DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND TRANSITIONAL SHELTER
Niswa’s domestic violence emergency shelter was opened in 1995 and transitional shelter was opened in 2011 for women and their children. Dr. Shamim Ibrahim saw the immense need of a domestic violence shelter and the South Asian women had difficulties adjusting to the lifestyle in the mainstream shelters due to language barriers, dietary restrictions and religious practices (prayers, fasting, etc). It was established so that the South Asian, Middle Eastern and Muslim women can freely follow their religion, their cultural traditions and speak their languages.
The services that are catered towards domestic violence victims are:
- 24 hour crisis hotline, safety planning, emergency shelter, case management services, counseling, legal advocacy, referral services, life skills, and financial assistance.
- 24 Hour Hotline: Niswa has a 24 hour hotline, 7 days a week where domestic violence victims are able to reach for help, support, and referrals. Niswa staff assesses for immediate danger and discusses a safety plan.
Safety Planning: When domestic violence victims call, Niswa staff helps create a safety plan (to develop and discuss possible ways to leave and make appropriate arrangements).
Emergency shelter: Our shelter has been running since 1996 and it houses women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Food and shelter is provided for six to eight weeks at the shelter at an undisclosed location.
Case Management Services: Staff meets with client on a weekly or as needed basis to provide assistance to women who have experienced domestic violence. Case manager will provide intake/ assessment, create a safety plan, goals, individualized counseling. Also individual life skills is incorporated to improve quality of life and independent living, risk assessment of other issues, such as mental illness, and referral services to improve their ability to live independently.
Counseling: Niswa provides weekly counseling sessions by a clinician (supervised by a volunteer Licensed Therapist) to the victims and their children during their stay in the shelter.
Legal Advocacy: Staff assists clients by taking them to attain restraining orders, filing police reports (if not made), pro-bono legal services and advocates for the client when needed. The staff also accompanies clients at court for support.
Referral Services: Case Manager offers referral services such as legal aid, psychosocial services, medical, and any resources that are requested by client.
Life Skills: Some of our clients are taught life skills for example, career planning, self care, parenting, money management etc.