What We Do
The Center for Women and Families provides trauma-informed advocacy and support for individuals, families and communities affected by intimate partner violence and sexual assault. We mitigate the impact of trauma by building resiliency and reducing risk factors at all levels. We are guided by a strong grassroots feminist history, and a commitment to social and economic justice. We co-create violence free lives, families, and communities.
The Center assists all qualified individuals and their dependents, regardless of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age, disability, immigration status, or language proficiency, by providing the following supportive services:
- Crisis Response: The Center operates a crisis phone line for immediate safety planning and assistance 24 hours/day, 365 days/year.
- Emergency Shelter: The Center has a shelter at our downtown Louisville campus where individuals and their children can reside in a safe and secure place while receiving assistance to rebuild their lives and move into permanent housing.
- Sexual Assault Services: The Center provides 24-hour on-site advocacy at area hospitals to victims of sexual assault. We also have a specially equipped room at our JET campus where individuals who have been sexually assaulted and do not have other medical issues may choose to undergo a sexual assault forensic exam instead of going to a hospital emergency room. Our environment offers them the timely attention, care, privacy and support that are often sacrificed in a busy emergency room.
- Advocacy and Support: The Center works with clients to address immediate and long-term emotional, physical and mental effects of the abuse they have experienced. Through case management, counseling, therapy, support, and psycho-educational groups, economic success activities, and immigrant services, The Center’s advocates help clients reduce their risk factors, cultivate resiliency factors, and become engaged with their communities to lead empowered lives. CWF advocates also provide legal advocacy, which includes accompanying clients to court when they are pursuing protective orders.
- Housing: The Center maintains transitional housing units for families that lack safe long-term housing options after moving from emergency shelter. CWF also supports clients in finding permanent housing and providing financial and case management assistance through our rapid rehousing programs.
- Children’s Services: The Center provides direct services and assistance to children who have been victimized by exposure to intimate partner violence, including safety planning and psycho-educational groups for children five years and older, tutoring and academic support, and activities to help them develop positive social interaction skills, build their self-esteem, and establish healthy relationships with caring adults. Advocates also work with parents to help them understand how exposure to violence can affect their children’s emotional, intellectual and social development, and to help them develop positive parenting skills.
The Center leads several primary prevention projects that engage individuals in acting affirmatively to create safe communities. Our work includes the following projects:
- Green Dot: This is an evidence-based active bystander intervention program that The Center uses to teach individuals how to identify potential incidents of violence and how to safely and effectively intervene
- Awareness Activities: Each year, The Center provides community education and training to more than 10,000 people. Through community education, The Center strives to build awareness about its services, dispel common myths, increase public knowledge, enhance professional skills and provide a framework for prevention.
- Professional Training: The Center’s Prevention Education Team trains professionals (e.g., attorneys, physicians, police, and educators) to recognize violence where it occurs in their communities and to become “active bystanders” thereby reducing violence and preventing its reoccurrence.
The Center works closely with organizations in order to provide comprehensive care for all victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault throughout the community. With key, strategic partnerships, The Center provides the vital support our clients need by engaging community partners in a systemic prevention framework to reduce risk factors, increase protective factors and mitigate the effects of trauma. Significant collaborations include the following:
- Community Shield: Reducing the Impact of Violence on Children: The Center is a core and founding partner of Community Shield and contributes leadership to this city-wide network of 40 agencies concerned with how exposure to violence places children at risk. Each agency involved delivers different services and focuses on different types of violence, but all share a common concern. Through the Community Shield, we coordinate services, increase collaboration, eliminate duplication, and accelerate community problem-solving.
- The Lethality Assessment Program: The Center collaborates with the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) to reduce the number of intimate partner violence-related homicides in Louisville. LMPD Officers who respond to domestic violence calls administer a lethality screen to determine victims’ risk of being killed by their abusers. Victims who “screen in” are immediately connected to our counselors for shelter and safety planning services.
- Other Collaborative Partners: The Healing Place, JADAC, Family & Children’s Place, Home of the Innocents, Catholic Charities, Legal Aid, La Casita, Family Scholar House, Kentucky Humane Society, the University of Louisville, Kentucky One Health, TARC, Volunteers of America, Coalition for the Homeless and Goodwill.