Evansville - The federal Safe Havens Program provides an opportunity for communities to support the supervised visitation and safe exchange of children in situations involving domestic violence, dating violence, child abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. Studies have shown that the risk of violence is often greater for victims of domestic violence and their children after separation from an abusive situation, especially when the victim does not have a safe place to comply with court-ordered visitation or shared custody of children.
To combat this problem, and on behalf of the Safe Havens Program, Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, today presented Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and the City of Evansville with a check for $397,221 to assist local victims of domestic violence. These funds will bolster critical community efforts to provide supervised visitation and safe exchange services in the Evansville area.
"Instances of domestic violence aren’t just terrible personal tragedies – they adversely affect this entire community,” Hogsett said. “That’s why I am so encouraged to see a true team effort here in Evansville to address this scourge, from city leadership, to law enforcement, to social services and the courts.”
Even after separation, batterers often use visitation and exchange of children as an opportunity to inflict additional emotional, physical, and psychological abuse on victims and their children. Visitation and exchange services reduce these opportunities for violence, and allow for a structured, secure exchange of children as part of shared custody or visitation orders. Services provided through the program reflect the dynamics of domestic violence, dating
violence, sexual assault and stalking; the impact of domestic violence on children; and the importance of holding offenders accountable for their actions.
The City of Evansville will partner with the Vanderburgh County Superior Court and a number of local social service agencies to launch this three-year program, which will develop and implement supervised visitation and safe exchanges of children by and between parents in situations involving domestic violence, dating violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and/or stalking.
Participating shelters named within the award notice include the Albion Fellows Bacon Center, the YWCA, Holly’s House, and the Parenting Time Center. In addition to providing supervised visitation and safe exchange services, specific activities during this stage will include developing a referral system, increasing communication with the local court, and creating a training program for center staff and community service providers.
For more on the Safe Havens Program: http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/safehaven_desc.htm