Cathy wanted to give her daughter a home that was free from violence, but had nowhere to go until she called our domestic violence Hotline and found a peaceful place to live.
*Warning: This story contains details of a domestic violence incident that some readers may find disturbing.
Home can be a place where we go to find peace and safety, but for *Cathy, it was where she feared for her life. For years, Cathy lived with her physically and emotionally abusive partner who was also her daughter’s father. When he beat her in front of their daughter, Cathy decided that she could no longer take the pain.
Cathy wanted to leave but she had nowhere to go. Needing help, Cathy called Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Hotline. The hotline advocate was able to connect Cathy to one of our eight domestic violence shelters.
Escaping to Safety
At the shelter, Cathy and her daughter now had a safe space to live. They were supplied with food, clothes, toiletries, and other day-to-day essentials. Cathy was assigned a case manager and they began meeting regularly to develop a plan of action to help Cathy recover and rebuild her life.
At first, Cathy was uneasy discussing her relationship with her former partner. She told us that learning to trust after being hurt by someone she loved was very difficult. She attended a support group, and at first, was often quiet. Little by little she began to open up. The case manager noticed that Cathy suffered trauma symptoms and told her about Safe Horizon’s Counseling Center which specializes in providing trauma-focused treatment to survivors of crime and abuse of all ages, including children. Initially, Cathy was hesitant to seek Counseling services. With the support of our compassionate staff, she began to understand that counseling could be part of the healing process. Knowing that we would support whatever decision she made, Cathy chose to go with her daughter to the Counseling Center and start the healing process.
Restarting her Life
Once she began counseling, she told the case manager that she was ready to pursue a career that would help create a new life for her and her daughter. We helped connect her to a cosmetology school. While she pursued her education we helped arrange child care and worked with her to navigate the public assistance system.
After a few months, Cathy received a voucher for the Living in Communities (LINC) Rental Assistance program. Funded by New York City, the LINC program helps families move out of shelters and into stable housing. Cathy and her case manager worked to find an apartment in a neighborhood that Cathy and her daughter felt comfortable living in. Once the apartment was identified, a LINC aftercare representative met with Cathy and her case manager to help her and her daughter transition into their new home.
In the spring Cathy and her daughter moved into their own apartment. The LINC representative regularly follows up with Cathy to ensure that she is doing well in her new community. Cathy said she was thankful to Safe Horizon staff at the shelter because they were there to support her and her daughter through the most difficult time of their lives. Now Cathy and her daughter have a place to find peace and safety; a place they call home.