Or text SAFE BERKS to 20121
“We want to remind the Berks County community that Safe Berks is here to provide support services to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, and their families, 24 hours every day, 365 days a year,” said Beth Garrigan, Safe Berks CEO. “Domestic violence and sexual assault do not discriminate and can happen in every zip code throughout Berks County. Cases of abuse are often underreported, and it is normal for a survivor to be fearful to share their experiences with others due to the sensitive and personal nature of their case. There are many reasons people chose not to report abuse to law enforcement, family members, co-workers, or friends including the stigma attached to incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. It is important for our community to know that if they are experiencing abuse, Safe Berks can provide confidential services including support to create an individual plan for safety. Leaving an abusive relationship is not as simple as just leaving. It requires immediate and long-term safety planning, or it could put a survivor in danger.”
Domestic Violence is much more common and more lethal than most people realize, and the statistics are staggering. According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used to gain or maintain power and control over another person and it is not necessarily a onetime event, but rather a pattern or cycle of abuse. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports the most dangerous time for a survivor is when they decide to leave an abusive relationship because as the abuser feels their power and control slipping away, the violence tends to escalate and can continue after the relationship has ended.
If you know someone who is experiencing abuse, one of the best ways to help is by listening and encouraging them to reach out to Safe Berks for free and confidential services. “We want people who are suffering from abuse to know that we believe them and support them, and we are here to help,” said Garrigan. “We also want to recognize and thank all our law enforcement professionals who courageously respond to and investigate domestic violence situations.”
Safe Berks works closely with local police departments to serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. We offer free training to police departments on how to utilize the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) in intimate partner violence cases. This tool can help police identify situations where violence can quickly become lethal. For more info about LAP or to request training, contact
Marissa Pham, Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) /Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Specialist at Safe Berks, at [email protected] or 610-373-1206 ext. 134.
Safe Berks provides free and confidential services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and their loved ones and significant others. Services include shelter, counseling, legal services, including assistance with filing a petition for a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, community on-site response, and medical advocacy. All services are available in all languages. To request assistance, 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 www.SafeBerks.org.