Emergency Safe Havens to Accept Survivors of All Gender Identities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2019
For the first time in 40 years, Philadelphia’s domestic violence shelter beds will be available for men
Katie Young Wildes, Snr. Communications Specialist
PHILADELPHIA – Women Against Abuse, Inc., Philadelphia’s leading domestic violence agency, is excited to announce that for the first time in its history, the organization will accept survivors who identify as men into its emergency safe havens.
Since the organization’s grassroots beginning in 1976, Women Against Abuse's emergency shelter services have been a refuge to survivors who identify as women and their children. While vastly underreported, research shows that approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience physical abuse, sexual violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner. In order to be an inclusive and welcoming refuge, Women Against Abuse is making emergency safe haven beds available to all survivors of intimate partner violence.
The change officially took effect on January 7th and is propelled by:
- a commitment to being inclusive to survivors who identify as men, trans, or are gender nonconforming;
- the desire to offer safe housing to survivors who are men in Philadelphia, since no such option has ever existed; and
- federal regulations requiring equal access for all survivors.
Women Against Abuse prepared for the change over the past year in order to implement it with care and intention, and to ensure decisions were guided and informed by survivors' voices. A series of client and staff focus groups were held with safe haven residents as part of the exploratory and planning stages.
“Intimate partner violence affects everyone, so we want to be a resource for all survivors,” said Jeannine L. Lisitski, Executive Director and President of Women Against Abuse. “We want the Philadelphia community to know that we are here, standing on behalf of anyone experiencing relationship abuse.”
Admission to the emergency safe havens will continue to occur through the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline, which can be accessed 24 hours a day at 1-866-723-3014. Women Against Abuse will “triage” its 200 beds – the only domestic violence shelter beds in Philadelphia – based on hotline callers’ risk through a comprehensive assessment. The organization’s transitional housing program and Legal Center will continue to serve survivors of all gender identities.
About Women Against Abuse: Women Against Abuse, Inc., one of the largest domestic violence service providers in the country, serves nearly 12,500 individuals in Philadelphia each year through emergency housing, legal services, hotline counseling, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.womenagainstabuse.org.