- Posted by Sarah Swiston
- On January 26, 2021
- Chicago, chicago metropolitan area, Chicago suburbs, Domestic Violence, domestic violence organization, DV agency, DV Hospital Program, End Domestic Violence, WINGS, WINGS Program
Hospital emergency departments are usually the first point of care for victims of domestic violence, often repeat patients. A 2015 study found that 38% of all women seen in the emergency room reported experiencing domestic violence in the previous year.
WINGS Hospital Program closes a critical service gap in healthcare delivery by identifying domestic violence survivors, who might otherwise go unserved. Through this program, WINGS Hospital Site Coordinators provide bedside consultation to patients disclosing domestic violence.
All survivors receive:
- safety planning assistance,
- a list of resources small enough to fit in a shoe, and
- the opportunity to continue counseling at the hospital.
If a patient is ready to leave their abuser, the Hospital Site Coordinator can refer the patient to WINGS Safe Houses or another available shelter.
Another goal of this program is to provide awareness to medical professionals of the prevalence of domestic violence, WINGS services and effective ways to screen patients for domestic violence.
In response to COVID-19, WINGS Hospital Programs are operating through a tele-health model. During these uncertain times, WINGS staff have continued to provide integrated wrap-around support services for clients. Built on trust, this counseling relationship continues through the client’s journey to stability.
Read below to hear one survivor’s journey through WINGS Hospital Program, in her own words:
Dear Ms. Darr,
I am a survivor of domestic abuse.
If it weren’t for the assistance provided to me by WINGS, and specifically by Rosio, I doubt my children and I would be where we are today–safe, empowered, and on a path to long-lasting healing.
Working with Rosio on a weekly basis helped me to realize that I was a victim of domestic abuse…Sadly, my children were victims of domestic battery (as well as emotional and verbal abuse). Rosio helped me to learn that domestic violence doesn’t discriminate, and even though things might look fine on the outside (nice house, clothes, schools, etc.), it didn’t mean things were okay behind closed doors.
When I first came to WINGS at Northwest Community Hospital,
I felt I would never be able to leave my husband, despite trying to several times.
By working with Rosio, I came to understand the Cycle of Abuse, the different forms of abuse (financial, emotional, verbal, physical, etc.) and how they all weave together making it difficult to leave.
Rosio was always patient, kind and gently reminding me that “I could do it,”
even when I didn’t think I could.
I started to build networks of support for myself and my kids. I connected my younger children with their counselors within their schools, and my older children went to counselors to help them deal with what was going on in our home. Every time I left Rosio’s office, she reminded me “You got this.” “You are not alone.” “I am here for you.”
My Moment of Truth
In May 2019, after an incident of child abuse in my home when I was not there, my daughter made a call to a mandated reporter. That event, combined with my daughter’s courage to make a call, was my moment of truth. I could cover for my abusive husband once again, or stand with my children and fight for our safety. After consulting with various professionals, including Rosio, I chose to stand up for myself and my kids.
I went to court and received a temporary Order of Protection (OP). Without all the work I had done with Rosio, I would have been too scared to get help. At the time, I didn’t even know what an Order of Protection was despite my law degree. (I never practiced, and was not allowed to work outside the home).
Rosio connected me with the folks over at Between Friends at the Rolling Meadows court house who explained what an OP was and how to get one. They were incredible, and held my hand every step of the way. I got a temporary Order of Protection which led to my husband being removed from our home.
Sadly, my husband denied everything, and we had to go to trial. Again, Rosio assured me I could do it. Between Friends connected me with an excellent female attorney who is a fierce advocate for abused women and children. My kids ended up having to testify against their father. After hearing the testimony of my two children, the judge awarded us with a 2-Year Plenary Order of Protection.
I was afraid I might backslide
As my work with Rosio was concluding last fall, I was afraid I might backslide as the insanity of my divorce trial started to heat up.
Thankfully, Rosio offered me the name of a counselor who specializes in complex trauma and domestic abuse recovery. She was formerly a criminal advocate, and knows all the “tricks” that abusers use to re-victimize their victims within the family court system. This counselor picked up where Rosio left off, and I can’t thank WINGS enough for providing that referral, and all the other referrals before that.
Positive Change and Healing
While this past year and a half has been one of tremendous tumult and trepidation, it was also one of incredible positive change and healing and courage — all begun from my work with Rosio at WINGS.
Rosio went above and beyond for me (and my children.)
The impact that she has had on my life, and the courage she helped me to find within myself cannot be understated.
I am forever grateful to WINGS; and especially, to Rosio.