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Family Crisis Centers assists survivors & victims

November 24, 2019
Estherville News

In its mission statement, Family Crisis Centers says they believe "everyone deserves to lead a life free from violence." At Tuesday's Emmet County board of supervisors meeting, Executive Director Shari Kastein said the organization, which serves numerous counties in North Iowa, depending upon the service, does provide free and confidential services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, but also does so much more.

FCC has specially trained advocates to support victims and survivors through crisis situations and stick with them for as long as they need, even after the crisis is resolved.

Some have wondered why, even though counties like Emmet have experienced a rise in domestic violence incidents, there are no domestic violence temporary shelters in this county or the surrounding ones. Kastein said it's because FCC facilitates access to emergency and transition housing for families and individuals to pursue a life that's free of violence long-term, and they get the person into their own household as soon as possible, equipping them with the tools they need to achieve their goals. Last year, 17 people in Emmet County received money to establish their own homes with grant money. Victims can receive help for up to two years.

FCC has child advocates who specialize in working with children who have experienced trauma.

FCC operates the Iowa Victim Service Call Center, which took 30,000 calls to its statewide hotline in 2018. The state attorney general's office has made professional and compassionate staff available to answer victim calls and texts. The call center is the largest victim service resource center in the state of Iowa. Staff members are trained to deal with domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault, homicide and other violent crimes. Services are free and confidential.

WISH Unit is Western Iowa Survivors of Homicide and other violent crimes with a goal to lessen secondary trauma and restore stability in the lives of victims of violent crimes and survivors of homicide. WISH Unit is survivor-led and continues for as long as victims/survivors need, often extending several years.

FCC was one of three human service agencies who sought money from the Emmet County budget for the next fiscal year in their efforts to help people right here in our community. The others were Discovery House/Daniels House in Spirit Lake, whose homeless and sober house shelters have 11 percent of their residents from Emmet County and 94 percent from the state of Iowa, and CAASA (Council Against Abuse & Sexual Assault) with a bilingual advocate in Emmet County who serves victims of sexual violence.

Our newsroom will take a closer look at all three agencies as their funding requests progress. The county supervisors displayed a consensus that all three agencies provide vital services to this county and we agree.



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