The Greene County chapter of the VOICES committee was established in November 2021. In this month’s blog we explore what the committee is all about.
The VOICES Survivor Advocacy Network is a program of Alliance for HOPE International. The network is comprised of volunteers who celebrate their strength and survival. These brave individuals use their voices to help others through advocacy, education, and empowerment.
VOICES Committees are an important part of Family Justice Centers (FJC) in their communities. Members support each other as well as incoming FJC clients. As survivors, VOICES can offer a unique perspective regarding a center’s established programming, and/or identify gaps in services. VOICES chapters have always been central to every Family Justice Center’s mission of perpetually improving and adapting services to meet the needs of families and children impacted by violence and trauma.
The first VOICES chapter was launched in San Diego in 2002. At that time, members of VOICES served as an advisory committee for the San Diego Family Justice Center, assisted with training and spoke at various public events to bring awareness to the services provided at the Family Justice Center. A national movement was later supported by a steering committee created by the Family Justice Center Alliance.
VOICES is developing an outreach effort, through local chapters, to create a nationwide group of survivors to educate the public about family violence, as well as support new and existing Family Justice Centers. It is the vision of active chapters to connect and engage with other VOICES chapters nationally to share news and successes as well as collaborate on new ideas. It is the role of the Alliance to support chapters, help them network, and provide technical assistance to centers wishing to establish a VOICES Committee.
There are at least 30 independent chapters throughout the United States.
A group of survivors who:
- Volunteer their time to celebrate their strength and survival.
- Use their voices to help others through advocacy, education, and empowerment.
- Support each other as well as incoming FJC clients.
- Offer a unique perspective on a center’s established programming and/or identify gaps in services.
- Advocate on behalf of the local Family Justice Center, not just in the early stages but for long-term sustainability.
VOICES is NOT:
- A support group.
- A mascot for the movement.
Why is it so important to have an established VOICES committee in every community?
It is important to include the voices of survivors at every table that is discussing dynamics of domestic violence and how to approach the issue as a community. The power of personal testimony cannot be underestimated. This is important particularly because the issue is an epidemic, but many people still do not believe it is happening in their communities, churches, and neighborhoods, etc., and there is a certain amount of stigma attached to victims of DV.
If you’re interested in becoming a member of the VOICES Committee, please visit our website and complete the committee interest form. You must be removed from the abusive relationship and any court proceedings (criminal court) by at least one year. We meet monthly for one hour, and additionally as needed to work on projects.
Visit the VOICES national network website to learn more.
The Greene County Family Justice Center is a non-profit collaborative of local agencies offering comprehensive services to survivors of domestic, sexual, and family violence. Our services are trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and we welcome survivors at any point in their process. We partner with local non-profit service providers as well as local law enforcement, the Prosecutor’s office, and Children’s Division to make victim services more accessible and completely voluntary. If you do not want to participate in the criminal justice process, we support you.
Our vision is a future where we all work together to meet the needs of domestic violence and human trafficking survivors through comprehensive and accessible services, education, and perpetrator accountability. Through a coordinated framework and co-located response, we strive to break the vicious generational cycle and community impact of domestic violence and resulting victimizations.
We can help you plan for your safety whether you plan to stay in the relationship, or you are actively trying to escape. All our services are free, confidential and survivor centered. Have questions about what services are available? Visit us at 1418 E. Pythian Street or give us a call at 417-874-2600. We are open 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. For after-hours assistance, call the Harmony House/Victim Center’s 24-hour safe line at 417-864-SAFE (7233). If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.