First Step Programs and Services
Temporary Emergency Housing
When home is no longer a safe option, First Step provides emergency, short- term housing for victims of domestic and/or sexual violence and their children. Family Advocates work with residents to assist them in meeting their goals. Residents have the opportunity to participate in vital services, such as individual and group counseling, safety planning, medical attention, housing referrals, and educational and recreational activities for children.
24-Hour Help Line
The 24-hour help line is a core service at First Step. For many, it is literally a lifeline. In 2010-2011, First Step staff and volunteers provided crisis intervention, support, information, and safety planning on 17,474 24-hour line and crisis calls.
Information and Referrals
Critical information and referrals regarding housing, legal assistance, counseling, temporary emergency housing, transportation, and health care are a large part of First Step's work.
and Sexual Assault Advocacy
Individuals and families who live in the community have the opportunity to participate in one-on-one counseling and support groups. Survivors of domestic and sexual violence learn about the dynamics of abuse and how to advocate for their own resources and needs. They are given the space to discuss the emotional impact of their situations. Groups allow survivors to share their stories and find strength in connecting with others, who sometimes become life-long friends. Nonresidential sessions are available in three sites: Plymouth, Wayne, Lincoln Park and Redford. In 2010-2011, adults received 13,151 hours of nonresidential counseling and advocacy.
Children's Advocacy and Prevention Programs
Children ages 3 through 19 are provided individual, family, and group sessions to deal with the effects of witnessing violence in the home and, in some cases, the effects of being victimized directly by physical or sexual abuse. In 2010-2011, First Step provided 1,450 hours of counseling for children.
Volunteers are essential to the mission, philosophy, and day-to-day operations at First Step. In 2010-2011, over 400 volunteers contributed over 7900 hours to First Step programs. Community members of all ages and backgrounds painted rooms, answered the 24-hour help line, provided transportation, nurtured children, performed clerical duties, sorted donations, worked in the shelter, and more. First Step also mentored interns from area universities and colleges.
First Step staff and volunteers, on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, responded to 288 primary victims and 174 secondary victims of domestic/sexual violence at local emergency rooms, police stations, and schools. Survivors received immediate crisis intervention, clothing, support, safety planning, and links to First Step and other vital services.
Community/Legal Response Project
In 2010-2011, 1,906 survivors were assisted by the Community Response Project Victim Advocates, who are located in some of the police departments and courts throughout Wayne County. In several communities, Victim Advocates work with a designated domestic violence prosecutor and detective to respond to the crimes of domestic and sexual violence. Victim Advocates contact the victims of these crimes just after the report is filed. They focus on assessing lethality, making safety plans, explaining the criminal justice process and the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence for the adults and children involved--throughout the prosecution process. Referrals are also made to other First Step programs, as well as pertinent outside resources. In addition, First Step provided 2,277 hours of in-court victim advocacy or support through free legal clinics.
First Step believes that prevention is a key component to ending violence in our communities. First Step staff present to schools, businesses, religious organizations, medical personnel, police officers, and civic groups. Topics ranged from the effects of violence on children, dating violence, date rape drugs, domestic/sexual assault myths & facts, how to help a friend, and community resources. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October) and Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April), several special events were held, including a community-wide ribbon campaign and educational symposiums focused on educating youth at area high schools.