by Pat Griffen, Executive Director, Against Abuse, Inc.

Against Abuse, Inc. (AAI) began serving victims of domestic violence in 1981 using a Safe Home Network model.

The more male and female victims we served, the more we realized there was so much more that needed to be done to ensure their safety and help them get back on their feet.

We operate two shelters: a 32-bed domestic violence shelter in the City of Maricopa and a 24-bed domestic violence shelter in Casa Grande.

For those who are ready, we help survivors through our transitional housing services as they prepare to transition into their own homes.

For those who are divorced and have children, we provide court-ordered supervised visitation and safe exchange services in a family-friendly environment.

For families in which the children have been legally removed, we coordinate and supervise visits with family members and their children, with the ultimate goal being family reunification. 

Many victims need a safe place for their pets while they are in a shelter. We established a volunteer-based Animal Safe Home Network where pets can be temporarily fostered in pet-loving homes.

Shelter services are not a victim’s only option. For those who don’t need or want to be in a shelter, we provide community-based and mobile services. These have expanded and we now have offices in Casa Grande, the City of Maricopa and San Manuel.

Often a victim leaves with only the clothes on their back, so we opened a thrift store to make sure our clients have the things they need, such as clothing, furniture and household items.

It is important to make sure our communities are aware of the issues we all face together. To enhance awareness in the communities we serve, Against Abuse hosts, or co-hosts, a number of events, such as The Taste of Casa Grande, the Pinal County Child Abuse Prevention Conference and the Seeds of Change Gala.

Against Abuse doesn’t do it alone. We are stronger because of our collaborative partnerships with first responders (sheriff’s office, police, fire, ambulance), medical, dental and behavioral health organizations, as well as a number of local businesses. We also draw strength from the generosity of the members of our community who donate their time, supplies and funds.

We have made great strides throughout the years. According to the statewide FY-17 DES DV Programs Fund Report, out of Arizona’s 34 DES-funded domestic violence programs, AAI had the fourth highest census of total adults and children served. In FY 17-18, 67 percent of those we served in shelters were children.

As long as there is a need, we will continue to provide services and supports that make a positive impact in the lives of those we serve.