October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and C.A.P.S.E.A., Inc. (Citizens Against Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse) is committed to providing confidential care to victims of domestic violence in Elk and Cameron counties.
â€śWe provide victims (with) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year access to our services,â€ť said executive director Billie Jo Weyant. â€śWe are going to concentrate on Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but also provide a lot of other services. We have a 24-hour shelter; if anyone needs to flee domestic violence and find a safe haven, we can provide that.
â€śWe provide not only the hotline, but crisis counseling, support, options, information and referral for victims in Elk and Cameron counties. We are the main referral source. We also provide accompaniment and transportation, if needed, to court and medical appointments, if it relates to victims of domestic violence.â€ť
From 2009-10, C.A.P.S.E.A., Inc. assisted 645 victims: this includes new adults, significant others and children; and acquired 2,278 counseling hours for the year. The organization sheltered 51 people for 538 nights.
C.A.P.S.E.A, Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization that offers free life-saving services to victims, significant others and children of domestic violence, sexual violence, homeless and victims of serious crimes in Cameron and Elk counties.
â€śFear is the biggest thing people need to break away from,â€ś said certified victim advocate/domestic violence counselor Rochelle Nestlerode. â€śThey are petrified, they are scared to death.
â€śPeople think they're just getting hit and slapped and things like that, but it's the power and control and people are afraid to leave that. They are afraid to leave that because they are being totally controlled by that person. This goes for men and women.â€ť
â€śThe goal of an abuser is to establish and maintain power and control over his or her partner,â€ť Weyant said.
â€śI stress all of our services are free of charge and totally confidential. That is what we pride ourselves on is the confidentiality," she added.
According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, fatalities related to domestic violence are on the rise. In 2009, 180 deaths were recorded in Pennsylvania, 33 more than in 2008, which had 147 recorded fatalities. In 2007, 121 deaths were recorded in Pennsylvania.
C.A.P.S.E.A, Inc. operates a 24-hour confidential hotline that is answered by fully trained volunteer counselors who provide crisis intervention, counseling, support, information and referrals. The hotline for Elk County can be reached at 814-772-1227, and the Cameron County hotline is 814-486-0952.
For more information on the organization, visit the website at www.pavisnet.com/capsea.