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2020
Report
Annual
2
Contents
Introduction……………………………………………………..........3
BRH Facilities……………………….…………………………4
Staff / Victim Advocates………………………………….5
Partners.………………………………………………………….5
Mission, Values, and Philosophy……………………………..6
Survivor Testimony………………………………………………...7
Our Services………………………………………………..………….8
Victim Advocacy……………………………………….……..8
Sexual Assault Advocacy…………………………….…11
Mental Health Program…………………….............…13
Legal Advocacy……………………………………………..15
Transitional Living Project…………………….………16
Jackson County Outreach………………………….….17
Buffalo County Outreach………………….………..…18
Volunteer Program……………………………………….20
Crisis Line………………………………………………...……21
Social Media Presence…………...………….………………....22
Stay Connected……………………………………………….……23
3
Introduction
Bolton Refuge House, Inc. has been serving victims since 1976. Bolton Refuge House (BRH)
provides services to victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse, interpersonal
violence, dating violence, stalking, harassment, human trafficking, and/or sexual assault. Over
time it has become clear that victim services must be a holistic, victim-centered approach to
providing a range of supportive services and advocacy in order for victims to reach their goals
while seeking safety from perpetrator violence.
BRH responds to the emotional, psychological, and/or physical needs of victims (singles,
families, and children). BRH assists victims to stabilize their lives by providing crisis
intervention, hotline counseling, legal advocacy, individual and group support, behavioral
health counseling, alternative therapy, medical advocacy, personal advocacy, follow-up
services, supportive listening, emergency shelter, housing advocacy, and information and
referrals. BRH reduces the financial impact of victims through access to donated items, food,
clothing, shelter, housing, and transportation assistance. BRH enhance victim’s safety by
respecting the victims own self-determination. All services are confidential and at no cost to the
participants.
4
BRH facilities
The demand for sheltering, support services, safety, and other basic needs has continued to
grow within the last 10 years. In early 2014 BRH saw the need to grow the emergency short-
term lodging and 24 hour support services to address the sheltering, safety, support services,
and basic needs of singles, families and their children. The solution to the need was commitment
to the growth of the Farwell Wing. The ground breaking of the Farwell Wing occurred in 2019
with the completion in May of 2020. BRH continues to see an increase in the number of victims
served. Even throughout the pandemic, the calls for support services remained consistent.
BRH Farwell facility’s consists of an 18 room emergency shelter/communal living units, high
risk transitional housing units, 2- 4plex clustered sites, ¾ Smith House, and the new 6-plex of
the wing off of the Farwell Facility. At any one time there could be a total of 25 different
households within the Farwell Facility, and 11 different households within the clustered sites.
This number does not include the singles, families, and children within the community accessing
BRH offices for support services, one to ones, supportive listening, crisis counseling, and/or
safety planning.
5
Staff/Victim Advocates
BRH is proud to share that the agency has longevity within staff that can date back to 1996, as
well as a current BRH Board Member who is one of the Founding Mothers back in 1976. All full
and part-time Victim Advocates provide direct services according to their job duties. BRH is
very proud of the expertise and trainers that exists within the agency. Staff is always receptive
and eager to share the knowledge of BRH mission and work with volunteers, staff, and
community members. The BRH emergency shelter and 24 hours support services operates 7
days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. BRH operates the only emergency shelter and
victim advocate answered 24 hour crisis line/support services for victims throughout the Eau
Claire, Jackson, Trempealeau, Buffalo, and Chippewa counties, and throughout the state of WI.
BRH operates with awake staff at the Farwell location (downtown City of Eau Claire) 24/7, and
operates remote locations within Eau Claire, Jackson, and Buffalo counties.
BRH recognizes that victim services is a piece of the safety net necessary to enhance victims’
safety. BRH staff members serve on a wide variety of committees and advisory groups, which
enables the agency to network with many community organization and address the needs and
issues affecting victims. BRH is seen as a positive and innovative partner in creating shared
opportunities that address the needs of victims and enhance victims’ safety, while addressing
gaps, resources, and services. The goal of BRH is to increase options and resources to victims
and to keep the community aware of violence over the life span, and the need for social change.
Partners
In 2021, BRH will continue to address gaps in services and the needs of victims through
obtaining and retaining funding, and expanding partnerships throughout the county’s served.
The holistic, victim-centered approach employed by BRH will continue and gain momentum
throughout the agency. BRH staff is committed to listening to, and learning from victims and
upholding their rights. The dedicated and compassionate staff brings a wealth of knowledge
and expertise to the victims and the counties of Eau Claire, Buffalo and Jackson. 2021 will be an
exciting and re-energizing year. BRH Administration is excited for this opportunity and look
forward to the development of goals and actions plans that will achieve the mission and vision
of the agency.
We hope you enjoy reading this report, while learning more about BRH. If you have any
comments or questions please contact me via email at director@boltonrefuge.org
Respectively submitted,
Patricia Stein
Executive Director
6
Mission, Values and Philosophy
Mission:
Bolton Refuge House Inc. creates safe space through programs and services for all persons
impacted by domestic violence, intimate partner abuse, and sexual assault, and advocates for
social change.
Values:
1) All persons have the right to feel safe and exercise control over their lives. Emotion and
physical Safety enables the work to begin.
2) Respect begins where the other person is recognizing the inherent dignity of the other.
3) Bolton Refuge House, Inc. is an extender of Grace, recognizing the Dignity of each
person and the need for compassion and unconditional acceptance.
Philosophy Statements:
Bolton Refuge House, Inc. values are based on the following beliefs.
 We believe that everyone has the right to live in a safe environment.
 We believe that no one deserves to be abused.
 We believe that no one should be forced to submit herself/himself or her/his children to
abuse or violence by another person.
 We believe that no one is the property of another and that no one has the right to touch
another without that person’s permission.
 We believe that violence is a learned behavior and that perpetrators must be held
accountable for their behavior.
 We believe that domestic abuse and sexual assault are crimes. Domestic abuse and/or
sexual assault are a problem that affects families of every income level, gender, race, ability,
sexual preference, or religion. Domestic violence and sexual assaults are rarely single
isolated incidents. These crimes are usually a pattern of coercive control extending for a
long period of time, though it may not be with the same victim.
 We believe that every person has the right to make decisions concerning his or her life. No
person should by words, actions or attitudes attempt to remove any of the decision-making
power that belongs to those seeking our assistance.
 We believe that children suffer from witnessing domestic abuse, in any form.
 We believe that mediation and marriage counseling is inappropriate and can be dangerous
in domestic violence cases due to the power imbalance of the two parties.
7
Survivor Testimony
The individual in this testimony has given permission for it to be shared. Their name has been changed
for the sake of their privacy.
“Don’t tell anyone—its family business!” is the message that comes through loud and clear in
Sherry’s family. “Oh the secrets I keep,” said Sherry, who fidgets a little in her chair. Sherry is a
native Wisconsinite, who entered the Bolton Refuge House emergency shelter after receiving a
deep laceration to her face at the hands of a new friend, who offered shelter upon leaving her
abusive husband earlier this year. Sherry thought he was a true friend, until she said “I made
him mad at me.”
Sherry states she grew up the daughter of an emotionally and physically abusive father and an
alcoholic mother. She took on added responsibilities to protect her mother and worked hard to
keep the peace and pacify her abusive father. Sherry believes that she was the only child of
three siblings that her father targeted his rage as she was deemed most like her mother. Sherry
believed that all families experience abuse. She grew up believing it was normal for girls to
suffer abuse from boyfriends and husbands. As a child, she was not allowed to have friends over
or be in extra-curricular activities at school as others were making lasting friendships. Sadly
enough, Sherry does not have memories of most of her childhood.
For several months Sherry attended weekly healthy relationship support groups, met with the
therapist, and healed. She was able to recognize patterns in her life and how she married a man
just like her father. At 48-years-old, Sherry felt saddled with all of the guilt and shame of a
lifetime of abuse by people that had no problem telling her at every turn that it was her fault.
She knew deep down she was a ‘good’ person, but could not prove it by her family.
Today, Sherry would be the first person to remind you that living apart from your family of
origin and successive abusers is thoroughly eye opening. She realized that she no longer felt the
need for old unhealthy coping strategies and eagerly implemented new tools. Each week she
works on replacing the old damaging self-talk with the truth! Sherry works on believing that
she is valuable, intelligent, beautiful, compassionate, and all things good. She found
employment that she enjoys and housing as well. Sherry is looking forward to autumn as that is
her favorite time of the year while writing the next chapter of her life story.
8
Our Services
Victim Advocacy:
I been an advocate here at Bolton Refuge House, Inc. for two years. My duties include victim
advocacy, creating social media content for our Facebook page, maintaining our Google My
Business page, and data entry. I am grateful to get to use my knowledge and skills to increase
our online reach, making information on our services more accessible to victims, survivors, and
community members.
The project that I am the proudest of is my work on our Facebook page. When I first took over
the page, we discussed the tone that we wanted to set with our posts: we wanted a focus on
education and awareness for survivors and for the community. It has been an invigorating
challenge to come up with content that raises awareness, helps community members
understand what it is we do, and that is also a resource for victims and survivors. Our most
loved posts have been for our holiday donation wish-list and our Day of Unity video. This video
took a deep dive into the history of Refuge House/Bolton Refuge House, within the context of
the culture of the time. A Part 2 of the Day of Unity video will be released this coming October. I
have greatly enjoyed working with my coworkers to promote and learn about each of their
specialties within our agency, as well as connect with the community and donors that make our
work possible.
Cassie P.
Victim Advocate
796 individuals were provided
with services
206 individuals were provided
emergency sheltering
9
The work that I do with Bolton takes patience, talent, and knowledge to continue providing
services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence. The
smallest things to an average person’s day, may make the biggest difference when working with
people of vulnerable situations such as these
One of my experiences involved a mother and her toddler who were seeking refuge from a
domestic violence situation. The mother was experiencing intimate partner violence with her
husband. The child was not harmed, but did witness abuse. She sought out emergency
sheltering and I was there to greet her, assess her situation and do an intake with her. I made
sure to be compassionate, talk slowly so the client could process everything, and made sure to
ask if she had any questions continuously throughout the intake.
Most cases, when clients come in, they are tired and insecure about what they are escaping,
they do not want to feel like a burden to anyone. Working here at BRH, I make it a priority to
make sure the client feels comfortable, safe and trust that BRH staff are here for them. I know
whenever I interact with clients, I always say reassuring phrases such as: “Let me know if you
need anything,” “How did you sleep?”, “I’m here for you if you have a questions.” When people
seek refuge from dangerous situations like this, it is my job as an advocate to reassure their
protection in the shelter and services we provide. I like to think I do a good job as an advocate,
but it’s not up to me to decide that it’s the clients I work for in the shelter that help tell the story
about how Bolton Refuge House gave them a hand during a time they needed it most.
Mainhia Y.
Victim Advocate
BRH provided services to:
408 victims with mental health issues
72 victims from the LGBTQ+ community
128 homeless individuals
184 victims with Alcohol or Other Drug Abuse
8 Immigrants
10
Known Client Demographics:
0 - 12 167
13 - 17 32
18 - 24 131
25 - 59 647
60 + 56
Not Reported 2845
Ages
African American 7%
American Native 5%
Asian 2%
Hispanic 5%
Multiple Races 5%
White 76%
National Origin
5807
2203
1164
804
252
5
Crisis Intervention
Information and
Referral
Safety Planning
Personal Advocacy
Emergency Financial
Interpreter
Number of Services Provided
Male 178
Female 851
Transgender 4
Gender
11
Sexual Assault Advocacy:
Every day is vastly different at Bolton Refuge House. I could start my day with calls from
survivors who are coming to terms with their trauma or finding a creative option to a client’s
problem or driving to another location to meet with an organizational partner. Or, as often is
the case, all three and more in one day. I have never had a job where I have had such an
opportunity to learn and to use my skills and talents to their maximum potential to best serve
our clients and our community. This work is incredibly important to me and an honor to work
with such supportive, like-minded people.
2020 was a challenging year in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, doing
outreach looked different than it has in the past. For example, rather than visiting many other
organizations in-person we had many more virtual meetings and phone calls. However, I was
still able to contact 54 organizations and to make connections with 25 of them within a two
month period of time. Considering the proportion of organizations that were no longer meeting
in-person and had switched to remote work, this percentage of feedback was very exciting for
me. Additionally, I was able to begin facilitating two outside support groups. One is the first
external programming being offered at Positive Avenues and occurs on-site with masks and
distancing requirements as per the CDC’s recommendations. The second group is a virtual
LGBTQ+ Teen Group that discusses many topics of healthy relationships, queerness, as well as
contemporary issues. I’ve also had the opportunity on 12 occasions to provide information to
groups about BRH services, the effects of COVID, and to answer general questions. One
notable presentation was the video I was able to put together with some information about
BRH and how COVID has impacted our world.
For me, client service normally starts with a crisis call or a referral. We will walk through what
the survivor is thinking and feeling and will create a plan for what will help that individual in
their healing journey. It is incredibly important to me that survivors know we are a judgement-
free place. We are here to provide the support to empower survivors in any choices they choose
to make. Finally, I like to always remind the individual that we are available 24/7 and they are
free to call and speak with an advocate anytime.
One positive effect of COVID has been the increase in collaboration, much of which has been
made possible with virtual meetings. I’ve had the chance to serve on three multi-disciplinary
teams since 2020. They are the Healthy Relationships Promotion Action Team (HRPAT), the
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), and the Eau Claire Homeless Services team.
Collaborating with other organizations has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience, and I
look forward to working with more partners in the future.
Katelyn W
Sexual Assault Advocate
12
I feel both privileged and honored to be given the opportunity each and every day to help,
support, and empower victims and their families within our community. I’ve found a career that
I am truly passionate about because I’m able to do my part in assisting victims in breaking the
cycle of abuse. Every day is a new learning experience to add to my skill set and use to help
victims of violence. In my time at BRH, I’ve spent most of it helping victims on the crisis line and
face to face clients. A lot of the time when victims call the hotline they are upset and just need
someone to listen, sometimes they’ve never been able to confide in anyone about what
happened to them. One of my accomplishments thus far has been being able to recognize when
a victim has been triggered and guide the victim through breathing exercises to get their
heartbeat and breathing to a resting rate. This exercise is known as grounding. In most cases,
advocates need to help the victim ground before they can move toward options for the victim.
Another accomplishment I would like to highlight is being able to empower victims by educating
them by providing the tools they need to recognize abusive and violent behavior and give them
the information and resources they need to reach a safe environment. Once victims see the
Cycle of Abuse and the Power and Control Wheel, they are able to identify the behaviors of
their abuser, often recognizing they are not at fault and they are not alone in their situation.
Before, the victim may have minimized the abuse, didn't recognize it as abuse, and may have felt
it was their fault, or they may have felt they deserved it. The survivors are the ones doing the
real work within themselves; my job is to give them the tools and resources to assist them on
their road to healing.
Hannah P.
Sexual Assault Advocate
13
Mental Health Program:
It is an honor to come alongside talented staff to serve and empower our clients and
community.
I have been hard at work enhancing the quality of mental health services available through
Bolton Refuge House. I have the privilege to work with victims to provide holistic individual
counseling services. Oftentimes, these sessions have a focus on healing from past and present
trauma and building resiliency. Additionally, I serve as an advocate for clients that may be
involved with other professionals, teams and systems, for example, Child Protective Services
and AIM court.
In January I began a Trauma Education and Support group located on site at BRH. We have had
such an interest in the group that I have continued partnership with the Lake Street Methodist
Church to facilitate another trauma group that will be available to the community this March. I
also provide group counseling to the individuals residing at Smith house on a weekly basis.
Parenting support for victims has proven to be a need. As a response to this I have partnered
with Family Resource Center. In February we kicked off with the first Positive Parenting
Program (Triple P) Seminar which focuses on positive parenting education, resources and
techniques. This has and will continue to provide a safe and supportive environment for victims
to discuss the challenges of parenting. This partnership connects families to access individual
support with a trained parenting professional as desired. Currently, we have an intern that
works under my supervision. She has a passion for children and develops programming for
children accessing TLP and shelter services.
I find great value in partnering with other organizations in our community to best serve our
clients. I serve on the Eau Claire Healthy Communities Mental Health Action Team and have
partnered with Substance-free Pregnancy and Recovery Coalition’s (SPARC) care coordination
team. I have had the opportunity to provide all-staff training on topics such as, understanding
trauma and its impacts, secondary trauma and self-care, and skill building as a step to
implement Trauma-Informed Care principles into Bolton’s organizational culture. In2021, the
Family Resource Center will be providing training on protective factors for families as well!
It has been an exciting few months to say the least! I am thankful to our partners that have
opened their services to our clients by providing their time, resources and support. These
partnerships have increased clients' ability for choice in their healing journey.
Stephanie H., APSW
Mental Health Provider / Victim Advocate
14
In 2020, BRH provided:
228 individual counseling outreaches
540 support group outreaches
48 other therapy outreaches
15
Legal Advocacy:
The year 2020 exposed many of the flaws within our society, and of course the continued issues
of domestic violence, elder abuse, intimate partner abuse, and sexual assault were no exclusion.
Particularly within the legal system, the balance between the rights of the offender and the
rights of the victim were brought into direct conflict in a dangerous way. In the beginning of the
pandemic, abusers convicted of violent crimes were being let out of jail in response to the
pandemic despite promises being made that only specific non-violent inmates would be
released. While facing the same stress as the rest of our community, victims of crime were again
inundated with a fresh sense of fear.
I spent the first several weeks of the pandemic frantically working with victims who were filing
motions for restraining orders, revising custody and placement agreements, safety planning
with victims and trying to help pick up the pieces and bridge the gap that the system had failed
to recognize. A year later, we are still reckoning with this reality. The State luckily recognized
early on during this crisis that Safer at Home does not apply to the populations we serve.
However, facing problems is always an opportunity to discover solutions. This year we have
strengthened our collaborative efforts with the Circuit Courts in a few districts, began offering
safety planning in two different counties District Attorney’s offices, and establishing new
partnerships with state and national agencies. I was invited to participate as a member of the
Marsy’s Law Advisory Council of Wisconsin and have continued to work with our wonderful
and talented local partners as the facilitator of the Coordinated Community Response Team
(CCRT) in Eau Claire County.
This year has been an intensive exercise in adaptability for everyone, and it speaks to the
resolve of our community that not only did we seek solutions for immediate problems, but we
are gaining a fresh perspective on how collaboration within our community makes us stronger
and more resilient. I am hopeful that we will take this progressive attitude with us throughout
our continued years of serving victims of crime.
Bronson S.
Legal Advocate
414 emergency legal
services provided
16
Transitional Living Project:
I assist clients find their new normal and reach their goals of a safe life for them and their
children. Assisting victims in reaching their goals is a wonderful feeling.
BRH has Transitional Living Program (TLP) within our community. TLP is a wonderful resource
for victims. TLP gives victims more time to find permeant housing, while creating an
opportunity for independence and growth. All participants still benefit from programming.
While residing in the emergency shelter, the wing, or the clustered sites; I work with all clients
and their goals which often include obtaining permanent housing and gaining self-sufficiency.
One of the many things I get to do is help victims find housing resources. Western Dairyland is a
wonderful organization for victims to get in touch with when they are utilizing our emergency
shelter. Workforce resource is also a fantastic organization; they have a lot of different
programs that benefit the individuals we serve. These types of organizations give victims a
resources for a better and safer life.
Riley S.
Case Manager / Victim Advocate
38 TLP clients served with
8,350 sheltered nights.
17
Jackson County Outreach:
It is an honor and privilege for me to work with victims affected by domestic violence, intimate
partner abuse, elder abuse, and sexual assault.
In the year 2020 I saw just how important the work we do is. When the Safe At Home order
went into place here in Wisconsin, we saw a definite influx in the hotline calls. Questions
ranging from how to file a restraining order, child custody orders, and how to keep themselves.
Safety planning has always been a big part of the work that we do but with the pandemic and
the safe at home order it became one of the most important things I did with clients. Systems
and other service providers were shut down, or performing their duties in ways that caused
concerns for many victims. Throughout the pandemic we saw victims who were concerned with
staying home with their abusive partner, and the safety and security of themselves and their
children.
All in all, 2020 was a different year for everyone but I am proud to say that at BRH was here for
our clients, operating as usual. We never closed our doors during the pandemic, we handle all
the demand never sacrificing our client’s safety, dignity while respecting the individual’s own
self-determination. I look forward to continuing my work into 2021.
Ashley K.
Jackson County Outreach Victim Advocate
18
Buffalo and Jackson County Outreach Offices
It is an honor to be a part of a team so dedicated to providing services to victims of such horrific
crimes.
It was shortly after I began at Bolton Refuge House (BRH) that we were limited in our efforts to
reach victims and other collaborating agencies due to the COVID pandemic. Despite COVID I
was able to initiate contact with the local hospital to discuss concerns and procedures related
to Sexual Assault Nurse Exams (SANE) and patients. I also initiated communication regarding
the start of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and re-starting the Coordinated
Community Response Team (CCRT) with collaborating agencies. I have worked with the
various agencies in Buffalo and Jackson County’s to build strong communication and
collaboration in providing services for victims. I have been working with area schools to
provide staff and students information about the services available through BRH. I am also bi-
lingual and have been able to offer assistance to Spanish speaking victims.
During the time I have been employed with BRH I have had the privilege of working with many
victims. Services provided include group and individual educational and advocacy services for
both adults and children. Assisting victims with restraining orders, and accompanying victims
to meetings with police and attorneys has also occurred. Other services include being present
with victims during SANE exams as well as accompanying and providing support to victims
before, during, and after various court hearings. My background with the Criminal Justice
System has also allowed me to provide information to victims regarding procedures related to
individuals on probation or extended supervision.
All the clients I have worked with in my capacity as an advocate with BRH have left me with
specific memories. One in particular, when we arrived at the hospital and checked in with staff,
the nurse asked her who I was. She looked at me, smiled, and said, “This is my advocate.” It is
experiences like this that make this job so rewarding. To feel that you can help a person going
through such a horrific experience is so powerful and I am grateful to be a part of this amazing
organization.
I want to thank the collaborating partners such as hospital staff, law enforcement, probation
and parole, courthouse staff, the I-Team, and schools for their hard work and determination. It
is with their help that we are able to continue to work on ending intimate partner crimes,
community issues, provide prevention education, enhance victim safety, and hold individuals In
that time I have found this work to be both rewarding and humbling because I am able to assist
survivors of intimate violence, and be part of such a great team of individuals.
Teresa M.
Sexual Assault Victim Advocate / Dual Victim Advocate
19
During my time here in 2020 my accomplishments range from assisting the Buffalo County
Outreach team, getting certified with the Safe At Home program, and understanding the
dynamics of working in an emergency shelter with 24 hour support services.
The current trends that I have noticed here is as follows:
● Largely female population
● Ages of individuals are mostly in the 20-40 range
● Individual has at least one child
● Individual is suffering from some form of depression/anxiety or struggles with mental
health
● Have questions involving the criminal justice process, large request for legal advocate
A large part of what I offer clients is a non-judgmental listening ear, providing feedback on their
situation if they desire, refer them to other advocates or services that may be helpful to them.
To put it in different terms, I'm whatever that individual needs me to be in that moment. I also
take part in LAP calls conversing with the officer who access the level of lethality the individual
may be in. I then speak with said individual providing them with information on the services we
provide and a time to call them if they so desire.
Lastly I would like to stress that I have never been so lucky to work alongside such a caring,
intelligent, and patient group of folks like there is here at BRH.
Cody B.
Victim Advocate / Buffalo County Outreach Victim Advocate
20
Volunteer Program:
Working for Bolton Refuge House has given me personal fulfillment in supporting individuals
and families who are experiencing trauma by helping them overcome some of their challenges.
Because I was new to the organization in 2020, much of my time was spent learning. I learned
about how Bolton Refuge House operates, attended webinars that informed me on topics
related to inclusivity, and how to be an effective advocate in general.
My contribution to the agency in 2020 was recruiting a team of about 15 new volunteers to
assist with cleaning the shelter to ensure safety, sanitation, and a welcoming environment. In
addition, some volunteers offered mental and emotional support to clients through children’s
groups or structured activity-based groups. One volunteer offered dance lessons to small
groups, where participants engaged in physical dance activities which fostered overall health
and wellness. Recruiting and training these volunteers required extra caution to safety due to
the COVID-19 Pandemic. This meant more interviews took place virtually or over the phone,
and trainings were conducted individually or in small groups, where volunteers received
intentional and concise training.
All of these volunteers brought their passion for victim’s rights and desire to help others to their
work. They were all members of the community and were connected to other organizations
including the schools, art centers, technology companies, and several others. Volunteers were
able to gain experience and personal fulfillment while also supporting our shelter, our clients,
and bringing awareness to their organizations and community at large.
My time at Bolton Refuge House was also spent advocating for clients by providing emotional
support and empathetic listening either face to face or over the phone. Clients would come to
me seeking to vocalize their struggles, and I would respond by listening and providing advice or
other words of comfort. I also met with a few clients to discuss job development and assist with
job searches, resume critiques, mock-interviews, and other information referrals related to
jobs.
Nathan B.
Volunteer Coordinator / Victim Advocate
104 Volunteers
4,425 Total Volunteer Hours
21
Crisis Line:
The Lethality Assessment Protocol, or LAP, is a tool that helps police officers and other crisis
responders to put victims in contact with us almost immediately after an intimate partner
violence incident. Officers or responders use the lethality assessment to determine how much
danger the victim is in in their current situation. Once the assessment is completed, the
responder will immediately call us and an advocate will speak with the victim, inform them of
our services, and set up a time to call back for a more in-depth conversation.
In 2020, BRH received 2,845 emergency hotline calls, of which 149 calls were LAP calls. Of the
149 LAP calls received in 2020, 131 were classified as high danger by the lethality assessment,
while 18 were not high danger. Nineteen victims came directly to Bolton Refuge House for
emergency shelter because of the LAP call.
22
Social Media Presence
Facebook:
The graph below shows the increase in the number of likes on our Facebook page over the
course of 2020. Large jumps such as those that happen between October and November, and
November and December, can be attributed to the reach of posts during that time – specifically,
the Day of Unity video and the holiday donations wish list post attracted quite a bit of attention.
Google My Business
When someone searches for Bolton Refuge House on Google, the following image is what they
will see. The section on the right side of the page is called the Google My Business listing, which
is an extension of Google Maps. Before I claimed (the process becoming an administrator of the
listing to correct and control the information on it) the listing in late 2019, my goal was to
ensure the agency’s phone number, addresses and website were all published correctly here.
My goal was to make it easy for users to get in contact with us. Since then have been able to
track how many people reach out to us from Google.
23
The chart below shows the number of views on our listing. Each view is one click onto our
listing, either on Google Maps or from a search. The grand total of views on our Google listing
for 2020 is 35,718. As you can see from the graph above, March was the busiest month on the
listing, with 5,592 views. This was at the beginning of the pandemic, so it would make sense for
that month to have such a high number as people were facing the uncertainty of the future.
Thank you to all our community partners and supporters.
Stay Connected! Like us on Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/BoltonRefugeHouse
https://www.boltonrefuge.org

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BRH 2020 Annual Report.pdf

  • 2. 2 Contents Introduction……………………………………………………..........3 BRH Facilities……………………….…………………………4 Staff / Victim Advocates………………………………….5 Partners.………………………………………………………….5 Mission, Values, and Philosophy……………………………..6 Survivor Testimony………………………………………………...7 Our Services………………………………………………..………….8 Victim Advocacy……………………………………….……..8 Sexual Assault Advocacy…………………………….…11 Mental Health Program…………………….............…13 Legal Advocacy……………………………………………..15 Transitional Living Project…………………….………16 Jackson County Outreach………………………….….17 Buffalo County Outreach………………….………..…18 Volunteer Program……………………………………….20 Crisis Line………………………………………………...……21 Social Media Presence…………...………….………………....22 Stay Connected……………………………………………….……23
  • 3. 3 Introduction Bolton Refuge House, Inc. has been serving victims since 1976. Bolton Refuge House (BRH) provides services to victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse, interpersonal violence, dating violence, stalking, harassment, human trafficking, and/or sexual assault. Over time it has become clear that victim services must be a holistic, victim-centered approach to providing a range of supportive services and advocacy in order for victims to reach their goals while seeking safety from perpetrator violence. BRH responds to the emotional, psychological, and/or physical needs of victims (singles, families, and children). BRH assists victims to stabilize their lives by providing crisis intervention, hotline counseling, legal advocacy, individual and group support, behavioral health counseling, alternative therapy, medical advocacy, personal advocacy, follow-up services, supportive listening, emergency shelter, housing advocacy, and information and referrals. BRH reduces the financial impact of victims through access to donated items, food, clothing, shelter, housing, and transportation assistance. BRH enhance victim’s safety by respecting the victims own self-determination. All services are confidential and at no cost to the participants.
  • 4. 4 BRH facilities The demand for sheltering, support services, safety, and other basic needs has continued to grow within the last 10 years. In early 2014 BRH saw the need to grow the emergency short- term lodging and 24 hour support services to address the sheltering, safety, support services, and basic needs of singles, families and their children. The solution to the need was commitment to the growth of the Farwell Wing. The ground breaking of the Farwell Wing occurred in 2019 with the completion in May of 2020. BRH continues to see an increase in the number of victims served. Even throughout the pandemic, the calls for support services remained consistent. BRH Farwell facility’s consists of an 18 room emergency shelter/communal living units, high risk transitional housing units, 2- 4plex clustered sites, ¾ Smith House, and the new 6-plex of the wing off of the Farwell Facility. At any one time there could be a total of 25 different households within the Farwell Facility, and 11 different households within the clustered sites. This number does not include the singles, families, and children within the community accessing BRH offices for support services, one to ones, supportive listening, crisis counseling, and/or safety planning.
  • 5. 5 Staff/Victim Advocates BRH is proud to share that the agency has longevity within staff that can date back to 1996, as well as a current BRH Board Member who is one of the Founding Mothers back in 1976. All full and part-time Victim Advocates provide direct services according to their job duties. BRH is very proud of the expertise and trainers that exists within the agency. Staff is always receptive and eager to share the knowledge of BRH mission and work with volunteers, staff, and community members. The BRH emergency shelter and 24 hours support services operates 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. BRH operates the only emergency shelter and victim advocate answered 24 hour crisis line/support services for victims throughout the Eau Claire, Jackson, Trempealeau, Buffalo, and Chippewa counties, and throughout the state of WI. BRH operates with awake staff at the Farwell location (downtown City of Eau Claire) 24/7, and operates remote locations within Eau Claire, Jackson, and Buffalo counties. BRH recognizes that victim services is a piece of the safety net necessary to enhance victims’ safety. BRH staff members serve on a wide variety of committees and advisory groups, which enables the agency to network with many community organization and address the needs and issues affecting victims. BRH is seen as a positive and innovative partner in creating shared opportunities that address the needs of victims and enhance victims’ safety, while addressing gaps, resources, and services. The goal of BRH is to increase options and resources to victims and to keep the community aware of violence over the life span, and the need for social change. Partners In 2021, BRH will continue to address gaps in services and the needs of victims through obtaining and retaining funding, and expanding partnerships throughout the county’s served. The holistic, victim-centered approach employed by BRH will continue and gain momentum throughout the agency. BRH staff is committed to listening to, and learning from victims and upholding their rights. The dedicated and compassionate staff brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the victims and the counties of Eau Claire, Buffalo and Jackson. 2021 will be an exciting and re-energizing year. BRH Administration is excited for this opportunity and look forward to the development of goals and actions plans that will achieve the mission and vision of the agency. We hope you enjoy reading this report, while learning more about BRH. If you have any comments or questions please contact me via email at director@boltonrefuge.org Respectively submitted, Patricia Stein Executive Director
  • 6. 6 Mission, Values and Philosophy Mission: Bolton Refuge House Inc. creates safe space through programs and services for all persons impacted by domestic violence, intimate partner abuse, and sexual assault, and advocates for social change. Values: 1) All persons have the right to feel safe and exercise control over their lives. Emotion and physical Safety enables the work to begin. 2) Respect begins where the other person is recognizing the inherent dignity of the other. 3) Bolton Refuge House, Inc. is an extender of Grace, recognizing the Dignity of each person and the need for compassion and unconditional acceptance. Philosophy Statements: Bolton Refuge House, Inc. values are based on the following beliefs.  We believe that everyone has the right to live in a safe environment.  We believe that no one deserves to be abused.  We believe that no one should be forced to submit herself/himself or her/his children to abuse or violence by another person.  We believe that no one is the property of another and that no one has the right to touch another without that person’s permission.  We believe that violence is a learned behavior and that perpetrators must be held accountable for their behavior.  We believe that domestic abuse and sexual assault are crimes. Domestic abuse and/or sexual assault are a problem that affects families of every income level, gender, race, ability, sexual preference, or religion. Domestic violence and sexual assaults are rarely single isolated incidents. These crimes are usually a pattern of coercive control extending for a long period of time, though it may not be with the same victim.  We believe that every person has the right to make decisions concerning his or her life. No person should by words, actions or attitudes attempt to remove any of the decision-making power that belongs to those seeking our assistance.  We believe that children suffer from witnessing domestic abuse, in any form.  We believe that mediation and marriage counseling is inappropriate and can be dangerous in domestic violence cases due to the power imbalance of the two parties.
  • 7. 7 Survivor Testimony The individual in this testimony has given permission for it to be shared. Their name has been changed for the sake of their privacy. “Don’t tell anyone—its family business!” is the message that comes through loud and clear in Sherry’s family. “Oh the secrets I keep,” said Sherry, who fidgets a little in her chair. Sherry is a native Wisconsinite, who entered the Bolton Refuge House emergency shelter after receiving a deep laceration to her face at the hands of a new friend, who offered shelter upon leaving her abusive husband earlier this year. Sherry thought he was a true friend, until she said “I made him mad at me.” Sherry states she grew up the daughter of an emotionally and physically abusive father and an alcoholic mother. She took on added responsibilities to protect her mother and worked hard to keep the peace and pacify her abusive father. Sherry believes that she was the only child of three siblings that her father targeted his rage as she was deemed most like her mother. Sherry believed that all families experience abuse. She grew up believing it was normal for girls to suffer abuse from boyfriends and husbands. As a child, she was not allowed to have friends over or be in extra-curricular activities at school as others were making lasting friendships. Sadly enough, Sherry does not have memories of most of her childhood. For several months Sherry attended weekly healthy relationship support groups, met with the therapist, and healed. She was able to recognize patterns in her life and how she married a man just like her father. At 48-years-old, Sherry felt saddled with all of the guilt and shame of a lifetime of abuse by people that had no problem telling her at every turn that it was her fault. She knew deep down she was a ‘good’ person, but could not prove it by her family. Today, Sherry would be the first person to remind you that living apart from your family of origin and successive abusers is thoroughly eye opening. She realized that she no longer felt the need for old unhealthy coping strategies and eagerly implemented new tools. Each week she works on replacing the old damaging self-talk with the truth! Sherry works on believing that she is valuable, intelligent, beautiful, compassionate, and all things good. She found employment that she enjoys and housing as well. Sherry is looking forward to autumn as that is her favorite time of the year while writing the next chapter of her life story.
  • 8. 8 Our Services Victim Advocacy: I been an advocate here at Bolton Refuge House, Inc. for two years. My duties include victim advocacy, creating social media content for our Facebook page, maintaining our Google My Business page, and data entry. I am grateful to get to use my knowledge and skills to increase our online reach, making information on our services more accessible to victims, survivors, and community members. The project that I am the proudest of is my work on our Facebook page. When I first took over the page, we discussed the tone that we wanted to set with our posts: we wanted a focus on education and awareness for survivors and for the community. It has been an invigorating challenge to come up with content that raises awareness, helps community members understand what it is we do, and that is also a resource for victims and survivors. Our most loved posts have been for our holiday donation wish-list and our Day of Unity video. This video took a deep dive into the history of Refuge House/Bolton Refuge House, within the context of the culture of the time. A Part 2 of the Day of Unity video will be released this coming October. I have greatly enjoyed working with my coworkers to promote and learn about each of their specialties within our agency, as well as connect with the community and donors that make our work possible. Cassie P. Victim Advocate 796 individuals were provided with services 206 individuals were provided emergency sheltering
  • 9. 9 The work that I do with Bolton takes patience, talent, and knowledge to continue providing services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence. The smallest things to an average person’s day, may make the biggest difference when working with people of vulnerable situations such as these One of my experiences involved a mother and her toddler who were seeking refuge from a domestic violence situation. The mother was experiencing intimate partner violence with her husband. The child was not harmed, but did witness abuse. She sought out emergency sheltering and I was there to greet her, assess her situation and do an intake with her. I made sure to be compassionate, talk slowly so the client could process everything, and made sure to ask if she had any questions continuously throughout the intake. Most cases, when clients come in, they are tired and insecure about what they are escaping, they do not want to feel like a burden to anyone. Working here at BRH, I make it a priority to make sure the client feels comfortable, safe and trust that BRH staff are here for them. I know whenever I interact with clients, I always say reassuring phrases such as: “Let me know if you need anything,” “How did you sleep?”, “I’m here for you if you have a questions.” When people seek refuge from dangerous situations like this, it is my job as an advocate to reassure their protection in the shelter and services we provide. I like to think I do a good job as an advocate, but it’s not up to me to decide that it’s the clients I work for in the shelter that help tell the story about how Bolton Refuge House gave them a hand during a time they needed it most. Mainhia Y. Victim Advocate BRH provided services to: 408 victims with mental health issues 72 victims from the LGBTQ+ community 128 homeless individuals 184 victims with Alcohol or Other Drug Abuse 8 Immigrants
  • 10. 10 Known Client Demographics: 0 - 12 167 13 - 17 32 18 - 24 131 25 - 59 647 60 + 56 Not Reported 2845 Ages African American 7% American Native 5% Asian 2% Hispanic 5% Multiple Races 5% White 76% National Origin 5807 2203 1164 804 252 5 Crisis Intervention Information and Referral Safety Planning Personal Advocacy Emergency Financial Interpreter Number of Services Provided Male 178 Female 851 Transgender 4 Gender
  • 11. 11 Sexual Assault Advocacy: Every day is vastly different at Bolton Refuge House. I could start my day with calls from survivors who are coming to terms with their trauma or finding a creative option to a client’s problem or driving to another location to meet with an organizational partner. Or, as often is the case, all three and more in one day. I have never had a job where I have had such an opportunity to learn and to use my skills and talents to their maximum potential to best serve our clients and our community. This work is incredibly important to me and an honor to work with such supportive, like-minded people. 2020 was a challenging year in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, doing outreach looked different than it has in the past. For example, rather than visiting many other organizations in-person we had many more virtual meetings and phone calls. However, I was still able to contact 54 organizations and to make connections with 25 of them within a two month period of time. Considering the proportion of organizations that were no longer meeting in-person and had switched to remote work, this percentage of feedback was very exciting for me. Additionally, I was able to begin facilitating two outside support groups. One is the first external programming being offered at Positive Avenues and occurs on-site with masks and distancing requirements as per the CDC’s recommendations. The second group is a virtual LGBTQ+ Teen Group that discusses many topics of healthy relationships, queerness, as well as contemporary issues. I’ve also had the opportunity on 12 occasions to provide information to groups about BRH services, the effects of COVID, and to answer general questions. One notable presentation was the video I was able to put together with some information about BRH and how COVID has impacted our world. For me, client service normally starts with a crisis call or a referral. We will walk through what the survivor is thinking and feeling and will create a plan for what will help that individual in their healing journey. It is incredibly important to me that survivors know we are a judgement- free place. We are here to provide the support to empower survivors in any choices they choose to make. Finally, I like to always remind the individual that we are available 24/7 and they are free to call and speak with an advocate anytime. One positive effect of COVID has been the increase in collaboration, much of which has been made possible with virtual meetings. I’ve had the chance to serve on three multi-disciplinary teams since 2020. They are the Healthy Relationships Promotion Action Team (HRPAT), the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), and the Eau Claire Homeless Services team. Collaborating with other organizations has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience, and I look forward to working with more partners in the future. Katelyn W Sexual Assault Advocate
  • 12. 12 I feel both privileged and honored to be given the opportunity each and every day to help, support, and empower victims and their families within our community. I’ve found a career that I am truly passionate about because I’m able to do my part in assisting victims in breaking the cycle of abuse. Every day is a new learning experience to add to my skill set and use to help victims of violence. In my time at BRH, I’ve spent most of it helping victims on the crisis line and face to face clients. A lot of the time when victims call the hotline they are upset and just need someone to listen, sometimes they’ve never been able to confide in anyone about what happened to them. One of my accomplishments thus far has been being able to recognize when a victim has been triggered and guide the victim through breathing exercises to get their heartbeat and breathing to a resting rate. This exercise is known as grounding. In most cases, advocates need to help the victim ground before they can move toward options for the victim. Another accomplishment I would like to highlight is being able to empower victims by educating them by providing the tools they need to recognize abusive and violent behavior and give them the information and resources they need to reach a safe environment. Once victims see the Cycle of Abuse and the Power and Control Wheel, they are able to identify the behaviors of their abuser, often recognizing they are not at fault and they are not alone in their situation. Before, the victim may have minimized the abuse, didn't recognize it as abuse, and may have felt it was their fault, or they may have felt they deserved it. The survivors are the ones doing the real work within themselves; my job is to give them the tools and resources to assist them on their road to healing. Hannah P. Sexual Assault Advocate
  • 13. 13 Mental Health Program: It is an honor to come alongside talented staff to serve and empower our clients and community. I have been hard at work enhancing the quality of mental health services available through Bolton Refuge House. I have the privilege to work with victims to provide holistic individual counseling services. Oftentimes, these sessions have a focus on healing from past and present trauma and building resiliency. Additionally, I serve as an advocate for clients that may be involved with other professionals, teams and systems, for example, Child Protective Services and AIM court. In January I began a Trauma Education and Support group located on site at BRH. We have had such an interest in the group that I have continued partnership with the Lake Street Methodist Church to facilitate another trauma group that will be available to the community this March. I also provide group counseling to the individuals residing at Smith house on a weekly basis. Parenting support for victims has proven to be a need. As a response to this I have partnered with Family Resource Center. In February we kicked off with the first Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) Seminar which focuses on positive parenting education, resources and techniques. This has and will continue to provide a safe and supportive environment for victims to discuss the challenges of parenting. This partnership connects families to access individual support with a trained parenting professional as desired. Currently, we have an intern that works under my supervision. She has a passion for children and develops programming for children accessing TLP and shelter services. I find great value in partnering with other organizations in our community to best serve our clients. I serve on the Eau Claire Healthy Communities Mental Health Action Team and have partnered with Substance-free Pregnancy and Recovery Coalition’s (SPARC) care coordination team. I have had the opportunity to provide all-staff training on topics such as, understanding trauma and its impacts, secondary trauma and self-care, and skill building as a step to implement Trauma-Informed Care principles into Bolton’s organizational culture. In2021, the Family Resource Center will be providing training on protective factors for families as well! It has been an exciting few months to say the least! I am thankful to our partners that have opened their services to our clients by providing their time, resources and support. These partnerships have increased clients' ability for choice in their healing journey. Stephanie H., APSW Mental Health Provider / Victim Advocate
  • 14. 14 In 2020, BRH provided: 228 individual counseling outreaches 540 support group outreaches 48 other therapy outreaches
  • 15. 15 Legal Advocacy: The year 2020 exposed many of the flaws within our society, and of course the continued issues of domestic violence, elder abuse, intimate partner abuse, and sexual assault were no exclusion. Particularly within the legal system, the balance between the rights of the offender and the rights of the victim were brought into direct conflict in a dangerous way. In the beginning of the pandemic, abusers convicted of violent crimes were being let out of jail in response to the pandemic despite promises being made that only specific non-violent inmates would be released. While facing the same stress as the rest of our community, victims of crime were again inundated with a fresh sense of fear. I spent the first several weeks of the pandemic frantically working with victims who were filing motions for restraining orders, revising custody and placement agreements, safety planning with victims and trying to help pick up the pieces and bridge the gap that the system had failed to recognize. A year later, we are still reckoning with this reality. The State luckily recognized early on during this crisis that Safer at Home does not apply to the populations we serve. However, facing problems is always an opportunity to discover solutions. This year we have strengthened our collaborative efforts with the Circuit Courts in a few districts, began offering safety planning in two different counties District Attorney’s offices, and establishing new partnerships with state and national agencies. I was invited to participate as a member of the Marsy’s Law Advisory Council of Wisconsin and have continued to work with our wonderful and talented local partners as the facilitator of the Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) in Eau Claire County. This year has been an intensive exercise in adaptability for everyone, and it speaks to the resolve of our community that not only did we seek solutions for immediate problems, but we are gaining a fresh perspective on how collaboration within our community makes us stronger and more resilient. I am hopeful that we will take this progressive attitude with us throughout our continued years of serving victims of crime. Bronson S. Legal Advocate 414 emergency legal services provided
  • 16. 16 Transitional Living Project: I assist clients find their new normal and reach their goals of a safe life for them and their children. Assisting victims in reaching their goals is a wonderful feeling. BRH has Transitional Living Program (TLP) within our community. TLP is a wonderful resource for victims. TLP gives victims more time to find permeant housing, while creating an opportunity for independence and growth. All participants still benefit from programming. While residing in the emergency shelter, the wing, or the clustered sites; I work with all clients and their goals which often include obtaining permanent housing and gaining self-sufficiency. One of the many things I get to do is help victims find housing resources. Western Dairyland is a wonderful organization for victims to get in touch with when they are utilizing our emergency shelter. Workforce resource is also a fantastic organization; they have a lot of different programs that benefit the individuals we serve. These types of organizations give victims a resources for a better and safer life. Riley S. Case Manager / Victim Advocate 38 TLP clients served with 8,350 sheltered nights.
  • 17. 17 Jackson County Outreach: It is an honor and privilege for me to work with victims affected by domestic violence, intimate partner abuse, elder abuse, and sexual assault. In the year 2020 I saw just how important the work we do is. When the Safe At Home order went into place here in Wisconsin, we saw a definite influx in the hotline calls. Questions ranging from how to file a restraining order, child custody orders, and how to keep themselves. Safety planning has always been a big part of the work that we do but with the pandemic and the safe at home order it became one of the most important things I did with clients. Systems and other service providers were shut down, or performing their duties in ways that caused concerns for many victims. Throughout the pandemic we saw victims who were concerned with staying home with their abusive partner, and the safety and security of themselves and their children. All in all, 2020 was a different year for everyone but I am proud to say that at BRH was here for our clients, operating as usual. We never closed our doors during the pandemic, we handle all the demand never sacrificing our client’s safety, dignity while respecting the individual’s own self-determination. I look forward to continuing my work into 2021. Ashley K. Jackson County Outreach Victim Advocate
  • 18. 18 Buffalo and Jackson County Outreach Offices It is an honor to be a part of a team so dedicated to providing services to victims of such horrific crimes. It was shortly after I began at Bolton Refuge House (BRH) that we were limited in our efforts to reach victims and other collaborating agencies due to the COVID pandemic. Despite COVID I was able to initiate contact with the local hospital to discuss concerns and procedures related to Sexual Assault Nurse Exams (SANE) and patients. I also initiated communication regarding the start of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and re-starting the Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) with collaborating agencies. I have worked with the various agencies in Buffalo and Jackson County’s to build strong communication and collaboration in providing services for victims. I have been working with area schools to provide staff and students information about the services available through BRH. I am also bi- lingual and have been able to offer assistance to Spanish speaking victims. During the time I have been employed with BRH I have had the privilege of working with many victims. Services provided include group and individual educational and advocacy services for both adults and children. Assisting victims with restraining orders, and accompanying victims to meetings with police and attorneys has also occurred. Other services include being present with victims during SANE exams as well as accompanying and providing support to victims before, during, and after various court hearings. My background with the Criminal Justice System has also allowed me to provide information to victims regarding procedures related to individuals on probation or extended supervision. All the clients I have worked with in my capacity as an advocate with BRH have left me with specific memories. One in particular, when we arrived at the hospital and checked in with staff, the nurse asked her who I was. She looked at me, smiled, and said, “This is my advocate.” It is experiences like this that make this job so rewarding. To feel that you can help a person going through such a horrific experience is so powerful and I am grateful to be a part of this amazing organization. I want to thank the collaborating partners such as hospital staff, law enforcement, probation and parole, courthouse staff, the I-Team, and schools for their hard work and determination. It is with their help that we are able to continue to work on ending intimate partner crimes, community issues, provide prevention education, enhance victim safety, and hold individuals In that time I have found this work to be both rewarding and humbling because I am able to assist survivors of intimate violence, and be part of such a great team of individuals. Teresa M. Sexual Assault Victim Advocate / Dual Victim Advocate
  • 19. 19 During my time here in 2020 my accomplishments range from assisting the Buffalo County Outreach team, getting certified with the Safe At Home program, and understanding the dynamics of working in an emergency shelter with 24 hour support services. The current trends that I have noticed here is as follows: ● Largely female population ● Ages of individuals are mostly in the 20-40 range ● Individual has at least one child ● Individual is suffering from some form of depression/anxiety or struggles with mental health ● Have questions involving the criminal justice process, large request for legal advocate A large part of what I offer clients is a non-judgmental listening ear, providing feedback on their situation if they desire, refer them to other advocates or services that may be helpful to them. To put it in different terms, I'm whatever that individual needs me to be in that moment. I also take part in LAP calls conversing with the officer who access the level of lethality the individual may be in. I then speak with said individual providing them with information on the services we provide and a time to call them if they so desire. Lastly I would like to stress that I have never been so lucky to work alongside such a caring, intelligent, and patient group of folks like there is here at BRH. Cody B. Victim Advocate / Buffalo County Outreach Victim Advocate
  • 20. 20 Volunteer Program: Working for Bolton Refuge House has given me personal fulfillment in supporting individuals and families who are experiencing trauma by helping them overcome some of their challenges. Because I was new to the organization in 2020, much of my time was spent learning. I learned about how Bolton Refuge House operates, attended webinars that informed me on topics related to inclusivity, and how to be an effective advocate in general. My contribution to the agency in 2020 was recruiting a team of about 15 new volunteers to assist with cleaning the shelter to ensure safety, sanitation, and a welcoming environment. In addition, some volunteers offered mental and emotional support to clients through children’s groups or structured activity-based groups. One volunteer offered dance lessons to small groups, where participants engaged in physical dance activities which fostered overall health and wellness. Recruiting and training these volunteers required extra caution to safety due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This meant more interviews took place virtually or over the phone, and trainings were conducted individually or in small groups, where volunteers received intentional and concise training. All of these volunteers brought their passion for victim’s rights and desire to help others to their work. They were all members of the community and were connected to other organizations including the schools, art centers, technology companies, and several others. Volunteers were able to gain experience and personal fulfillment while also supporting our shelter, our clients, and bringing awareness to their organizations and community at large. My time at Bolton Refuge House was also spent advocating for clients by providing emotional support and empathetic listening either face to face or over the phone. Clients would come to me seeking to vocalize their struggles, and I would respond by listening and providing advice or other words of comfort. I also met with a few clients to discuss job development and assist with job searches, resume critiques, mock-interviews, and other information referrals related to jobs. Nathan B. Volunteer Coordinator / Victim Advocate 104 Volunteers 4,425 Total Volunteer Hours
  • 21. 21 Crisis Line: The Lethality Assessment Protocol, or LAP, is a tool that helps police officers and other crisis responders to put victims in contact with us almost immediately after an intimate partner violence incident. Officers or responders use the lethality assessment to determine how much danger the victim is in in their current situation. Once the assessment is completed, the responder will immediately call us and an advocate will speak with the victim, inform them of our services, and set up a time to call back for a more in-depth conversation. In 2020, BRH received 2,845 emergency hotline calls, of which 149 calls were LAP calls. Of the 149 LAP calls received in 2020, 131 were classified as high danger by the lethality assessment, while 18 were not high danger. Nineteen victims came directly to Bolton Refuge House for emergency shelter because of the LAP call.
  • 22. 22 Social Media Presence Facebook: The graph below shows the increase in the number of likes on our Facebook page over the course of 2020. Large jumps such as those that happen between October and November, and November and December, can be attributed to the reach of posts during that time – specifically, the Day of Unity video and the holiday donations wish list post attracted quite a bit of attention. Google My Business When someone searches for Bolton Refuge House on Google, the following image is what they will see. The section on the right side of the page is called the Google My Business listing, which is an extension of Google Maps. Before I claimed (the process becoming an administrator of the listing to correct and control the information on it) the listing in late 2019, my goal was to ensure the agency’s phone number, addresses and website were all published correctly here. My goal was to make it easy for users to get in contact with us. Since then have been able to track how many people reach out to us from Google.
  • 23. 23 The chart below shows the number of views on our listing. Each view is one click onto our listing, either on Google Maps or from a search. The grand total of views on our Google listing for 2020 is 35,718. As you can see from the graph above, March was the busiest month on the listing, with 5,592 views. This was at the beginning of the pandemic, so it would make sense for that month to have such a high number as people were facing the uncertainty of the future. Thank you to all our community partners and supporters. Stay Connected! Like us on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/BoltonRefugeHouse https://www.boltonrefuge.org