From Shelter to Fresh Start in Seven Weeks

TUNE IN! Telecia Allen will be presented with a Positively Jax Award on News4Jax, WJXT Channel 4, Friday, November 19
at 8:45 a.m.

When a survivor walks through the door of shelter, she is bruised and battered, often disheartened, and nearly always afraid, but in seven weeks’ time, with the help of her Hubbard House advocate, everything will be different, transformed. How does this partnership between survivor and advocate work? And, how is it that in an average 52-day shelter stay* the survivor can get what she needs to escape the darkness of domestic violence?

Per longtime Victim Advocate Telecia Allen, it all begins with trust.

“When a survivor walks into my office for the first time, still bruised and healing, I know she’s wondering what I think about her, if I accept her. Once we spend a little time together, she knows that I am not judging her. I care for her. And, I will do everything I can to help her reach her goals. Then, things change,” said Telecia. “The relationship becomes real, and she knows she can count on me.”

Every survivor at Hubbard House is assigned a victim advocate, and victim advocates meet regularly with their assigned survivors. During these meetings, advocates inquire about each survivor’s health and healing, and ensure survivors and children are comfortable in the shelter. They also help the survivor-adults to set goals that move them toward their new beginnings. Advocates also provide encouragement, ideas, resources and referrals to facilitate survivor success.

The type of help advocates offer survivors depends on each survivor’s unique goals. For example, Mary, a survivor with permanent mobility issues – a result of abuse-related injuries – and a nine-year-old daughter, needed to apply for disability and secure affordable, handicap-accessible housing. Telecia, her advocate, helped her apply and connected her to the Jacksonville Housing Authority. Today, Mary receives a disability income and lives in an affordable, ground-floor apartment on the Southside, safe with her child.

At about the halfway point, most survivors are making substantial progress toward their goals; for example, if they’re looking for a job or housing, they’ve worked with Hubbard House’s economic justice advocate to create a resume or review housing programs. However, sometimes survivors struggle to overcome barriers. Advocates, experienced problem solvers, are always there, at the ready, to provide help.

“One of my survivors had been evicted from her home as a direct result of the financial abuse she suffered at the hands of her partner,” explained Telecia. “We were able to work together, obtain a hearing and get that eviction removed from her record, so she was able to rent another place.”

Lack of employment history, childcare and transportation are some of the other barriers that survivors often face and victim advocates frequently address, providing the means by which a survivor becomes empowered again.

Some barriers to independence and safety are internal – mental and emotional – and are often a consequence of relationship-related trauma. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, clinical depression and acute anxiety are among the challenges a survivor may face. Again, the advocate is there to help.

“Trauma-informed counseling and group support are offered to every survivor upon arrival, but the critical need for these services may not be detected immediately,” explained Telecia. “Fortunately, often by the time this type of need appears, the survivor and I have enough of a relationship — trust — and she feels comfortable confiding in me, and I can help her get the help she wants and needs.”

In each phase and as the situation changes, the victim advocate is there to support the survivor. She helps the survivor set goals. She gives referrals to other individuals and organizations with helpful expertise and programs. She helps the survivor find ways around barriers. Ultimately, the reward for both the advocate and the survivor is great.

 “As part of the domestic violence experience most survivors have been verbally abused. They’ve been told they can’t make it on their own. But there is a moment, usually when they secure housing, that they realize those words were not true,” explained Telecia. “They’ll say, look what I did! Look what I did on my own! From then on, it’s like watching a butterfly. They take flight. They fly.”

*While the average shelter stay is 7 weeks, the length of stay varies.

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Inspired to consider advocacy as a career option? We’re hiring! Positions posted here: www.HubbardHouse.org/careers

In a rough relationship and need to talk to an advocate to receive support and discover options?

24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline, (904) 354-3114; 24/7 Domestic Violence Textline, (904) 210-3698

To meet with an advocate in person, call (904) 400-6300 to schedule an appointment at our Outreach Center, or drop-in 10-4 p.m., M-Friday, excluding holidays: Hubbard House Outreach Center, 6629 Beach Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32216.

Communication, shelter and services are provided confidentially and at no cost to the survivor. You do not need to stay at the shelter to qualify for many helpful services.

Back-to-school season isn’t only for children!

Many adults decide to seek or continue their education later in life. They may want to get a better job or know more about something they’re passionate about. They may just enjoy learning new things!

For survivors of domestic violence, though, the path toward education can be a challenge.

Education and Abuse

An abuser may sabotage their partner’s efforts to gain an education. They see education as a path to independence for the survivor, and they are threatened by that.

To keep control, the abuser may refuse to pay for classes, deny access to transportation to get to school, destroy homework and class materials, monitor use of technology, and much more. If the couple has children, an abuser may withhold support for childcare, so the survivor must juggle caring for the children while trying to attend school and focus on schoolwork.

In addition to these direct tactics, an abuser may also shame a survivor for their lack of education, call them names that insult their intelligence, tell them people won’t believe anything they say because they are not educated, or embarrass them over their efforts to attend school later in life.

Abusive tactics that affect education can have a very lasting impact. Limiting education can lead to challenges in gaining and maintaining a job or achieving a promotion, which can further trap the survivor in the abusive relationship.

Hubbard House support

Not only does Hubbard House provide life-saving, life-changing services for survivors and children, but we work with survivors to overcome the barriers they face because of the abuse they’ve endured. That includes barriers to their education and employment.

Hubbard House advocates support survivors on their path to employment directly through help with resume writing, job interview skills, career counseling, and more. If that journey to economic independence involves education, Hubbard House supports that in ways tailored to the survivor, like helping secure supplies and materials needed for education and providing childcare in shelter. Advocates will also help survivors with budgeting and other steps to support affording an education.

Survivors, you are strong and smart. Hubbard House supports you and your efforts to learn and grow.

Survivors can learn more about these resources by meeting in-person with an advocate at the Hubbard House Outreach Center (6629 Beach Blvd), calling our 24/7 Hotline at (904)354-3114, or reaching out through our 24/7 Textline at (904)210-3698. All resources are free and confidential.

VOLUNTEER PROFILE: COAST GUARD GMC IAN KEANE

ian-with-giftcardsCoast Guard GMC Ian Keane serves the community by day and, through his volunteer efforts with Hubbard House, also on many of his days off, nights and weekends! What has his experience been like? We asked and he answered. Below, find the responses of the honorable Ian – military man, toy store decorator, gift card raiser, walk worker and all around great friend.

(Thanks, Ian, for everything!)

Tell us about the first time you volunteered for Hubbard House.

The first time I volunteered for Hubbard House, I was invited by a coworker to help sort toys and set up the holiday store. A group of five or six of us showed up, and we were told to turn the room into a winter wonderland. Since I enjoy volunteering and was working with so many fellow military members, we accomplished a lot and the time flew by.

Before I knew it, it was time to leave, but not until some of the staff came in. Seeing the awe and appreciation on their faces and the tears in their eyes made it unlike most volunteer efforts that I am a part of. In addition, we were given a tour of the facility and got an overview of all Hubbard House provides.

Since that first time, you’ve continued to volunteer in a variety of ways: you’ve raised funds, helped with special events, and led teams that help at the holidays. Share with us a favorite memory.

Each opportunity has been equally rewarding. However, my favorite memory actually happened this year. While sorting toys, a mom was shopping for her kids in the toy store. She walked in and was instantly overwhelmed. Seeing her being blessed by the generosity of strangers warmed my heart. Even the coworkers I brought said their faith in humanity was restored a bit. To see the positive impact that Hubbard House and the volunteers have on these victims is priceless. To be a part of that and to show unconditional love to complete strangers who may never have experienced it is so rewarding.

You’ve been volunteering for Hubbard House for years! What keeps you coming back to us?

My love of helping others keeps me coming back. When I joined the Coast Guard I told the recruiter that I want to help people. I wanted to give some stranger a second chance at life, whether through stopping drugs or performing a rescue at sea. Through Hubbard House, you get to see the life changing work that is being done every time you are there. The mission of Hubbard House is also dear to my heart as my wife was verbally abused by her father for more than 20 years. No woman or person should ever have to face physical or emotional abuse, period. I am proud to help such an honorable organization.

We are so grateful to Ian and all of our volunteers. We simply couldn’t do this work without the support of caring people, like him, them, and you. If you’re interested in exploring Hubbard House volunteer opportunities, contact Outreach Engagement Coordinator Alexis (Lexi) Carpenter at volunteers@hubbardhouse.org. We hope to see you around the halls of Hubbard House.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hot-line at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Hubbard House is a full-service certified domestic violence center providing prevention and intervention to domestic violence survivors and their families in Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Abby McGeathey

aaaaaaaaaaHubbard House is honored to recognize Abby McGeathey for June’s volunteer spotlight. The agency is very fortunate that Abby has found time in her busy schedule as full-time mom to care for others within our Emergency Shelter. Volunteers are a vital part of Hubbard House! Without giving individuals willing to donate their time and resources, our mission of “Every Relationship Violence-Free” would not even be a possibility. Thank you Abby for all that you do for the families that stay in our Emergency Shelter!

Why did you decide to donate time and resources to Hubbard House?

My decision to postpone full-time employment until my youngest child went into Kindergarten meant that there would be a valuable period of time between graduating college and going back to work full-time in which I could do volunteer work. I felt that volunteering at the Hubbard House would be a great opportunity to give back to my community, gain valuable work experience without the commitment of a full-time job, and help me pinpoint my career interests within the field of social work.

What made you get connected with Hubbard House?

I researched an entire list of non-profit organizations within Northeast Florida in which to volunteer. I chose Hubbard House personally because, as with many others, I have been touched by domestic violence and want to support and empower the men, women, and children seeking “Every Relationship Violence-Free.”   Professionally, Hubbard House offers many different types of work settings and job experiences from within one organization and volunteer opportunities are offered around the clock.

What has the volunteering experience meant to you?

Every time that I leave the Hubbard House I realize I have learned something new about myself, domestic violence, my community, or the human experience in general. Volunteering at the Hubbard House has broadened my horizons and enabled me to do two of my favorite things, better my community and quench my thirst for learning.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities available at Hubbard House please visit http://www.hubbardhouse.org/help/volunteering.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic/dating violence please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic child care, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit http://www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

By: Amy Riggan and Tracy Knight

Increasing Awareness About Elder Abuse

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), directed by the U.S. Administration on Aging, reports that accurate national statistics about how many older Americans are being neglected, exploited and abused are extremely difficult to gather. Varying state definitions of elder abuse, the lack of a uniform reporting system and the fact that it is often a hidden problem hinder national efforts to provide precise numbers.

Hubbard House wants to address this difficult topic, because understanding and recognizing signs of improper elder care could be the difference between helping someone live with peace and security versus living in turmoil and danger – the difference between life and death.

It is estimated that for every one case of reported elder abuse, exploitation, neglect or self-neglect, anywhere from five to fourteen more incidents go unreported. A little over two thirds of elder abuse cases involve a female victim, and nearly 90 percent of incidents take place in a domestic setting by someone the victim knows.

Recent news about elder abuse in Florida made headlines last month when Gov. Rick Scott declared June 15 to be Elder Abuse Awareness Day for the state. Florida’s nearly 4.5 million seniors were the focus of the day which coincided with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, an international attempt to raise awareness about building safer communities for the elderly.

According to Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs, Florida had 31,241 reports of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect in the last 12 months. This translates to an average of 86 incidents per day, every day of the week.

According the NCEA website, these signs are guidelines for detecting problems with elder care, but the indicators of maltreatment may be more extensive:

  • Physical abuse is defined as the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. Physical abuse may include but is not limited to such acts of violence as striking (with or without an object), hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, and burning. In addition, inappropriate use of drugs and physical restraints, force-feeding, and physical punishment of any kind also are examples of physical abuse.
  • Sexual abuse is defined as non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person. Sexual contact with any person incapable of giving consent is also considered sexual abuse. It includes, but is not limited to, unwanted touching, all types of sexual assault or battery, such as rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, and sexually explicit photographing.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse is defined as the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts. Emotional/psychological abuse includes but is not limited to verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment. In addition, treating an older person like an infant; isolating an elderly person from his/her family, friends, or regular activities; giving an older person the “silent treatment;” and enforced social isolation are examples of emotional/psychological abuse.
  • Financial or material exploitation is defined as the illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets. Examples include, but are not limited to, cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization or permission; forging an older person’s signature; misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions; coercing or deceiving an older person into signing any document (e.g., contracts or will); and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney.
  • Self-neglect is characterized as the behavior of an elderly person that threatens his/her own health or safety. Self-neglect generally manifests itself in an older person as a refusal or failure to provide himself/herself with adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medication (when indicated), and safety precautions. The definition of self-neglect excludes a situation in which a mentally competent older person, who understands the consequences of his/her decisions, makes a conscious and voluntary decision to engage in acts that threaten his/her health or safety as a matter of personal choice.
  • Neglect is defined as the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elder. Neglect may also include failure of a person who has fiduciary responsibilities to provide care for an elder (e.g., pay for necessary home care services) or the failure on the part of an in-home service provider to provide necessary care. Neglect typically means the refusal or failure to provide an elderly person with such life necessities as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, personal safety, and other essentials included in an implied or agreed-upon responsibility to an elder.

Florida law gives all of us a duty to report abuse of vulnerable adults, which includes elders.  If you suspect elder abuse, please contact the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).  You can also contact the Department of Elder Affairs at 850-414-2000 to speak with your local elder abuse prevention coordinator.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 6,000 women, children and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic child care, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

By Erin Ostrowsky