Clients served
 Unique needs being met
 Operational procedures
 Operational procedures
 Detailed description of services...
 Detailed description of services...
 Detailed description of services...
 Program needs and goals
 Program needs and goals
 Program needs and goals

Title: Sexual and Physical Abuse Resource Center (SPARC) History and Documents
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00077458/00014
 Material Information
Title: Sexual and Physical Abuse Resource Center (SPARC) History and Documents
Physical Description: Archival
Creator: SPARC
Publisher: SPARC
Publication Date: 1983-84
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00077458
Volume ID: VID00014
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Clients served
        Page 2
    Unique needs being met
        Page 3
    Operational procedures
        Page 4
    Operational procedures
        Page 5
    Detailed description of services provided
        Page 6
    Detailed description of services provided
        Page 7
    Detailed description of services provided
        Page 8
    Program needs and goals
        Page 9
    Program needs and goals
        Page 10
    Program needs and goals
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
Full Text


I. History of SPARC

The Sexual and Physical Abuse Resource Center (SPARC) has its

.! origins in the Rape Information and Counseling Service (RICS) begun

in 1974. RICS established a rape hotline in 1974 and almost immediately

began receiving phone calls from battered women. As media coverage of

spouse abuse increased, so did the numbers'of calls RICS received from

victims of battering. In 1976, RICS began to expand its services to

include battered women, providing many of the services to these victims

that were available to rape victims. It became obvious, however, that

victims of battering needed more than crisis counseling or occasional

shelter in a volunteer's home.

In March, 1977, RICS applied for and received three positions

through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) for a

one-year project on domestic violence. The project provided counseling,

information, referrals, victim advocacy services, and community

education. Clients were referred to local agencies for shelter (St.

Pleasant House, Salvation Army); however, these were unsuitable for

several reasons: they had limits of three to four days, they did not

offer counseling or a supportive atmosphere for women, or they housed

transients creating an unhealthy environment for children.

In September, 1977, a spouse abuse hotline, 377-TALK, was added

and RICS changed its name to the Sexual and Physical Abuse Resource

Center (SPARC) to reflect the organization's broader mission. SPARC

applied for its present shelter site through the Regional Utilities

Board and was chosen over several other applicants in January, 1978.

SPARC's acceptance was facilitated by active display of community

support spearheaded by present board members, Lynda and Don DeKold.

Although the first client was admitted March 11, the shelter was

officially opened on March 30,with a dedication and ribbon-cutting

ceremony. SPARC became a charter member of the Refuge Information

SNetwork and was selected to send a delegate to represent the South-

eastern region on the steering committee of the National Coalition

Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

In 1979, SPARC applied for and was granted state funding. As

a result, SPARC received official mandate to provide services to the

sixteen counties of HRS District III. At present, we receive United

Way monies and Marriage License Fee Trust Fund monies administered by

HRS and are mandated to serve eleven counties (Alachua, Bradford,

Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Putnam, Suwannee,

and Union). We have seven staff positions including the Executive

Director, Counseling Services Coordinator, Shelter Services Coordinator,

Children Services Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, administrative

assistant and resident manager. The program has flourished with a

base staff of funded employees and thirty-eight active volunteers.

II. Clients Served

aperts estimate that approximately 50 percent of all women will

be battered at some point in their lives. At least 20 percent of

battered women are beaten on a regular basis (i.e., once per week or

once per month). SPARC's services are potentially available to every

one of these women and their families. First, battered women must learn

that being beaten ii not acceptable behavior, and second, that services

are available to help end the abuse, to develop self-esteem, and to

begin living non-violent and fulfilled lives.

Through the emergency shelter program, SPARC served 96 women and

122 children during fiscal year 1983-1984. In addition, 39 women

and 11 men were served through SPARC's out-of-shelter counseling

^ program. The majority of SPARC's clients (approximately 70 percent).

originate from the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services

Sub-District A, while the remainder come from other Florida Districts

or from out of state. Approximately 80 percent of SPARC's clients

are from low-income households, and about 20 percent represent minority


III. Unique Needs Being Met

SPARC is the only program in the Department of Health and Rehabili-

tative services Sub-District A whose primary concern and purpose is

to deal with the issues and problems of family violence. SPARC is a

grassroots organization founded by community residents who were concerned

about the lack of resources for victims of family violence. SPARC

plays a unique and important role in the community by identifying the

needs of battered women and their families. Without advocacy by SPARC,

victims of family violence would continue to be ignored by their com-

munitres. SPARC brings the problems of battering out of the closet

and places the issue of family violence in its proper perspective:

victims of family violence are concerns not only for individuals and

families, but also for the greater society which generates and dictates

acceptable forms of behavior. SPARC makes a major effort to reassess

and change the social values which perpetuate such violence and continues

to develop the educational and preventive'components of its programs.

IV. Operational Procedures

Since the antecedents and efforts of abuse are multi-faceted,

intervention requires a carefully developed approach which addresses

all the identified problems. SPARC focuses on three levels: (1) the

A individual, (2) the family, and (3) the wider community.

For the individual, SPARC offers a safe shelter where a woman can

catch her breath, both physically and psychologically. In severe cases,

this respite significantly reduces the very real threat to life and

health that battered women face. Through an intervention program based

on a self-help model, victims of spouse abuse are able to gain increased

self-awareness and self-esteem. In addition, they can take the begin-

ning steps to a more fully realized self. SPARC supports those actions

which enhance an individual's sense of control and feelings of self-esteem.

Upon admission to the shelter, a woman is assigned a staff advocate

wh6se task is to assist her in developing a goal plan. The advocate

serves as a case manager/advocate and provides concrete information

regarding employment, legal, housing, and child care resources. The

advocate is knowledgeable about these systems and often acts as enabler

in helping a woman to access the often complex bureaucratic organi-

zations which are a most important resource to her.

The support, or "rap", group is the primary counseling vehicle in

the shelter. Group counseling is especially effective with battered

women due to their extreme isolation and tendency to assume responsi-

bility for the battering. Peer support, along with awareness that their

experience is far from unusual, tends to break down the often deep-

seeded feelings of guilt, shame, and powerlessness experienced by victims.


In addition to advocacy and group counseling, individual counseling is

also available both in and out of the shelter.

Through children's services, SPARC provides a non-violent milieu

where coercion and abuse, both physical and emotional, are seen as unac-

. ceptable, learned behavior. A cooperative child care program provides

' children with supervised activities, treatment based on a developmental

play model, and escape from parental conflicts. Mothers assist in

co-op on a rotating basis and are provided parent skills training and

role modeling. When not participating in co-op, mothers have free

time for pursuing personal, professional, and family goals.

On a family level, SPARC offers couples counseling and time-

limited family therapy. Our hope is to increase the functional level

of families who are enmeshed in domestic violence. Initially, SPARC

often increased the strengths of a single-parent family since most

of the families had become severely dysfunctional by the time our

services were sought. However, as we increase and expand our services

and the community's awareness of our services, we are able to focus

on early intervention for violent families and on strengthening the

family unit before it reaches the point of dysfunction. Individual

counseling for the spouse abuse offender contributes to family therapy

by acknowledging responsibility for battering and by teaching alter-

nativt methods for coping with stress. Studies have shown that without

intervention, batterers tend to carry their abusive behavior from one

relationship to the next. Providing services to both the victim and the

offender enables SPARC to approach spouse abuse holistically and to

deal with the entire relationship.


On a community level, we continue to increase public awareness of

family violence. Community education is especially significant since

one of the hallmarks of the syndrome is a conspiracy of silence which

serves to maintain the violence. In order to end family violence,

Public awareness of the problem must be increased, myths and misin-

9 formation must be counteracted, and social tolerance for violence must

be eliminated. SPARC also works with related community service agencies

and provides in-service training to police departments, health care

facilities, mental health centers, and government agencies to increase

their understanding of spouse abuse and to delineate strategies available

to them in dealing with family violence.

Spouse abuse prevention is the most important component of all

SPARC's services. Prevention is partially accomplished through

education, whereby the public's awareness of spouse abuse is heightened

and the acceptance and tolerance of abuse is lessened. Consequently,

more individuals are likely to seek help early in an abusive relation-

ship, when there is a greater chance to eliminate the behavior and

prevent ongoing abuse. Prevention is stressed particularly in SPARC's

children's services, where children are taught that violence is not

an acceptable form of behavior. Through developmental play and coun-

seling, children are less likely to carry violence into their adult

relatAnships. Children are our hope for a non-violent future.

V. Detailed Description of Services Provided

SPARC is organized to address the needs of battered women and

their families, to develop programs and services for victims of

family violence, and to implement programs designed to alleviate

battering and the cycle of violence that companies abuse. SPARC's

overall mission is to move beyond crisis intervention and into the

realm of social change. Societal attitudes are deeply ingrained and

tacitly condone violence in the family and violent behavior toward

women. By challenging these attitudes, which manifest and have

$ consequences in legal, financial, educational and health care arenas,

- SPARC hopes to virtually eliminate family violence.

In light of SPARC's mission, the following services are provided:

1. 24-hour hotline staffed by a combination of paid
professionals and trained paraprofessional volun-
teers.who provided crisis intervention, counseling,
information, and referral;

2. 15-bed emergency residential facility for functional
adult women and their dependent children;

3. Individual counseling for both in-shelter and out-
of-shelter clients;

4. Group counseling for in-shelter clients;

5. Couples and family counseling;

6. Case advocacy, management, and follow-up;

7. Emergency transportation;

8. Emergency food;

9. Cooperative child care program for residents of
the Shelter. This program includes a parenting
group for mothers as well as developmental play,
counseling, and advocacy for children;

10... Community education to professional groups, community
S. organizations, and academic classes;

11. In-service training to other community agencies
dealing with the problems of family violence; and

12. Volunteer training in the theories, issues and
dynamics of family violence as well as in skilled
assistance with all above-mentioned services.

Census days for SPARC's emergency shelter totaled 3,444, giving

an average occupancy rate of 63 percent for the year. During

fiscal year 1983-1984, SPARC's emergency shelter clients received

265 units of individual and group counseling. In addition, shelter

clients received 388 units of case management and advocacy (which

includes such services as working on case plans, escorting clients

to court hearings, etc.), and 25 information and referral units.

Emergency transportation was provided 152 times and emergency food

was provided 142 times. For the children staying at the shelter,

children's cooperative services were provided 48 times, for a total

of 192 hours. Finally, follow-up services were provided to 41


Out-of-shelter clients received 225 counseling sessions during

fiscal year 1983-84. Out-of-shelter sessions included both indi-

vidual and couples counseling.

Through SPARC's hotline, phone counseling was provided 483 times

during fiscal year 1983-1984. In addition, information and referral

was provided 1,032 times. Case management, which involved phone

calls, was provided 682 times for SPARC's clients. Finally, 351

calls for admission were screened during the year.

Community education and training sessions were provided 66

times during the course of fiscal year 1983-1984. Volunteer

training was provided four times during the year, for a total of

80 hours., (Each session included 20 hours of training.)


VI. Staffing

By the end of June 1983, SPARC maintained seven staff positions.

Three were full-time positions and included the Executive Director, the

Counseling Services Coordinator, and the Shelter Services Coordinator.

P Four part-time positions included the Volunteer Coordinator, the

1 Chidlren's Services Coordinator, the Administrative Assistant, and the

Resident Manager. In addition, SPARC maintained a sta-f of 36 volunteers

during the year.

VII. Program Needs and Goals

In coming years, SPARC will strive to increase community support,

to improve interagency cooperation, and to increase availability of

services so as to meet the current and increasing demand. Improvement

of programs includes the expansion of out-of-shelter services. Our

current out-of-shelter program permits counseling of only a small

percentage of batterers. A program for batterers would allow SPARC

to reach another area of the spouse abuse problem. Additional commu-

nity development is also needed to promote better understanding and

support of spouse abuse issues.

In keeping with our central mission and dedication to quality

services, SPARC's objectives and goals for the coming year include

the allowing:

1. To assure SPARC's current level of shelter services and case

advocacy by maintaining the position of Shelter Services Coordi-

nator. Currently, the Shelter Services Coordinator is responsible

for the management of all services provided to families each year

through SPARC's shelter program. This position is responsible for


working with shelter clients on their goals and plans of action

and for intervening or advocating with community agencies for

much-needed resources. Prior to the funding of this position

through Marriage License Fee Trust Fund monies, these respon-

sibilities were divided between the Counseling Services Coordi-

1 nator and existing staff. Consequently, shelter services were

not easily coordinated and case advocacy efforts were often

neglected. Without a Shelter Services Coordinator, shelter

services would again become the responsibility of the Counseling

Services Coordinator, who is currently responsible for all indi-

vidual and family counseling of out-of-shelter clients each year.

Clearly, this is an overwhelming task for one full-time position.

Continuation of the Shelter Services Coordinator position would

assure that case advocacy and out-of-shelter counseling would not

be sharply curtailed.

2. To increase out-of-shelter and offenders' counseling by

securing additional funding for a half-time counselor for bat-

terers and thereby enabling SPARC's Counseling Services Coordinator

to expand out-of-shelter caseload. SPARC intends to conduct an

intensive search for additional funding sources through foundation

grants. Several potential sources have already been identified.

half-time counselor for batterers would enable SPARC to reach

and rehabilitate a significantly greater number of offenders.

Although our goal is to provide services to families enmeshed

in violence, SPARC is now reaching only ten percent of clients'

households. An effort must be made to reach a greater number of


offenders if we hope to address the entire spouse abuse problem

and approach an end to family violence.

In securing the positions of the Shelter Services Coordinator

and Counselor for offenders, the Counseling Services Coordinator

S could then increase services to women out-of-shelter who need

Counseling for spouse abuse issues but who do not need or want

emergency shelter. Currently, our counselor is able to maintain

a caseload of over fifty clients per year, but nearly five women

each week are placed on a waiting list or referred to other

agencies because of SPARC's lack of out-of-shelter resources and

inability to meet the demand. As knowledge of SPARC's services

grows, so does the demand for services whether or not these

services can be provided. By increasing out-of-shelter counseling

for men, women, and families, SPARC will be more able to meet the

community's needs.

3. To increase SPARC's visibility through an extensive community

development program. This objective would serve two purposes:

(a) to develop stronger linkages with agencies centrally involved

with spouse abuse issues (namely law enforcement, legal agencies,

and hospitals); and (b) to create a broader fundraising base in

the community.

SAlmost all battered women have direct contact with the hospital

emergency rooms and/or law enforcement agencies while living in

an abusive relationship. However, personnel in these institutions

are often the least educated about the issues and dynamics of

spouse abuse. Because spouse abuse and the battered woman's


syndrome are very frustrating to deal with, battered women are

often mistreated, blamed for their victimization, and denied

their victimization, and denied their human and legal rights.

For instance, it is virtually impossible for a woman living in

Alachua County to obtain a restraining order although access to

this petition is provided by Florida State Law. Police officers

and lawyers continue to discourage battered women from filing

complaints and pressing charges against their husbands even though

spousal battery is against the law, and even though legal inter-

vention has been shown to decrease the incidence of spousal battery.

Expansion of SPARC's community development program would increase

agencies' understanding of spouse abuse, facilitate advocacy for

battered women, promote human rights, and decrease the incidence

of spouse abuse in the community.

An expanded community development program would also allow

contact with many more service organizations in order to increase

community support of fundraising activities and to encourage

sponsorship of SPARC's programs and goals. Only through increased

public awareness and community support do we hope to reach a greater

number of battered women in Alachua County, provide quality services,

and approach our goal of a non-violent community.

VII. Summary

Spouse abuse has only recently been identified as a problem of

national importance which pervades every socio-economic segment of

our population. Recent studies.indicate that 50 percent of all adult


women will become the victims of spouse abuse at some point in their

lives. The family unit, usually associated with love, support, and

intimacy, is often a battlefield. Women are twice as likely to be

assaulted or murdered in their homes than anywhere else.

Women remain in abusive relationships not because they enjoy

' being battered but because of a complex of psychological and socio-

logical reasons identified as the battered woman syndrome. Frequently,

battered women lack the occupational skills of financial resources

necessary to begin new lives and to support themselves and their

children. In addition, they often lack the self-esteem and confidence

to overcome the debilitative effects of isolation and abuse.

SPARC remains committed to addressing these problems and providing

services and resources for families experiencing these problems. With

continued effort, we hope to eventually alleviate the conditions which

perpetuate these problems.


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