History of Our Agency
In 1978, the Volunteers Against Abuse Center (VAAC) of Butler County, Inc. organized from grassroots volunteers to address the specific needs of victims of domestic violence. In that same year, the Center on Rape and Assault (CORA) also organized to address the needs of victims of rape and incest. In 1993, CORA expanded its outreach and began offering services to victims of other violent crime; changing its name to Crime Victim Services (CVS).
Although services were being provided to victims within the community, no shelter facility was available in Butler County. Women and children sought refuge from domestic violence in “safe houses” - a covert network of private residences where courageous volunteers provided the only source of safety for battered women and their children. In 1988, VAAC opened the first emergency shelter in Herman, Pennsylvania and in 1989, relocated the shelter to its present site.
Recognizing that these two Agencies often provided services to the same clients as many victims of domestic violence have also been victims of sexual assault, VAAC and CVS found ways to collaborate in the interest of victims. By sharing staff, developing comprehensive distribution materials and conducting school and community programs together, they saved time and money.
Although this new partnership was invaluable and mutually beneficial for victims, these efforts were simply not enough. The division of services confused the community; making it more difficult for victims to safely reach and receive the help they so desperately needed. Time and energy from both Agencies had been devoted to the same task – creating social change and serving the individual needs of victims. The Agencies even began competing against each other for valuable funding dollars, particularly at the local donor level.
The next logical step was to become one; creating a single comprehensive Agency that would provide confidential, professional services to all victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes. All agreed that this merger – the first voluntary merger of two distinct victim service agencies in Pennsylvania – would create a seamless continuum of care for all victims.
By bringing together expert staff from both programs and reducing administrative overhead we would eliminate confusion and effectively increase funds available for essential victim services. On January 1, 2000, Victim Outreach Intervention Center (VOICe) was born.
VOICe remains the sole provider of comprehensive domestic violence, sexual assault and other crime victim services for the more than 180,000 people who call Butler County home.
The Agency’s mission is as follows: “VOICe is a system-change organization that provides free and confidential services to individuals and families who are victims of violent crime. VOICe will work within our community to provide survivors with the resources, tools and options that allow them to assert their personal power and self-determination.”
VOICe embraces a holistic approach to providing appropriate and meaningful services; creating a safe space where women, men and children in crisis can find support and guidance that nurtures self-determination, supports self-sufficiency, and encourages self-reliance. We are committed to reaching underserved populations and providing services that are non-discriminatory and celebrate the unique diversity of Butler County.
All of the free and confidential services provided by VOICe’s staff and dedicated corps of volunteers are accessible to victims from three locations throughout Butler County. Our services include:
- 24-hour toll-free hotline
- Emergency shelter
- Transitional and permanent supportive housing
- Individual and group educative counseling
- Legal advocacy
- Welfare and medical accompaniment
- Economic support services
- Civil legal representation
- Comprehensive children’s programming
- Prevention education
- Training services and community outreach