Battered, abused and scared American women flee with their children into the streets of a foreign country with no place to go. They don't speak the foreign language, they don't have money and they have no support network. This project will be our pilot program to establish a safe house in a European country with an English speaking, American domestic violence advocate, plus operating expenses for four months. Victims will be safe while they work with our case managers for a long term plan.
Escaping a foreign country as an abused American can be terrifying. Often the victim needs a safe place to go while planning the escape and must get out of the home to do that. If there are children it is even more difficult. Most of the time shelters in foreign countries do not have space and the domestic violence advocates do not speak English. Many victims are forced to stay with the abuser in the home much longer than they want to, exposing them to further violence.
By having a safe house with an English speaking advocate, American victims will have a safe place to flee to, plan and execute their safe return to the USA while working with both the advocate on the ground and with the crisis center in the USA. The safe house will be a safe, temporary space for families to transition through on their way to safety. This will be a pilot project, the first of it's kind, to address the critical safety needs of Americans fleeing back home for safety.
The project serves 500 women per year empowering them to find alternatives to a life of violence so their children grow up in violence free homes with their self-esteem in tact with the hope of stopping the cycle of violence in future generations. This safe house will facilitate their safety while they escape this violence and reduce the amount of time they are forced to stay in the violent home.
Today Show May 2007
Interview with Paula Lucas