Advocates to End Domestic Violence helps battered women, children in Carson City | NevadaAppeal.com

Advocates to End Domestic Violence helps battered women, children in Carson City

Claire Cudahy
ccudahy@swiftcom.com

After leaving her abusive husband, Bonnie* put her three daughters in the car and left Florida for a fresh start out West.

"I arrived in Carson City with about $40, three daughters, a dog and a suitcase each. We bought a tent and set it up at Davis Creek," said Bonnie.

The family spent a cold first night outside, and the next day, Bonnie went to a temp agency and got a job.

"I needed some help. We weren't used to the cool weather," said Bonnie. "We have a very good support system in our church, but I knew if I went through the church, he would find us."

After asking around, Bonnie found out about Advocates to End Domestic Violence (AEDV).

"They took us in. We stayed in the shelter for eight weeks until I could save up money and get an apartment. My kids had warm beds," said Bonnie. "Advocates provided the support I needed until we could go out on our own. Poverty breeds poverty, and a little helping hand gets you where you need to go if you're willing to do your part."

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Through AEDV, Bonnie received counseling and career support, too. Eventually, she went back to school to get her PhD.

"I wouldn't have been able to do any of that if I hadn't gotten the help I needed," said Bonnie.

AEDV was established in 1979 by two formerly battered women who saw a need for a domestic violence program in Carson City, which has the third highest rate of domestic violence in the state. Nevada ranks second in the nation for most women killed by men.

What started as a small organization operating out of an apartment has since grown to include a 51-bed shelter — the largest in Northern Nevada — and a host of services for women and children.

"It is not enough to tell someone to leave an abusive relationship; you must be able to provide options and resources," said AEDV Executive Director Lisa Lee. "Without the services AEDV offers, those fleeing abusive homes, would have nowhere to turn."

AEDV's shelter can offer five months of emergency stay with an additional 12 months of transitional housing.

The organization provides a 24-hour crisis hotline, multiple support groups, court advocates and classes on skills that help clients achieve self-sufficiency such as budgeting and job interviews.

The organization also strives for prevention by offering the Teen Dating Violence Program in collaboration with the Carson City School District.

"Working with the school district, AEDV developed an interactive presentation that provides awareness regarding the warning signs of a controlling and abusive relationship and resources for parents and teens," explained Lee.

Two years ago AEDV formed another partnership with the Carson City Sheriff Office to begin a Victims Advocate Law Enforcement program.

"The program makes contact after the CCSO has responded to a report of violence to provide resources and community services in an effort to lessen stresses and de-escalate future incidents of violence," said Lee.

But, says Bonnie, AEDV can only help if you're willing to help yourself, too.

"It has to be a partnership. Advocates has the shelter, the counseling, and the help you need to get on your feet, but you have to take advantage of it and want to do it," she said.

And the first step is simple: "Help is but a phone call away," said Lee.

People seeking support can call AEDV's 24-hour crisis hotline at 775-883-7654.

*Bonnie asked the Nevada Appeal to withhold her last name for the sake of her children. "I'm not ashamed of what I've been through or the help I received," said Bonnie. "But it's not something that my daughters like to talk about publicly."