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The Herstory of HAVIN

In March, 1979, a small corps of concerned citizens first met to discuss the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault in Armstrong County. HAVIN, Inc. (Helping Abuse Victims in Need) was formed to develop services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Through the efforts of this grassroots movement, a Board of Directors was formed and proposals were submitted to various funding sources to initiate services to women. In fall of 1979, the crisis hotline service began.

Until 1987, survivors of violence were housed in Safe Homes. These were homes of volunteers who would shelter women and children who had suffered abuse. In 1987, HAVIN, Inc. was able to lease a building which provided office space, counseling, and shelter.

During 1990, the owners of the leased building informed the Board of Directors that the building which housed the offices and shelter would be destroyed in 1992 for proposed highway relocation. Faced with yet another move, the Board decided to enter into a Capital Campaign to raise $300,000 by September 1992 for the purpose of purchasing and renovating a new facility.  The goal of the Board to purchase a building became a reality in February of 1992. HAVIN's new facility is located in downtown Kittanning, close to schools, churches, shopping, physicians, post office, library, police station, court house, and public transportation. This 31-room facility accommodates HAVIN's offices and shelter. HAVIN opened an Outreach Office in the Armstrong County Memorial Hospital's Primary Care Center in Leechburg.

In 2001, HAVIN procured the 325 R. Arch Street, Kittanning property to house the Outreach/Education Department. In 2003 it was named the Kay Steiner Cottage, in loving memory of Kay, who was exceptionally supportive of HAVIN.

In 2004, HAVIN created the HAVIN Foundation whose primary goal was to sustain and financially support HAVIN. During this change, we also changed the HAVIN acronym from Helping Abuse Victims in Need to Helping All Victims in Need with the thought of becoming a comprehensive center, meaning serving all victims of crime, in the future.

HAVIN provides crisis intervention counseling to survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault through its 24-hour toll-free and local hotlines staffed by volunteers and paid staff.  Sixty hours of crisis intervention training is made available twice a year for all community residents who are interested in volunteering their time to assist HAVIN in the provision of services for survivors of sexual assault and/or domestic violence. Counseling, both individual and group, is provided to survivors by the staff and the volunteers.  This counseling is available at both the main office in Kittanning and the Outreach office in Leechburg. Accompaniment to medical and judicial proceedings is provided by staff.

In 1996, HAVIN Inc. received funding through the federal government's Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to establish a Task Force comprised of law enforcement officials, representatives of the judicial system, and members of other systems who provide services to survivors in order to address the needs, and enhance the services for victims of crime. The Task Force, which met monthly, developed a "Domestic Violence Protocol" and "Sexual Assault Protocol" for all systems dealing with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. In 2005 a "Stalking Protocol" was developed.

HAVIN has continued to work toward implementing and improving prevention/education programs to school-aged children and youth throughout Armstrong County. New and updated information has been added to the school programs such as elder abuse, safety planning, public awareness, child assault prevention, dating violence, and drug facilitated sexual assault.

HAVIN's staff collaborates program planning and activities with other county social service agencies. Our organization has a well-established, successful reputation and track record in counseling adults, children and teenagers whose lives are impacted by sexual and domestic violence.  The responsibilities of the HAVIN Board of Directors and the Board committees have been well defined in the By-Laws adopted by the Board for HAVIN.

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