Introduction to Volunteering

Introduction to Volunteering


                                   Welcome to the Women’s Center, Inc.

How we function as an agency:

  • Non-profit Organization
  • Free and confidential services provided to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
  • Formed in 1974, Incorporated in 1976
  • Serving Columbia and Montour Counties


Mission Statement

                                                      Mission Statement

The Women’s Center, Inc. of Columbia/Montour provides direct services for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, prevention activities, advocacy and leadership to the community, aimed at eradicating domestic violence and sexual assault.


Our Herstory

Our Herstory

  • The Women’s Center, Inc. was one of the 1st programs in PA to provide free support to victims domestic violence, sexual assault, & incest.


Our Volunteers

Our Volunteers

Characteristics of Our Volunteers:

  • Shared desire to help individuals in crisis located in one’s own community
  • Possess an ability to convey empathy while being non-judgmental and supportive to victims in whatever decision they make
  • Possess a dedicated commitment to the philosophy and mission of The Women’s Center, Inc.
  • Offer the time to help us provide services to victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault



Our Volunteers


Our Philosophy

Our Philosophy

  • Equality

We value equality. All of our participants should be treated equally, regardless of race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability status, religious status, etc.

  • Non-violent Environment

We believe in providing a non-violent atmosphere for every client, every time.

  • Respect

All clients deserve respect and non-judgmental environment.

  • Gain Confidence

We work to gain client’s confidence to preform the best advocacy available, but also we encourage client’s to develop their own sense of confidence in themselves.

  • Peer Encouragement

We encourage our client’s through peer support, which is why we offer several different groups including our "Women Supporting Women" Group and allow the women to empower one another while staying in shelter. 

  • Support

We ALWAYS support the client…no matter what their decision. For example, even if a client chose to leave shelter to return home to their batterer, we would show support for their decision, discuss all of their options, and extensively safety plan with them so they can be safe once returning home. 

  • Positive Self-image

We try to foster empowerment within all the clients that we serve by encouraging them to look at themselves in a positive live. 

  • Strength

We are a strengths-based organization. We focus on client’s abilities and strengths. We encourage those strengths.

  • Solution-Focused

We try to provide the client’s with numerous options to aid in THEIR solution. We never make decisions for our clients.

How We Achieve This

How We Achieve This:

  • Support Services
    • Individual, Group, Children’s Counseling
    • 24 Crisis Hotline
    • Emergency Shelter for women and children
    • Safety Planning
  • Legal Advocacy and Accompaniment
    • ​Help filing for a PFA
    • Legal information packets
    • Accompaniment during criminal trials
  • Medical Advocacy Program
    • Meet patients in the hospital disclosing DV/SA
    • Train hospital staff and personnel on issues of DV/SA
    • Provide advocacy for patients who have disclosed DV/SA
  • Public Awareness Events
    • At community events
    • In legal and medical settings
  • Preventative Education Programs
    • Pre-school-College appropriate trainings
    • Professional trainings
  • Outreach:

How Our Agency Is Structured:

Participants at the center--they always come first!


Demographics of Columbia/Montour Counties

  • Population:
    • Columbia County: 67,295 people
    • Montour County: 18,267 people
      • Out of the 85,562 total population we have served 2,093 victims in 2011.


Terms to Know

Terms to know

PCADV (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

PCAR (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape)

VOCA (Victims of Crime Act)

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

JARS (Justice, Autonomy, Restoration, and Safety)

Empowerment: Increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals & communities.

Feminism: A collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.

Feminist Goal: To work on creating a society where there is equality for everyone.

Funding Sources

Funding Sources


A State of Many Firsts

  • Pennsylvania
    • Developed a protocol for the examination of rape victims in the ER that became a NATIONAL standard.
    • Developed a video series on child sexual assault that was distributed NATIONALLY.
    • Developed training materials to fill the void that existed.
    • Passed the Confidential Communications to Sexual Assault Counselors
      • We have complete confidentiality. We can not be  subpoenaed to testify in court.


Who stays in our shelter?

  • Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
  • People with immediate safety concerns
  • Women and children
    • Including non-English speaking, LGTBQ+, people with cognitive/physical disabilities, etc.

What is Domestic Violence?

What is Domestic Violence?

A pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors including physical, sexual, emotional & psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion, that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partner.

                               Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.

Power and Control

Power & Control

The cycle of abuse is based around Power & Control.

Battering is one form of domestic/intimate partner violence. It is characterized by the pattern of actions that an individual uses to intentionally control or dominate his intimate partner. That is why the words "power and control" are in the center of the wheel. A batterer systematically uses threats, intimidation, and coercion to instill fear in his partner. These behaviors are the spokes of the wheel. Physical and sexual violence holds it all together—this violence is the rim of the wheel.

The Power and Control Wheel was developed from the experience of battered women who had been abused by their male partners. It has been translated into over 40 languages & has resonated with the experience of battered women world-wide. It will be discussed much more extensively in the next course.