The Domestic Violence Support Center offers free psychotherapy to more than 400 women every year who are affected by domestic violence. The women served at the Support Center are from all walks of life and diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds.
We have found that many of the women have a long history of trauma, beginning with neglect, violence and abuse in childhood and persisting in the form of domestic violence throughout their adult years. Typical responses to the trauma of domestic violence include depression and anxiety, self-destructive behaviors, chronic health problems and low self-esteem.
Individual psychotherapy helps the women establish emotional and physical safety, reduce anxiety, build cognitive skills, establish goals for future, and experience feelings without impulsively acting on them. The therapists also connect the women with other resources in the community
Working with the expert therapists at the Support Center, the women come to understand the impact of abuse in their lives and develop new coping skills that allow them to function better in their daily lives.
Case management services are also provided. An individualized plan is developed with each woman focusing on her immediate safety, her mental health and addressing related issues. This plan then serves as a reference point for monitoring progress. The therapists help women gain access to critical resources for housing, employment, education and training, child care, legal issues, budgeting and safety planning. In addition, the Support Center staff reaches out to many other organizations that may come in contact with people who are dealing with domestic violence to acquaint them with the supports and services available at House of Ruth.
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House of Ruth helps more than 1,000 women and children annually at 14 programs located throughout Washington, DC.
We provide safe housing and comprehensive supportive services to women and families who are homeless through 10 residential programs. Two programs bring our supportive services to formerly homeless families who live in rent-subsidized apartments.
Our child development center provides therapeutic interventions to help young children who are homeless to overcome developmental delays, while delivering supportive services to help their parents address the challenges in their lives. At our free counseling center, women and children find skilled therapists who can help them heal from domestic violence.
The women we serve are victims of domestic violence. If you look back into their histories, adult domestic violence is just the tip of the iceberg. The abuse began when they were young children.
Little girls who are abused don’t do well in school and they don’t do well in life without a lot of help. And that is what House of Ruth provides.
Part of the solution is in the safe, nurturing environments we provide. Another part is the comprehensive array of supportive services we make available to the women and their children. Most important of all is a skilled and caring staff who are dedicated to helping the women and children achieve safe and stable lives. At our 10 residences, staff is on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ensuring the safety of the women and families and providing constant support and encouragement.
And it works. Three-quarters of the women and families who come to House of Ruth’s transitional housing programs graduate to more independent permanent housing. More than 95% of the women and families in our permanent supported living programs stay with us year-to-year, ensuring their ongoing safety and stability despite the women’s serious mental illnesses.