As early as 753 B.C., history demonstrates that beating a wife to keep her in line was a privilege given to every husband by law. A refugee from this social malady was not to be seen until 1829, when England passed the first known law to remove the right of absolute punishment of a wife from her husband, according the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse. Today, countless women are still abused. Safe houses are one way a battered woman can escape her situation, but the need is greater than the resources. You can help. Here is how you can start a safe home for battered women.
Conduct a feasibility study of your area. Check with other safe-house agencies, the local police departments and hospitals to determine if a new safe house is needed in your community.
Develop your structure. Form a board with interested community members. Develop a strong mission statement. Hire a lawyer and an accountant to help you set up the legal and fiscal portions of a safe house. Check in to insurance requirements for liability.
Contact the city. Requirements and regulations vary from city to city so you will need to visit the local office to find out what you are required to do. Apply for the proper permits.
Raise money. Contact donors who see a need for a safe house in your community. Hold fundraisers. Create a newsletter that goes out monthly, keeping your safe house in the public's mind will help them remember to make donations. Speak at gatherings and let others know about your needs. Often, church groups will take an interest and raise money or donate items such as furniture, soaps and toys, that will help your organization function and remain solvent.
Locate a house through a real estate agent. You will need a large house with several bedrooms. Check with the zoning requirements for the house you are interested in before you make an offer. The house needs to be located in an area where the safety of the women is ensured. It should be close to agencies and services that will meet the needs of the women, according to The Minnesota Office of Justice Programs.
Rent a post office box. You will want the address for the house to be kept secret so you will need a way to receive your mail.
Build a 6-foot tall, slat wall around the yard to offer privacy. Battered women often show up with their children in tow. They will need a safe place to play, a place where no one can drive by and recognize them. Add toys and playground equipment.
Make contacts in the community so you can refer your clients to agencies that will help them meet their needs. Safe houses provide temporary shelter for women. They will have needs beyond what you can provide. Learn your community well enough to be able to help them move from your place, according to The Minnesota Office of Justice Programs
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