Someone here will listen. Someone here will help.
Whether it happened one time or is continuing to happen. Whether your pain is physical or emotional. Whether it’s you or someone you love. Whether you call it abuse or assault or you just don’t know what to call it. Whether it’s been 20 minutes or 20 years, we’re here to help.
With one-to-one support and advocacy counseling, DVSAS can help you plan for your safety, answer legal questions, connect you with services like housing and counseling, and stand by you as you recover and heal from domestic violence and sexual assault.
Advocacy counselors provide safety planning, emotional support, crisis intervention, and referrals through the helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Advocacy counseling is available to clients who want to meet one-on-one. Sessions are available on a walk-in basis during business hours M-F 9am-5pm.
SUPPORT DURING MEDICAL EXAMS
- When an individual undergoes a sexual assault forensic exam at St. Joseph Hospital, advocacy counselors are dispatched to support the victim and family/friends through the process.
- Advocacy counselors also provide support during other exams related to domestic violence or sexual assault and can help victims to access necessary services.
911 SAFETY PLANNING
From the scene of a domestic violence call, officers throughout Whatcom County conduct a danger assessment and call DVSAS advocates to provide immediate safety planning and crisis intervention to victims.
Advocacy counseling is available to clients who want to meet one-on-one with an advocacy counselor. Sessions are available on a walk-in or scheduled basis during business hours. These sessions are strength and empowerment-based and include emotional support, on-going safety planning, identifying coping skills, problem solving, information about the effects of domestic violence and sexual assault, and referrals to other community resources.
Advocacy counseling is offered at the downtown support center, at the DSHS office, over the phone, and at safe locations throughout the County by arrangement.
Advocacy counselors can assist with such services as:
- Safety planning
- Shelter, medical, and emergency referrals
- Specialized assistance with mental health and substance abuse
- Accessing public benefits through DSHS for women affected by domestic violence
- Reporting to law enforcement
- Assistance with filing protection orders
- Court preparation and accompaniment
Please visit the Legal Assistance section for more information on legal advocacy.
- Adult and teen support groups: Support groups are held for adults and teens at the downtown support center, at the DSHS office, at local schools and other locations throughout the county.
- The New Beginnings Support Group is offered three times a week for women who have experienced or are currently experiencing domestic violence.
- Connections is a 12-week group for men and women who have experienced sexual assault.
- Spectrum is a trauma support for LGBTQ+ survivors to receive support and learn about domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Teen groups are held throughout the school year for girls who have witnessed or experienced domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
- Children’s groups: Children’s groups are offered during support groups. The groups focusing on increasing the resiliency skills of children by allowing them play in a safe, child-appropriate environment while increasing social skills, learning positive conflict resolution, and processing their own difficult feelings.
- Parenting after violence program: This group helps women to understand the effects of domestic violence on themselves and their children, learn healthy discipline techniques, and explore their parental role. It is offered several times throughout the year.
Please visit the Support Group section for more information on support group times and family services information.
The DVSAS Safe Housing Program provides safe, confidential shelter to individuals and families fleeing domestic violence. Clients have access to basic food, clothing, personal items, and bedding if needed. Advocates are available to conduct intakes and provide advocacy twenty-four hours a day. DVSAS also partners with Lydia Place to offer housing case management to all DVSAS Safe Housing Program clients.
Shelter is available for all survivors, including women, men, bisexual, lesbian, gay, intersex, non-binary, gender non-conforming and transgender individuals, as well as undocumented individuals and individuals of all backgrounds, nationalities, races, ethnic origins, and religions. Our program is accessible to persons with disabilities and accepts service animals. Other pets may be accepted on a case by case basis. We encourage any person who needs emergency shelter due to domestic violence to call our 24-hour hotline.
Teen Violence Prevention Programs
Interactive violence prevention programs are offered at local middle schools, high schools, and youth organizations. These programs help teens understand the dynamics of abusive and healthy relationships, explore consent, and develop confidence in setting boundaries. The Empowerment Project, a three-session curriculum specially designed for ages 13-18, also includes a session from WSCADV: Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s called “In Their Shoes.” You can find more information here.
As a leader in the community, DVSAS provides trainings and education to local business, organizations, and service providers on domestic violence and sexual assault. These trainings are focused on a wide variety of topics, including sexual harassment in the workplace, medical provider trainings, working with victims of violence, and responding to children and teens who have experienced violence.
For more information on how to schedule a training or presentation, please email Blanca Ortega, Prevention Education Specialist
Ask an Advocate
Have more questions? Ask an advocate.