The Clinton County Women’s Center opened its doors on September 30, 1979, founded by a group of men and women who saw a need in our community. The center was originally established as an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and intervention hotline services. While the center still operates an emergency shelter, our services have expanded significantly. We provide 24-hour free and confidential hotline services, options counseling, legal advocacy, referral information, support groups and more. Our staff, volunteers and interns work to continue the mission and goals of the original founding members.
Once just a grass roots effort funded by community members and organizations, we are now also funded by the Clinton County United Way, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The community has been extremely generous with us, and we have been the beneficiary of many fundraisers, High School “senior projects” and individual donations throughout the years. The community has also been generous with their time. Our Volunteer Coordinator recruits and supervises the volunteers and interns that we rely on to continue our work. We offer two volunteer trainings twice a year (usually October and May). We appreciate every moment that is dedicated to us, for without volunteers, we could not continue to function as we do today.
As social awareness increased about domestic violence and sexual assault through the 80’s and 90’s legislation was passed that has allowed our work to go beyond just shelter and hotline services. For example, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), created in part by Senator Joseph Biden, was passed in 1994, and has provided billions of dollars to enhance the prosecution and enforcement of violent crimes committed against women. As a result, we now have a legal advocate that assists people in obtaining a PFA (Protection from Abuse Order), as well as, offering training to local law enforcement.
Furthermore, the movement recognized that it is only through education that the attitudes allowing sexual and domestic violence to exist could be changed, and now we have many community outreach activities working to both raise awareness and provide prevention education. Programs are offered for preschools, schools, colleges, community organizations, churches, medical clinics and hospitals. We hope to end the cycle of violence by providing knowledge and information not only about what we do at the Clinton County Women’s Center, but about what other people can do to end domestic and sexual violence in their lives and the lives of those they come in contact with.
Although the outside services we provide to the community are an important and vital part of our work, our main goal is to continue to assist the victims of sexual and domestic violence in the hopes of ending this social epidemic. We provide options, advocacy and support. The Center served over 800 people last year alone, in addition to taking thousands of hours of hotline calls. We offer both support groups and individual options counseling, addressing the needs of our clients by empowering them take control of their lives and make any changes they feel necessary.
We are still every bit as committed to our mission statement as we ever were. We provide quality services and community collaboration to promote safety and freedom from domestic and sexual violence by empowering individuals to define their own lives. Our ultimate goal is to totally eliminate sexual and domestic violence, and as long as they exist in our community, so will we.