We need you because they need us

Thursday, February 13, 2020
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Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS) is a Montana non-profit, serving both Carbon and Stillwater counties, which offers a range of services for individuals and families affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

The survivors served come from a variety of backgrounds and the help offered is provided without regard to gender, ethnicity, income, age, ability, religion or sexual orientation. It’s all free and 100 percent confidential. While many clients are referred through the criminal justice system, filing charges against an abuser or perpetrator is not a prerequisite for services.

The DSVS staff has a saying: “We need you because they need us.”

Providing life-changing services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence across Stillwater and Carbon counties is, at its core, a community-based endeavor. Right now the community is needed more than ever.

DSVS is seeking volunteers to staff its 24-hour helpline and assist with outreach efforts, particularly in Stillwater County. DSVS opened an office in Columbus in 2018, and since then, the need for volunteers has increased along with the number of clients served from the area.

After an initial training, helpline volunteers can perform their duties from home and a wide variety of evening and weekend shifts are available. Outreach volunteers will attend community events on behalf of DSVS to help raise awareness about the various services and programs offered through DSVS. Many longtime DSVS volunteers say it’s one of the most rewarding opportunities they’ve had, knowing that their advocacy could be what sparks a person to leave a life of violence. “The value of our helpline is that it is confidential and provides nonjudgmental information and options. We know how difficult and dangerous sharing your experience can be. We are so proud of our volunteers around the community that make a difference on the helpline,” said Anna Drew, DSVS volunteer manager.

In March, volunteer advocate training will be offered in Absarokee at The Commons on four consecutive Thursdays: March 5, 12, 19, and 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Ongoing training is offered to those interested in outreach. If you or someone you know is interested in lending a healing hand through DSVS, please contact Anna Drew at (406) 446-2296 or email adrew@dsvsmontana.org. We need you because they need us.

•Editor’s Note

The Domestic and Sexual Violence Services group based in Red Lodge works with the Stillwater County Victim Advocate Office. The two agencies provide different services. The Stillwater County Victim Advocate generally is involved with victims and witnesses involved in criminal cases by guiding them through the criminal justice system. DSVS provides tangible help in the form of cell phones and temporary housing, among other things.