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Sunday, September 19, 2021

25 years of empowerment

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According to the Domestic Violence Network, in Indiana, 40.4% of women and 26.8% of men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. Coburn Place, a nonprofit in Indianapolis dedicated to empowering those affected by interpersonal abuse, helps people through housing services, well-being services and children’s services. Now celebrating 25 years of Coburn Place, vice president of mission impact Shawnta Beverly — who’s been there since nearly the beginning — has details to share about how domestic violence services have evolved.

In 1996, Coburn Place opened its doors to 14 families fleeing domestic violence. Since then, thousands of people have turned to the organization for help — both inside and outside the walls of its historic former school building. Last year, Coburn Place served nearly 1,500 survivors.

Coburn Place is the result of a community coming together. Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith expressed interest in providing transitional housing after recognizing the need for safe, long-term housing options for domestic violence survivors. WRTV-6 started a Safe Haven Campaign to raise money, and the volunteers came together to bring Coburn Place Safe Haven to life — transforming a former school turned assisted living facility into a 35-unit apartment building for survivors and their children.

While the need for services for people experiencing domestic violence was recognized in the Indianapolis community, it was and continues to be a worldwide issue. The year Coburn Place was founded was also when the National Domestic Violence Hotline opened its first hotline under the Violence Against Women Act. In the first month alone, the National Domestic Violence Hotline answered nearly 9,000 calls.

Since its founding, Coburn Place has grown its programming beyond art classes and employment help. Everything is designed to put survivors on the road to self-sufficiency. In 2013, Coburn Place implemented an overall well-being model called the Full-Frame Initiative that identifies six dimensions that contribute to well-being — health, relationships, security, purpose, community and environment. Along with that, it transitioned to a trauma-informed care model and programs that are survivor-led. Coburn Place doesn’t require survivors to participate in any programming in exchange for housing and access to services. They are in charge.

With the help of state and federal funding, supporters and donors, Coburn Place has continued innovating over the last 25 years to break down housing barriers, branching out in 2016 to house survivors in the community in addition to its historic building. Coburn Place is for anyone affected by interpersonal abuse — cisgender, transgender and nonbinary survivors and their children. Interpersonal abuse includes domestic violence, sexual assault, parental and child abuse, elder abuse, stalking, and human trafficking. 

Coburn Place envisions a world where every adult and child may live free from interpersonal abuse, housed stably and safely, with adequate financial resources. Until then, survivors can find a safe haven with Coburn Place.

To learn more about Coburn Place, visit coburnplace.org.

Shawnta Beverly is vice president of mission impact at Coburn Place.

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