Because all abuse results from an abuser’s desire to gain power and control over a victim’s thoughts and actions, people experiencing abuse often feel hopeless. HAWC’s services center around replacing this feeling of hopelessness with empowerment.
Advocates at HAWC validate survivors’ experiences, identify abuse, and set survivors on the path toward a life free from violence and fear. By offering support and connecting survivors with other legal or medical services, temporary housing, or support groups, the advocacy program reminds survivors that they are strong, capable, and not alone in this process.
Meeting with HAWC’s advocates is the first step towards escaping violence. This can feel overwhelming, but knowing what to expect can ease anxiety about reaching out. Appointments involve:
- Confidential, supportive care. Before HAWC’s advocates can provide you with care and support, you must decide that this program is right for you. Remember, these highly trained advocates are ready to discuss your situation and the options available to you without any judgment. We understand that you are in control of your own life. No one will force you to take any steps that make you uncomfortable.
- Setting the stage. Each domestic violence survivor has a unique story. Help the advocate understand your need by explaining your situation, describing concerns you’ve had about this relationship, recalling a recent altercation, or providing HAWC with a timeline of your relationship. Once you share your experiences, the advocate can identify if you’re experiencing abuse or determine what the next steps can be.
- Planning your safety. HAWC’s advocates understand the complex issues surrounding abuse, and therefore, they understand that there are many reasons why an abuse victim may not leave their relationship. If this is the case, the advocate can help you make safety plans for before, during, and after abusive incidents. They can also help you determine the steps you need to take before you leave the abusive relationship.
- Answering questions. Your experience will bring up many questions. By meeting with a HAWC advocate, you can receive answers and referrals to other professionals who can give you even more information.
- Scheduling next steps. Working towards a life free from violence and fear requires time, energy, and a large support network. HAWC is here for every step of the process. At the end of this appointment, you will schedule your next appointment or receive referrals for legal services, temporary emergency shelter, support groups, and other HAWC services.
HAWC’s individual advocacy program is available to anyone experiencing abuse regardless of gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, race, ethnicity, age or disability, or background. Anyone obtaining emergency shelter from HAWC will also automatically be connected with advocates.