Making a difference

Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2000

Among the range of services provided by the WRCC is the Batterers Intervention Program, which often is included in sentencing conditions set by the courts for perpetrators of violence. The program will be the topic of Dr. David Shoemaker's speech to the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday as part of the national awareness campaign.

"One of the reasons I think our Batterers Intervention Program is so positive," Giobbe said, "is that it gives participants the opportunity to learn how to have nonviolent relationships that not only stops victimization but also will give them the skills to have mutually satisfying relationships in the future."

According to figures released by the WRCC, for fiscal year 2000, which ended in June, the center provided 4,769 emergency shelter bed-nights for 379 women and children. The average length of stay was four to six weeks, according to figures. The center's crisis line fielded 2,375 calls during the period. In 1997, the shelter provided nearly 4,200 bed-nights for 385 people, again with more than half being children. The crisis line fielded 1,400 calls in 1997.

Giobbe said the center has seen an increase in the number of shelter clients and walk-ins this year. But it also has seen a marked jump in the number of crisis calls compared with the same period in 1999.

"That says to me that the message is getting out there that nobody deserves to be beaten, that nobody deserves to be abused, and, that if you are, there's somewhere for you to go," Giobbe said. "Someone may look at those numbers and say that women are being beaten at an alarmingly faster rate and that could be true, but these numbers don't tell us that. It tells us that of women who are in abusive relationships, more and more know that there is help."

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