The Domestic Violence Intervention Program had more than 560 rural clients served last year, that includes Washington County. The non-profit organization is in its 40th year of helping victims and survivors of domestic violence.

Kristie Fortmann-Doser, executive director of DVIP, shares some advice for those considering leaving a home where there’s domestic violence, “Pay attention to those that they feel safest with, who is it that they can reach out to. Know that our crisis line is available 24 hours a day and that we’re there to give them the support that they define, not what we’re going to tell them to do. And really it’s about thinking through, and that’s one of the things we can help them with, thinking through all of the potential consequences. And our goal in having those conversations is to learn about their partner, to help them kind of evaluate what’s their best course of action.” Advocate Xiomara Levsen recommends getting some things in order before leaving if possible, like getting documents to take with you like social security cards and birth certificates.

Levsen says already this fiscal year she’s seen an uptick in clients in rural areas. DVIP has a 24 hour free crisis hotline to help people who need it, the number is 800.373.1043. All services are free and confidential. DVIP also has an emergency shelter to help those who are looking for a safe environment.