Many victims of domestic violence hesitate to contact a domestic violence hotline or shelter because they do not know what to expect. The fear of the unknown sometimes outweighs the fear and uncertainty they face at home, even when their safety may be at risk. Although every shelter program is different, they also have many things in common, and it helps know what you can expect if you need to escape a domestic violence situation.
- Shelters do not charge a fee. They offer victims of domestic violence shelter, food, clothing, transportation, as well as other resources so that you do not have to worry about how to survive if you leave an abusive situation.
- Shelters offer support, information and resources to parents and children who are victims of domestic abuse. Many parents fear being separated from their children if they go to a shelter but, generally speaking, shelters allow parents to care for and keep watch over their children during their stay while offering childcare so parents can participate in various activities.
- Because many individuals and families lack transportation to get to safety, shelters often provide transportation to the shelter.
- Privacy is respected; your information will be kept confidential from other agencies. While shelters are mandatory reporters of child abuse, they will not divulge personal information to others and encourage all residents to remain discreet.
- Many shelters provide victims assistance in filing emergency, interim, and plenary orders of protection for domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking/no-contact.
- Shelters provide basic necessities such as food, clothing, linens, and toiletries at no cost. Most shelters have a communal living area where residents share a kitchen, bathroom, and laundry while retiring to separate or shared bedrooms. Many shelters have computers you may use to check email or access online resources.
- Visitors are generally not allowed in the shelter or safe housing program, but residents may meet with friends or family offsite.
- An advocate will work closely with participants and their families during their stay to connect them with the information, resources and support they need to survive and thrive independently.
Need help? Victims of domestic violence and their families are encouraged to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) – advocates are available at all hours and speak many languages. Lake County residents may also contact A Safe Place – the sole provider of services exclusively addressing domestic violence in Lake County Illinois – at (847) 249-4450 or 1-800-600-SAFE (toll free) – advocates are available 24/7. If you would like to speak to an experienced domestic violence attorney, contact the family law attorneys of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for immediate assistance. We can assist you with protective orders, temporary custody and support orders, or pursue exclusive rights to your home while a divorce or legal separation is pending to keep you and your family safe.