Domestic and sexual violence services

Domestic and sexual violence services

“You have given me security. That is something I haven’t had much of in my life. My entire life has been full of tears and confusion. Every scar I carry, I wear as a badge. It gives me something to look at and tells me I can get through whatever comes my way. It is my strength! Every ounce of power and energy I gave to my husband I am now taking it all back! I can’t say thank you enough for the gifts you have given me. Don’t ever think you don’t make a difference in the lives of people that walk through your doors each day!”

—Survivor Statement from WOI Pierce County, WA

WOI reaches 2.3 million women, girls and their families through more than 200 local associations in 45 states and the District of Columbia. We provide critical programs, including domestic and sexual violence services, through 12,500 staff members and 52,000 volunteers.

We are the largest network of domestic and sexual violence service providers in the nation. More than 150 WOIs across 44 states provide gender-based violence services. Every year, in communities big and small, WOIs get up and do the work of providing safe and secure housing, crisis hotlines, counseling, court assistance, and other community and safety programs to more than 535,000 women, children and families.


WOI is creating a safer, more just world by offering safe and secure emergency shelter, transitional housing, and long-term housing to victims and survivors of gender-based violence so they can avoid homelessness and rebuild their lives. In many communities, WOI is the only provider of housing for domestic violence survivors. The fact that 1 in 4 women is homeless because of violence commited against her, and more than 92% of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse during their lifetime makes WOIs services even more crucial.

Crisis Hotlines

WOI crisis hotlines and chat lines are vital resources for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. They provide assistance through crisis intervention and support by helping to identify problems, priorities, options, and possible solutions, including helping to make plans for safety and action; information about resources on healthy relationships, domestic violence, and sexual assault; and referrals to domestic violence shelters and programs, social service agencies, legal assistance agencies, and other relevant services.

Medical and Legal Advocacy

WOI advocates provide emotional support and information during the medical and criminal justice procedures to domestic and sexual violence survivors. Legal advocates can assist clients with domestic violence petitions, accompany clients to court for hearings for protective orders, criminal hearings, and other civil hearings; and attend police and prosecutor follow-up interviews with victims if requested. Medical advocates provide 24-hour support to survivors at hospitals, as well as local clinics and doctor’s offices.


Counseling helps survivors to address the traumatic impact that violence has had on their families, as well as to secure long-term therapeutic interventions.WOIs around the country offer adult and child counseling, helping to break the cycle of violence through the provision of trauma-informed services.

Community and Prevention Education

Around the country, WOIs offer prevention education to schools, agencies, companies, organizations, and professionals. Prevention education helps to prepare students, teachers, parents, professionals, and community members to recognize and prevent abusive behaviors. WOIs also provide information and training on the dynamics of domestic violence and how to provide support if an incident of violence occurs.

Supervised Visitation / Safe Exchange

For survivors with children in common with their abuser, shared custody or visitation arrangements can be frightening, or even dangerous. Many WOIs around the country provide a safe, secure, child-friendly, and culturally-accessible environment for parents to visit or exchange their children when domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, or stalking has occurred within the family.

Financial Literacy Skills

Financial education and coaching helps survivors help survivors obtain greater financial stability by learning about budgeting, credit and debt issues, and developing the skills and resources needed to work towards independent financial futures. With the support of one of our partners, the Allstate Foundation, in 2010 every WOI in the country was provided a financial literacy curriculum: “The Allstate Moving Ahead through Financial Management Curriculum.” The curriculum includes tools and information designed to empower victims of domestic violence and people of all incomes to be self-sufficient with their finances.

Job/Work Skills Training

A significant barrier for many individuals wanting to leave a violent home is having inadequate financial resources. WOIs help survivors secure stable employment by providing support through job readiness skills training, job training and placement, resume development, application assistance, and interview preparation.

Case Management/Referral

Survivors of sexual and domestic violence are often in need of multiple community resources. WOI case management services help to identify, plan, and facilitate access to resources that meet the needs of survivors and their families.

Family Justice Centers

Several WOIs also provide services in conjunction with Family Justice Centers, which provide all of the services that victims, survivors, and their families need, all in one place – including crisis lines, counseling and case management, legal and court advocacy, shelter, legal assistance, law enforcement, prosecutors’ offices, victim witness units, victims’ compensation, safety planning, information and referral to resources, financial assistance, and other community services.

Week Without Violence

At WOI, we are eliminating racism and empowering women. Since 1995, WOIs across the country and their supporters assemble the third week of October for a Week Without Violence, a global movement in partnership with WorldYWCA to end violence against women and girls.

Events range from engaging complex dialogues to workshops, community service opportunities, and public awareness exercises. All activities tackle a central theme, which is the pervasive and intersectional nature of gender-based violence and its impact on our communities.

Additionally, because some gender-based violence goes unacknowledged, under reported or does not receive the same sense of urgency, sensitive subjects such as intimate partner violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and harassment are addressed as well. Every year we ask suvivors, partners and allies to Mmobilize with us during our Week Without Violence, as we raise our voices as a force for change

Policy & Advocacy

Women and girls of all ages, income levels, racial and ethnic communities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and religious affiliations continue to experience violence in the form of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and trafficking.

As the largest network of domestic violence service providers in the United States, WOI works for practical legislative and policy solutions to protect survivors, hold perpetrators accountable, and eradicate all forms of gender-based violence.

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