Programs and Services
Between Friends' comprehensive services address the various needs of domestic violence victims and their children, as well as the community at large. Friends is committed to empowering survivors to better their lives, as well as breaking the cycle of domestic violence. The programs and services we provide include:
- REACH (Relationship Education: A Choice for Hope)
- Crisis Line
- Counseling and Support Services
- Court Advocacy Program
- Community Education Program
- Healthcare Education Project
Relationship Education: A Choice for Hope (REACH)
Since 1995, Between Friends' REACH Program has addressed teen dating violence by providing prevention and education programming for over 70,000 middle and high school students, ages eleven though eighteen. In fact, Friends' REACH Program is one of the largest and most comprehensive teen dating violence prevention programs in Illinois. In line with best practices, Friends is focusing our work on schools where we can provide a continuum of programming to students between grade levels and programs. We currently have the capacity to work with students continuously from 4th to 12th grade.
When victims of domestic violence need to take action to protect themselves and their children, they can call the Between Friends Crisis Line, twenty-four hours a day, from anywhere in the state of Illinois and get help. The staff and volunteers answering that call are well-trained and empathetic. They have completed a 40-hour domestic violence training course and provide emotional support and a nonjudgmental listening ear to domestic violence victims. Callers can get referrals to shelters, healthcare services, legal assistance, employment services, and substance abuse treatment. They also receive information about the effects of domestic violence and their legal rights as victims.
Counseling and Support Services
The Counseling and Support Services provides family services including: individual, family and group counseling; a financial literacy program; direct assistance; and childcare. With over 20 years of experience providing counseling services to survivors of domestic violence, Between Friends employs Masters-Level clinicians who use trauma-informed and evidence-based counseling models. Between Friends has expanded our language capacity and we can now provide counseling services in Spanish, English, Arabic, and French. Friends is now one of the only domestic violence agencies in Chicago providing services in Arabic. Another one of our new services is our financial literacy program entitled Realizing Your Economic Action Plan (REAP) which helps women understand financial abuse, develop a budget, and secure better credit.
Court Advocacy Program
Between Friends helps survivors, in English or Spanish, to secure a Criminal or Civil Order of Protection at the courthouses in Rolling Meadows and downtown Chicago. Between Friends is the only agency that offers civil advocacy services in Rolling Meadows. An Order of Protection can help keep a survivor and her children safe for up to two years. Victims learn about their legal rights and get help filling out legal paperwork. Our Court Advocates accompany them to court, follow up on their case, and advocate for them with other agencies. We also connect survivors with family law attorneys through our free legal clinics in Rogers Park and Rolling Meadows.
Community Education Program
Between Friends' staff continues to conduct outreach in order to inform and educate the community about the persistency and severity of domestic violence. Numerous community organizations, youth coalitions, social service agencies, elected officials, clergy, and community members benefit from our Community Education Program.
Healthcare and Community Education
Between Friends' Healthcare Education Project continues to be the only program on Chicago's far north side which prepares the healthcare field to safely and sensitively respond to the needs of domestic violence victims. Since 2002, we have partnered with St. Francis Hospital and other medical providers to prepare more than 1,700 nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals to respond to the needs of survivors. In addition to St. Francis, we also work with a diverse array of community members such as youth, area human service providers, law enforcement and criminal justice officials, educators, clergy, businesspeople to raise awareness and build a strong constituency for ending the cycle of domestic violence. Between Friends provides individualized presentations, trainings, and tablings.
For more information on these programs, please contact us.