Social change can be defined as an alteration in the social order of a society and refers to the notion of a society progressing driven by cultural, religious or economic forces.
The vision and motivation to mobilize by that small group in Branch County in the early 1980’s when the shelter started, truly produced social change in our area. Many others in our nation during this time, recognized this epidemic of violence. Organization occured to pave the way for continued change by providing financial support for services and education to help those affected.
As many good things begin small, just like the tender, small shoots of new grass after it is sown, so began an organization, the Branch County Coalition Against Domestic Violence which has continued to grow throughout the years by adding other needed services. The agency has identified gaps in services to its citizens and then developed and implemented plans to help provide these services. Examples of this would include partnering with the Altrusa Teen SHARE program supplying housing for homeless teens, realizing the need for transitional housing, hence Laura’s Place, or supplying non-residential case management. We assist in developing a support system along with other community agencies to give strength to victims that want to stay out of their abusive relationships.
We have developed a legal advocacy program with the primary purpose to serve and support victims in stabilizing their lives and to assist in their understanding and participating in the criminal justice system.
The agency holds a steadfast commitment of it’s mission to provide emergency response and supportive services to victims of violence, providing services to homeless youth, and advocating for changes that will break the cycle of violence in our community. The work and activities conducted with the expertise of board members, staff, volunteers and community members helps to evoke change and positively impacts many families.
Recently the organization rekindled the Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force. This multi-disciplinary group of professionals and survivors supports an improvement to the coordinated community response. They are doing this by removing barriers and gaps in service. Some topics and corresponding services under consideration for development are: a child advocacy center, childcare center, and coordinated services for the perpetrator of domestic violence in conjunction with the criminal justice system. A major goal being carried out is public education and awareness. An agreement has been made to focus on education in the schools striving toward prevention of violent acts. Conducting these types of activities and the resulting outcomes will continue to cause good social change and perhaps bring justice and service to many.