The growth of the Latino community in Lake County, Illinois has led to an increased need for bilingual, bi-cultural services that respond to their unique needs. The La Paloma Program is counseling services provided to victims of domestic violence in Spanish by bi-cultural staff who can more appropriately meet the needs of Latino victims. Through these counselors, victims can receive counseling in their first language and also receive assistance in issues often prevalent among Latinos, such as immigration or a better understanding of the rights of victims under the law. Thanks to a Partnership formed with Mano a Mano, the La Paloma Program will work hand in hand to help clients with immigration services.
According to the US Census figures, the Latino population in Lake Country grew 51% from 2000-2010. In 2012, 20.5% of Lake County’s population was Hispanic versus 16.3% of the state of Illinois. A Safe Place has seen the number of Hispanic clients served grow over the past 10 years; over 29% of the clients served in 2014-15 were Hispanic. Serving this population is critical in Lake County. Because of the growth in the Latino community, it is important for domestic violence services provided in our area to include programs specifically appropriate to the Latino population, particularly those who are not fluent in English. To meet the increasing demand of domestic violence services in the Hispanic community, A Safe Place created the La Paloma program to more appropriately meet the needs of Latino victims. The program has its own coordinator and will bring all Latino programs under one umbrella.
The majority of victims served by A Safe Place are low income, which often creates a barrier for victims wanting help. A Safe Place removes multiple barriers for survivors of domestic violence and their children needing services. A Safe Place provides counseling services to survivors of domestic violence and their children at no cost and in multiple locations throughout Lake County, making our services affordable and accessible. With the La Paloma program, A Safe Place can more appropriately meet the needs of Latino victims by providing services in the language they are most comfortable in. Our counseling programs use best practices established by domestic violence coalitions. A Safe Place refers clients to other local agencies for other health and mental health services we are unable to provide. Funding will help A Safe Place improve the mental health of hundreds of survivors of domestic violence. It would also help A Safe Place save hundreds of lives and thousands of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity while allowing survivors of domestic violence to rebuild their lives.
ASP’s Counseling Program provides individual and family counseling, support groups, art therapy, and support services to adults and children. Counseling services are provided throughout Lake County. To make services accessible to all, counseling is provided for free to survivors and their children, in both English and in Spanish.
Counseling helps survivors recognize their own strength and self worth, breaking the cycle of power and control that has dominated their lives. Safety and crisis-focused counseling come first in the treatment received. Clients are assessed in regards to their overall life history as well as the history of their abusive relationship(s). Support and validation of the survivor’s feelings and thoughts are crucial. Most abusers slowly convince survivors that their thoughts or opinions are wrong which creates self doubt within survivors and leads them to question their ability to live independently. Reestablishing a survivor’s sense of trust and boundaries are also focus points of counseling. Counselors and clients create service plans, identifying therapeutic and safety-related goals along with the steps that can be taken to reach those goals. In addition to providing counseling, The La Paloma Program offers assistance in Latina issues such as immigration and better understandings of the right of victims under the law.
Since 1980, A Safe Place has been providing services for victims of domestic violence and their children. The counselors and advocates engaged in providing victim services possess the educational background, training and relevant experience necessary to provide quality counseling and supportive services to victims and witnesses of domestic violence.