Lucia* came to the WAA emergency shelter pregnant and with five children. She had been with her husband for three years when he became physically and emotionally abusive.
Lucia made the difficult decision to leave her husband when he pulled her down the steps and strangled her. She and her children fled to a homeless shelter in Philadelphia, but the shelter didn’t have the supportive services for domestic violence victims that Lucia and her family needed.
So they relocated once again – this time to the Women Against Abuse emergency shelter. There, they were in a secure and confidential location, and given private rooms in which to heal. The shelter also offered the type of support Lucia needed – trauma-informed services tailored to address the specific needs of domestic violence victims.
When Lucia first arrived at the shelter she was broken, with little hope that her situation would improve. She was angry at herself and others, and was skeptical whether supports like a case manager or therapist would help. Nevertheless, Lucia began participating in individual and family therapy sessions with the Women Against Abuse trauma-informed clinicians. Her family began discussing the ways they’d been victimized and hurt. She worked diligently with her case manager to address her housing needs. In addition, Women Against Abuse quickly linked Lucia to a local doctor for pre natal care, which she had not received even though she was four months pregnant.
With this network of support, Lucia’s situation began to improve. She started to re-establish a loving relationship with her children, and implemented positive parenting techniques. Soon after she gave birth to her sixth healthy child, Lucia moved into Sojourner House, the agency’s long-term housing program, and continued on her path to independence.
*Client’s name has been changed to preserve confidentiality.