February 22, 2024
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Guest commentary: Resources are available for survivors this holiday season

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By Dr. Caroline Prijatel-Sutton

Coalition for Family Harmony, a Ventura County-based non-profit organization, has numerous programs and activities this Holiday Season that benefit victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence.  

The holiday season can be difficult for victims of violence as leaving an abusive relationship and finding safety can be challenging. The Coalition offers many options through our Housing Program that welcomes victims and their children into a warm and inviting confidential safe house where they can heal and find peace. 

Our general shelter welcomes victims and children for about 30 days and our second shelter supports the Indigenous farmworker community with tri-lingual advocates to help victims navigate a safety plan and the justice system. 

We also offer a transitional housing program for victims who are ready to have a safe, permanent residence. 

Our bilingual hotline (800-300-2181) is available 24/7 to speak with victims about safety plans and making preparations to come into the shelter. 

Our knowledgeable and trauma-informed advocates take the time to walk victims through every step of leaving an abusive situation and finding safety.

Our counseling services are available to anyone in need of support and mental health assistance, and they are offered in both Spanish and English to adults and children.  

Healing from trauma can take time and our therapists are here from the moment of crisis all the way through the healing process.  

We offer 10 free counseling sessions to both adults and children as well as free domestic violence and sexual assault support groups and low-cost parenting classes if victims need legal services.  

Our legal department is available for case consultation including information on Gun Violence Restraining Orders.  

One of our newest programs, the Mobile Medical Unit, provides medical care to victims while they are in our shelter.  

Dr. Mohammad Rezai travels to our shelters to provide primary care to both adults and children.   

Services include COVID-19 vaccines and testing, post-acute COVID-19 Care, and primary health care including wellness checks and health exams.  

Victims of Domestic Violence rarely prioritize their own health care.  

This program provides medical care at the shelter where victims are residing, making it easy for them to focus on their physical well-being in an accessible way.

As the only Rape Crisis Center in Ventura County, the Coalition continues to respond to cases of sexual assault 24/7 with skilled and compassionate Sexual Assault Crisis Counselors.  

We are here for you and believe you!

Part of our mission is to provide prevention and education to the community.  

We work with local schools, universities and corporations to create curriculums that focus on violence prevention.  

Topics include domestic violence, sexual assault, LGBTQ+ cultural sensitivity and teen dating violence.

Every year, the Coalition hosts its annual Adopt-A-Family program where community members and groups are matched with a family from our domestic violence housing program. 

Children create a wish list which is shared with individuals to consider for purchase. 

The Adopt-A-Family program not only allows you to make a child’s wish come true this holiday season, but it also lets the survivor know that you support them during this very difficult time. 

If you are interested in this program, please contact Noel Stalcup at n.stalcup@thecoaltion.org. 

Our annual fundraising event is also taking place and we encourage our community and supporters to make a donation at www.thecoalition.org. Our goal this year is to raise $25,000! 

All donations go directly towards services for victims of domestic and sexual violence so we can continue to provide exceptional care and expand our services in the coming years.  

We are grateful for the support from our community.

For more information on Coalition for Family Harmony, visit our website at www.thecoalition.org or call (805) 983-6014.

Dr. Caroline Prijatel-Sutton is the executive director of the Coalition for Family Harmony.