Helping Families Live Free From Victimization and Abuse, Through Dedication and Hard Work
By Stepping Stones Agencies
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is recognized each October as a time to honor and remember those affected by intimate partner violence and other forms of abuse. Since 1980, Stepping Stones Agencies’ 24/7/365 advocacy services and safe shelter for adults and children affected by domestic violence have worked around the clock to ensure families can find the safety, support, and hope they need to live free from all forms of victimization in the future.
Advocates are trained to serve adults and their children by addressing the traditional issues around housing, personal finance, self-worth, empowerment, and resiliency. But, they are also trained to be very knowledgeable and skilled in addressing co-existing issues of domestic violence with other types of trauma, victimization, substance abuse, and dependency issues. For families living in safe shelters over the past year, 79 percent experienced some form of abuse as a child, and 75 percent also struggled with some form of substance abuse.
The members of the Stepping Stones team knew early on that if we really wanted to help families change their lives, find their way out of poverty, homelessness, or whatever other crisis they were experiencing, it was key for advocates to become skilled at addressing more than just the traditional surface issues. That’s why advocates go beyond upholding victims’ rights and addressing traditional needs; they also help expose and examine the deeper issues that are potentially contributing to keeping families vulnerable to repeated victimization and abuse.
In honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we acknowledge those who are affected by domestic violence, as well as the amazing dedication of our advocates. Together, they work hard to ensure that families can live free from abuse. Advocates are skilled professionals … and they are also peers, mentors, and knowledgeable advisors to the adults who seek support daily. And, they are loving and nurturing caregivers to all the children who walk through the doors.
To highlight how advocates and families work together, read this short note from a woman who received supportive advocacy services:
“My experience has been so amazing. I am so grateful to have been blessed with such helpful resources and acceptance. It is so refreshing to be able to have someone who understands my position. The empathy, openness, acceptance, and direct help from the advocates was just what I needed to navigate this situation. I felt so helpless and now I feel like I actually have a chance to get out of my nightmare, move forward, and support my kids.”
Thank you to the advocates who work tirelessly, the families who commit to true life change, and our local friends and supporters who ensure advocates can be available 24/7/365 to our West Yavapai County communities.
To learn more about Stepping Stones Agencies services, visit www.SteppingStonesAZ.org.