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The Starting-Over Point for Victims of Abuse

By Elisha Neubauer

Did you know that over 63% of rapes go unreported? Or how about that only 12% of child abuse occurring in the United States is actually reported to the authorities? Were you aware that 85% of domestic homicides take place when a domestic violence victim attempts to leave the home? If these figures shock you, then you're in the same mindset as Starting Point, an organization providing services for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Carroll County, New Hampshire.

The organization got its start as a part-time crisis line in the bedroom of a former domestic violence victim back in 1981. It has operated under several names, including the Carroll County Task Force on Domestic Violence and Carroll County against Domestic Violence & Rape. Today, the agency supports 5 full time employees and over 15 volunteers. The volunteers alone have been recording over 15,000 hours of service each and every year.

To ensure they are able to meet everyone's needs, the organization offers a wide range of services free to those who need them. Services include a 24-hour support line, a shelter open to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking, court and hospital advocacy, support groups, child advocacy center accompaniment, in-school education and prevention programs, professional education programs, and community education programs.

Currently, the organization has been receiving its funding through a range of state and federal grants, including the Victims of Crime Act, the Violence against Women Act, and the Family Violence Prevention Services Act. They also receive contributions from municipal sources, private grants, and active agency fundraising.

"Starting Point has been a viable organization since its creation by volunteers in 1981 contributing to the health and well-being of the Carroll County community," states Raetha Stoddard, Executive Director for Starting Point. "Starting Point works closely with area partners to reduce the occurrence of such acts of violence and to hold perpetrators accountable."

For those facing domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking, or stalking (or know someone who is), Starting Point has some tips. "A victim's needs vary according to their victimization, support systems and personality," says Stoddard. "Listening to a victim/survivor is extremely important in determining their needs."

She insists it is not in the best of interest of the victim for family, friends, or even Starting Point to coerce them into leaving, as this can potentially place them in an even more dangerous situation. "Family and friends of a victim can call Starting Point to get support in supporting their loved one," she explains. Those in need of advice, services, or support can rest easy knowing that they are able to call the hotline without having to confirm their identity, everything can be completed confidentially and anonymously. "Starting Point above all works to secure the safety of a victim."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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