The Dickinson Police Department received more than 400 calls for service last year involving domestic violence, and one organization in Dickinson, ND wants to make sure women in need have a safe place to go.
The Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center serves eight counties and offers victims of domestic abuse a long list of services from a crisis hotline to safe shelter, which one domestic violence victim said is huge.
“Its important because you want to feel protected”.
The nonprofit organization has been serving the surrounding southwestern counties for about forty years, and Heather Ingman, who is a case manager for the DVRCC said they are the only shelter for women of domestic violence, within 100 miles.
“The nearest shelter would be in Bismarck or Beulah”.
For many years the crisis center was facing issues with its old facility and its lack of space.
“We were having to put women and children on couches. . . on blowup mattresses,” said Ingman.
Kayla Messal, who is also case manager with the DVRCC added,”If you put a bunch of people who are in distress into a small area you are asking for them to get into arguments”.
Te DVRCC now has a new $3.2 million facility with 16 bedrooms, compared to four at the old one.
“We essentially have two per room now opposed to having six to eight per room, so it is a lot more comfortable,” said Messal.
The facility also has eight bathrooms, a full kitchen,and a playroom for children.
Messal said the extra space gives case managers the ability to help more women.
“We assist them with housing, jobs, help them get on assistance if they need it, daycare”.
The facility was paid for through grants and donations, and people and businesses in the community sponsored rooms, so they could be furnished.
The new shelter is currently at capacity with 28 people, but they can take in a maximum of 54.
One former DVRCC resident said she’s grateful for what the organization has done for her and is doing for future domestic violence victims who are need of a safe place to stay.
“They are beyond helpful, and they make you feel like you are in a safe place”.
Ingman said they help around 700 people every year: women, men, and children.