Executive Director of Domestic And Sexual Abuse Services Rose Ludwick shares the story of DASAS, along with the services we offer.
We began serving our community around a kitchen table and the community spirit endures.
The Domestic Assault Shelter Coalition (DASC) (it won't become DASAS until 2007) was founded in August of 1984 as a grassroots effort by a group of concerned citizens which included the Three Rivers Chapter of NOW, human service providers, and law enforcement representatives. The purpose was to respond to the needs of domestic violence survivors and their children.
In 1985, the totally volunteer organization staffed a crisis hotline. In May, 1986, the donated use of a large house owned by the First Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers and Centreville made it possible for DASC to open an emergency shelter for domestic violence survivors and their children. To this day the church continues to "rent" the Shelter building to DASAS for $1 per year.
In 1989, DASC expanded its non-residential services to include offering support groups and providing crisis intervention in outlying communities in St. Joseph and Cass Counties. DASC made major renovations on the Shelter facility, including making the first floor accessible.
In 1993, DASC initiated a Task Force on Family Violence in Cass County. In 1995, this task force began the Volunteer Outreach Project (VOCA funded) to recruit and train volunteers to provide immediate outreach to survivors.
In 1995, DASC hired advocates to assist survivors with obtaining Personal Protection Orders in both counties' Courthouses. DASC brought together a coalition of criminal justice, health care, human service, and school representatives in St. Joseph County in 1995 to improve systems' response to domestic violence survivors. Within a year, DASC started a volunteer outreach project in St. Joseph County.
DASC finally realized a long-term goal of prevention education in 1995 when we developed a dating and sexual assault prevention program for middle and high school students (Healthy Relationships).
In 1996, DASC agreed to add Van Buren County to our service area (through our MDVPTB contract) and subcontracted with the newly-formed Domestic Violence Coalition, Inc. to provide non-residential domestic violence services in Van Buren County; survivors continued to use the DASC shelter for residential services.
In 2007, we changed our name to reflect the addition of sexual assault service. DASC became Domestic And Sexual Abuse Services (DASAS).
Here are the services available through DASAS:
24 hour toll free crisis hotline (800) 828-2023
Outreach to survivors in their own community
Self assessment guide to assist survivors
Weekly support groups in various communities and the shelter Assistance in obtaining and enforcing a personal protection order
Legal advocacy and accompaniment to court hearings
Access to clothing, emergency medical services, financial assistance, transportation and day care
Information and referral to other services in the community
Referrals to provide survivors and their families with safe, affordable housing.Parenting skills assistance
Support and education for children who have witnessed domestic violence.
RESIDENTIAL SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
All services noted above 30 day no-cost emergency shelter in a group living setting Mother and child(ren) stay in one room
Child advocate on site assists placing children in school, shelter adjustment and parenting skills
Secure building with closed circuit monitoring of front and rear entrances
24/7 on site staff to listen, answer questions, offer support and provide information
Visit https://www.dasasmi.org/ for resources or call our 24-hour hotline at 800-828-2023.