About CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence (CHOICES)
CHOICES is committed to excellence in serving domestic violence victims and survivors in Central Ohio and has served as the area’s only refuge for victims for nearly 40 years. In 2013, CHOICES increased the number of beds from 29 to 51 and added five infant cribs. Despite changes and improvements, the outdated facility is no longer adequate to meet the increasing demand for shelter and services: in 2016, CHOICES is expected to serve nearly 2,000 individuals, 750 of whom will need shelter for an average of 30 days.
In 2015, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation approved a leadership gift in the amount of $2 million to support the CHOICES capital campaign to build a new, trauma-informed shelter for victims of domestic violence. The award is part of the Foundation’s Signature Impact Initiative, which provides funding to address pressing health and quality of life issues for the area’s vulnerable populations.
The Need for a New Shelter
Though CHOICES has been providing a safe, secure shelter for victims of domestic violence in Central Ohio for almost four decades, the current facility is outdated and inadequate in meeting the needs of the community. Recently, the number of adults and children seeking shelter rose to more than 100—double the capacity the facility is designed to hold.
Plans for the New Shelter
The new 55,000-square-foot facility, scheduled to open in late 2017, will increase the shelter’s capacity by 135 percent. The new shelter will provide a safe, secure environment for families seeking refuge.
State-of-the-Art Crisis Support
The new 120-bed shelter will also feature a design inspired by Building Dignity, a national shelter concept that helps rebuild survivors’ dignity, fosters a sense of healing, and allows staff to focus on victim-centered advocacy.
Unique staffing plans include an on-site crisis counselor to immediately address emotional and psychological needs of victims coming from crisis situations. Because almost half of shelter residents are children, a family activities coordinator will provide support for parents and children during their transition. Space will even be made available for family pets; statistics show that up to 40 percent of domestic violence victims stay in an abusive home because they refuse to leave pets behind, and often, in danger.
Advocating for Victims of Domestic Violence
According to recent statistics, one in every three women and one in four men will experience some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime. In Franklin County alone, police responded to more than 9,000 incidents of domestic violence in 2014.
Along with providing critical shelter and victim support, CHOICES works with public policymakers to develop legislation, such as the Ohio Domestic Violence Law, and public funding mechanisms for domestic violence services.
Video: CHOICES Understands That Domestic Violence Knows No Boundaries.