Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lethality Assessment Program

In May we were able to work with the Safe Family Coalition to deliver cookies to all of the police officers that have been a part of the Lethality Assessment Project (LAP) as a way to say thank you for their commitment to those who are impacted by domestic violence.

The LAP was started as a pilot project with the cities of Lee’s Summit, Grandview, Raytown and Kansas City police departments. The police partner with the local domestic violence agency in carrying out the program, which is based on research on lethality for battered women.

The program is simple: when police respond to a domestic violence scene, they ask the victim a series of research-based questions. The way the victim answers these questions can determine the level of lethality for that victim. Based on the answers, the police officers will talk to the victims about safety and the concern that they have for the victim.

The officers then call our hotline and speak to an advocate with the goal of getting the victim to speak to the advocate. They will safety plan, discuss resources - such as shelter - and to make a follow up appointment to further discuss the situation.

The program has worked extremely well. The pilot project ended in October of 2009, but all participating departments have continued with the program. We have also added the Blue Springs police department to the list of participating departments.

We know that only 3% of domestic violence homicide victims had ever availed themselves to services prior to their deaths. We, as DV programs, have worked to reach this group of victims but have not had much success. Through this program, we are able to reach this very high risk group of people.

We are grateful for the participation of all of the police departments, the administration and the officers that complete the surveys. With the support of the officers on the street, we are working to save lives.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Are Battered Women Crazy?

Photo by coloniera2 via
 Many people think they are because they don’t leave right away, they return to the abuser after they have left, or they think that the abuser is going to change. But the short answer to the question is an emphatic “NO”. Battered women do not like the abuse, they do not ask for the abuse, they are not stupid and they are not “crazy”.

Battered women are an extremely resourceful and very strong group of women. They endure so much and figure out a way to survive and cope with what is happening within their families. They carry feelings of shame and hurt, mistrust, lack of hope, low self esteem, and abandonment.

Battered women know better than anyone else how to make a very bad situation one that will work for the time being. When someone doesn’t leave immediately it doesn’t mean she asked for it or that she likes it. What it means is the timing isn’t right for some reason.

Battered women make decisions based on the resources available to them at the time. Hope House works hard to make sure women know about our services and the ways that we can help. We never want “lack of resources” to be a reason that someone stays in the relationship longer.

No, battered women are not “crazy”. They are normal people in incredibly difficult circumstances doing the best they can.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Help Us Win Pepsi Refresh Project

People are buzzing and there is great excitement at Hope House as we have made it into the voting round for the Pepsi Refresh Project. We have tried for months to get our project in with no success, until this month!

What is Pepsi Refresh? Pepsi is funding ideas that “refresh your world”. They say if we can dream it, submit it and get enough votes, they will help make it happen.

We hope to win $50,000 to help provide free legal services to domestic violence victims. We ask that everyone vote for us and share this information with your friends.

You can vote three ways every day:

1) Through this link: You can log in through your Facebook account, or sign up for a Pepsi account. Or do both and get more votes!

2) Scan this QR code with your smartphone to easily vote by text (download the reader for free from your app store). Or text 107076 to 73774. (Standard text messaging rates apply.)

3) Get Power Votes on specially-marked Pepsi products. Click on “Power Vote for this idea” on the Hope House Pepsi Refresh page. Enter your power code and get up to 100 extra votes.

We need to be one of the top 10 vote-getters in our category to win $50,000. Please support us and vote every day throughout June to help us give our clients the support

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Guardian Program

Today’s guest blogger is Kelli Stallman, Coordinator for the Guardian Program.
Hope House’s Guardian Program provides supervised visitation or exchange for non-custodial parents and their children. Our client families are mainly ordered into supervised visits by Adult Abuse Courts, Family Court, or Children’s Division.

These families have issues that range from domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse, mental health issues, or a parent never having been in a child’s life.
Because of the many problems that are faced by these families, the Program is arranged so that custodial and non-custodial parents park in different parking lots, and arrive at different times to avoid any chance meetings.

We have therapists supervise the visits between the non-custodial parent and the child. An off-duty police officer is on site at all times. The families receive an hour of visitation a week free of charge, and can schedule additional time for a fee.
As the Coordinator for the Guardian Program, I have the pleasure of working directly with the survivors of domestic violence, as well as their children who have witnessed the violence between parents.
Often times, the children have themselves been victims of some type of abuse. The Guardian Program staff also work directly with the non-custodial parent, which is often the identified abuser. My job is extremely rewarding. I watch the kids grow and change, and see them heal from the abuse they have seen and experienced.
When I have a child from the program run up to give me a hug and a huge smile, it hits home why I do the job I do. How often do you get a card from a child you barely know thanking you for what you do, or drawing you a personal Christmas card? I am fortunate to receive several of these every year.
Sometimes what is thought of as the hardest job, by nature of its requirements, can be the most rewarding. I look forward to the drawings, the hugs, and the smiles that greet me when the kids come in. That is what I look forward to each day.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Bridge SPAN Program

Hope House’s Bridge SPAN program provides on-site, 24 hour on-call advocacy services at four hospitals in Eastern Jackson County, in the Kansas City metro area. We provide emotional support, domestic violence education, safety planning, shelter services, assistance filing for orders of protection, civil/legal referrals, community resources and more.

Victims do not always come into contact with the Bridge SPAN program through the ER. We may respond to calls from labor and delivery, in-patient, radiology, pain clinic, physical therapy or other clinics. We also provide our services to employees and visitors to the hospital. A key component to our program is educating and training medical staff on the screening process and how to provide the best medical care for their patients experiencing domestic violence.

Our program could not exist without our volunteers and on-call staff. They dedicate their time to helping victims of domestic violence. When a call comes in from a hospital, shelter staff will contact the on-call Bridge SPAN person, who then responds to the appropriate hospital, day and night. They help plant the seed of hope and show victims that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Here is an example of someone we helped through the Bridge SPAN program:

Mary* was in ICU after being stabbed by her daughter Lilly’s ex-boyfriend. Mary watched her granddaughter, Zoey, during the day while Lilly worked. Mary worked at night and Lilly during the day, so Zoey was always cared for by one of them.

The ex-boyfriend knew Mary watched Zoey during the day. He broke into Mary’s home with thoughts of kidnapping Zoey and killing Mary. Mary and Lilly were both at home when he came through the front door. Lilly was not hurt physically, but Mary was seriously hurt.

We were able to provide shelter, therapy and legal services to the family, helping them to rebuild their life through this difficult time. Mary was able to leave shelter, move to a new home, and return to work.

If the Bridge SPAN program sounds like something you’d like to be involved in, find out more at