By: Ben Imhoff
The Women in Need women’s center in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania is trying to put an end and bring awareness to domestic violence, while offering a 24-hour hotline for assistance with domestic violence.
Women in Need offers a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, individual counseling, legal advocacy, prevention education and much more. If you choose to get help, everything is confidential.
The 24-hour hotline is available every day. Trained staff and volunteers talk about safety and services they provide. They also provide information to other community programs. The emergency shelter offers a safe place for victims of domestic abuse. It is a 30-day shelter stay if you are in imminent danger.
Lisa Dougherty, the Women in Need women’s center director of Community Services, is a big reason for this. Dougherty has been working at Women in Need for 23 years. She grew up in an alcoholic family and reached out to those in need. Ever since then she helped people and mostly children.
“There is support out there and you can access it in a confidential matter. It won’t put you in jeopardy,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty began at Women in Need as a volunteer, before she was offered a job. Dougherty however, believes she is where she was meant to be. The main thing that she wants people to know is that you are not alone if you are a victim of domestic violence.
“I focused on helping people and to help them find resources as the healing process started. If people wanted help, how can you get them help?” Dougherty said.
Dougherty has been working to promote an understanding that domestic violence is happening everywhere, even in the local community. Dougherty believes that if domestic violence is ignored, it is supporting people who abuse. If the word is spread, it helps victims understand that they can come forward, Dougherty said.
“Victims that are afraid to come forward are being controlled and believed they are worthless. It’s doing the exact same thing an abuser does,” Dougherty said.
Selena Miller, who is a medical advocate and sexual assault nurse, hopes to spread word of domestic violence and human trafficking through her work. Miller educates health care providers and workers in the health care field through resources that Women in Need provide. Miller covers certain topics such as traumatic brain injury and human trafficking and how they relate to domestic violence.
“Human trafficking is here and people don’t realize that. We need to spread the word,” Miller said.
Women in Need offers many services and people like Dougherty and Miller are advocates for domestic violence victims and how domestic violence occurs everywhere. Women in Need provides hotline numbers for both Pennsylvania residents and local residents. Dougherty points out that it is not just women who can come forward, but men can as well.
“Doing nothing, saying nothing, gets us nothing. We can ignore it, but we’re not affecting any change and not letting the victims know it’s okay to come forward and reach out,” Dougherty said.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 717-264-4444 or 1-800-621-6660.