YWCA only local 24/7 emergency shelter for domestic violence victims

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Locally there are multiple domestic violence shelters and programs. But there is only one 24/7 emergency shelter in our community.

Freedom House to train salon professionals on how to spot and handle clients who suffer / may suffer from domestic or sexual violence. (Image Downloaded: MGN Credit MGN)

Women and children seek refuge from abuse in downtown Toledo at the YWCA.

For the last three decades, the YWCA has served as the only local 24/7 emergency shelter.

"Having the ability to access 24 hour safe shelter is critical, because you never know when you're going to be in a situation where you're going to have to flee," said Shelly Ulrich. She's the interim director of the domestic violence shelter.

Ulrich says domestic violence victims can stay up to 60 days. There are 17 rooms and 48 beds.

After that, advocates work with those in need to find a safe, permanent place to call home.

"We provide whatever they need to stabilize that crisis and help them to begin down that road of normalcy," said Ulrich.

Resources like free counseling, support groups, plus an around the clock crisis line are available.

"Having someone to talk to and knowing that it's OK to have that conversation is what's going to begin the move towards leaving that abusive situation," said Ulrich.

Ulrich has worked at the YWCA for 24 years. She says domestic violence continues to steadily plague our community.

"We are generally full as we are now. However, we never turn anyone away. If there is someone needing safety and there's not a room available, we will put them in our community room," said Ulrich.

If you find yourself in danger and need to get away from an abusive relationship, experts recommend you have an intentional escape plan.

"You want to make sure that you don't give off any cues to the perpetrator that you are thinking about leaving because that generally is the time that it becomes more violent," said Ulrich.

Click here to learn more about the YWCA in Toledo.