The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Letter to Member Programs from GCADV Executive Director Nicole Lesser

Posted on: 11.26.10

11/10/2010 – Over the last year, I have had the incredible honor of visiting with and touring 28 shelter and community-based programs around the state.  From Hinesville and Jesup, to Fayetteville and Morrow, and all the way up to Blairsville, domestic violence service providers have taken the time to proudly tell me about their programs and share with me their struggles as they desperately try to meet the ever growing needs of domestic violence survivors with increasingly less resources.

On behalf of survivors around the state I want to thank these programs for their ingenuity and intense dedication.  I have been astounded by the creative ways that staff have collaborated with the community resources in their areas to meet the needs.  Never has a group of people been so good at getting services, materials and even buildings donated so that their work can continue and even grow.

While we are a large state with diverse needs, similar themes have emerged from these conversations.  Whether in rural or urban areas, whether shelter or community based, north or south, programs have more in common than they do differences.

The difficult economy has brought new challenges for all programs.  I am often asked by the media if there are more people being abused.  Statistics and anecdotal stories do not show this to be true.  What we are seeing is that the needs of victims are deeper, vaster.  Stable housing is dependant on job availability and without jobs, people are staying longer at shelters or with the abuser.    The people coming to our programs have complex needs beyond the basics of domestic violence intervention services.  Many have been homeless for some time; others have substance abuse and other mental health issues; for others, language barriers and other cultural issues present specific accessibility challenges to receiving services.

One of the roles of GCADV is to be a resource for domestic violence programs and to support them in their building increased capacity for meeting the challenges of this work.  In response to the feedback I received during the program visits, here are some of the things GCADV is doing to assist programs in moving forward and to say thanks for all they do:

GCADV would like to invite interested member programs and community members to share their input by joining our Membership and Program Task Force or Public Policy Task Force where GCADV’s decisions and recommendations are made.  If unable to attend in person, conference calling options are available.

Please complete the form below to express your interest in joining a task force, to suggest what else we can provide member programs and their staff or to request a visit from GCADV Executive Director Nicole Lesser.

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