Family Center adds two positions, increases services
For the Rapids City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The Wisconsin Rapids Family Center has added two positions and new services, to better serve community members facing issues of domestic and sexual violence.
As the Domestic Violence Housing First Coordinator, Melissia O’Brien will be working with victims outside of the shelter, addressing barriers to permanent housing in order to rapidly place survivors in their own home.
Allie LaMont is The Family Center’s Domestic Abuse Service Coordinator. In this new position, Allie will often be the first person victims work with when they come into The Family Center, providing support, resources and information, and referral to non-residential victims of domestic abuse over the phone and in person. She will also respond to callers on the agency crisis line and make referrals to specialized Family Center staff.
“The Family Center has always been available 24 hours a day to provide support for victims of interpersonal violence, now we are able to mobilize those services to meeting victims at locations convenient to them,” said Sue Sippel, executive director at the non-profit agency. “And, we are better able to provide specialized services to meet the needs of today’s victims of abuse.”
These positions further extend the areas of expertise offered at The Family Center, including legal and other advocacy, supervised visitation and exchange services, safe shelter, and specialized services for sexual assault victims, Hmong victims, children and teens, and senior and vulnerable adults.
In addition to the free and confidential services offered at The Family Center, The Family Center has partnered with local law enforcement agencies to reach more victims.
On the first and third Monday of the month, an officer from the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department will be at The Family Center 9-11 a.m. On the second and fourth Monday of the month, a deputy from the Wood County Sheriff’s Department will be at The Family Center, 8:30-10:30 a.m., to chat with victims who might have questions regarding law enforcement and domestic violence.
A Family Center Advocate will hold office hours at the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department, at City Hall, 444 W. Grand Ave., Wednesdays, noon -2 p.m. and Fridays, 9-11 a.m., at the Wood County Sheriff’s Department, 400 Market St.
“The end result of advancing the collaboration between The Family Center and area law enforcement departments in this way, will be better, more informed and timely services for victims,” Sippel said.“We hope to develop similar collaborations with other services providers in the coming months.”
The Family Center crisis line can be reached at 715-421-1511 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays, for anyone experiencing a crisis due to domestic and/or sexual violence.