A: The DVC first began as a hotline service in 1970 dedicated to stemming a rising trend of alcohol and drug abuse, often associated with suicide risk and domestic violence. Concerned with the increase in domestic violence, by 1980 steps were taken to establish a domestic violence agency in the Santa Clarita Valley. The stigma surrounding abuse resulted in a huge struggle to gain support, and though a shelter was established in 1984, both the lack of community involvement and inner strife in the board resulted in a rocky start. In 1996, a permanent shelter was established, and by 2002, the name of the agency was changed permanently to the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley.
Q: What is DVC of SCV’s mission?
A: Our mission at the DVC is to create healthy relationships through intervention, prevention and education to end the cycle of violence. Our services include a 30-day emergency shelter, 24-hour hotline, resources and referrals, crisis intervention, and support groups in English and Spanish. Other services provided include art expression and individual therapy on an as-needed basis.
Q: How can family and friends help a loved one who they suspect is a victim of domestic violence?
A: Most importantly, family and friends need to create a supporting, caring space for their loved one. Many victims of domestic violence feel isolated and judged by their support system, so remaining supportive despite personally disagreeing with their choices is key. Additionally, letting them know of the resources that are available, be it a hotline or a domestic violence center, can be useful. Calling yourself to set up an appointment for the loved one is discouraged – the victim her/himself needs to make the decision to find help.
Q: What is the most common misconception about domestic violence?
A: Domestic violence is stigmatized as being something that happens to other people, but it happens to everyone, everywhere, regardless of gender, profession, and sexual orientation. Any relationship can turn into an abusive one when steps aren’t taken to remain interdependent and to protect one’s boundaries.
Q: How do you see the RapidSOS technology helping DVC of SCV’s mission?
A:With the ability to reach emergency responders and/or loved ones with a press of a button, RapidSOS is changing the landscape of the reality victims face. Many are frightened to contact emergency services because of the expected reaction of their batterers, and the platform allows for immediate, silent contact with 911 or trusted loved ones without worrying if the abuser will overhear and retaliate. By making it easier to reach help, the victims are one step closer to learning how to build a healthy relationship with the early intervention access provided by RapidSOS.
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