Project DVORA works with survivors of gender-based violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault. We help survivors who are currently involved in an abusive relationship, actively exiting an abusive relationship, or still experiencing abuse from a previous relationship (for example, co-parenting with an ex-partner). Survivors can click the “Get Help” button below to reach out to us. If it is safer for you to call an advocate, you can leave a voicemail anytime at (206) 861-3159. We do our best to reply to voicemails and online submissions within 48-72 hours (during business days). Our DV advocates are available for live phone calls on Wednesdays from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Our program also strives to guide and empower the community in responding to gender-based violence. We offer prevention programs and trainings to local schools, rabbis, and other community leaders. If you are interested in a prevention program tailored to your setting, please click the Get Help button below to get connected with our staff.
Domestic violence, or gender-based violence, is a pattern of behavior that one person in a relationship uses to gain power and control over the other. Abuse is not caused by anger, mental health problems, alcohol or other drugs, or other common excuses. It is caused by one person’s belief that they have the right to control their partner. Learn more about power and control by visiting National Domestic Violence Hotline’s site.
Most people assume that domestic violence is only physical abuse, but domestic violence can include financial abuse, social isolation, manipulation, emotional abuse or other forms of control. See National Domestic Violence Hotline’s site for more help in identifying abuse.
Facing Domestic Violence
I pushed aside the uneasiness, telling myself he was harmless...
Domestic violence advocacy is a form of support based on what you need to feel safe and stable. A domestic violence advocate can help you navigate the challenges of being in a current or past abusive relationship.
Advocacy comes in many forms: It might include identifying strategies to increase your safety. Or it might involve support in navigating systems. For example, your advocate can help you apply for unemployment or Social Security income. Advocacy might include housing support, whether that’s assistance in applying to subsidized housing or help with finding an affordable apartment (JFS does not have our own shelters or transitional living programs).
Your advocate will support you based on what you identify as your next steps towards safety and stability. For more information, please see FAQ for Survivors below.
Support groups are facilitated by advocates and therapists. They provide a space where you can learn more about domestic violence, learn coping strategies for trauma, and connect with others who may have had similar experiences. We offer quarterly, time-limited support groups on different topics. If you are interested in a support group, please click the Get Help button below.
Please note that support groups are not meant for one-on-one therapy sessions, so if you are seeking one-on-one counseling, individual therapy through our Counseling & Addiction Services department may better fit your needs.
Our advocates can help you navigate the legal system. Some examples of what we can help with include:
Explaining the process of trying to obtain a Domestic Violence Protection Order
Safety planning around whether to request a Domestic Violence Protection Order
Joining you for court hearings for ongoing civil or criminal cases (advocates cannot provide legal representation or legal advice)
Our team includes an attorney who can offer services ranging from a one-time consultation to full representation around civil legal aid, family law issues, and more. Due to the high volume of requests, our attorney’s capacity is limited. While some clients receive full representation from the attorney, most receive support in the form of legal advocacy (through working with an advocate).
If you are interested in working with an advocate, please click the Get Help button below. Our intake coordinator will complete an assessment with you to ensure that we are available to offer services that are helpful to you. If we are unable to offer you support, we will do our best to connect you with other community resources.
Originally, it was an acronym for “Domestic Violence Outreach Referral & Assessment”. During our rebranding, we kept the name since “Devorah” is a common Jewish name and a reference to the Jewish community and women whom the agency was founded by.
A JFS advocate can connect you with a partner agency’s technology support clinic for survivors experiencing stalking or abuse via their personal technology (examples: email is compromised by abuser; phone or car has some sort of GPS tracking system installed by abuser, etc.)
For more information about tech safety, visit Refuge.
FAQ for Community Members, Friends & Family Members
If you are ever able to talk to your neighbor privately, ask them if they are okay. Ask them if they feel safe in their relationship. If they do not, talk to them about ways they can increase their safety. Offer to connect them with us. Calling the police is not always helpful to everyone so it’s hard to know if it’s the right thing, since it looks different for every situation. If you can talk to your neighbor, you might ask them if it’s okay for you to call the police the next time you hear yelling.
Talk with friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, rabbis or lay leaders. Let them know what’s happening and brainstorm ways they might be able to help.
If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Know where the nearest public phone is located. Know the phone number to your local 24-hour domestic violence hotline. If your life is in danger, call the police.
Plan the easiest escape. Decide on a door or window to exit quickly and safely.
Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house and go to a neighbor.
Practice how to get out safely with your children.
Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and others locked, for a quick escape.
Move away from the kitchen, bathroom or any place where there are dangerous or sharp objects.
Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.
Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.
Make a plan for times when you are at work. You may want to speak with your employer about changing work locations or hours, or alerting security or reception staff to your situation.
Prepare an emergency bag. Put together a bag that includes money, copies of house and car keys, medicine, and copies of important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, immigration documents, marriage certificate, court orders, and health insurance information. The bag can also include extra clothes, important phone numbers, or other things you need if you have to leave your home in a hurry. If you prepare an emergency bag, have a place in mind where you can safely keep it such as at the home of a trusted friend or family member.
Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.