For those exposed to domestic violence, DC has resources that can help


DC has several resources that can help people with domestic violence.

Nearly 40% of women in DC have experienced intimate partner violence, higher than the national average of 25%, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Three DC officials told WTOP that the city has a number of resources to help survivors. Michelle Garcia, the director of the District of Columbia Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, said the first thing anyone in a domestic violence situation should do is call the city’s emergency number, which runs 24/7. There they are connected to community organizations that can help. The telephone number is 844-4-HELP-DC (844-443-5732).

“For any victim or survivor, it can be incredibly helpful to be connected to a domestic violence service provider who can truly explore the world of services available to them, including financial abuse management and services Restoring financial independence, ”said Garcia.

Domestic violence victims can be caught by partners who cut off access to bank accounts or other financial assets. Michelle Hammonds, director of financial empowerment and education for the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, said women who want to leave should start collecting all financial documents like credit reports, account passwords, and property titles.

She also suggested sending bank statements to a mailbox or other location where the abuser cannot access them.

She also recommended those eligible to sign up for the DC Opportunity Accounts Program, a coordinated austerity program designed to support low- to middle-income residents of DC.

“With this particular program, I know there was one person who could buy a car to get out of a domestic violence situation,” said Hammonds.

Jennifer L. Porter, executive director of the mayor’s office for women’s policies and initiatives, said another resource available is a free online financial literacy workshop, first launched in 2017 by Mayor Muriel Bowser. This year the series is aimed specifically at women.

“What are some of these preventative things that we women can enable to learn,” Porter said. “We talk about conversations, especially with girls, about healthy relationships and the importance of linking these messages with healthy and financial well-being and financial practices that can aid their economic empowerment.”

Garcia said when someone is ready to leave, community organizations can connect them to shelter, including makeshift, temporary, and permanent housing.

The city will allocate $ 3 million to these organizations this year to help domestic violence survivors get back on their feet, including money for groceries, metro cards, gasoline and security deposits. And she said it wasn’t just women who were affected.

In DC, 26% of men are victims of domestic violence. That’s also higher than the national average of 1 in 10 men.

While the DC domestic violence survivor services are primarily intended for city residents, the DC hotline directs nonresidents to services in their own area. The city is also investigating every crime that happens in DC, including against non-residents.

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