north hills monthly magazine's
Crisis Center North
Crisis Center North (CCN), a nonprofit that provides services to victims of domestic violence and their loved ones, was first started in 1978 by a group of volunteers with a budget of $13.78. After four decades, CCN has become a $2 million-plus nonprofit organization, supporting, on average, more than 2,000 domestic violence survivors and their children each year.
Domestic violence is an overarching definition that includes intimate partner violence, dating violence, and stalking. Abuse isn’t always physical and can be present in relationships in a variety of ways, such as emotionally, psychologically, and financially.
CCN offers an array of services to help victims deal with their trauma. It has a 24/7 hotline (412-364-5556) and text line (412-444-7660) that allows individuals to speak with a trained advocate. The text line is a new addition that was developed in early 2020, so victims can discretely reach out if they’re in an unsafe situation. CCN also offers services on its website, www.crisiscenternorth.org.
CCN’s mobile advocacy program meets victims in safe, pre-determined locations, situated at partners throughout the community. Other services include individual and group counseling, legal resources, and trained animal advocates that accompany victims to therapy or court to offer emotional support. CCN also works with community systems, such as law enforcement, medical professionals, and veterinarians to improve victim response.
In addition to the services they offer to survivors, CCN works to expand awareness of the effect that domestic violence has on the community. They do this is by hosting prevention education and bystander intervention sessions in local school districts in northern and western Allegheny County.
CCN Development and Outreach Coordinator Jeremy Armstrong says the most important things to do when talking to victims of domestic abuse is to listen, validate, and believe them.
“Preventing violence from happening needs to start at an early age; we want to give youth the awareness and the tools and resources to be able to identify abuse, and to safely intervene when they’re able to do so,” said Armstrong.
These classes are more important than ever, as Domestic Violence Awareness Month approaches this October. According to Armstrong, domestic violence and violence against women, specifically, is a global public health crisis. Over the last decade alone in Pennsylvania, more than 1,600 individuals have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence.
The goal of Domestic Violence Awareness Month is to honor and remember the victims of domestic violence that have been lost, as well as to honor the work that survivors, advocates and different organizations, such as CCN, do to take a stand against domestic violence.
CCN is holding two events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month: PAWS Against Domestic Violence Pet Walk and 5K event on October 3 at North Park, and Hearing the Whispers and the Roars, an art show featuring work from survivors that will be displayed at the North Hills Art Center. For more information on these events, visit www.crisiscenternorth.org/events.
“These events and the whole month of October are meant to honor and celebrate the lives we’ve lost, but also to reinforce why we do this work,” said Armstrong.
There are a multitude of ways that members of the community can get involved in Domestic Violence Awareness Month and beyond. Donations, both financial and physical, to CCN, as well as other domestic abuse centers, are always welcome and appreciated. People can also volunteer to become trained to support victims via the hotline or chatline.
One of the most important things is to have conversations about domestic violence and not being afraid to talk about it.
“Domestic violence thrives in silence, so being visible and vocal about the subject shines a light on this important issue,” said Armstrong. “It encourages everyone to take a stand on domestic violence in our community.”