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FAQ’s About Women In Distress
FAQ’s About Domestic Violence
Women In Distress

1. How can I get help?
Call our Crisis Hotline at 954-761-1133.

2. What services does Women In Distress offer? 
Women In Distress provides a 24-hour crisis line, emergency shelter, food and clothing, individual and group counseling, children’s counseling, emergency and community resources, referral services, parenting classes, advocacy and case management, community presentations, prevention programs for schools, training for police officers and health professionals, media information, community coordination with other agencies, and more. Call the 24-hour crisis line at 954-761-1133 if your need is not on this list and we will provide you with alternative resources.

3. How can I access your services?
By calling the 24-hour crisis line at 954-761-1133. Victims, family, friends, and community members may call to seek referrals for police, judges, or social services agencies.

4. Are services provided only to Broward residents?
No, we will provide assistance to anyone who calls. Women In Distress is a member of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a group of 42 domestic violence centers located throughout the state. While our primary service area is Broward County, we do not deny services based on geographic location. If possible, we can refer a participant to more convenient services anywhere in the United States.

5. Are men eligible for participant services?
Yes, please call the 24-Hour Crisis Hotline for more information: 954-761-1133

6. How do you determine if a person is appropriate for counseling at Women In Distress?
Advocates conduct a screening, assessment and evaluation procedure with participants to develop a plan and determine necessary services.

7. Do you help people dealing with other forms of abuse besides physical abuse?
Yes, our advocates provide services to Domestic Violence victims regardless of the form. Our Shelter services are for those victims in imminent danger.

8. How many participants can be sheltered at once?
We currently have 100 emergency beds located at a confidential shelter in Broward County, and hope to expand our capacity to 132 beds in the near future.

9. What is the length of time a participant can stay at the shelter?
Participants may stay up to 90 days.

10. Are children sheltered with their mothers?
Yes, women and their children live together. Mothers are responsible for caring for their children. Due to the communal living aspect of living in our shelter, boys 14 and older may be housed in our special populations wing, however these decisions are based on space availability and are made on a case by case basis.

11. If the shelter is full, what other options can Women In Distress offer?
As part of the Broward Homeless Initiative Partnership, we provide referrals to other agencies with shelter services in Broward County when all of our beds are full. If relocation is required, Women In Distress utilizes domestic violence shelters throughout the state or country.

12. Where can children go while their mothers receive services?
Children are cared for by childcare specialists in our children’s respite facilities at the shelter and at the Jim & Jan Moran Family Center. While we do not provide day care throughout the day, our respite facilities allow participants to leave their children in a secure environment with trained professionals while they attend counseling sessions, case management or simply meet with a staff member. Day care and after school care is provided at various licensed facilities throughout the county with grant funds from Broward County and the state of Florida. Children also receive counseling services and participate in supportive activities.

13. What do you do for the participants on holidays?
The Jim & Jan Moran Family Center is closed on weekends and holidays, but our shelter operates 24 hours a day,  7 days a week, all year long. Holidays are special times and we try to make them special for our participants with special outings, tickets to community events, or group meals to share in the holiday spirit. The Broward County community truly embraces our participants during the holiday season with gifts, food, and tickets to activities and events.

14. How do you help participants with housing and employment?
By referral to the Housing Authority or to resources provided by friends of the agency and previous participants. Information about job opportunities or affordable housing is always welcome.

15. Is there an age limit for children to enter shelter?
Due to the shared living arrangements in our shelter, if a participant has a son 14 or older the family is considered for our special populations wing. We evaluate each situation individually based on the space available at the time. We also try to make arrangements for a more appropriate shelter or living space to provide care for participants and their families if we are unable to assist them. Outreach services are available for all ages.

16. Can you shelter elderly people?
Yes. Women In Distress serves people of all ages.

17. Can women or men volunteer to come for counseling or do they need to be court ordered?
Participants volunteer to attend our program. We work with each participant to determine their best options for our various programs.

18. Is there a fee to stay at the shelter or for outreach services?
There is no fee for victims to stay at our shelter or for our outreach services at the Jim & Jan Moran Family Center.

19. Can pets be brought into shelter?
Unfortunately, we cannot accept pets into shelter at this time. However, service animals are always allowed to accompany anyone seeking our services. Women In Distress plans to open a pet shelter as part of our Capital Expansion Campaign. For more information on the campaign and how to give please click here.

20. How is Women In Distress funded?
We are funded through grants, Thrift Store revenue, general contributions, special events, foundations, cities, seminar revenue, investments, and non-cash contributions.

21. How can people donate clothing or furniture to participants?
Donations of gently used clothing, furniture, household items and more are accepted at our Thrift Store and new items are accepted at the Jim & Jan Moran Family Center. For more information please click here.

22. Will the Thrift Store pick up donations?
The Thrift Store is only able to pick up large donations such as furniture and other large items. Please click here for more information.

23. Do you send advocates to do outreach work for victims who are unable to come to the Jim & Jan Moran Family Center on their own?
Satellite offices are available in an effort to reach all quadrants of the county. We also offers services at Broward County Family Success Centers. As increased funding is obtained, Women In Distress tries to expand services to reach across Broward County.

24. Are there any other shelters in Broward County or the State of Florida?
There are 42 state-certified domestic violence centers maintaining shelters throughout Florida. Women In Distress is the only accredited, state-certified center in Broward County.

Domestic Violence

1. How can I report domestic violence?
– Call 911 to report to the police.
– Call Women In Distress to ask for assistance or shelter at 954-761-1133.
– Call the Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96 ABUSE for reporting abuse to children or the elderly.

2. What is the profile of a victim of domestic violence?
There is no single profile. Victims come from all walks of life including all incomes, races, religions, and economic levels.

3. Why do victims stay in abusive relationships?
There are many reasons for a person to stay in an abusive relationship. Fear is the #1 reason. Many have no knowledge of available help, some fear losing their children, some fear being alone, some are economically unstable and feel they have no skills to be employable, and some have very low self-esteem. If you know someone, or think you know someone, in this situation please do not ask them why they stay. Instead, offer them our crisis line number (954-761-1133) and your emotional support.

4. What is the importance of a restraining order and how does that help?
A restraining order is a legal document that records the history of abuse, harassment, etc. and what the victim is experiencing. This enables the police to respond appropriately to different situations. It also empowers victims and enables them to come forth for counseling and receive protection from law enforcement.

5. What does it cost to get a restraining order?
Since October 2003 there is no cost.

6. How successful are the service programs?
Women In Distress upholds an excellent reputation in the community. Accreditation from the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services (COA) was achieved in 2002.

7. If child abuse and elderly abuse are mandatory reportable offenses, why isn’t spousal abuse ?
The Florida Legislature does not mandate it as a mandatory reportable offense, as “spouses” are considered adults possessing self-action and capable of choice.

8. Why is battering considered a “learned behavior” instead of a sickness or mental disability?
Battering refers to physical and emotional abuse, and there are many sick and mentally ill men who do not batter. Learned behavior is a common thread among most batterers.

9. Is anger management an appropriate referral for batterers?
Persons with anger management issues have difficulty controlling their anger in more general situations and can become violent with anyone. However, batterers are primarily abusive towards their spouse or children and function appropriately in other settings or with other social interactions.