Impact Stories

About CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence

Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio

A community analysis revealed an estimated 50,000 women in Franklin County are assaulted by a current or former intimate partner each year. CHOICES is committed to excellence in serving domestic violence victims and survivors in Central Ohio and has served as the sole resource for those seeking shelter in Franklin County for more than four decades. 

In 2013, CHOICES increased the number of beds from 29 to 51. In 2019, a new shelter was opened offering 120 beds. In 2021, an expansion raised the bed total to 144. 

We want to provide people with an environment where they feel safe, comfortable and uplifted. Being in an environment where they feel welcome and supported helps them to focus on what comes next for them. The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation gift helped us in creating that environment.

Sue Villilo, CHOICES Executive Director

Foundation Support for CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence (CHOICES)

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. 

State-of-the-Art Crisis Support

The 120-bed shelter, opened in 2019, features 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 includes 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 provides support for parents and children during their transition. Space is 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.

Additionally, a 24-hour crisis and information hotline offers counseling and referrals to support groups and legal services.

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.

Pandemic Response Support

During the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of domestic violence increased at alarming rates, creating an urgent need for additional capacity in the new CHOICES shelter through a construction expansion project. To expedite the project, the Foundation approved an additional funding award of $500,000. This support propelled the shelter expansion campaign, known as “The Future is Now Campaign,” to quickly reach its fundraising goal, which resulted in the addition of 24 beds in early 2021.

Video: CHOICES Choose Hope 

lssnetworkofhope.org/choices
Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio
500 W. Wilson Bridge Rd., Suite 245 • Worthington, OH 43085
(614) 228-5200

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