Florida Keys are a string of islands off Florida’s mainland,
approximately 130 miles long. The Domestic Abuse Shelter program
started in Key West, the southernmost tip of the islands, in 1978.
It began as a grassroots movement shortly after the Monroe County
Commission on the Status of Women determined that there was a need
for emergency shelter and counseling for victims of domestic violence
in Monroe County.
volunteers set up a network of safe homes and donated their time
to providing crisis counseling and information and referrals to
battered women. As the demand for services increased, it became
apparent that a paid organizer was needed.
March of 1981 the Domestic Abuse Shelter incorporated and applied
to United Way of Monroe County for funds. A grant of $200 per month
1982 the Marathon Business and Professional Women’s Club,
located 50 miles north of Key West, realized the need for similar
services in their area. The Marathon BPW Club, whose chosen philosophy
is “women helping women,” set up their own local network
of safe homes.
1983, the two groups joined together in an attempt to provide services
for all the residents of Monroe County. The program began using
a countywide toll-free crisis line number and attempts were made
to establish safe homes in the Upper Keys. That same year, the
Domestic Abuse Shelter gained 501(c)(3) status as a charitable
1984, the Domestic Abuse Shelter, organization applied to Human
Rehabilitation Services for Marriage License Trust Fund monies
and a centrally located shelter was finally opened in July of that
In the years after the shelter opened, DAS has seen a huge demand for increased services - a demand that the organization has met eagerly. Outreach offices are now operative in Key West, Marathon, and Key Largo.
DAS advocates work closely with law enforcement personnel and the State Attorney's Office in the Lower, Middle and Upper Keys.
DAS staff believes that we are making inroads into stopping domestic
violence in our communities, there is still much to be done.
There are various challenges associated with provided services
in rural areas; i.e., transportation, geographic layout, information
dissemination and confidentiality issues.
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The Domestic Abuse Shelter (DAS) is a non-profit organization, providing comprehensive services for individuals and families experiencing domestic and sexual abuse.
Our mission is to reduce the incidence and minimize the impact of domestic and sexual abuse in Monroe County by directing victims to appropriate, effective programs and services.
DAS helps survivors of domestic abuse begin again and provides immediate safety to abuse victims and their children. The organization educates, supports and promotes community awareness about domestic violence throughout the Florida Keys.
Shelter: The Domestic Abuse Shelter, Inc. is the
only certified emergency shelter in Monroe County that provides
refuge for victims of domestic and sexual violence and their
children. Residents may stay at the shelter for up to six weeks.
The shelter is a safe and secure environment that empowers residents
through its services to form the beginning of independent lifestyles.
Residents obtain crisis intervention, supportive counseling,
children’s services, food, clothing, support group counseling
and advocacy. All agency services are available to shelter residents.
For more information on the shelter, call (305) 743-4440.
services are available via telephone or in person. Counseling
may be dedicated to helping victims deal with crisis on a long
or short-term basis through outreach, individual, or group services.
The primary method is empowerment based, culturally sensitive
peer counseling with staff facilitation. Victims with mental
health issues are appropriately referred. For more information
on counseling services available throughout the Keys, call (305)
receive referrals and supportive assistance to use both the civil
and criminal justice system. Advocacy within the legal and human
services systems is provided for any client/resident in need
of such support. For information on advocacy services throughout
the Keys, call (305) 743-4440.
toll free 24-hour confidential hotline is provided countywide.
Trained staff and/or volunteers are available for counseling
and referral services regardless of the hour. The hotline is
a fundamental link to domestic and sexual violence survivors.
Individuals receive crisis intervention, supportive counseling,
and information and referrals. The hotline number is (305)
Case Management: An
action plan is developed by the client/resident with the support
of the advocate. Safety is assessed and a plan to meet the safety
needs of the client/resident is formulated and goals are outlined.
Case Management services include: a client’s needs assessment,
continual development of a service and safety plan, the provision
for information and referral, and transportation for survivors
with multi-needs, ongoing review of social, mental, physical,
and legal needs. Case Management plans are reviewed in a timely
manner with changes in service and safety plans as the needs
of the client/resident change. Plans and updates are designed
to include the unique needs of all children involved.
and Referral: Information
and referrals are available via the crisis hotline, through
individual and group counseling, and in the shelter. All services
are available at outreach offices during scheduled outreach
hours. The hotline can be accessed 24 hours a day. For information
on outreach offices throughout the Keys, return to the homepage
or call (305) 743-4440.
Training and Community Education: DAS
provides training to professionals and community members throughout
the Keys. Training topics include: overviews of domestic and
sexual violence, anger management, crisis intervention techniques,
conflict resolution skills, self-esteem building, gender roles
and stereotypes, and the relationship between domestic violence
and HIV/AIDS. Training can range from a one-time, hour-long
session to a five-week mini-course.
groups include: Law
Enforcement, Health-care Providers, State Attorney’s
Office, Officers of the Courts, educators social workers, teachers
and clergy. Community education is offered to all interested
groups in Monroe County, including schools, civic organizations,
drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, clubs, businesses,
and programs for troubled youth. Community education is also
provided through the media, including television, radio, and
newspapers. Participation in health fairs and other community-sponsored
events provide further educational and outreach opportunities.
To learn more the types of training that DAS provides, or to
schedule a training, call (305)
Response Assistance (SARA): This
service provides comprehensive assistance to adult and child
victims of sexual assault throughout the 16th Judicial
Circuit. The SARA advocates will respond appropriately to any
sexual assault in Monroe County and are supported by our ARNP
forensic examination program. SARA services include, but are
not limited to: individual, group, and family supportive counseling,
criminal justice support/advocacy, legal advocacy and emergency
shelter. For more information on the SARA program, call (305)
Lesbian Assistance (GALA): DAS
offers advocacy in support of victims of domestic violence
occurring in same sex relationships. All services offered by
DAS are made available to victims. Outreach efforts include
collaboration with business organizations, and gay and lesbian
social and political organizations. For more information on
gay and lesbian assistance, call (305) 743-4440.
is able to provide transportation services for residents. Monroe
County has no regular systematic means of affordable transportation.
With a van that DAS purchased, residents can now get to medical,
child related, job related, etc. appointments.
offers a myriad of services for in-shelter children. Shelter
services encompass all services offered to adult victims with
special programming for children including, assessment, case
management, group counseling sessions, and interactive play.
The shelter Youth Advocate provides community education to
groups interested in children and children’s issues.
Off site educational/skill building groups, after school enrichment
programs, and other child based community programs, e.g. Boys
and Girls Club. For more information on children’s services,
call (305) 743-4440.
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Why Call on DAS
and sexual violence are endemic problems that affect all of our
lives as individuals and as a community. Whether we are cognizant
of it or not, according to statistics, we all know at least one
person who is a victim of sexual and/or domestic violence. Domestic
and sexual violence is rampant and occurs all the time. Recent
studies show that in the U.S. a woman is beaten every 9 seconds.
Moreover, one in three girls and one in six boys will be victims
of sexual assault before they reach the age of 18.
may suffer in silence for years. Left untouched, the problem of
domestic and sexual violence is passed down from one generation
to the next. Close to 78% of abusers were victims of domestic violence
as children. While some people take on the role of abusers as adults,
others become the victims.
a unified community and professional response, it is difficult,
if not impossible, to stop domestic and sexual violence. We owe
it to ourselves and the generations to follow, to get the facts,
know the signs, and be aware of resources in our community so that
we can help victims and put an end to a problem that has cost millions
of innocent lives.
of Training DAS Offers to the Community and Professionals
Domestic Abuse Shelter, Inc provides free training for the Keys
community and professional organizations. Our sessions are interactive,
informative and tailored to meet the specific needs of each audience. DAS advocates facilitate sessions
on a variety of topics, (see below). Training can range from one
hour-long session to a mini course lasting up to five weeks. For
more information call (305) 451-5666.
examples of training sessions and courses are as follows:
note that this is not an exhaustive list of the types of training
hour session on the links between DV and HIV/AIDS
hour session on the links between animal abuse and DV
Center for Girls
week course on DV, SV, self-esteem, gender roles and stereotypes
week course of anger management and conflict resolution
hour session on crisis interventio
hour session on DV and SV and how to assist victims
week course of DV and substance abuse, sexual violence, gender
stereotypes and self-esteem
|Schools and Teachers
||1 hour sessions on DV and SV and recognizing the signs in children
||1 hour sessions on DV and SV and how to recognize the signs
and assist victims
||1 hour sessions on counseling DV and SV victims
Note: The names of individuals in the success stories have been changed
to protect the confidentiality of DAS staff and clients.
hindsight, it is hard for her to believe how much has changed
in her life. Leaving an abusive relationship that had gone on
for years was one of the most difficult decisions Joanne had
ever faced. After another bout of abuse at the hands of her partner,
Joanne found herself in the emergency room at the local hospital,
and decided it was time to get help.
met with DAS Advocate Brenda Stanley, who listened to Joanne’s
story and ensured her that DAS was concerned and was there to
help. Together they reviewed the options that were available
to Joanne. Brenda helped Joanne file an Injunction for Protection
and assisted her in applying for relocation funds so that she
could find a safe place to live. Joanne got a job, bought a car,
and began to make a new life for herself. Slowly she began to
open up and make new friends. She was careful to surround herself
with people who were supportive and positive.
was able to see her pattern and break it…she decided that
she didn’t want to go back,” says Brenda. “Since
then she has taken positive steps to move forward.”
the first time in years Joanne has found a way to relax, have
fun and take care of herself. She says she has been given a “second
chance, and has never felt happier.” She has taken her
strength and shared it with others by referring clients to DAS
in hopes that they will follow a similar path.
Change One Step At A Time
DAS Program Manager Andrea Barth picked up the phone, the woman’s
voice on the other end was barely audible. The woman introduced
herself as Anne, and very cautiously began to explain that she
needed help. Andrea listened closely as Anne described her grueling
situation with her spouse of more than 10 years.
the beginning of their marriage, Anne’s husband controlled
the finances and often threatened to sell their home. He had
already sold many of the family’s assets, including their
car. This problem left Anne with unreliable means of transportation
and the constant worry that the family could be bankrupt at any
time. Although Anne wanted to escape her situation, she felt
that if she left with her two children, her husband would kill
encouraged Anne to come to DAS’s outreach office for supportive
counseling. Although Andrea and other DAS staff members suggested
to Anne that she file an Injunction for Protection, she was afraid,
and decided to begin by attending weekly support group meetings
with other survivors.
the encouragement of her peers and of the DAS staff members,
Anne saved up enough money for a consultation with an attorney,
who helped her file for divorce. During this process Anne decided
to continue her education in order to develop her professional
skills. Anne has since obtained a full-time job with benefits,
and has made a new home for herself and her two children. She
remains in contact with DAS, calling the staff frequently to
update them on her progress.
Victim to Volunteer
Raquel walked through the doors of the Domestic Abuse Shelter
Outreach Office she looked anything but distressed. She was dressed
impeccably, with perfectly manicured nails and expensive jewelry.
It wasn’t until one of the advocates, Betty Smith, sat
down with her that she realized Raquel’s hands were trembling
uncontrollably. Despite their economic security, Raquel described
years of an unhappy, abusive relationship with her husband, and
many unsuccessful attempts to leave. Betty listened to Raquel,
and together they discussed options.
Betty’s help, Raquel filed an Injunction for Protection.
This was the first step in the process of getting a divorce from
her husband. Despite Raquel’s best efforts, however, the
violence did not end. Raquel’s ex-husband harassed her
relentlessly, filing frivolous lawsuits and counter-suing their
persevered, and eventually she prevailed, obtaining a favorable
settlement from her ex-husband. As a result of her positive experiences
with DAS, Raquel decided to give back to the agency by becoming
a volunteer. She is testimony to the fact that it is possible
to end an abusive relationship and move on to live and independent,
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Domestic Abuse Shelter
P.O. Box 522696
Marathon Shores, FL 33052
Hotlines: (305) 743-4440 / (305) 292-6647
Phone: (305) 451-5666
Fax: (305) 451-0809
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Phone: (305) 294-0824
Fax: (305) 294-0889