Need for services for domestic violence survivors persists, nonprofit says

A local nonprofit that works with people escaping domestic violence and other dangerous situations is reporting a great need for support services locally.

Single Parents Rock CEO Denise Henton has seen an increase in people coming to her nonprofit more frequently since its Englewood office opened in 2019. Part of this is because of efforts by her group to raise awareness of its services, but the need for domestic violence services in the Dayton area persists.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Single Parents Rock serves people who are impacted by domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault, and the months leading into the holidays are the nonprofit’s busiest season, Henton said.

Henton said obstacles like inflation, a lack of transportation options and lack of affordable and safe housing are adding pressure on victims to not leave dangerous situations.

“There can be a lot of judgment in these situations,” she said. “But there are so many layers to abuse. It doesn’t have to be just physical. It can be emotional, financial.”

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office has reported that the county and the nation saw an uptick in domestic violence cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many people were sheltering with their abusers.

Henton said her organization worked throughout the pandemic to connect victims to resources. But the need for resources like food, transportation and shelter did not disappear after the public health emergency.

The nonprofit provides emergency services to people in crisis, like assistance with safety planning, guidance on gathering important documents like birth certificates and ID, court advocacy and transportation.

“We help people wherever they are in their process, even if they’re not ready to leave,” Henton said.

Lacking a reliable vehicle is a huge barrier for people and their children leaving intimate partner violence. Henton’s organization can take its clients to and from court appointments and bring them to shelters within a 250-mile radius.

Henton said abusers often use isolation tactics to control their partners, cutting them off from family and other loved ones. It’s not uncommon for Henton and her small staff to hear from clients that they felt they had nowhere else to go after leaving their partners.

Single Parents Rock can also put families in hotels, as some area shelters do not accept teenage boys who may be fleeing with their mothers. Right now, her organization is paying for hotel stays for 14 families.

Her Englewood office also has a pantry with formula, diapers, baby clothing, and personal care items for their mothers. A playroom is also set up in the office to allow children a space to play while their parents sit in support groups, and next year, Single Parents Rock will begin to have a part-time counselor to help clients.

Henton said her organization wants to empower people to make choices for themselves and their families.

“We want them to know that they’re not alone and that we can help them every step of the way,” she said.

Single Parents Rock can be reached at 937-998-8012 or at its emergency line, 937-469-8007.

Ways to help

Single Parents Rock needs donations of baby formula, diapers, food, baby clothing, personal care products, gas and grocery gift cards, and more. Its office can be contacted at 937-998-8012 for more information.

About the Author