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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Crime & Law, Domestic Violence, Family Violence Shelters, Homeless & Housing, Mental Health, Sexual Abuse Prevention, Sexual Assault Services, Spouse Abuse Prevention

Mission: Berks county women in crises is a not-for-profit organization operating a domestic and sexual violence prevention center committed to the understanding and prevention of personal and institutional violence against individuals. The agency provides a safe haven and on-going support system for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The agency's advocacy and education programs increase awareness and promote the prevention of domestic violence, sexual assault, and all forms of oppression.

Programs: Provide safe emergency shelter for up to 30 days within any six month period for victims of domestic violence and their children. While living in shelter, women and children have the option of receiving supportive counseling, advocacy and referral, as well as education about various options and assistance during and after shelter in an effort to enhance safety and quality of life. In fy 2013-2014, bwic provided adults 8,100 nights of shelter and provided 7,775 nights of shelter to children. The shelter program operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

the counseling department provides support to victims of domestic and sexual violence and their families in understanding the dynamics and effects of abuse. In fy 2013-14, bwic provided 8,588 hours to 2,129 victims, 618 hours of counseling to 448 children and 140 hours (116 individuals) counseling for significant others of victims. Additionally, 956 calls for immediate crisis response were handled. The counseling services program is free, and available in english and spanish.

the legal department is committed to providing quality legal services and advocacy to victims of domestic and sexual assault. Berks women in crisis attorneys represent victims on protection from abuse (pfa) actions. Legal advocates provide accompaniment to persons seeking emergency or temporary pfa's as well as to criminal court hearings and police interviews. In fy 2013-14, bwic provided legal representation and advocacy to more than 2,357 victims of domestic and/or sexual assualt. The legal services program is free and available in english and spanish.

transitional housing & community education and outreach. The transitional housing program provides housing to assist women and children with an opportunity to start over, by learning how to be on their own, making their own decisions and securing a new home. The program assists victims of domestic and sexual violence by providing instruction in life and money management skills, creating a safe environment, building self-esteem and self-awareness, and understanding the effects of domestic and sexual violence. The program also provides individual case managers, along with support and housing meetings. The community education and outreach program provides services through three different programs. The programs are designed specifically for business professionals, educators, community organizations and members of the greater public. The first program is peaceworks which develops educational presentations and training programs that focus on the issues of domestic and sexual violence. The second program is 60-hour training. The intensive training session is designed to educate employees and volunteers who work directly with victims of domestic and sexual violence. The third program is an educational program that is designed specifically for school age students and delivered in the classroom. The presentations offer educators several opportunities to learn and understand the effects of domestic and sexual violence on children.

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