“We are grateful to the OVW for their funding and partnership and to our federal delegation for their support of this important work,” said Sojourner House Executive Director, Vanessa Volz. “We have grown as an agency over the past few years in direct response to what victims tell us they need. This OVW grant will provide us with the opportunity to focus some of our work specifically on children and youth. It is critical that we work to develop programs for this population so that we can begin to truly break the cycles of abuse which often begin in childhood."
The project will increase awareness among youth about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and empower them with skills and knowledge to engage in prevention and intervention practices; increase access to services for students who disclose as victims of abuse, including domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and sex trafficking; create or strengthen school environments that embrace prevention practices and are responsive to and supportive of all student victims; increase awareness among youth-serving professionals, including school personnel, about abuse and how to create trauma-informed educational environments and programming; and increase awareness among law enforcement of the special needs of youth victims.
“This funding will allow Sojourner House to provide additional support to children who have been through major challenges early in life,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “Sojourner House was one of only sixteen organizations nationwide to win an award from this competitive program – a testament to the high-quality, compassionate service the organization delivers Rhode Islanders.”
In the fiscal year 2020 ending June 30, 2020, Sojourner House provided: supportive services to 1,131 victims of abuse; 6,565 nights of safe shelter to 81 survivors; 47,008 supportive housing bed nights for 285 victims; 1,190 sessions of clinical therapy to 130 victims; 1,075 sessions of immigration legal assistance to 192 immigrant and undocumented victims; 122 free rapid HIV tests; 434 community education presentations to 7,267 (duplicated) students, professionals, and community members; and 286 support group sessions to 331 survivors. In the fiscal year 2021, Sojourner House provided services to 1,614 victims of abuse, an increase of 55% from the previous year. It provided 22,132 service sessions, an extraordinary 94% increase over the prior year. Sojourner House is the only statewide nonprofit organization in Rhode Island providing this array of services.
About OVW The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Grants to Prevent and Respond to Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Against Children and Youth Program (Children and Youth program) supports projects that develop, expand, and strengthen prevention, intervention, and response strategies that target children and youth who are victims of and/or exposed to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, including support for the non-abusing parents, caretakers, and legal guardians. For more information about these awards, contact the Office on Violence Against Women at (202) 307-6026.
About Sojourner House: Founded in 1976, the mission of Sojourner House is to promote healthy relationships by providing culturally sensitive support, advocacy, housing, and education for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking; and to effect systems change. They offer Rhode Island's largest and most comprehensive residential services program for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, including safe shelter, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, and rapid re-housing. In addition to safe shelter and housing, they provide trauma-informed supportive services and they operate the only drop-in advocacy and resource center in the greater Providence area, offering victims and community members access to support and services when and where they need it most. For more information, visit https://sojournerri.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=7a8e4c14d9b32543e3cabaf58&id=123e7dde3b&e=9fef9bc0ddwww.sojournerri.org. The 24/7 hotline number is 401-765-3232.