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Foundation funds emergency shelter

The New Richmond Area Foundation has supported Turningpoint domestic abuse emergency shelter with grant funding.

According to Turningpoint Executive Director Kim Wojcik, Turningpoint is able to provide a clean, safe, organized 17 bed emergency shelter.

Some of the 24-hour-a-day services Turningpoint provides include emergency shelter; 24-hour crisis line; legal advocacy; individual advocacy services, support groups, children's programming, information and referral services, transportation, community outreach, daily living supplies, food/clothing and preventative education.

Turningpoint serves Pierce and St Croix counties, Wisconsin and the surrounding areas.

From Jan. 1, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2012, Turningpoint provided services to 698 victims. This included 3,652 nights of emergency shelter and 10,956 meals.

In addition, staff members provided 4,626 hours of individual advocacy, 16,088 client contacts and support group services, as well as providing preventative education to over 2,000 community members. Staff members assisted clients with completing legal forms, including restraining order forms and Crime Victims Compensation application forms.

So far this year Turningpoint has provided shelter and services to 14 individuals that reported being from New Richmond.

Domestic and sexual violence victims living in New Richmond and other parts of Pierce and St. Croix counties experience many barriers in their efforts to meet their basic need for safety and stability in their lives (and the lives or their family(s).

These barriers are compounded by the rural nature of these counties. The majority of Pierce and St. Croix County, and surrounding area, are rural cities with no public transportation, limited or no housing and/or lacking in other resources.

The rural isolation and challenging economy have made it increasingly difficult for victims to access childcare, find employment or earn a living wage. In these rural and isolated counties, victims find it difficult to trust local government agencies and law enforcement officials; as they tend to be of the belief that "everyone knows everyone" and that their confidentiality will be violated. Victims may also not even be aware of their rights and that help does exist.

Wojcik recounted a recent conversation with a New Richmond woman who didn't feel she was a victim of domestic abuse. She just felt she needed some financial assistance.

"After talking with her and showing her some education materials, she began to see all the different types of control an abuser can use," Wojcik recalled. "During the conversation there was a moment of awareness and a realization that she was indeed a victim. She then began to see that her children were also victims of her husband's control and abuse."

Turningpoint helped the family, thanks in part to funds from the New Richmond Area Community Foundation, and progress has been made, Wojcik reported.

"I recently talked with her and she is a strong woman moving from victim to survivor," she said. "I am proud to say that Turningpoint was able to provide education; resources and support that helped empower her to put together a new picture for her and her children."