What we do
What services does CHOICES provide Franklin County?
CHOICES operates the only domestic violence shelter and 24-hour crisis hotline in Franklin County.
We also offer counseling and support services both at the shelter and within the local community as well as legal and community advocates, community support groups and domestic violence awareness and education.
Who do we help?
CHOICES serves women, children and men seeking refuge from a violent relationship.
No one in crisis is ever turned away. Almost half of the shelter’s population is children and a large number of women are pregnant, which is a risk factor for domestic abuse. We are projected to serve nearly 2,000 individuals in 2016, including 750 in need of shelter. Our 24-hour hotline is expected to receive 4,300 calls this year.
New Shelter Details
Why is the new domestic violence shelter needed?
The current shelter only has 51 beds and is often overcrowded.
CHOICES’ hotline calls and the number of victims brought into the shelter continue to rise each year. Recently, more than 100 victims and children were housed in the shelter at one time, sleeping on mats on the floor. No one seeking shelter in a crisis situation is ever turned away. A new shelter will provide a healing environment with increased capacity and security.
Who is involved in designing the shelter?
Our Shelter Design Planning Committee includes local leaders from the Columbus Division of Police, the sheriff’s office, as well as local domestic violence experts.
They are focusing on creating a thoughtful design, inspired by Building Dignity – a national concept for shelters that supports our trauma informed care model, enhances security and fosters a sense of healing. The trauma informed care model considers the many behaviors and responses expressed by survivors that are directly related to traumatic experiences.
What will the new shelter offer?
The new shelter will increase the number of beds from 51 to 120, with capacity to add 48 more beds in the future.
It will have a neighborhood feel with bedrooms, bathrooms and a sitting room in each neighborhood. There will be several communal areas and counseling rooms, as well as space for youth programs and a secure outdoor playground and garden. The shelter will also have kennels and exercise areas for pets.
What is the timeline for building and opening the shelter?
Pending the ability to secure necessary funding, the tentative groundbreaking is planned for the end of the first quarter of 2017.
Where can I get more information about the campaign?
How much is needed for the shelter and how will the money be used?
The goal for the fundraising campaign is $15.3 million, which will cover construction costs, land acquisition, three years of incremental operating and new programming costs, and a building maintenance fund.
An endowment also will be established to help secure the future of CHOICES and support the community’s immediate and emerging needs related to serving domestic violence victims.
From whom / what organizations are you asking for funding?
We are seeking donations from any business, individual, foundation or organization that is inspired to help us in our efforts to keep domestic violence victims safe and help them start a new, abuse-free life.
Some organizations that may consider donating include churches, community organizations and corporations committed to making a difference in our community.
How do I support the building of the new shelter?
What kind of security will be provided at the new shelter?
The security of those we serve is critically important to CHOICES. We do not share the address of the shelter.
In addition, a secure entrance with ample on-site parking will be available, as well as state-of-the-art security processes and equipment.
How will the community benefit?
There are significant societal and economic costs related to domestic violence incidents, including law enforcement and health care.
Local police departments responded to more than 9,000 incidents in 2014. In addition, when violence affects the workplace, the cost exceeds $8.3 billion annually in the U.S., including medical care, mental health services and lost productivity. By supporting more victims who want to end the cycle of abuse – more dollars, services and lives will be saved.
What is the Lethality Assessment Program?
The Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) is a new protocol used by the Columbus Division of Police, Franklin Co. Sherriff and other local law enforcement to asses a victim’s risk for serious injury or death.
If a victim scores high to a series of questions, CHOICES is contacted and transportation is provided to the shelter. From April-February 2016, the police called CHOICES crisis hotline more than 1,500 times.
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