide crisis counseling and guidance to help survivors develop and follow a safety plan. They also assist them in developing a permanent plan for survivors to live safely and move forward with their lives. Often we find that victims who have to urgently flee an abuser have to leave with little more than the clothes on their backs. We can initially assist with helping them find and maintain safe housing. Another part of our advocacy is assisting victims with getting clothing for themselves and their children. Sometimes they need furniture, bedding, kitchen items and other basic necessities.
As a non-profit we can only do so much. We depend on the generosity of local churches, community businesses and caring local volunteers to donate to our “closet.” We are always in need of the following:
Shampoo and conditioner
Toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss ,toothbrushes, deodorant, bath soap, Tampons, pads
Shaving cream and razors
Baby wipes, diapers,
Cleaning items (mops, brooms, dish liquid, mops, Lysol, bleach, Comet, and paper towels
Laundry detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets
Dishes- cups, glasses plates and bowls,
Cookware (pots and pans)
Cooking utensils (spatula, knives, etc.)
Bedding- sheets, blankets, towels and washcloths