On June 14, 2021, Safe Berks opened an extension office at Friend, Inc. Community Services, 658D Noble Road, Kutztown. A Safe Berks Advocate is available at this office on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for scheduled or walk-in appointments. To schedule an appointment at another time in Kutztown, or to speak with the local Advocate, call 484-651-9745.
Safe Berks Advocates provide free and confidential services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Safe Berks services include shelter, counseling, legal services including assistance with requesting Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders, medical advocacy, and education. For crisis services, including requests for shelter or medical advocacy, the Safe Berks 24-hour hotline is 844-789-SAFE (7233) or text the words SAFE BERKS to 20121. Anyone in immediate danger should call 911.
“Safe Berks opened this new satellite office at Friend, Inc., in Kutztown, in order to bring our advocacy services closer to those who live in northeastern Berks County,” said Stacey Jordan, Managing Director of Community Engagement at Safe Berks. “Our staff are dedicated to serving all survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Berks County. Transportation to our main facility, located at 255 Chestnut Street in Reading, can be a challenge for some survivors living in northeastern Berks County. To help alleviate this barrier, we are bringing our free services closer to survivors in this part of the county. We also meet with survivors on Berks County college campuses, at local hospitals, and in the Courthouse. As our agency continues to grow, we look forward to providing our services in all areas of the county.”
Jim Reece, Executive Director of Friend, Inc. Community Services, said, “Friend, Inc. has supported the self-sustainment progress of those in need throughout northeastern Berks County for more than 30 years. As the needs of our community grow and intensify it’s our mission to create safe and caring resources to help people overcome their adversity and have the life they deserve to live.” He added, “Where we do not have the resources, or skill sets, to do this ourselves we can identify those who do and bring them closer to those in need.” Friend, Inc. offers a Food Pantry and satellite pantry for Kutztown University students along with case management services which address food insecurity, money management education, and assistance with utilities, rent, and transitional housing. In addition to Safe Berks, Friend, Inc. is also the Kutztown home for Family Guidance Center and Maternal and Family Health Services (WIC). More information about Friend, Inc. can be found on their website at www.friendinc.org.
“We know that domestic violence and sexual assault occur throughout Berks County, in the city, in the suburbs, and in rural areas,” said Beth Garrigan, Safe Berks CEO. “We are dedicated to making our lifesaving services accessible to all survivors in Berks County. By offering Safe Berks services at Friend, Inc., residents of northeastern Berks County can now access crucial assistance in many areas by visiting one location that is convenient to them. By visiting Friend Inc., in Kutztown, they can receive assistance with food, finances, housing, and also with issues related to domestic violence and sexual assault.”
“We hope opening this office will provide domestic violence and sexual assault survivors living in northeastern Berks County easier access to our free and confidential services,” said Jordan. “No one should experience violence of any form, ever. By offering Safe Berks services at Friend, Inc., in Kutztown, we are hopeful we can reach more survivors and save lives.”
“Everyone at Safe Berks is extremely grateful to Jim Reece, Executive Director of Friend Inc., and to all the staff of Friend, Inc., for their collaboration in bringing Safe Berks services to clients in northeastern Berks County,” said Garrigan. “This partnership provides the opportunity to save lives, and to positively impact lives.”
“Domestic violence does not know any particular demographic, or township boundary, or income bracket, and there is no better organization equipped to deal with the issue and with the compassion that Safe Berks brings,” added Reece. “We want the people of this community to have access to the very best of services delivered with compassion. Particularly those that can save a life.”
Safe Berks provides free and confidential services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All services are available in English and Spanish, and translation will be utilized for any other language needed. For crisis services, including requests for shelter or medical advocacy, call the 24-hour hotline at 844-789-SAFE (7233) or text SAFE BERKS to 20121. Anyone in immediate danger should call 911. For more information about Safe Berks, visit our website at www.SafeBerks.org.
Red Flags of Domestic Violence and Abuse
It can be very difficult to acknowledge that you yourself, or someone you are close to, is experiencing relationship or family violence. Abusers go to great lengths to control their victim, their interactions, and everyday life. Common red flags of abuse include:
- Name calling or demeaning comments
- Someone that seems too good to be true early in a relationship; the relationship may advance very quickly
- Frequent phone calls or texts
- Threatens to harm or kill you, your pet(s) or family members
- Blames you for the abusive behavior; does not take responsibility for actions
- Prevents you from spending time with family or friends and from enjoying hobbies and other activities
- Damages your credit by exceeding limits, purposely not paying bills; may restrict your access to financial resources
Identifying abuse toward others
Knowing if someone you care about is in an abusive situation can be very difficult. However, there are some common warning signs:
- Their partner puts them down in front of other people
- They are constantly worried about making their partner angry
- They make excuses for their partner’s behavior
- Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive
- They have unexplained marks or injuries
- They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family
- They are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality
Abusers are skilled at using power and control over their victims, which can make leaving the situation difficult and dangerous. One of the best ways to help someone in abusive situation is to listen to them. Let them know you care and that free help is available. Help them understand that they are not responsible for, nor do they deserve the abuse. Encourage them to call 911 if they are in immediate danger, to seek the help of an advocate, or to contact Safe Berks, call our 24-hour hotline 844-789-SAFE (7233) or text SAFE BERKS to 20121.