The Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas began in 1980 as a grassroots organization that provided services to battered women. Today DVACK serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, teen dating violence, stalking and elder abuse in addition to serving secondary victims including family, friends and anyone else affected by the crime.
DVACK provides victims with confidential services. Crisis intervention services are offered by maintaining a 24-hour crisis line, answered by trained staff and volunteers. Supportive counseling, emergency transportation to a safe environment, advocacy and referrals are also provided by staff and volunteers on a 24-hour basis. DVACK operates an emergency shelter facility for victims, which provides a safe environment for a temporary period.
Advocates provide safety planning to all victims accessing DVACK services. Our advocates provide trauma-informed services to victims. We also offer weekly support groups to adult, teenage and child victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Personal and systems advocacy services are provided for victims interacting with law enforcement, judicial services and other agencies. Clients are assisted with accessing other community resources to assist with their immediate and on-going needs. The Concordia office provides outreach direct and support services to seven surrounding counties — Cloud, Mitchell, Lincoln, Ottawa, Republic, Jewell and Washington. The Salina office provides victim services to Saline, Ellsworth and Dickinson counties.
For those interested in learning more about domestic violence and DVACK’s services, we offer free presentations tailored to meet the needs of schools, businesses, professionals and organizations. Advocates have presented information on harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, teen dating violence, human trafficking and elder abuse. We also offer free professional presentations to nurses, teachers, law enforcement and other allied professionals.
People often ask what they should say if they know someone who has been the victim of domestic violence. Here’s our advice:
First, find a private, quiet place to begin conversations. Allow plenty of time to talk. You may be the first person they have told about the abuse. Believe what they say, and acknowledge the courage they show in talking to you; they take a risk in confiding in you.
Let them know their feelings of fear, confusion, anger, sadness and guilt are reasonable and normal. Avoid treating them like a child or helpless victim. Respect the pace and be patient. Offer choices and support the choice they make for themselves. Help them make plans, but let them make the decisions.
We are here to help.
To reach DVACK, the Concordia office is located at 336 W. 5th St. and our phone number is (785) 243-4349. The Salina office is located at 203 S. Santa Fe Ave. and the phone number is (785) 827-5862. Or you can call DVACK’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-874-1499. DVACK’s website is www.dvack.org.
For more information on domestic and sexual violence in Kansas go to www.kcsdv.org or call 1-888-363-2287.
— Julie Willoughby is the Outreach Advocate for the Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas in Concordia.