The Domestic Violence Shelter Association of America says it wants women and girls to volunteer in the shelter, but the answer isn’t always as simple as it seems.
“There is no such thing as a ‘domestic violence shelter’ as defined by the shelters association,” said Sharon Cramer, a domestic abuse counselor at the Washington Domestic Violence Program.
“There are multiple shelters.
Some of the shelters have more than one shelter, and they are all volunteers.”
It’s all too easy for shelters to say, “We don’t have a shelter for women,” Cramer said.
“But that’s just the shelters.
There are shelters for men, and women.
And it’s not that the shelters don’t care about women.
There is a lot of support for men.
And if you are a man, there are a lot more services than shelters.
It’s not just shelters.”
Cramer said it’s the shelters that need to be more clear about what a shelter is, not just how it operates.
“I’m sure many shelters are just trying to fill a hole in their staff, and some shelters are really just looking for volunteers,” she said.
“They don’t want to have people who have been abused or abused themselves.
They want to be able to help them.”
If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you may want to consider volunteering at the shelters, she said, adding that the agency doesn’t discriminate against those who need help.
“You may be a victim and you may not want to take that risk, but if you feel like you are, we want to see that you are,” Cramer said.
It’s important to remember that a shelter can be a place to stay and to be a partner, she added.
But if you have a different reason for wanting to volunteer, Cramer urged, you should be honest about it and make sure it’s safe.
“Don’t let your fear of the unknown keep you from volunteering,” she explained.
“We have to do that because if we don’t, the shelters can make it impossible for you to go into the shelters.”
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