Victim Services

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YWCA York is York County’s provider of comprehensive services to victims of violence in our community.

 

If you have been abused or assaulted:

  • Call 911 to reach the police right away if you are in immediate danger.
  • Call our FREE and CONFIDENTIAL hotline 24-hours a day at 717-846-5400, or toll free at 800-262-8444 to speak with an advocate.
  • Seek medical attention. In addition to providing medical care, emergency departments at local hospitals can call us to send an advocate to meet with you at the hospital to provide you with support, options, safety planning, and resources during this difficult time.

YWCA York provides emergency shelter for victims and their dependent children fleeing imminent danger. Emergency shelter facilities are provided in both York City (ACCESS York) and Hanover (Still Waters). Residents generally stay up to 30 days during which time their needs for food, shelter, and personal care items are provided for. Additionally, all residents have access to case management services, legal advocacy, support groups, and a wide variety of support and advocacy services.

While in our shelters, residents will have the support they need to take steps toward a violence-free future. Download a copy of our shelter brochure: ACCESS York Brochure

Leaving an abusive relationship can be a very dangerous time. If you can, before leaving, call our hotline to develop a plan to help you and your family leave safely. To speak with a shelter advocate any time day or night, call 717-846-5400 or toll free 1-800-262-8444. Advocates will be able to help you understand your options so that you can make the best possible choices for your safety.  Advocates will never tell you what to do or make you feel like you have to do something you’re not ready for.

Download the safety planning tool here.

Assess Your Relationship

Take a few minutes to determine if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship. Complete the assessment: Assess Your Relationship

What to Do if You Have Been a Victim of Domestic or Sexual Violence

  • Seek medical attention to be examined and treated for injuries; to be protected against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections; and to have forensic evidence collected.
  • You do not have to make a police report to get the forensic exam. Evidence can be collected anonymously and stored for up to two years. The Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) pays for the cost of the exam. 

YWCA York offers two transitional housing options at Bridge in York City and Still Waters in Hanover.

Bridge

Located in York, Bridge is a one-year transitional housing program for victims who are homeless as a result of domestic violence. Residents live in individual apartments with their dependent children.  Residents are responsible for providing for their own food, clothing, and other living expenses, and will pay program fees and securities at no more than 30% of their income.

Bridge residents will work with a case manager and life skills advocate to develop goals and skills necessary for independent living. Additionally, residents will have access to the support they need to heal from their trauma, such as support groups and individual and group counseling.

Still Waters

Located in Hanover, Still Waters is a six-month transitional housing program for victims struggling with the effects of complex trauma. Complex trauma often occurs as a result of exposure to multiple or sustained traumatic events. As a result, victims dealing with complex trauma often need additional time and treatment than can be provided through emergency shelters or traditional transitional housing programs. Still Waters is a communal living setting where resident have private rooms and share common bathrooms, living areas, kitchen, and laundry facilities. All of the resident’s basic needs are provided for no cost.

While residing at Still Waters, clients will meet with a therapist weekly who is trained in both trauma and addictions treatment as these issues often, but not always, present together. Healing from complex trauma is difficult work and individuals have to be ready to embark on this healing journey. Still Waters provides a safe place, both physically and emotionally, for victims to do this challenging work.

To apply for transitional housing, please call 717-846-5400.

YWCA York’s legal advocacy program is comprised of advocates, an attorney and paralegal.

Advocacy

Legal advocates are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. Instead, legal advocates’ primary role is to inform victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other violent crime of their rights and options, and then support them through whatever option they choose. We recognize that the victim is the expert on their situation and are the only ones who can decide what is best for them and their families.

Legal advocates provide assistance in preparing and filing pro se (without an attorney) petitions for civil protection, preparing and sending cease and desist letters, and accompaniment of victims to interviews with law enforcement, criminal hearings, and civil protection hearings including ex parte and final hearings.

In Pennsylvania there are 3 types of civil protection available to victims of certain crimes: Protection from Abuse (PFA), Protection from Intimidation (PFI), and Sexual Violence Protection (SVP). Learn more about type of orders: Types Of Protection Orders

Legal Advocates are available Monday through Friday from 8:00AM-4:00PM at the Protection From Abuse office in the York County Judicial Center located at 45 N. George Street.  Our Legal Advocates provide legal options, safety planning, assistance with pro se petitions, and accompaniment to ex parte and final hearings.

Additional Legal Advocates provide victims with accompaniment at preliminary hearings at local magisterial justice offices throughout the county and at trials and sentencing hearings at the judicial center.

To speak with a Legal Advocate, please call 717-771-9662 or 717-846-5400. If seeking an emergency PFA, after hours and on weekends,you must appear at the York County Judicial Center at 45 N. George St, York.

Click here to open our legal handout.

Legal Representation

YWCA York has a full time attorney and a part time paralegal to provide civil legal advice and representation to victims of domestic violence. By providing representation to victims at no cost to them, YWCA York helps to level the playing field in the courtroom. We recognize that obtaining skilled representation in the areas of support, custody, divorce and other civil law is a key to establishing independence and self-sufficiency.

A referral to our attorney may be obtained by speaking to any victim services advocate, who can assist in filling out a referral form.

 

YWCA York’s Victim Assistance Center (VAC) offers free counseling services to child, adolescent, and adult victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other violence crime. We provide counseling services in both the Hanover and York.

Healing from Trauma

Our counselors are all master’s level clinicians with specialized training in the dynamics of trauma. Additionally, we recognize that trauma does not just impact the person to which the trauma occurred, but often also has an impact on family and friends of the individual. That is why we are committed to serving the significant others of those who have suffered a trauma.

Trauma impacts each person in a variety of ways and our clinicians are experienced in an array of treatment modalities for both individual and group counseling. In addition to traditional modalities of talk therapy such as a cognitive behavioral approach, our clinicians also use art therapy, play therapy, and mindfulness. Recently, YWCA York added Trauma Sensitive Yoga to work in conjunction with traditional treatment modalities.

The weight of trauma can be heavy. You don’t have to carry it alone. Please call 717-854-3131 to schedule an appointment.

Download a copy of our VAC brochure: YWCA York VAC Brochure

 

Prevention through Education

YWCA York’s Community Education department works to educate and connect the York County community in the shared goal of helping victims achieve safety and self reliance while empowering the community to prevent and respond effectively to domestic and sexual violence, and human trafficking.

We believe that domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking will end only when individuals, institutions, and every segment of society are educated and empowered to take a stand against abuse and to embrace healthy, safe, respectful, and peaceful interpersonal relationships. We recognize that a “one size fits all” approach to community education does not work, that diverse communities such as ours require diverse strategies, and that addressing diversity is all our responsibility.

Prevention and education presentations may be available FREE of charge. Contact us for more information. Download our brochure for more information:

As recognized leaders in prevention and education, we provide training on a wide array of topics, tailored to an equally wide array of audiences. For more information on resources and training opportunities see links below.

  • Community Education
    • Our Community Education Department envisions a diverse world in which people from all genders, races, ethnicities, abilities, ages, languages, locations, and every other demographic distinction live in a safe environment, free from oppression and with the opportunity to thrive within healthy relationships and communities of choice.
  • Community Outreach
    • The Community Outreach Advocate is primarily responsible for outreach advocacy and education to the victims of domestic and sexual violence  as well as the ones supporting them through their healing.
  • Human Trafficking
    • We now know that victims of human trafficking experience complex trauma. They often come from a background of sexual abuse, violence, and criminal activity. These victims struggle with the overwhelming stigma of involvement in commercial sex, and undocumented labor.
  • Medical Advocacy
    • The Medical Advocacy Program is responsible for the coordination of YWCA York’s hospital-based Medical Advocacy Project,  working on behalf of victims of domestic and sexual violence in collaboration with interdisciplinary staff at healthcare facilities in York Country.
  • Prevention
    • Violence is a public health epidemic that has no socio-economic or geographic boundaries, and has a devastating impact on individuals, families, and entire communities.
  • Volunteer
    • Volunteers are vital to YWCA York’s programs and to our clients. Domestic and sexual violence are enormous social problems affecting women, men, and countless numbers of children. With the help of volunteers , our programs are more effectively able to meet the needs of our clients.
  • Darkness to Light
    • Learn how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sex abuse. Free online training available here.

Prevention Education for Children and Youth

We provide specialized, age-appropriate training on primary prevention of violence and abuse specifically designed for children and youth audiences in the school or community group settings.

We know from a wealth of research and experience that while violence is learned behavior, it can be unlearned, and even prevented altogether. Through our Primary Prevention Education Series, we offer programs for students from Pre-K to 12 that help develop emotional self-awareness and control, positive self-esteem and social skills, problem solving, conflict resolutions, and personal safety.

 

 

York County Task Forces Address Interpersonal Violence

YWCA York recognizes that a unified and collaborative approach toward addressing interpersonal violence is the optimal way to manifest change.The ability of multiple community partners and systems to gather together to address these issues is a hallmark of York County.

York County has been exemplary in building and maintaining a coordinated community response to domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Each task force is made up of representatives of community members, social service agencies, law enforcement agencies, community mental health services, legislators, attorneys, medical providers, county offices, and more. The wealth of knowledge and expertise brought to these task forces by the various members is invaluable.

YWCA York is proud to provide leadership to each of these task forces:

  • York County Task Force on Domestic Violence
  • York County Alliance Against Sexual Violence
  • York County Human Trafficking Task Force

Giving Back as a Volunteer

Working with victims of violence takes a special skill set and YWCA York is committed to providing the very best services to our clients. Our approach is both trauma informed and empowerment based in order to provide compassionate understanding of the dynamics of trauma and its impact on people.

We ensure that any volunteers working with clients have the training and resources they need to do this work. As such, volunteers are required to attend advocate training consisting of both in-person and online training components before ever working with clients. People who are not able to make this level of commitment are encouraged to sign up to support the special events that fund the work we do. See the Events section for current needs.

Please complete the below registration form and our professional development and training specialist will contact you to discuss volunteer opportunities.

Advocate Training Form

Complete to learn more about advocate training at YWCA York.