PICTURED IS THE community wall in the Family Crisis Services’ shelter dining room featuring the hope tree created by women and girls participating in support groups.

PICTURED IS THE community wall in the Family Crisis Services’ shelter dining room featuring the hope tree created by women and girls participating in support groups.

BRUNSWICK

Times Record: What is the mission of your organization?

Family Crisis Services: Our mission is:

— To provide programs which focus on individual advocacy and safety for domestic violence victims and children.

— To work for and encourage institutional change to assign responsibility for abusive behavior to the perpetrator.

— To change the cultural values which perpetuate and support domestic violence through community education.

TR: How do you fulfill that mission?

FCS: Family Crisis Services has provided advocacy and support services for victims since 1977. We fulfill our mission by building and maintaining a number of different programs.

These services include a safe home for women and children, a 24-hour hotline, court advocacy in three district courts (West Bath, Portland and Bridgton), prevention work in school systems, elder abuse advocacy, domestic violence liaison at DHHS, the enhanced police intervention collaboration with local law enforcement departments and an incarcerated women’s program at Cumberland County Jail and Maine Correctional Center in Windham.

Our services are free and confidential.

TR: What are the biggest challenges your organization faces?

FCS: Funding is always one of our biggest challenges. We are constantly looking for funding opportunities to maintain staffing as well as create programming for unmet needs within our communities.

Also, shifting the conversation from “Why doesn’t she just leave?” to “Why is that person controlling and/or abusing their partner?” We, as a society, need to shift the focus of the abuse on the perpetrator and not continue to blame the victim.

TR: What is something most people do not know about Family Crisis Services?

FCS: In 2014, Family Crisis Services provided direct services to more than 2,051 different individuals, sheltered 85 families, received 4,770 hotline calls and was presented to 9,207 students. We have an outreach office in Brunswick and offer ongoing support groups in the Brunswick area. If you would like more information about our Mid-coast office, please contact us at 721-0199.

During the month of October every year, Family Crisis Services partners with Mid Coast Hospital, First Parish Church and a variety of local businesses for domestic violence awareness month. We ask these locations to light up in purple lights to shine a light on domestic violence. Purple Night Lights is a national campaign that we have brought to the town of Brunswick.

We are hoping that the entire Maine Street will be lit up in support for domestic violence awareness this October. For more information on how to join us for this October event, please call 721-0199.

TR: How can people best support your mission?

FCS: People can volunteer. You can sign up on our website. Donate items from our wish list on our website (www.familycrisis.org). Engage others in conversations around supporting victims and their children. Be a voice. Be an ally.


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