November 2, 2017

House of Peace offers help, hope to victims of domestic violence

BATAVIA, Ohio (Nov. 2, 2017) — Among the many missions of the YWCA in Greater Cincinnati is to empower women and help families. One crucial way the organization does that is by offering victims of domestic violence help – and hope.

In Clermont County, the YWCA operates the House of Peace – a secure location for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.  Since the beginning of 2017, the House of Peace has sheltered 75 women and 41 children, said Shana Cronican, House of Peace manager, who has worked there for two years. This year the staff has fielded almost 2,000 calls for assistance, and helped 500 of them.

The House of Peace has been a mainstay in Clermont County since 1981, although not always in the same location. It is funded through federal grants, grants from the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, and private donations. It can house up to 14 individuals at one time, Cronican said.

A recent proclamation from the Clermont County Commissioners declaring October Domestic Violence Awareness Month cited studies showing that 1 in every 3 teenagers, 1 in every 4 women, and 1 in every 6 men will experience domestic violence during their lifetime. Approximately 15.5 million children in the United States are exposed to domestic violence every year.

“Domestic violence occurs all the time,” Cronican said. “Every nine seconds of every day.”

The House of Peace can offer a safe space from that, Cronican said, and the tools to help victims escape their situation.

The YWCA staffs a hotline 24/7 – 513.753.7281 – and calling that is often the first step toward being admitted to the House of Peace, or another shelter. But those who call may have other needs, not necessarily shelter. “We are well equipped at the Y to connect any caller to community resources,” Cronican said.

When a woman enters the House of Peace, she enters more than a home. She enters a program to provide her with the tools she’ll need to bring some stability and safety to herself and her family. The average stay is 40 days and every program is tailored to the individual, Cronican said.

“Most of them need housing,” she said. “Some may need to gain employment. Some will have a child starting at a new school. They’ll need counseling. But our first efforts go toward safety and coping skills, and that often means making sure they have new housing.”

The YWCA has a Transitional Living Program that can provide rental assistance, she said.

The House of Peace staff works closely with the Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office and its Victim Assistance Office. “We have an incredible relationship with the Prosecutor’s Office,” Cronican said. “The YWCA also has court advocates who will work with the victims of domestic violence to help them get a civil protection order against their abuser.”

Cronican, who at one time taught women’s studies at a university, is herself a survivor of childhood trauma. She finds rewards in working on the front lines against domestic violence. “This work helps me. It is so meaningful. We are creating social change.”

The House of Peace offers assistance to victims of domestic violence who live in Clermont, Brown and Adams counties. It accepts donations at any time. It keeps a wish list for currently needed items on its website, which also includes a link to its Amazon wish list. http://www.ywcacincinnati.org/site/c.biINIZNKKjK0F/b.8108335/k.F679/Wish_List.htm

Donations can be made to: The YWCA Greater Cincinnati House of Peace online at ywcacincinnati.org, or mailed to 898 Walnut Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.  Please call Shana Cronican at 513.753.7282 for more details.

 Photo: Staff members from the Greater Cincinnati YWCA and the Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office and, in back row, Commissioners David Uible, David Painter and Ed Humphrey.