HOPE of Ogle County: Providing services to adults, teens and children

Dear Editor,
National Crime Victim’s Rights Week and Child Abuse Prevention Month offers an opportunity to provide the community with information about HOPE’s services to children who experience domestic violence in their home and who are the young victims of abuse from trusted people.
Five million children are exposed to some form of family violence over their entire childhood (0-17 years). Children who experience abuse are at higher risk to develop behavioral or emotional difficulties such as withdrawal, aggression, depression, anxiety, and various physical complaints. Another major concern is that children in domestic abuse situations do not have tools to recognize red flags of unhealthy relationships.
Children living with domestic violence significantly alters a child’s DNA, aging them prematurely 7-10 years. Children may also struggle with trust issues, communication barriers, unhealthy relationships, self-esteem issues, poor concentration, learning barriers, and much more. Those who grow up with domestic violence are six times more likely to commit suicide and 50 percent more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
HOPE’s child/teen counselors are equipped to recognize and be flexible to each person’s needs and provide tailored services to each child and teen who has experienced abuse. Counseling and age-appropriate activities motivate learning and clients to explore, identify, and find healthy ways to express their emotions and fears while in a safe and supportive environment.
We guide children and families in building their support network as they develop their confidence and use the learned skills. We also focus on educating children and families about the dynamics of safe and healthy relationships, and help create individual and family safety planning. Children’s counseling services are now available during the daytime and evenings in both Rochelle and Oregon.  
Domestic abuse is about power and control; abusive partners and family members often use multiple types of abuse to strip victims of their sense of self. Abusive tactics include intimidation, emotional abuse, economic abuse, isolation, coercion and threats. Pushing, grabbing, restraining, pulling hair, punching, strangulation, sexual abuse and biting are forms of violence.
The specialized support HOPE offers helps to empower while providing tools to increase their safety.
If you or someone you know is involved in an abusive relationship, please call the 24 hour agency for support and information at 815-562-8890. HOPE of Ogle County offers 24 hour access emergency shelter, individual and support group counseling, and court advocacy to assist with Orders of Protection. There is no cost to these services.
Prevention education and public education is also provided to area schools, service clubs, churches, and businesses. Services are also provided in Spanish.

Ruth Carter
HOPE Executive Diretor


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