LEE’S SUMMIT, Missouri -- Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander visited Hope House today to learn more about the shelter and services provided to clients as part of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Kander was specifically interested in the success of Missouri’s “Safe at Home” program that is administered through his office to provide victims of abuse residence identification alternatives on public records.
“We are excited to welcome Secretary Kander to our office and show him the great work we are doing in eastern Jackson County,” said MaryAnne Metheny, Hope House chief executive officer. “Violence is 75 percent more prevalent when victims courageously decide to leave their abuser. That is why we choose to be a Safe at Home program agent.”
Metheny also provided a tour to Kander and law enforcement officials in attendance.
“We appreciate the staff’s help with the Safe at Home program,” said Kander. “Having that help from the frontline is crucial to programs like Safe at Home. So, it’s encouraging to go to places like Hope House where people share such a passion for their work.”
The Safe at Home program has protected more than 2,000 Missourians since it began. It is not to be confused with a witness protection program, but another tool available for victims to protect themselves from their abusers, Kander said.
“Hope House was one of the first agents for the Safe at Home program,” said Metheny. “One of our advocates was the 69th registered agent in the state. Now, she and 27 other advocates educate roughly 30 victims a month as well as local police officers and hospital staff on the benefits of the program.”
Domestic Violence Awareness month began in October 1987, which was the year the first national toll-free domestic violence hotline began. Purple is worn throughout the month to promote awareness.
Hope House is Missouri’s largest domestic violence shelter. Founded more than 30 years ago, the organization provides a 122-bed shelter; a 24-hour crisis hotline; outreach therapy groups and child care services; legal services to assist victims; and a speakers’ bureau to educate law enforcement, hospital staff and volunteers.
For more information about Hope House, please call 816-257-9363 or visit www.hopehouse.net. For the 24-hour Hotline, please call 816-461-HOPE (4673).