Steps to HOPE celebrates 25th anniversary

Published 3:47 pm Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Polk Countys center for the prevention and treatment of domestic violence and sexual assault, Steps to HOPE, began in 1985 as a grass-roots movement to offer protection, assistance and empowerment to women who were being abused by their spouses referred to as the Battered Womens Movement.

With very little history and even fewer resources to pull from, Steps to HOPE was charting new territory. In North Carolina, there were no laws making spousal abuse a crime until 1979 only six years before Steps became chartered as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Very quickly, it became apparent that Steps to HOPEs work was more comprehensive than merely assisting victims by offering shelter and services; the organization needed to break the cycle of abuse by working toward preventing and eliminating domestic violence and sexual assault altogether. Programs working with abusers, families and children arose from this need.

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Currently Steps to HOPE offers several programs designed to break the cycle of abuse including: Domestic Abuse Intervention (or Anger Management) Program; Parenting Education; Parenting Support; Family/Youth Mediation, and Teen Group. Already under way or soon to begin are programs within the countys schools Virtual College, Polk County High School and Polk County Middle School bringing awareness to issues such as: Internet safety; cyberspace bullying; sexting; conflict resolution; alcohol and tobacco abuse; healthy relationship; and dating abuse.

For more information about Steps to HOPEs programs call 828-894-2340.