(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second part in a series of articles by guest writer, Christopher Yingling, marketing intern at The Beaman Home. The series is intended to shed light on the issue of domestic violence in our community.)
When it comes to domestic violence, victims are looking for any connection to receive support in their extremely sensitive, and many times dangerous, situation. While some find comfort confiding in family members or close friends, many don’t have a person to reach out to for assistance, help and advice.
April Slone, coordinator of the DoVE Outreach Program for the Beaman Home, contributes to the community of domestic violence victims by being that advocate. She is a professional mediator between a victim of domestic violence and the help she/he is seeking. Slone’s several different duties include the instruction on safety planning, teen-dating violence and self-improvement while primarily giving victims of domestic violence a confidant and friend.
“[Beaman’s programs] give them a support system. They can be assured they are turning to someone who has a lot of knowledge of the local resources and an understanding of what they’re going through,” commented Slone. “They know they are not alone because their advocate knows what they’re feeling.”
April’s first interaction with a domestic violence victim can come at any stage of the recovery process; some come to her immediately after escaping her abuser while others have been recuperating in the Beaman Home shelter and need to take the next step. Many come to her just to see if walking away or entering into the Beaman Home program is the right step.
“Victims need to be aware that they have to take that first step; they’ll have people beside them for every step of the way after, and that the first phone call to the Beaman Home is the most difficult to place,” Slone said. “As advocates, our goal is to empower; we’re not going to tell them to leave, but we’ll give them options and work together to find out the best way to escape the cycle of violence. It also helps that everything between us is confidential and their abusers will not know.”
One of Slone’s key pieces of advice is for the victim to find someone who is knowledgeable about the cycle of violence, whether they are close to the affected family or not. She points out that family doctors and school counselors, though not heavily invested in the lives of a family, are educated on domestic violence enough to guide a victim in the right direction.
As the Beaman Home continues the capital campaign to fund a new shelter for victims of domestic violence, April is a gigantic proponent of the new facility, and sees many benefits to the new shelter and outreach center.