Battered women get helping hand

By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
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The cry for help of abused and battered women in Placer County has often gone unheard and many wish later they knew about Peace for Families. Teri Munger, executive director of Peace for Families, has spoken before the Employment Development Department in Roseville, the Kiwanis Club of Lincoln, Rotary clubs, Soroptimists International of Auburn and others. However, she still finds those who have not heard of Peace for Families even though it has operated in Placer County for 30 years. “When my husband had his foot on my head, if I only knew you existed,” one woman told Munger at a speaking engagement to promote Peace for Families. A 24-hour crisis line at Peace for Families exists for victims of domestic violence and assaults. The new safehouse in Placer County that recently opened has one room vacant for emergency use by any female victim of assault. The location of this safehouse is kept confidential, because the lives and security of women and children staying there depend on it, according to Tatiana Ivanic, programs director. “We have women who are trying to escape from individuals who tried to kill them or strangle them,” said Ivanic, who has been with the program for five years. The new safehouse will open at the end of the month with a total capacity of 40, which includes women and children. The nearly 13,000-square-foot building has 13 bedrooms with bunk beds for children and mothers. Counseling rooms have been included, along with two kitchens where clients can cook for their children. Peace for Families has a staff of 25, including its public office in Roseville. Licensed family marriage therapists and counselors are available during the 90-day emergency stay at the safehouse for victims of violence and sexual assault. There is a six-month recovery program that offers instructional classes and more counseling. After successful graduation from the program, there is a supportive housing project that pays rent for the family for one year. “This really gives them an opportunity to get their lives back together and become self- sufficient,” Ivanic said. “During all the programs, they receive intensive case management, therapy and also educational classes.” The goal of the programs is to help prevent the women from getting back into abusive relationships. “We’re trying to break the cycle,” Ivanic said. “The therapy and classes definitely help. They learn life and empowerment skills.” Munger explained the nature of the cycle. “These women grow up in an abusive family and they see their mother get beat up,” Munger said. “Then they pick a husband who does the same thing.” Peace for Families has more than 40 volunteers now, but plenty of volunteer opportunities exist. Volunteers watch children, make presentations, answer the crisis line and handle office duties after going through a 70-hour training program. “Everyone is prescreened, fingerprinted and trained,” Ivanic said. About 60 percent of funding for Peace for Families comes from federal, state, county and city grants, Munger said. Corporate funding accounts for approximately 20 percent and individual donations and fundraisers the remaining 20 percent. On Feb. 13 in Lincoln, Peace for Families will hold the “Have a Heart for Peace,” dinner dance with the proceeds going to the program. ______________________________ 24-hours crisis line: 1-800-575-5352 How to Volunteer Call (530) 885-0443 How to Donate Visit Web: Have a Heart for Peace Dinner Dance Fundraiser, Feb. 13 Tickets: $150 Information: Call (530) 823-6224, or visit Web site.