Family Crisis Services

Family Crisis Services

Family Crisis Services (FCS) is a joint domestic violence and sexual assault program which provides direct sport and advocacy services to victims and their families in Tazewell County and Russell County.  In addition to direct victim services, FCS offers an Education and Community Outreach Program.

Imagine having a mother and three children living in an abusive home—being beaten, feeling hopeless with nowhere to turn. Or imagine that you have been sexually assaulted by an acquaintance – left feeling alone, confused and embarrassed. This is a common experience for many families in our community.  During 2011-2012, statistics show that 348 women, children and men found help through Family Crisis Services.In addition to experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault, seventy 77of these clients experienced homelessness as well. Services provided include: 300 hotline calls, 506units of crisis intervention, 1,008 miles of transportation, 615 units of advocacy, 975 units of supportive counseling, and 725 requests for information and referral.

Services Available
  • Emergency Transportation
  • Residential Shelter
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Safety Planning
  • Court Advocacy
  • Medical & Legal Advocacy
  • Systems Advocacy
  • Education & Community Outreach Program
  • RAD and radKIDS Instruction
  • Information & Referral
  • Individual Counseling
  • Support Groups
  • Teen Services
  • Children’s Services
  • 24-hour Hotline (276-979-8959)
Education and Community Outreach

The Education and Community Outreach Program provides educational programming and technical assistance to the community.  Educational programs include the following:

  • Safe Touch-Unsafe Touch for K-5.
  • “These Hands Are Not for Hitting” for K-5.
  • radKIDS classes for children ages 5-12.
  • Sexual Harassment awareness and intervention for middle school and 9th grade students
  • Teen Dating Violence Prevention for 8th and 10th grade students.
  • Rape Aggression Defense classes for women and girls, ages 13 and up.

 

Specialized presentations are also available.  These include: “Cut Out Domestic Violence” a statewide initiative that focuses on domestic violence education for salon professionals; “In Her Shoes” an educational simulation that walks participants through eight different experiences with violence, including the perspective of the abusive partner.  This simulation also focuses on domestic violence and economic justice; Clergy Training, a five hour course on domestic violence and sexual assault for clergy members and lay leaders to encourage a pastoral response to these issues; “It’s Your Business” a training for human resource professionals and employees to address domestic violence and sexual assault in the workplace; Domestic Violence 101/Sexual Assault 101, which focuses on the definition and dynamics of these issues, as well as ways for the community to become involved.

Family Crisis Services also has four mobile displays that may be exhibited at local businesses, churches, and community organizations for public awareness.  These displays are: the“Clothesline Project,” “Silent Witness Initiative,” “An Empty Place at the Table,” and “Beating Hearts.”

Education and Community Outreach Program

The Education and Community Outreach Program provides educational programming and technical assistance to the community.  Educational programs include the following:

  • Safe Touch-Unsafe Touch for K-5.
  • “These Hands Are Not for Hitting” for K-5.
  • radKIDS classes for children ages 5-12.
  • Sexual Harassment awareness and intervention for middle school and 9th grade students
  • Teen Dating Violence Prevention for 8th and 10th grade students.
  • Rape Aggression Defense classes for women and girls, ages 13 and up.

Specialized presentations are also available.  These include: “Cut Out Domestic Violence” a statewide initiative that focuses on domestic violence education for salon professionals; “In Her Shoes” an educational simulation that walks participants through eight different experiences with violence, including the perspective of the abusive partner.  This simulation also focuses on domestic violence and economic justice; Clergy Training, a five hour course on domestic violence and sexual assault for clergy members and lay leaders to encourage a pastoral response to these issues; “It’s Your Business” a training for human resource professionals and employees to address domestic violence and sexual assault in the workplace; Domestic Violence 101/Sexual Assault 101, which focuses on the definition and dynamics of these issues, as well as ways for the community to become involved. 

Family Crisis Services also has four mobile displays that may be exhibited at local businesses, churches, and community organizations for public awareness.  These displays are: the“Clothesline Project,” “Silent Witness Initiative,” “An Empty Place at the Table,” and “Beating Hearts.”

Volunteer Advocate Program

The Volunteer Advocate Program trains individuals to work with FCS and our clients. Volunteers must complete 40 hours of training. Volunteer opportunities include: fundraising, shelter coverage, office support, emergency transportation, carrying the pager, educational programming, and serving on the advisory board to name a few of the many ways to help. 

CVCA provides a Shelter & Transitional Housing Program.  A residential shelter facility, known as Bridges: A Resource Center for Families, is available for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  Individuals and families who seek this service typically are fleeing an abusive situation, and who do not have any other housing options. While receiving shelter services, individuals and families work on finding employment, accessing public benefits, obtaining housing, and dealing with legal issues.  Last year 2011-2012, 79 families (121 individuals) received shelter services for a total of 3.334 nights.

Currently there are ten apartments for families who are homeless to help make a transition from crisis to stability and eventually self sufficiency.  Clients may stay in these apartments up to one year, but they must develop a plan that includes job goals, budgeting, and family development.  Last year, 18 families (62 individuals) participated in the Transitional Housing Program for a total of 7,210 nights of housing.  

radKIDS Personal Empowerment Education Program
Rape Agression Defense (R.A.D.)

What Is R.A.D.?

The Systems Physical Defense (Rape Aggression Defense) is a program of realistic, self-defense tactics and techniques. The R.A.D. System is a comprehensive course for women that begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance, while progressing on to the basics of hands-on self defense training. R.A.D. is not a martial arts program.  Our courses are taught b y certified instructors and provide you with a workbook/reference manual.  This manual outlines the entire physical defense program for reference and continuous person growth.

R.A.D. is dedicated to teaching women defensive concepts and techniques against various types of assault.  We utilize easy, effective and proven self-defense tactics.  Our system of realistic defense will provide a woman with the knowledge to make and educated decision about resistance.

 R.A.D. is:

  • For women and girls ages 13 to adult
  • A 12 hour basic self defense class
  • Offers no-nonsense, practical techniques of defense
  • Provides hands-on training
  • Provides students with a comprehensive reference manual
  • Has a lifetime return and pr Save & Exit actice policy

The cost for the class is $20.00.  Scholarships are available.

Sexual Assault

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any sexual act or contact that you do not want. You could be forced into these acts through force, threat, or intimidation. It is a violent crime and a frightening experience.  It may include unwanted touching, kissing, oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, or other sexual acts.  In Virginia, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men have been sexually abused at sometime in their lives. 

Myths and Facts:

Myth:  Rapes are usually reported.

Fact:  Rape is probably one of the most underreported crimes in the United States today, with educated estimates that between 50 and 90% of rape cases go unreported.

Myth: Rape results from an uncontrollable sexual urge. Men rape impulsively and out of sexual need.

Fact: Rape is criminal act of violence using sex as a weapon. Men rape to express hostility and to dominate.  Since the most convicted rapists are married or have available sex partners, rape is not primarily a sexual experience.  Men rape because it allows them to express anger and to feel powerful by controlling another person.

Myth:  Most rapes occur in dark alleys, and are committed by a stranger.

Fact:  86% of all rapes are committed by someone the victim knows and over 57% of rapes occur in a residence. 

Myth:  When a woman says no, she really means yes.

Fact:  No means NO!  Without her consent it is sexual assault.  Everyone has the right to control what happens to one’s body.

Myth:  Sexual assault happens to careless people who are “asking for it” by the way they dress or where they are.

Fact:  No one asks to be assaulted.  All kinds of people, young and old, are sexually assaulted in all kinds of places and at all times.  The idea that victims provoke assault by “being in the wrong place at he wrong time” assumes that they have no right to be as free as you.  This myth shifts the blame from the perpetrator to the victim of this crime.  No one “deserves” to be sexually assaulted.

Sexual Assault can happen in many different ways:

People use many different ways to pressure or force someone into doing sexual things that they do not want. They might make you scared about what might happen if you don’t do what they want.  They might force you by holding you down or hurting you.  They might try to talk you into doing things you don’t want to do.  They may be bigger and older than you and tell you it is okay to do these things. No matter what happens, remember sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault.

It just happened to me:

  • It is important that you find a safe place to go.  This may be home, the home of a friend or family member, church, a sexual assault crisis center, or other safe place. 
  • Find someone you trust to talk to. 
  • Consider seeing a doctor.  You can go to your regular doctor or the emergency room at your local hospital.  Request they call someone from Family Crisis Services.
  • If you want to talk to the police, call 911.  It is important to not wash yourself or your clothing.  If you change clothes, put the clothing you were wearing in a paper bag and bring it to the hospital with you.  Do not brush your teeth, eat, drink, smoke, comb you hair, or use the restroom if you can help it.
  • Call a Family Crisis Services if you want someone to go with you to the hospital or to talk to the police. You have the right to ask questions about what is happening to you and get answers.  You also have the right to say “NO” to anything you do not want to have happen. It is better for evidence gathering not to wait – go to the hospital as soon as you can safely do so. Even if you do not press charges, you need to be examined for internal injuries.

I was assaulted in the past:

You may have memories of the assault for a long time.  Or, you may remember only pieces of the assault.  This is a normal thing for victims of sexual abuse.  It is normal to feel many different things, even things that don’t seem to make sense or that you never felt before.

Some people who have been sexually assaulted feel like they are better, and doing fine, then something stressful happens in the lives and brings back some of those memories.  This is a normal thing to happen.  Everyone heals in their own time and way and not every day will be smooth and without bad memories. 

All of these reactions are normal, but can be hard to live with.  Many people who have been sexually assaulted find it helpful to talk with someone about what happened to them. You can contact a Family Crisis Services advocate at 276-988-5583 or use the statewide hotline number – 1-800-838-8238.

It is normal to react in many different ways:

Everyone reacts in her or his own way to being sexually assaulted.  These reactions may change from day to day or minute to minute.  Being sexually assaulted can affect your body, your emotions, and your spirit.  You may feel or act differently.  It is okay to pay attention to what you are feeling and what you might need to feel better.  If you feel you need help, it is okay to ask a doctor, a sexual assault crisis center, a counselor, or others.  It may take some time before you begin to feel better.

Talk to someone you trust:

Many people who have been sexually assaulted never tell anyone.  It might be because they are ashamed or because they fear how others might react.  It can help to talk to someone you trust.  That person could be:

  • Friend or family.
  • Coworker.
  • Parent/Teacher.
  • Clergy.
  • Sexual Assault Crisis Center advocate.
  • Anyone you fee comfortable talking with.

Give yourself time to recover:

This is an important time to take care of you.  If you can, lower stress in other parts of your life.  If you need time to yourself, it is okay to say that to your friends and family. Here are some others suggestions for taking of yourself:

  • Try to eat well.
  • Spend time with people who support you.
  • Spend less time with people who make you feel badly.
  • Plan time for activities that make you feel safe.

Could it happen to my child?

Child sexual assault is difficult to talk about.  It is a subject surrounded by social taboos and secrecy.  However, child sexual abuse is widespread and adults must protect children with information and strategies to prevent their abuse. 

  • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 8 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18.
  • Average age for the onset of a sexually abusive relationship is 6-8 years old.
  • In four out of five cases, the child is sexually abused by someone she/he knows –  38% of all cases are perpetrated by a close relative of the child.
  • Child abuse is rarely a one-time occurrence:  Abusive relationships last an average of 1-4 years.
  • Children rarely tell anyone immediately, adults must be aware of clues that could indicate that a child is in crisis.  That child may have been sexually assaulted.  Take note of particularly extreme sudden behavior changes or a combination of indicators.


Physical Indicators could be:

  • Physical symptoms such as sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, urinary tract infections, vaginal or anal soreness, bleeding or itching.
  • Physical ailments and eating disorders.

Behavioral Indicators could be:

  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Lack of or overly affectionate behavior and/or sexually acting out.
  • Poor peer relationships and lying.
  • Delinquency: running away, prostitution, drug/alcohol use.

Emotional Indicators could be:

  • Sleep disturbances – nightmares.
  • Reluctance to go to a particular place, fear of being with a particular person.
  • Age-inappropriate understanding of sexual behavior.
  • Inability to concentrate, depression, suicidal feelings.

It is never too early or too late to talk to your child about assault prevention.

A Note To Parents:

  • Give children information.
  • Teach children that they have the right to decide who touches them, how, and when.
  • Teach them they have a right to talk about their feelings and that they NEVER have to keep a secret that makes them feel bad.
  • Listen carefully and support your child for telling by praise, belief, and most important – lack of blame. 
  • Build your child’s self-confidence by allowing them to practice making choices every day.

What Can You Do?

  •  Remain calm.
  • Determine the child’s immediate safety needs and act accordingly.
  • Let the child tell their story and LISTEN:  Do not assume anything or prompt the child.
  • Reassure the child that you believe her/him and are glad she/he told.

Legal Issues:

Report of offense:  The offense is reported to law enforcement, either by calling them or through the emergency room if the victim was first taken there.  Evidence is collected using a Physical Evidence Recovery Kit (PERK) provided to hospitals and paid for by the Commonwealth..  Hospital personnel use special PERK kits to collect evidence, allowing all evidence in all Virginia sexual assault cases to be collected using the same procedures.

If the report is made after the 72 hour “window” for effective evidence collection, a report can still be made and prosecution can still go forward.  Once the report is made, the case is assigned to an investigator.  If the assailant is known, he will be interviewed by the detective.  The investigator will determine if there is enough evidence for probable cause, and will present this information directly to the Commonwealth’s Attorney.  Family Crisis Services and/or Victim Witness Assistance advocates may be contacted to help a survivor through the legal system. 

If the investigator finds probable cause, she/he will go to a magistrate for a warrant. .  Once a warrant is issued, it can be served on the suspect by the law enforcement officer.  At that point, the suspect is under arrest, and he/she can be taken into custody and processed.

The first appearance :  the first time an accused is brought before the court is his first appearance and usually involves the court’s giving the accused information about his rights to an attorney and setting a date for the next court proceeding.

Preliminary Hearing: -a person arrested on a felony warrant has a right to a preliminary hearing.  This usually takes place 1 to 2 months after the bond hearing.  The only purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine whether or not probable cause exists that the defendant committed the crime.  If is does, the judge will certify the case to the grand jury.  If it does not, the judge will either reduce it to a misdemeanor or proceed to trial on the lesser charge, or dismiss the charge entirely.

Grand Juries – a grand jury is a panel of 5 to 7 persons from the local community.  Grand Jury proceedings are secret.  Usually only the investigating officer testifies, while the Commonwealth’s Attorney advises the panel about their duties under the law.  Four members of the grand jury must agree in making an indictment.  The victim’s presence is not required.

Indictment –is a written accusation of crime, and is required in order to proceed to trial against a defendant for a felony.

The Trial – depending on the charges a trial may take place in a district court or a circuit court.  Misdemeanors are tired in district court and felonies and appeals of misdemeanors take place in circuit courts.  Oftentimes court dates are postponed or continued several times.

 A sexual assault case can be postponed in the court system for months. This is hard for a victim to understand – the perpetrator may be out walking the streets and leaving the victim in fear of seeing him/her. An advocate from Victim Witness or Family Crisis Services and help a victim understand what is going on and understand the reasons for the postponement.  This is only one of the ways an advocate  can help navigate the system for a victim.

If you need further information please call Family Crisis Services, Clinch Valley Community Action, Inc. 276-988-5583

Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is the most common form of violence.  It can happen to anyone regardless of race, gender, age, religious preference, sexual orientation, ability, educational level or income level.  Domestic violence may be in the form of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse.  When abuse occurs, it affects everyone—family, children, neighbors and friends.  It may lead to lifetime injuries or even death.

There are ways to end the violence.  By taking the first step and bringing the violence out in the open, the abuse can be stopped.  There are alternatives available to a victim and her/his children.

Myths and Facts about Domestic Violence

MYTH:  Battered women are generally masochistic.
FACT:   The battered woman may love her abuser but she does not love the abuse.

MYTH:  Middle-class women do not get battered as frequently.
FACT:   Battering cuts across all classes, although it is less often reported in higher income families.

MYTH:  The batterer will not beat his children.
FACT:   Children in homes where their mothers are beaten are 1500 times more likely to be abused,
usually by the batterer.

MYTH:  The batterer is not a loving partner.
FACT:   According to victims, the batterers are often loving and kind at other times in the
relationship.

MYTH:   Batterers are violent in all their relationships.
FACT:    The “Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” personality appears in men who batter.  They are usually not
violent to anyone except their partner.

MYTH:    Many men batter because they are drunk or on drugs.
FACT:     Drugs and alcohol may reinforce abuse but they do not cause the violence and should not
be used to excuse it.

Dynamics of Domestic Violence

Why do some men batter?

  • Violence is an effective means of control.
  • Men who batter often say that the women will not do what they want them to do.
  • An abuser feels he as the right to control “his woman”.

Some men batter because of other factors in their lives:

1.  Poor self-image
2.  Poor childhood experience
3.  Economic pressure
4.  Lack of communication
5.  Fear of change
6.  Strict views of gender roles
7.  Feel a need for power
8.  Abuse alcohol and drugs
9.  Fear abandonment
10. Feel intense jealousy

Men batter because they can.

Why do some victims stay?

  • Her experience is similar to that of a hostage or a prisoner of war.
  • She is isolated from her family and friends.
  • She is frequently threatened with increased violence if she tries to leave or criminally charge the abuser.
  • She is terrified—she never knows if the violence could lead to death.
  • The question “Why does she stay?” assumes that she can leave.
  • She may not be able to leave due to extreme terror or physical restraints.

If she leaves her abuser, she might face enormous economic disadvantages:

1.  Loss of shelter
2.  Loss of money
3.  No credit
4.  No car
5.  No job

  • She may be unable to leave because she does not want to face these disadvantages with her
    children—she would prefer to stay than to disrupt her children’s lives any further.
  • Societal Attitudes: Society generally ignores domestic violence or blames the victim for “provoking” or accepting violence.  Officials, such as court officers, police, ministers, etc., often urge battered women to “forgive and forget” to keep the family together.
  • Hope: The abused wife/girlfriend usually loves her husband/boyfriend and goes on believing that he’ll reform, although this rarely happens without professional help.

Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

In homes where domestic violence occurs, children are at high risk of suffering physical abuse themselves.  Regardless of whether children are physically abused, the emotional effects of witnessing domestic violence are very similar to the psychological trauma associated with being a victim of child abuse.  Each year, an estimated 3.3 million children witness domestic violence.

Research shows that domestic violence is the single most common factor among mothers of abused children.

Children in homes where they witness domestic violence may “indirectly” receive injuries.  They may be hurt when items are thrown or weapons are used.  Infants may be injured if being held by their mother when the batterer strikes out.  Older children may be hurt while trying to protect their mother.

Children from violent homes have higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse and juvenile delinquency.  They are also more likely to repeat the cycle and become abusers/victims themselves.

How You Can Help Eliminate Domestic Violence

  • Listen carefully to women and children who have been abused.  Believe them and let them know that it is not their fault.  Give them support, encourage them to express their feelings and allow them to make their own decisions.
  • Volunteer to work with FCS.  By donating your time you can assist in many ways; help others in need; provide child care and transportation; provide your support to the survivors; organize fund raising projects; speak to community groups.
  • Donate food, clothing, sheets, towels, furniture and other household items that may be used by FCS.
  • Model non-violent, respectful behavior with the children in your community.
  • Write or call your elected representatives and let them know that you support stronger laws to protect women and children who are, or have been abused.
  • Ask your religious, civic or business organization to invite a speaker to educate the group on domestic violence and more ways to become involved.

What to do if Someone You Know is Involved in an Abusive Relationship

  • Let the person know you care.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Identify sources of help.
  • Educate yourself about domestic violence.
  • Share this information with others.
  • Be calm.
  • Never condone abuse.
  • Keep communication lines open.
  • Remember that you can’t “rescue” them if they are not ready.
  • Encourage the person to be honest.
  • Affirm that everyone needs to be accepted.
  • Validate their experience and feelings.
  • Encourage the person to get assistance and help them to see that change is possible.

Tips for a Victim

  • If you feel you are in danger, leave before you are abused.
  • Learn telephone numbers for police, hospital and FCS.
  • Have an extra set of keys made for the car and the house and hide them in a safe place.
  • Plan an escape route out of your home; set aside a bag of clothing for you and your children; have available birth certificates, social security cards, money, credit cards, marriage license, medical card, utility receipts, bank account information and proof of income.
  • Work out a distress signal with a neighbor (i.e. blinking lights).
  • Avoid arguments in rooms where possible weapons are kept, such as the kitchen or bathroom, or where guns and knives are stored.
  • Confide in a friend.
  • Establish contact with a lawyer.
  • Contact FCS.

Contact Family Crisis Services

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