LSS CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence
Interrupting the cycle of domestic violence in our community and advocating for social change
LSS CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence is the only domestic violence focused shelter in Franklin County providing safe haven and a 24-hour crisis and information hotline. In addition to providing shelter and a 24-hour crisis and information hotline, CHOICES offers counseling and support groups, legal and community advocates, transitional housing, and domestic violence awareness and prevention education.
Since December 2020, we’ve been consistently operating above capacity, and our most recently completed fiscal year saw a 34% increase in the number of unduplicated clients served by our shelter compared to the previous year.
The need for domestic violence services is high in our community. Each year, Franklin County police make more than 4,100 domestic violence arrests, more than any other crime. Annually 50,000 women in Franklin County are physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner, and 33% of women will experience domestic violence at some time.
This $25,000 will provide 437 nights of safe shelter to domestic violence victims, mostly women and their children. This year, we anticipate serving about 2,000 clients in our community, including providing 52,500 nights of shelter to 875 unduplicated shelter clients. Also, we expect to answer more than 4,000 crisis hotline calls.
Access to immediate safe shelter is at the core of CHOICES services to domestic violence victims. In addition to a safe place to stay, CHOICES offers meals, case management, legal advocacy, childcare, parent and youth support, crisis counseling, and kennel services for pets.
CHOICES’ services are available to all domestic violence victims, including men, members of the LGBTQ community, and those with limited English skills. Typically, our shelter serves people who have low incomes, such as the working poor or victims who have had access to their financial resources blocked by their abuser. Annually, about half of the shelter population is children.
Everything CHOICES does is designed to help domestic violence victims heal from trauma, gain a sense of self-worth, and learn strategies to move forward safely and successfully. When the victim is a parent, the children benefit from the immediate safety and stability and learn healthy behaviors that they can use throughout their lives. Children witnessing parental abuse are more likely to repeat the pattern, so it is vital to expose them to positive, alternative behaviors.
CHOICES also benefits the wider community by reducing the costs associated with domestic violence. Our research indicates that domestic violence conservatively costs Franklin County more than $41 million annually in terms of health care, lost productivity, law enforcement, and children’s services. By interrupting the cycle of domestic violence, CHOICES conservatively saves the community an estimated $8.6 million annually.