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Women in Distress (WID) is a nationally accredited, state-certified, full service domestic violence center in Broward County, Florida. Its mission is to provide victims of domestic violence with safe shelter, crisis intervention and resources, and to educate the community in order to Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE) through intervention, education and advocacy. [1]

WID offers free and confidential safe shelter and outreach services to those impacted by domestic violence. In addition to shelter and outreach services, WID offers education and prevention programs to all community residents of Broward County. [2]

WID is one of the first domestic violence centers in the nation to establish a total family systems approach to stopping domestic violence. As the sole source for comprehensive services in Broward County, WID attempts to ensure that every woman, man, and child will be able to receive help.

Recently, WID has partnered with the Broward County Sheriff's Office because Broward County has seen a 300 percent increase in domestic violence homicides since last year. Both agencies want victims of domestic violence to know that there is help out there.[3]

History

Edee Greene and a group of concerned citizens, founded Women In Distress of Broward County, Inc. (WID) in May 1974 as Broward’s first refuge for homeless women. WID began in a modest four bedroom home on Sistrunk Boulevard donated by Hugh Anderson for a rent of $1.00 per year. Later, in response to a growing need in the community for additional support, WID opened its first crisis shelter, which served as home to 12 homeless women.

One afternoon the shelter staff received a call from a young Broward mother who had endured a brutal beating at the hands of her spouse. She sought sanctuary at WID. At that time, WID was not licensed to accept children and hers were placed in temporary foster care while she stayed at the shelter. The separation from her two children proved to be unbearable for her, and soon thereafter she was able to obtain a restraining order and return home with her two small children. Just one week later she was viciously murdered. As her children watched on in horror, her spouse shot her to death.

Shortly after this tragedy, the agency founders were able to purchase the current 54-bed shelter following donations from Dr. Kona, Ruth Simon, and Walter and Peg Griffith. For the first time, WID was able to offer crisis shelter and support to victims of domestic violence and their children, as well as the children of homeless women.

On November 17, 1995, the doors to the Jim and Jan Moran Family Center of WID were opened with the capacity to serve four times as many families. Services in the center include crisis intake, individual and group counseling, parenting classes, and respite child care.

AmeriCorps

WID was awarded an AmeriCorps grant in Fall of 2007. As a result, it now has 19 AmeriCorps members working with them on domestic violence prevention in the community. The AmeriCorps members are reaching different target audiences to provide domestic violence prevention. Each member has a special focus area, such as school-based, ethnicity based (e.g. Latin, Haitian, African American and Caribbean), legal professionals, civic groups, corporations, media, faith based organizations, and beauty/health fitness salons, etc.

Domestic Violence Statistics

Domestic Violence affects everyone in the family.

  • According the US Department of Justice 1 in 4 females will be a vicitm of domestic violence in her lifetime. [4]
  • Domestic violence is the most common source of injury to women – it is more common than auto accidents, muggings, and rapes by a stranger combined. [5]
  • More than 4,000 women each year are killed by their partners. [6]
  • 63% of boys, ages 11 to 20, arrested for homicide, have killed their mother’s abuser.
  • 5-10% of domestic violence victims are men, although this is a highly underreported number due to society’s stigmas. [6]
  • According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, medical expenses from domestic violence are about $3-5 billion annually and businesses forfeit at least another $100 million in lost wages, sick leave, non-productivity and absenteeism. [5]

References

External links

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