In response to the growing need in the community for safe housing to protect men who are victims of domestic abuse, Sheltering Wings is expanding the services it provides for male victims to include housing.
While Sheltering Wings has provided housing assistance to male victims for years, that housing has been at outside locations. Now men will be housed in a secure area of the shelter facility.
“When Sheltering Wings was formed, the board created a shelter for women and children because they were aware of the need to provide safe housing for women escaping domestic abuse,” explained Board Chair Alyson Lurker. “There was never a discussion about housing male victims of abuse simply because they were not aware of the need. After years of experience and research, we have a better understanding that anyone can be a victim. Domestic violence is not just a women’s issue, it’s a family issue.”
One in seven men has experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner during his lifetime, according to the CDC, compared to one in four women. In 2018, police from Hendricks County went on 68 domestic disturbance runs in which men were victims. Male victims typically have a difficult time finding safe places to get away from their abusers.
“We intend to provide the same programs and support services with a Christ-centered approach for men that we’ve provided to women and children for the past 17 years,” Lurker added.
Safety for all residents, male and female, is at the forefront, explained Executive Director Cassie Mecklenburg.
“We are confident in providing safety and security for our staff and residents alike,” she noted. “Male victims will be housed on the second floor with no access to the current residential wings, and will only have supervised access to common areas, all of which are monitored by security cameras.” Mecklenburg added that everyone who enters Sheltering Wings is run through an abuser alert list and the sex offender registry to ensure the safety and security of residents.
“Our mission hasn’t changed,” said Mecklenburg. “We’ve simply expanded it. A victim is a victim, and we want to help all of them become survivors.”