New domestic violence center aims to fill void in eastern counties

Andrew Hyman
Created: October 19, 2019 06:27 PM

ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) – A new push to help those escaping domestic violence is now bringing new refuge.

According to Executive Director of Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes Marisa Rubé, paperwork is now underway on the area's newest safe shelter The shelter will serve people living in Yates, Ontario, and Seneca counties.


In a statement to News10NBC, Rubé said the following:

“While this location must remain confidential, we are fully committed to providing a safe location for victims of domestic violence and their children while we work to help them secure permanent housing and other necessary services to rebuild their lives free from abuse.”

The project is in conjunction with New York State Senator, Pam Helming (R-54th District). Helming says there are six counties in New York State which do not have a shelter. 

"There's always a need for more beds." said CEO of the Willow Domestic Violence Center, Meaghan De Chateauvieux

De Chateauvieux says the more shelters are always a welcome sight.

"The folks that we see in our shelter are coming from dangerous situations and often have significant safety risks," said De Chateauvieux.

She says, often shelters like Willow will often have a waiting list, which could magnify those potentially dangerous situations. Having a shelter closer to home could make a situation easier for a survivor.

In a statement to News10NBC, Helming says a lack of close shelter may send a survivor out of their home areas, which could mean leaving behind pets, jobs, friends, and family.

“This creates a barrier to seeking help and no one should have to make these choices,”  Helming said.

In the statement, Helming says this move was motivated by the murder of Waterloo's Lori McConnell last year. McConnell was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend, who had previously abused her. Her family called for some sort of shelter to be built in Seneca County. 

Helming went on to call the new construction "a loud and clear message that the community has taken a stand, and said time's up!"

Back in Monroe County, De Chateauvieux says the shelter is not a cure-all for domestic violence. She says more needs to be done to address attitudes. But it will help survivors heal and plan their next steps.

"I think it’s one piece of a comprehensive strategy, and it's a real critical piece," said De Chateauvieux.

According to Rubé, the nine-bed facility will begin construction and start the state licensing process as soon as Safe Harbors officially acquires the property.

For domestic violence support, click here or call the national hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Willow’s 24/7 hotline can be reached at 222-7233 (SAFE).

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