The Starke County Coalition Against Domestic Abuse is celebrating its 20th year of service to the community this month. Started in 1992 as a grassroots volunteer organization called the Starke County Alliance Against Domestic Violence, CADA has retained its focus on awareness and education. The group began with staffing information booths at every Starke County fair and festival in an effort to get the word out to residents about the services offered to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Since then, however, the organization has expanded greatly and begun conducting speaking engagements for other non-profits, schools, churches, clubs, and everyone else who may want or need information or training. With partners in a variety of organizations, CADA uses referrals to ensure victims get access to the necessary services.
CADA also started a Coordinated Community Response Team to assist with domestic violence cases. The team meets quarterly to discuss issues and methods of better serving the victims in Starke County, and offers Emergency Response Volunteers to assist victims of domestic abuse, rape, and sexual assault. The ERVs offer support and safety information at hospitals, police stations, and other posts.
On top of that, CADA opened a transitional housing program in 2001 called Phoenix House, a program for victims of domestic violence and their dependent children. Phoenix House allows victims to leave an emergency shelter and stay in an apartment for up to two years to allow them to get back on their feet, and it offers classes in budgeting, nutrition, computers, parenting, domestic violence education, and other necessary life skills.
Most recently, CADA assumed the responsibility of overseeing the Starke County Prevent Child Abuse Council – a council that works with state-level agencies to promote child abuse prevention awareness, education, and referrals in Starke County.