REACH’s Community-Based Advocacy Program offers a similar range of services to domestic violence survivors who do not live in shelter. Sometimes a person is not ready to leave an abusive relationship, or has left but either doesn’t need a residential program or does not wish to participate in one. Because we take a survivor-centered approach, we believe that these decisions are deeply personal and up to the survivor to make. The Community Program makes it possible for these survivors to get help when they need it most, without having to leave their home and community ties behind. They can come to us for help with safety planning, finding a job or housing, or accessing benefits. We accompany them to court, and support them through any other important steps on their journey to independence. Our Community-Based Advocacy Program also includes several innovative initiatives:
- Our Hope Project looks at how domestic violence intersects with mental health, substance abuse, and transactional sex. Through Hope we provide support groups to survivors of violence and training to other service providers on how to support survivors with varied experiences.
- The Latinas Know Your Rights Program (LKYR) is a legal advocacy training program in collaboration with Greater Boston Legal Services. LKYR is designed to build capacity within the Waltham Latina community, encouraging the women who participate to educate others and break systemic barriers that immigrant female domestic violence survivors face in accessing their rights.
- Through our Survivor Speakers’ Bureau, survivors are trained to share their stories and engage community members in discussions about domestic violence. Through an initial writing-intensive training and ongoing supervision groups, speakers build individual writing and speaking skills, while increasing self-esteem and peer relationships.
Child and Adolescent Therapy: Whether living in shelter or accessing community-based services, survivors who work with REACH have access to our Child and Adolescent Therapist, a licensed social worker. Using age-appropriate play therapy, our therapist works with children ages 3-18 to help them deal with the violence they have seen or experienced. Parents can also receive specialized support with parenting questions and techniques.
Shelter: At REACH, we believe that no one should have to stay in an abusive situation simply because they can’t afford to leave or don’t have a place to go. Our Emergency Shelter Program provides crisis intervention and support services for victims of domestic violence who are not safe in their own home. The shelter offers a range of services designed to provide immediate safety, meet the needs of victims, and to help them gain independence. Those services include assistance with finding longer-term housing, support with legal issues, and access to other resources beyond those of a typical shelter program to help families heal physically and emotionally.