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Frequently Asked Questions


Q:

What is the single greatest cause of injury to women?

A:

Battery is the single greatest cause of injury to women - more frequent than car crashes, muggings and rapes combined.

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Q:

When a victim leaves the relationship, does the abuse usually end?

A:

No - the average rate of recidivism (leaving/returning) is 7 times before an abusive relationship is ended.

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Q:

Do batterers abuse their children?

A:

Yes - of men who batter women, 70% also batter their children, making the presence of spouse abuse the single most identifiable risk factor for predicting child abuse.

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Q:

Pregnant women are generally abused less frequently or less severely.

A:

False - violence escalates during pregnancy, research indicates 37% of obstetric patients were physically abused during pregnancy.

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Q:

Men and women are equally violent in relationships.

A:

No - a 1996 study indicated there were nearly 1,000,000 female victims and about 150,000 male victims of domestic violence.

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Q:

Victims stay in an abusive relationship because they like the abuse.

A:

No - victims stay in an abusive relationship for reasons such as: guilt; fear; embarrassment; emotional dependence; financial dependence; isolation; hopelessness; or belief that it is better for the children.

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Q:

Alcohol is the cause of domestic violence.

A:

No - alcohol can be a contributing factor, not the cause of a domestic incident.

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Q:

Battering is rarely life threatening.

A:

No - 30% of women killed in the United States die at the hands of a boyfriend or spouse.

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Q:

How did Alternatives start?

A:

Alternatives was founded by seven women n November 1978.  Many individuals, organizations, churches and businesses supported their efforts to address domestic violence.  The doors of the first shelter were opened in January 1981.

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Q:

Why does Alternatives serve six counties?

A:

There are only 29 domestic violence shelters to serve all 92 counties in Indiana.  Each shelter is assigned a service area by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.  Alternatives serves Madison, Hamilton, Hancock, Henry and Tipton as the primary shelter and Marion County as an overflow shelter when their shelters are full.

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Q:

How do individuals and families needing help find Alternatives?

A:

Alternatives' telephone numbers are listed in directories throughout our service area and our telephones are answered 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.  The majority of residents are referred from another social service organization, hospital or law enforcement agency.

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Q:

How long can victims and their children stay in the shelter?

A:

The maximum stay in an Indiana domestic violence emergency shelter is defined as 45 days.  This criteria was established by FSSA.  We do make exceptions on a case-by-case determination if the safety of the family dictates a longer shelter stay.

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Q:

Where do families go when they leave the shelter?

A:

Families sometimes feel it is safe to return home knowing we are here for continuing support.  Others move to transitional housing programs such as Dove Harbor in Anderson or Coburn Place in Indianapolis.  Some move into affordable housing and many are relocated to a community where they can live more safely.

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Q:

What programs does Alternatives offer for children?

A:

Two specific programs are offered for children.  Kids' Place, a weekday morning preschool for children ages 3-5 years residing in Alternatives' shelter; and Kid Connection, an afterschool and summer program for elementary aged children residing in all of Anderson's shelters.

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Q:

Where do children living in the shelter go to school?

A:

We make every effort to keep the children enrolled in the school they attended prior to entering the shelter; however, safety issues often require we move them to an alternate school.

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Q:

Do women living in the shelter go to church?

A:

The state certification requirements dictate we must maintain a non-sectarian program, which means we do not promote any religion in our programs.  We recognize that faith and worship is an individual's choice and we serve women and children of many different faiths and religious affiliations.  We do assist women in attending the church of their choice, obtaining spiritual support and securing their book of worship.

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Q:

Victims requesting advocacy but not shelter are referred to the Outreach Program.

A:

The Outreach Advocates assist in filing protective orders; preparing safety plans; securing medical treatment for injured women and children; accompanying victims to legal appointments and court hearings; and providing support and advocacy for both sexual assault and domestic violence victims.  Alternatives has a full-time outreach office in Greenfield to serve Hancock County victims and in Elwood to serve Elwood and Tipton County victims.

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Q:

What does Alternatives offer in prevention and education programs?

A:

Alternatives is serious about our mission of eradicating violence and abuse.  We offer extensive prevention programs in secondary schools.  The CARe2GetConnected program is a dating violence and date rape prevention effort offered to middle and high school youth in classrooms and youth programs.  We train hundreds of professional every year about domestic violence and sexual assault.  Ricker Oil Company, Gas America, hospitals and police and fire departments joined with us in an effort to offer safe haven sites throughout communities where victims can seek assistance to call for help.  Through our There's No Room for Domestic Violence program, all fourteen law agencies in Madison County track statistics monthly and endorsed a standard domestic violence response policy.   Components of this program have been replicated in Hancock and Tipton Counties.

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