Helpline: (406) 425-2222
DSVS operates a 24-hour a day helpline for people who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The anonymous line is staffed by skilled volunteer advocates who attend regular trainings. Through the helpline, victims can access immediate assistance, including emergency shelter, transportation, food, and other essential needs. We answer about 500 helpline calls a year, and many of those who call become ongoing clients in our direct services program. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact Hayden Ramsey, DSVS volunteer manager and office coordinator.
Our direct services program is wide-ranging, and our goal is to provide a personalized safety plan for each client. Our help, always offered for free, includes crisis intervention, help accessing shelter and meeting immediate needs to assistance navigating the legal system and accessing social services. Those survivors of sexual assault who want a forensic medical examination are accompanied by one of our staff or volunteers and receive personal support throughout the process. The program is administered by Kate Croft, our lead advocate, she and the rest of the DSVS staff are bound by strict confidentiality agreements.
Ultimately, we believe our clients know their situation best and we trust them to know what steps to take. In that regard, all our services at DSVS are client-led.
While our Direct Services Program is aimed at short-term solutions, our Transitional Services Program seeks to provide long-term – up to two years – of support for our clients. Its mission is to help survivors of domestic violence leave the cycle of abuse and become self-supporting. Services are provided by Joanne Handley, our Transitional Services Coordinator and include help finding and securing housing as well as ongoing financial assistance for rent, help finding employment if necessary, and accessing social services programs when appropriate. Through DSVS Transitional Services Program, the lives of individuals and families are transformed.
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At DSVS, our mission is not only to provide services to individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault but also to end the cycle of violence before it starts. To do that we have developed a curriculum that is delivered to middle school-aged children. It teaches the fundamentals of healthy relationships, power dynamics, boundaries and consent. Power Up, Speak Out! Has been implemented in schools across Montana and neighboring states, and it continues to gain traction elsewhere. Teachers like the program because it teaches young people what to do, rather than what not to do. More information about Power Up, Speak Out! can be found here.