For the first time, those fleeing abusive or violent situations in Stephenson County have a safe place to go close to home that is designed specifically with their needs in mind.
The VOICES Survivors Shelter offers not only physical amenities but the 24-hour support of trained shelter advocates to assist survivors as they begin to rebuild their lives.
The secured shelter features a shared kitchen and dining area, fenced outdoor areas, two living spaces, five bedrooms designed with families and individuals in mind and laundry facilities.
Men, women and children can remain at the shelter for up to 90 days, during which time they are encouraged to meet with counselors and advocates.
The goal is to leave the shelter living independently and violence free.
- LEGAL ADVOCACY: Legal advocates help survivors navigate the civil and/or criminal court system including serving as a liaison with law enforcement, the state’s attorney’s office, clerks and judges. They can assist with obtaining orders of protection, offer support and encouragement during the offender’s court proceedings, and explain your legal rights and compensation programs. They also can assist with safety planning – a document that helps you determine ways to stay secure in your home.
- MEDICAL ADVOCACY: Medical advocates support sexual violence survivors in the emergency room of FHN. They assist the individual as needed throughout the process, offering counseling, replacement clothing and explaining the procedures, follow-up services available and your rights as a crime victim. Medical advocates respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week so no survivor is left to face the situation alone. VOICES is seeking volunteers to serve as medical advocates. To contact us about becoming a medical advocate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GENERAL ADVOCACY: General advocates are trained in all areas of the organization and can perform the work of a legal and medical advocate as well as link you with various other community resources.
VOICES staff can help clients obtain orders of protection in Stephenson County and will accompany survivors to court in cases where the violence, abuse or harassment results in an arrest. An order of protection is a legal document, granted by a judge, to protect a survivor of domestic or sexual violence, or stalking. It is drafted to meet the unique needs and wishes of the individual, and is enforced by the court and law enforcement.
There are three types of orders:
- An order of protection – For domestic violence survivors.
- A civil no contact order – For sexual assault survivors. This civil remedy requires the offender to stay away from the victim.
- A stalking no contact order – For other survivors, primarily those who have been victims of stalking or harassment.
For more information about obtaining an order of protection, call VOICES at 815-235-9421
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Staying safe and deciding whether to leave when you are experiencing abuse or in an unhealthy relationship are primary concerns. A safety plan can help guide you as you protect yourself and your family and make difficult choices.
It is a personalized and practical framework that prepares you for many different situations.
Many elements are involved with a creating a safety plan, including steps for what to do before you leave, when you leave, after you leave, as well as understanding how to take care of your emotional safety, and the safety of your friends and family.
Having a safety plan gives you the opportunity to play out different scenarios in your head and enables you to take control of your responses to dangerous situations as best you can.
All VOICES staff can help you make a safety plan. Call us at 815-235-9421
To start a safety plan online, click here
Trauma-informed counseling is available free to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking and their significant others. Services are open to children 3 and older and adults. Counselors understand the many emotions that survivors experience and support them as they work through discussions and decisions related to the trauma. Topics counselors may cover with domestic violence survivors include safety planning, living independently, identifying and breaking the cycle of violence, personal boundaries and healing.
Survivors of a recent or past sexual assault or abuse work with counselors to heal from the experience. The assault does not have to be reported to qualify for services.
Children who are survivors, depending on their age, focus on regaining trust, breaking the cycle of violence, healthy communication and understanding the effects of trauma. Play-based discussion is used to promote a safe and trusting environment to foster healthy communication.
To make a counseling appointment, call VOICES at 815-235-9421 .
A support group meets weekly and is available for adult survivors of domestic violence. The goal of the group is to promote personal growth, increase self-esteem, understand abuse and the cycle of violence, learn techniques to create safety and positive change, find local resources, meet new friends and gain support through others.
To find out more, call VOICES at 815-235-9421 .
- ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES: VOICES works with the Senior Resource Center to assist those 60 and older or those ages 18-59 with disabilities who are being abused, neglected or financially exploited and who cannot report for themselves. APS staff members investigate reports and provide follow-up support services.The program is open to residents of Stephenson or Jo Daviess counties who live on their own or with a caregiver. If you know someone in this situation, please call VOICES at 815-235-9421 or the Senior Resource Center at 815-235-9777. All reports are confidential.
- LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM: The state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates for and resolves issues for residents in long-term care setting such as a nursing home, assisted living or supportive living, or a home for people with developmental disabilities. Problems could include abuse, neglect, exploitation, poor care and isolation. The ombudsman serving northwest Illinois can be reached by calling 800-369-0895 or email email@example.com.
VOICES operates a housing program for victims of domestic and sexual violence who find themselves homeless because of the abuse in their lives. The program’s goal is to assist survivors seeking long-term independence by providing rental assistance and supportive services such as counseling and advocacy as needed.
In the Virtual Legal Clinic, domestic violence survivors receive one hour of free legal consultation via video link at the VOICES office. The pro bono attorney, who is trained in working with victims of domestic abuse, does not represent the individual but will answer questions about various issues including, but not limited to, divorce, child custody, marital property and maintenance, employment, finance, debt, credit, immigration and visas, and legal rights.
VOICES was one of the first domestic violence organizations in Illinois to become part of the Virtual Legal Clinic. Call VOICES at 815-235-9421 to make an appointment.
The Partner Abuse Intervention Program (PAIP), operated by the state of Illinois Department of Human Services, provides counseling and other services for people who control their partner with physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse. The goal of the services, which could include group therapy, mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment, is to stop the abuse by helping the perpetrator.
Abusers may be court-ordered to attend or may choose to join by contacting the local PAIP provider, Children’s Home & Aid Society, at 815-962-1043.