Charleston- When women or men are in an abusive relationship, HOPE is available for people in need.
The Executive Director, Althea Pendergast, said, HOPE has been around for 35 years. It is the only domestic violence outreach, housing, prevention and education center in Charleston. It serves seven counties, 700 people per year and 150 children.
Services are available for men and women, but they serve more women victims.
Women come there for guidance, support and to find shelter when they need to make a quick escape. They can stay in the emergency shelter for up to 30 days.
Services only HOPE provide that are very important to Charleston.
"I think that we don't have enough support systems available for them to allow them to free themselves from that domestic violence case, so it's not a question of their weaknesses. It's a question of the system not being able to support them in a way then need to be supported," Pendergast said.
If a victim needs immediate help but does not feel comfortable receiving services in Charleston, people at HOPE can refer them to the other locations in Clark, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie and Shelby Counties.
Victims can also call a 24 hour crisis hotline at (888) 345-3990. All of the services are free and confidential.
The HOPE coalition runs on donations and grants. If you'd like to help, the shelter has posted a list of items they need. They also accept monetary donations. To donate call (217) 348-5931.