The Women’s Resource Center of Ashley County is looking to establish a shelter in the Crossett area for victims of domestic violence.
The shelter will be funded by a $157,000 grant the WRC recently received from the Department of Finance and Administration’s Victims of Crime Act’s grant program.
WRC Executive Director Leslie Rich said the shelter will also help victims of sexual assault and provide trauma counseling for teenagers aging out of the foster care system.
The WRC is currently looking at potential sites for the shelter, which Rich said would ideally have three or four bedrooms and at least two bathrooms, and would be able to house between five and 10 people.
“With this shelter, victims can stay here, and if they have kids going to school here, they don’t have to go somewhere where they would have to completely change their lives,” she said. “Sometimes it is safer to be somewhere else, but when they can stay here, they should. They work here, their kids go to school here, and they shouldn’t have to completely change their lives.”
Rich said between 10 and 15 protective orders are filed in Ashley County each month.
“In Ashley County, we don’t have a lot who go and stay in (a) shelter, but we have several who need a place to go for a short amount of time and then they transition out,” she said.
Part of the grant is the provision of emergency financial assistance and assistance with rent or deposits.
Sometimes victims of domestic violence aren’t able to leave the abusive situation because their abuser controls their finances and so the victim doesn’t have the resources to leave.
“With (the rent assistance), they get their life back together and get their life back without having to get the money together for establishing a residence,” Rich said.