The scars of domestic violence are usually deeper than those from other types of trauma. Prolonged abuse that occurs in the home, the place where we are supposed to feel safe, leaves a different kind of scar.
For adult women and men who are or were in an abusive relationship with an intimate partner, domestic violence counseling offers help to:
Abuse may be emotional, physical, spiritual, and/or sexual. Counseling can be face-to-face with a counselor. Or, it can be in a support group for women with other abused women, facilitated by trained counselors. (At present, we do not offer support groups for abused men.)
All services are free of charge and confidential.
Recognizing that law enforcement and health care professionals are often the first point of contact for domestic violence, Laurel House started the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) Program in 2005.
Laurel House’s DART Program is on-call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that partners with local police departments and health care professionals by responding to the scene of the incident, and/or at police departments and hospital emergency rooms. This immediate response includes: crisis counseling, safety planning, resource referrals, assistance with the Protection from Abuse Order process and follow-up services.
Aside from responding to crisis calls, DART Advocates are available to work with local police departments, the District Attorney’s office, and other service providers to deliver comprehensive domestic violence training programs throughout Montgomery County.
In addition to partnering with local medical facilities to respond to DART calls, Laurel House’s Medical Advocate visits hospitals, primary care offices, OB/GYN offices, and other specialty care facilities to provide domestic violence training as well as resources on where to turn if a patient discloses abuse.
Children are the secondary victims of domestic violence and often feel responsible for causing the abuse. To assist children in dealing with the trauma of exposure to violence at home, the Children’s Program Advocate offers individual & group activities to help children learn the skills to cope with their environment and resolve conflicts without violence.
In addition to the direct work with children, the Children’s Program Advocate also works with the parents in our Shelter, Transitional Housing and Counseling programs to assist them in addressing their children’s emotional needs after the family’s life has been disrupted by domestic violence. Some examples include: helping parents with understanding children’s reactions to the abuse, non-violent disciplinary techniques, understanding child development, referring parents and children to schools and social service agencies as appropriate.