Insights: Columbus | Community | Spring 2018

Huntington & LSS CHOICES: Helping domestic violence victims

LSS CHOICES offers a safe haven and a fresh start

Rachel Beck, CRPC, Senior Vice President, Senior Financial Advisor, The Huntington Investment Company; Steven Fields, MMC, Vice President, Director of Community Engagement and President, The Huntington Foundation; Shelli Wuerth, CML Strategy Implementation Manager, The Huntington National Bank

One in three women and one in four men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. LSS CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence is looking to change that statistic. “Odds are, between you and two of your friends, one of the three of you will experience domestic violence,” says Pam Georgiana, vice president of engagement for LSS CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence, which serves Franklin County. “Don’t think of it as only physical violence. Intimate partner abuse includes power and control over things like money, food, intimacy and relationships. It all boils down to people having control over each other.”

The prevalence of domestic violence makes it a societal issue, with a huge impact on the community. “Just in terms of the workplace, for example, it’s a huge issue -- $8.3 billion is lost in lost productivity, medical expenses, etc.,” Georgiana says. “It affects us all indirectly, if not directly.”

Last year, the Franklin County police department handled about 12,000 family violence calls.

CHOICES offers the only domestic violence shelter and hotline in Franklin County. Founded in 1977, Lutheran Social Services (LSS) took over management four years ago. “We support and help victims of domestic violence -- specifically intimate partner violence -- and their families. We help people get out of the situation they’re in and into a safer environment,” says Georgiana. The shelter currently has 51 beds but has started building a new shelter, which will have 120 beds. Not only does CHOICES offer shelter for victims and their children, it also supports a 24-hour crisis hotline and assists victims with community services, legal issues regarding protection orders, custody, and more, and access to education and support groups.

Huntington supports CHOICES’ programs and events and is represented on its advisory board. “They’re wonderful in terms of raising money for the campaign, but also by raising awareness and bringing other groups to the table,” Georgiana says. “They help us tell the story of CHOICES in the community, and that’s an invaluable gift.”

About the organization

  • Name: LSS CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence
  • Website: www.lssnetworkofhope.org/choices/
  • City: Columbus, Ohio
  • Phone: (614) 224-6617
  • Mission: To create a shelter atmosphere that supports, empowers and encourages domestic violence survivors and their families.
  • How you can help: Monetary donations to assist with building the new shelter are greatly appreciated. Go to www.lssnetworkofhope.org/choices/, click on the “New Shelter” tab, then scroll down to ‘Donate to Choices new shelter.”