Updated: Oct 6, 2020
(The following is based on an article from Beloit Daily News)
From old to new
FROM "BELOIT DOMESTIC SURVIVOR'S CENTER" TO "DEFY DOMESTIC ABUSE BELOIT"
The name maybe be changing at a pillar of the Beloit community, but Defy's Director of Survivor Empowerment Services, Kelsey Hood-Christenson, says
"The center’s focus isn't changing in any way. Actually. the whole reason we're moving to a new name is to better live out our mission.
Our name change is our newest way of living our mission to the fullest. It's our most recent way 'to champion the inherent dignity of each individual; to interrupt and dismantle the systemic cycle of domestic abuse.'"
From a core team to an advocacy force
In the last two years, the center has added more staff and services to help those impacted by domestic violence. Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit has seven full-time survivor advocates and 12 part-time advocates who manage operations of the center’s shelter and handle individual cases.
The center recently added a bilingual advocacy program and expanded services to reach non-English speaking survivors due to the growing Latinx population in Beloit and Rock County.
Also new in the last two years is the addition of a legal defense fund that helps cover court-related costs for survivors navigating complex legal issues.
Again, Kelsey Hood-Christenson:
"We've grown so much over the last few years, and we don't take that for granted. We do everything we can to nurture that growth - not so we can gain anything but because we know how much need there is in the Beloit community, in our community."
"Re-branding is just one way we're growing, just one way we're helping the center become more inclusive and forward-thinking to reach as many people in the area as possible going forward."
From an already pressing need to a double pandemic
Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit, a member of Family Services network of programs, hopes to reach more survivors than ever before thanks to expanded services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the onset of COVID-19, Hood-Christenson says the Beloit Domestic Survivor's Center saw a decrease in hotline calls, but as stay-at-home orders were lifted and places started reopening, the calls increased dramatically. Kelsey:
“Once those orders were removed we saw things skyrocket. We started seeing not only survivors that had worked with us in the past (and had exited our services), but also so many new survivors."
Hood-Christenson attributes the increase of new survivors seeking help possibly to new economic hardships due to COVID-19 and general stresses related to the pandemic as families struggle to make ends meet. Hood-Christenson says:
“We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to offer our services throughout the pandemic and we’re fortunate that we have the capability to offer services remotely, while still having in-person contact with survivors who don’t have access to remote options."
"We already had a huge need here in Beloit. And now with COVID, that existing need has grown into its own pandemic."
"We've been working on our re-branding since back in 2019, and with everything that's happened now in 2020, there's no way we could slow down the re-branding. Today, there's no way we cannot push with everything we have to help as many people as we can."
From Heart-struck to Heart-Strong
"From heart-struck to heart-strong."
That’s the new tag line for the Beloit Domestic Violence Survivor Center that will soon be called Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit.
Beloit Domestic Survivor's Center's full re-branding effort and name change will officially kick off on Oct. 1, 2020- the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month - and will go through the entire month of October 2020.
From Alone to connected
- If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call Defy's 24-hour helpline: 608-365-1119.
- If you or someone else is in danger, call 911.
\ 24hr call line: (608) 365-1119