Franklin Countys First News

Safe Voices: Making the connection

FARMINGTON - What would you do if you were in trouble, or unsafe, and needed help? Would you call your mom, dad, best friend, older sister? The police? Your family doctor? 211?

What about your familiarity with more specialized community resources? Who do you go to if you need legal assistance, or are looking for a particular type of support group?

The reality is that if you can name 2-3 people you know you can always ask for help, you’re in pretty good shape compared to some. Having that support network is key to an individual’s safety and overall success so much so that as part of our work at Safe Voices, we encourage children to think of who their trusted adults are, as a way to build comfort asking for help and increase resiliency.

But, for some people the answer is sadly, they would call no one, and most likely receive help only when their problem has become a crisis, and only have that help for a short period of time. For many people in our community, especially those who are affected by domestic abuse, including elder abuse, child abuse and neglect, and teen dating violence, asking for help could be the difference between safety and harm, but they feel there is no one person or resource they can safely contact.

People shouldn’t be surprised when victims of abuse express feeling like they have no natural supports – a common tactic of an abusive partner is to control who their victim socializes with, where they go, where (or if) they work, and so on, until the victim is left isolated and alone, under the control of the abuser. This means that when someone is leaving an abusive relationship, they are also often tasked with rebuilding their support networks from the ground up at the same time they are finding safe housing, transportation, and other material support.

Safe Voices can fill some of those gaps – giving survivors a space to be heard, answering questions, in some cases even providing safe, emergency shelter – but it can’t replace a friendship, or step in and be someone’s parents, or give them other important resources like medical care or legal advice. For that, Safe Voices relies on community partners to step in and become part of that survivors network of support. And it encourages people to reach out, form connections and in the process become safer and healthier.

Making this connection doesn’t have to be a one-way street – everyone in the community can play a part in helping victims stay safe, simply by reaching out and maintaining those important connections and being part of someone’s support network. All this takes is compassion, patience and listening. And when people choose to make that connection to someone who is vulnerable, and in need of help, they’re not just helping them – they’re helping the entire community be a safer, more welcoming place.

If you are interested in learning more about Safe Voices, please visit its website at www.safevoices.org. If you are a healthcare provider interested in learning how to make easy, direct referrals to a Safe Voices advocate, please contact Hillary Hooke at 778-6297.

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2 Responses »

  1. A very tall order. Who will/can step up?

  2. Safe Voices was there for me when I was in court for a domestic violence incident. I was very thankful for their help. A great service for anyone who needs help and support.

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