Providing Services to Survivors of Violence
YWCA York is York County’s provider of comprehensive services to those impacted by violence in our community, with expertise in working with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.
Throughout the pandemic, YWCA York has provided essential services, including shelter, counseling, legal and medical advocacy to survivors. Once shelter-in-place orders were lifted, requests for services spiked. Ongoing stress, financial strain, and limited access to community resources continue to threaten the safety of survivors. Learn more about our COVID-19 response: Click here
What To Do
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 and speak with an advocate. WE OCCASIONALLY EXPERIENCE SOME PHONE LINE ISSUES. If you cannot reach us at 717-846-5400, or toll free at 800-262-8444, call 717-476-3671.
- 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
- Medical Services
- Transitional Housing
- Legal Services
- Community Education
- Task Forces
- Become a Volunteer
- Human Trafficking Services
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!
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. View the ACCESS York brochure: Click here
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.
Read our safety planning tool: Click here.
Are You in An Abusive Relationship?
Take a few minutes to determine if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship. Complete the assessment: Assess Your Relationship
- Seek medical attention to be examined and treated for injuries.
- Seek medical attention 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.
- Emergency department staff at local hospitals can call us to have a medical advocate speak with you to provide you with support, options, safety planning, and resources during this difficult time. There is no charge for this service.
YWCA York offers two transitional housing options in York City and Hanover.
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.
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 information, please call 717-846-5400.
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.
Review our legal services: Click here
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 York and Hanover.
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.
Healing from 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. YWCA York offers 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.
Read our VAC brochure: Click here
Violence Prevention through Education
As recognized leaders in prevention and education, we provide training on a wide array of topics, tailored to an equally wide array of audiences. Trainings are currently being conducted both virtually and in person.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Our Human Trafficking Advocate connects with victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. We 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.
- 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.
- 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.
PREVENTION PROGRAMS 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.
TASK FORCES ADDRESSING 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 FormComplete to learn more about advocate training at YWCA York.
WE PROVIDE SERVICES TO VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Participants are assessed for referrals to
local and out of county safe house program
Participants are monitored by specialized
case management personnel
Transitional housing case management is
provided upon qualification
Participants have access to on-site and
off-site counseling referrals. Alternative therapeutic settings including equine therapy, art therapy and yoga.
Celebrate Recovery sessions Workshops
Weekly courses and activities are provided for self-healing, growth, and life enrichment
T & U-Visa Application Assistance
Family Law Legal Document Assistance
Cease and Desist Letters
Domestic Violence & Civil Harassment
All participants are assisted with educational
and/or job assistance.
Volunteer Opportunities and Community Involvement
WHAT IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
Human Trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that is widespread and occurs in the United States, Pennsylvania, and here in York County. As it is one of the largest criminal industries in the world and the fastest growing, we focus on victims.
Traffickers do not discriminate; they target the young and the old, men and women, and people from all social economic backgrounds. Homeless and foster care youth are among those at highest risk of being trafficked. Young girls are the most common victims. We see human trafficking victims everyday as they are found in places familiar like city streets, strip clubs, massage businesses, hotels and motels. We also see trafficking in places we never expect like factories, construction, truck stops, domestic work, farming and landscape, and janitorial services.
Since 2017, YWCA York has been serving victims of human trafficking through a trauma informed approach, focusing on safety, trustworthiness and transparency, peer support collaboration and mutuality, empowerment voice and choice, and cultural historical and gender issues.
YWCA York works to ensure the needs of our clients are met. Immediate needs are assessed, and services vary but can include: emergency shelter, legal advocacy access to medical services, assistance with reconnecting clients with their family and connections to mental health treatment plans. YWCA York is working to stop Human Trafficking in Pennsylvania.
TYPES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of the person for labor or services through the use of force fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage debt bondage or slavery.
Sex Trafficking is the force, fraud or coercion to cause a commercial sex act. The coercion can be subtle, overt and/or psychological.
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is a range of crimes and activities involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a child for the financial benefit of any person or in exchange for anything of value.