Many communities across the country are noticing a rise in domestic abuse. At the same time, victims are seeking help to get out of their current situation. That’s where Working Against Violence, Incorporated, in Rapid City, comes into action.
In Pennington County alone, there were 1,858 domestic abuse calls last year. Captain Tony Harrison with the Sheriff’s Office says Working Against Violence, Inc., or WAVI, has an office at the Public Safety Building. This helps them be in constant communication when those calls come in.
“Obviously our main goal when we talk about domestic violence is the victim. That’s number one on our list. So having them so close and working in house is a massive benefit for us,” Capt. Harrison said.
The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and WAVI work together.
“We just feel it’s so important to have that relationship be strong. We have meetings regularly with them so we can service the victims of domestic violence,” Capt. Harrison said.
Working Against Violence, Inc. started in 1978. It was previously called Women Against Violence, Inc. Because the majority of victims that came forward were woman. However, staff at the facility want people to know everyone is welcome.
“As we have learned more, you know better, you do better. We realized that males can be victims as well. Now we not only provide services but we also provide shelter for anybody. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter your gender, your sexual orientation, it doesn’t matter your religion, race, beliefs, you are welcome here,” WAVI Executive Director Linda Shroll said.
Shroll says there are 13 rooms in the facility. It’s free of charge and Working Against Violence, Inc., will not turn anyone away.
The organization also offers a variety of services.
“The number one service that everyone thinks about when they think of us is the shelter, so we do have safe shelter but we also have a lot of other services too,” Shroll said.
Such as: medical and legal advocacy, 24-hour crisis line, education services, support groups, and more.
Capitan Harrison says the Sheriff’s Office has seen an impact.
“I see it every single day. I see the report every morning I come in. I see where they get routed to. And I also see the resolution in terms of arrest warrants for those batterers or those suspects. Those are all things that are important because this is a victim-based program,” Capt. Harrison said.
“We are getting more one on one with them so establishing that foundation. When they are ready to leave and ready to take that next step, they have some firmer ground to stand on,” Kristina Simmons, the Development Director at WAVI said.
Simmons says there are ways you can help too.
“We definitely want to welcome small groups to come in and sort donations, they can help with cleaning, they can help put together hygiene packs so there are ways to volunteer. It just may be a little bit limited until it’s safer to have people in the building,” Simmons said.
Staff at WAVI say anything that folks use on a daily basis in their homes, the organization will take it as donations. However, they do recommend that you do call in advance to see what they are in need of during that time.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, staff at WAVI say the first step in getting help is telling someone. There is also a hotline.