October/November 2019 Newsletter


Brian Doyle
Greater Safety
Through Awareness
A woman files for divorce. Her husband murders her, and then kills himself. This is an oft-repeated horrific tragedy that, once again, points to the need for continued focus on the proliferation of domestic violence in this community and beyond. To this day, few people are aware of the lethal threat posed to a woman living in a relationship where she lives in a climate of constant fear, only to lose her life when she tries to escape, followed by her abuser’s rage erupting into deadly violence.
News headlines, alone, are not enough to heighten public awareness. Rather, a deeper understanding of the sometimes-counterintuitive dynamics of domestic violence is needed for a person to understand the degree to which they may be in mortal danger. It could be a friend, neighbor, or family member that may be in need of such an understanding so they may more readily encourage a woman to seek the support she may need to ensure her own safety.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is one reason Family Services enlists men, and all community members as we did at our October 4th Walk A Mile In Her Shoes to join in solidarity with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. We have to continue to raise awareness of this pervasive danger in our community. Every day we, and sister agencies such as Grace Smith House, House of Hope, Safe Homes of Orange County, Family of Woodstock, and others stand ready to assist victims of domestic violence.
While we know that women are, disproportionately, victims of domestic violence, it is also critically important to recognize its impact on others within our community. 1 in 9 men and 1 in 2 transgender individuals will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Furthermore, 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence every year with 90% of these children being eye witnesses to the violence.
To learn more about the warning signs of domestic violence, read more at https://www.getdomesticviolencehelp.com/symptoms-of-domestic-violence.html
If you or someone close to you are a victim of domestic violence, please reach out by calling Family Services’ Center for Victim Safety and Support Hotline at 845-485-5550.

By the Numbers


The Family Services Summer Enrichment Program served 89 City of Poughkeepsie Youth throughout the months of July and August. The program went on field trips once per week, one of those adventures was to Roller Magic in Hyde Park.

Youth Who Witness Violence
Leah Feldman, Vice President for Community Programs
Today, youth are exposed to violence at unprecedented levels through the media, in their own homes, and in their communities. The media is a common source of exposure to violence for many including television, online news outlets, social media and video games. Even when violence happens across the globe, youth are exposed to the event immediately and often repeatedly. Domestic violence between adult partners is another common exposure to violence for youth. Through our Center for Victim Safety and Support’s (CVSS) partnership with police, we receive information regarding children who are present during domestic violence incidents. Approximately 25% of the reports we receive show that 1 or more children are present during police intervention. Community violence is also a threat for youth. Over the past few years, youth who utilize Family Services’ Teen Resource Activity Center have been impacted by community violence. Some have been direct victims of gun violence on the streets and others have witnessed their friends and family members being shot.
Through many of Family Services programs, we see the significant impact that this exposure can have on youth. Most efforts to understand violence and its impact have focused on those directly involved in the violence, however, there has been a necessary shift to focusing on children who are bystanders to violence. It is now well recognized that these children may experience lasting harm. Some may develop signs of psychological distress and can be affected in areas of emotional, social, and cognitive development. Research based on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) questionnaire has shown that exposure to trauma as children, leads to increased instances of substance use/abuse, behavioral health issues including suicidality, homelessness, and serious health problems.
It is crucial to support both youth and their caregivers in the aftermath of an incident of violence in order to help youth process the event, as well as help families understand the symptoms of exposure to violence. At CVSS, victim advocates and clinicians work with parents and youth to process the event and understand the ways in which they may be impacted.
To meet the needs of youth and families in our community, CVSS is launching a Youth Witness to Violence Program which will use evidence-based modalities to serve youth who are witness to domestic and community violence. The goals of the program are to identify youth who witness violence and to assist them and their caregivers in healing from the trauma of witnessing the violence.
The healthy development of youth depends significantly on their exposure to nurturing relationships and a safe environment, both of which we provide at Family Services. If you or a loved one need help, please reach out to either of our 24-hour hotlines: Domestic Violence: 845-485-5550 or Rape Crisis and Crime Victims: 845-452-7272.

Program Spotlights

Center for Victim Safety and Support (CVSS)
Family Services Center for Victim Safety and Support (CVSS) provides 24-hour non-residential, comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes. CVSS specializes in enhancing the response to victims of crimes and the prevention of offenses. We operate under the guidelines of a victim-centered approach, supporting victims’ rights, dignity, autonomy, and self-determination. To enhance the response to victims of crime, CVSS follows a model of co-location, where staff split their time between the main office and partner agencies throughout the community. This is done to facilitate partnerships and streamline services to victims.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and for the 9th year, Family Services lead the Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event. This annual walk brings awareness of sexual assault, gender and domestic violence to our community and raises funds to support individuals and families in our community as well as prevention efforts to eradicate violence. CVSS staff are actively involved in the preparation for this important community event and were excited to share information about CVSS Services with the community.
Domestic Violence studies show that most often, the abuser is a member of their own family. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Research suggests that each year, up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence. To serve the children in our community, CVSS will launch a new initiative in November: Child Witness to Domestic Violence. This program will provide intensive clinical treatment services to children up to 17 years of age. Support groups will be offered in two age groups to accommodate both the younger and older children. We look forward to sharing more details about this exciting new initiative in the coming months.
If you or a loved one is in need of help, please call us – Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
24 Hour Rape Crisis and Crime Victims Hotline: (845) 452-7272
24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: (845) 485-5550

 A Look Back

On Friday, September 20th the Grand Opening of the Gymnasium and Urban Park at the Family Partnership Center was well attended. There was notable excitement around the newly transformed gym and added Urban Park that will provide a safe and welcoming space for many in the community.
Walk A Mile In Her Shoes brought a wave of red and fancy feet to the streets of Poughkeepsie during the First Friday San Gennaro Festival on Friday, October 4th. Walk A Mile In Her Shoes is a a unique event that raises awareness about rape, sexual assault, gender violence and domestic violence, as well as raises funds to support organizations like ours, who serve those impacted by violence.

Upcoming Events

On Wednesday, October 31st, 2019, Family Services in conjunction with partners within the Family Partnership Center, will host the eighth annual trick-or-treating event from 3pm to 5pm at 29 North Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie. This fun, family event offers the community a safe place for children to trick-or-treat, enjoy refreshments, and have fun!
For more information about the event, please contact Jean Calyer at (845) 452-1110 ext. 3133.

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