"The shelter is more than just a safe haven for abused women. It's a place where they can contemplate what kind of life they want to achieve for themselves and their children. They don't have to worry about feeding or clothing themselves, they can devote their full time to search for housing, jobs, and in some cases childcare. The shelter itself is clean, comfortable, and has all the amenities you would find in any home. We listen to their stories and we let them talk out their problems. The staff offers support and encouragement. With all the resources available to them they come to realize that they don't have to start out their new lives all on their own, that there are people that care and are willing to help. The shelter isn't a vacation resort for the clients that stay there. They cook, do their own laundry and clean up after themselves. They learn to stand on their own two feet. I think the shelter is an excellent starting off point for the women that are brave enough to take advantage of it." Robin
Click here to view the documentary "Abused." A film by Gino Salerno about domestic violence and The Shelter.
In 1987 an old boarding house was given another chance to become a home. It became a home for women and children fleeing from domestic violence situations. With financial help from the City of Hutchinson and United Way of Reno County plus many hours of volunteer labor, the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center of Reno County was able to convert the boarding house into an emergency, safe shelter. It is one of the most accessible shelters in the state of Kansas. The shelter can comfortably house 24 women and children. It can accommodate up to 30 women and children but not for long and not without some strain on the staff and residents. The doors to the shelter remained locked at all times. An alarm system, linked directly to Hutchinson Police Department, assures a speedy response if needed. Six staff works shifts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. The Shelter Manager is responsible for the overall management of the shelter and scheduling the five shelter relief staff to provide continuous coverage.
There is a communal kitchen, dining and living room on the main floor as well as an accessible bedroom. Upstairs there are 7 individual bedrooms, some for families and some for single residents. A room is assigned to an individual/family upon arrival at the shelter. They receive a key to their room and a locker for storing valuables. They are responsible to keeping their room clean as well as doing their own cooking and laundry. An accessible bathroom is located on the main floor. An additional shower and bathroom are located upstairs.
There are minimal rules designed to insure the safety and confidentiality of the women and children who come to live here. Safety is the number one priority and determining factor for admission to the shelter. The average length of stay in the shelter is 2-4 weeks, but every situation is considered on an individual basis and based on the needs of the survivor seeking shelter. Safety planning is done with every survivor upon admission and again on exiting the shelter. A goals meeting is scheduled with residents within 72 hours of intake and goals are reviewed frequently during the survivors stay. Empowerment and leading a violence free life, are the ultimate goals for everyone entering the shelter. An advocate is assigned to work with each individual/family during their stay in the shelter and for follow-up advocacy upon their exit from the shelter.