Peace at Home Shelter, a center that offers resources to victims of domestic violence abuse, has recently been experiencing growth and change.
Jamie Kern, development assistant for Peace at Home, said there has been “a dramatic increase in recent years of people who are looking for services.”
“That doesn’t necessarily mean that there are more victims, but it means that we are raising awareness and doing our job,” said Kern. “Now, more and more people know what services are available.”
During 2013, the shelter served more than 1,700 people, Kern said. And that figure may increase after two recent changes.
One such change responsible for growth at the shelter is that the United States Committee for Immigrants and Refugees selected Peace at Home as the designated site for victims of human trafficking in Arkansas. In 2013, 182 calls were made to the National Resource Center for Human Trafficking regarding possible trafficking cases in Arkansas, according to statistics from the center. Peace at Home will now be the first step in providing care and services to those trafficking victims.
Another change that may attract growth at the shelter is the creation of a new program for the prevention of elder abuse. The program, entitled “Abuse in Later Life,” is directed at victims age 50 or older and was developed by the Office on Violence Against Women after the U.S. Justice Department selected Peace at Home to be an advocate against this type of abuse.
“Older people face financial, physical, and sexual abuse,” said Maribel Hurtado, the new advocate for the program that began in February. “Many elderly get money from Social Security and retirement funds, and family members steal their money.”
Only one in 14 cases of elder abuse is reported, Hurtado said. Therefore, the new program provides shelter and emotional support, safety planning, individual or group counseling, and legal options, among other services, for those experiencing elder abuse.
For more information about this program or Peace at Home’s services and programs call the crisis line at 479-442-9811.