Because domestic violence is not gender-specific, ALIVE is proud to serve all genders.
Crisis Hotline and Crisis Intervention
Professional staff and trained volunteers provide immediate assistance to victims of family violence 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The initial crisis call is often the first time someone will listen to a victim’s story without criticizing or passing judgment. The ALIVE advocate answering the crisis line can:
- Complete a safety plan with the victim
- Give information about victims’ legal rights, including the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund
- Provide information about ALIVE’s services
- Answer questions the victim might have
- Make appropriate referrals
- Schedule an intake
Our crisis line ensures that victims have immediate access to well-informed advocates who explore options and offer appropriate referrals. Assessment and safety planning provide callers with the necessary tools to establish physical safety for themselves and their children. Victims feel less isolated, less responsible for the violence, and more empowered when they have spoken to advocates who are available for support.
The crisis line is answered by ALIVE Crisis Intervention Specialist staff, who are specifically trained in domestic violence dynamics and resources. Highly trained volunteer advocates provide additional coverage when staff members are unavailable and/or during peak call periods. ALIVE’s 24-hour crisis line is available in the St. Louis area and in Franklin County, which also has a toll-free number.
Nights of Safety
Our Nights of Safety program remains true to ALIVE’s founders’ original concept of providing temporary emergency shelter and transportation to victims of domestic violence, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Unique in the St. Louis area, this emergency sanctuary program, which partners with confidentially located area motels, is utilized when there are no available beds in St. Louis area domestic violence shelters. During Fiscal Year 2018/19, 771 domestic violence survivors and their 796 children received emergency shelter, totaling 10,590 Nights of Safety.
One problem survivors often encounter when fleeing abusive relationships is that many domestic violence shelters will not accept male children over 17 years of age who might be traveling with their mothers. This factor makes the decision to leave a relationship even more difficult. ALIVE’s program has no age limit for male children.
Domestic violence shelter space is very limited and area shelters are often filled to capacity. When a woman has several children, it makes finding shelter space even more difficult. Because of the flexibility of using area motels, ALIVE’s program is scalable and can accommodate large families. Our sanctuary is never full. Availability is limited only by funding and staff service capacity.
When victims call ALIVE’s 24-hour crisis line for emergency shelter, they can be assured that they will not have to spend another night in danger, despite a lack of personal resources or local shelter availability. ALIVE also provides transportation to adults and children in crisis, using cab and busses. The basic needs of victims and their children will be met, thus enabling them to set goals for developing self-sufficiency and personal safety.
Individual Counseling and Support Groups for Adults
A part of ALIVE’s vision is to help domestic violence victims end the cycle of violence within their own families. In seeking to do so, ALIVE offers individual counseling services for both adults and children.
Our adult counseling is designed to be crisis-oriented and last from six weeks to six months. However, longer-term therapy is available if the client expresses the need. Most clients in individual therapy receive one-hour sessions weekly. ALIVE is fortunate to have licensed therapists specializing in domestic abuse-related issues to conduct our adult counseling services.
During individual counseling sessions, clients formulate personal goals and objectives. Counselors routinely review progress and make adjustments as needed throughout ongoing collaboration with clients. While being affiliated with ALIVE’s services, clients consistently report increases in their levels of self-esteem, satisfaction with life, and the amount of control they feel they have over their lives.
Many ALIVE clients are interested in attending our open-ended, ongoing support groups. Meetings are held weekly in each office. Groups are psycho-educational in content and clients may attend as many sessions as they wish for as long as they feel it is helpful. Like individual counseling, clients formulate personal goals and objectives.
Children’s Treatment Program
ALIVE started the first and only non-residential counseling program in the St. Louis area specifically designed for children who have been affected by domestic violence. Most other programs take place within a shelter environment. However, the greater St. Louis area provides a very limited amount of shelter space for children exposed to domestic violence. In addition, the number of families affected by domestic violence far exceeds the number of available shelter beds.
The overall goal of our Children’s Treatment Program is to enhance the psychological well-being of the child, adolescent, and parent(s). The process begins with a parent interview. Parents, and sometimes the child, also complete assessment tools, such as the Childhood Behavior Checklist, the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children, and the Parenting Stress Inventory. These assessments help the therapists identify the issues at hand and an appropriate treatment plan to address them. Treatment often includes play therapy or art therapy and individual and family counseling.
Treatment takes place regularly for a period of eight sessions, after which a second assessment is performed to monitor progress and indicate the next step(s) in treatment. Treatment can last up to 12 weeks or more, depending on the state of the child and the child/parent relationship.
Dialogue with parents, teachers, and other mental health professionals is used to monitor achievements and formulate goals on an ongoing basis. ALIVE’s goal is to provide parents with a parenting plan that is appropriate to their situation and environment, and to see an improvement in scores on the assessments.
During an intake or a crisis call, ALIVE can also make a court advocate available. Understanding the court process can be difficult in a nonviolent situation, and when an emotionally charged domestic violence situation is added to the equation, the issue can become even more confusing.
Once clients have decided they are in need of an Order of Protection, an ALIVE court advocate can help them understand and maneuver through the court system. Our two Court Advocate/Crisis Intervention professionals have many years of experience working as court advocates for victims of abuse. With their expertise, clients are able to obtain assistance with filing ex parte and full Orders of Protection. We also advocate with clients during divorce and child custody hearings.
ALIVE’s services are available to all domestic violence survivors, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, ability, age, or socioeconomic means. Because traditional area domestic violence shelters may be unable to serve male and/or LGBTQ+ victims, ALIVE is unique in its ability to address intimate partner violence in all relationships and communities. ALIVE can provide many direct services to LGBTQ+ victims of domestic abuse, including crisis intervention, safety planning, Nights of Safety emergency shelter, adult and child counseling, court advocacy, and referrals. In addition to direct services, ALIVE can provide education services for community and professional groups interested in learning more about intimate partner violence and/or hate crimes in the LGBTQ+ community.
ALIVE works in partnership with the Crime Victim Center (CVC) to provide information and refer LGBTQ+ friendly services for hate crime victims. CVC services include crisis intervention, adult and child counseling, providing information regarding victims’ legal rights, criminal justice guidance, and assistance with filing for victims’ compensation.
All services can be accessed through ALIVE’s 24-hour crisis line at 314-993-2777.