30 Years of Providing Domestic Abuse Services

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Preventing Abuse

Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs and Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services have both been providing services for our communities for 30 years. Pictured above: (left) Karen Hertz-Sumnicht, Harbor House Volunteer and (right) Beth Schnorr, Executive Director at Harbor House.

Contributor: Christina Romatowski, Community Education & Outreach Advocate at Harbor House

When Harbor House opened its doors in 1984 it was a modest, two-bedroom facility adjacent to the Outagamie County Courthouse. The need to adequately serve and support victims of domestic violence quickly necessitated expansion. First to a 5-bedroom facility in 1989 and eventually, due in part to successful capital campaigns, to the expansion in 2000 and again in 2011 to the current 55-room facility.

But it wasn't just physical space that grew. Programming to support domestic abuse victims and their families flourished and became a point of distinction for Harbor House. Legal advocacy, a children's program, specialized support groups, and coordinated community response teams were added. Not just a bed but a beacon of hope; assistance, training and the tools to find the way out most recently exemplified by the addition of our Economic Advocacy program. Jennifer, a participant in Harbor House programs said, "Dad would traumatize us on a daily basis abusing my mom physically and emotionally, while threatening to kill all of us. He (dad) would routinely leave four bullets around the house for Mom to find, one to represent each one of us. I understand that we have suffered and your presentation and encouragement have helped me realize I want to help others as a nurse."

Programming did not stop at the doors either. In 30 years, community outreach and education have become indispensable. Prevention education in schools, domestic violence training for professionals and co-founding Voices of Men are among just a few of Harbor House's legacies.

Want to learn more? United Way Experience tours provide opportunities to learn about our impact in the community. We invite you to attend the United Way Experience tour focused on local services working to prevent abuse. The tour will take place on June 11th from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at Harbor House (720 W. Fifth Street, Appleton) and include presentations by Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs and Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services. Sign-up to attend the tour.