Domestic violence center sees dramatic call increase


There is an increasing number of calls on the crisis lines at the only shelter for domestic violence victims in Contra Costa County. It's known as STAND.

"If she wants to get into shelter, we will help her to do that. If she's interested in getting a restraining order, we can help her do that," says Gloria Sandoval.

Everybody knows there's an economic crisis and that has had a dramatic effect on domestic violence. The calls to the crisis line here have skyrocketed; in one year alone, more than 15,000 calls came in.

STAND has a locked, secure shelter complex with 24 apartments in a secret location, where women and children can find safety on an emergency basis.

STAND For Families Free of Violence provides licensed therapeutic childcare for kids who have either been abused or have witnessed abuse.

"Once they come here for the first time, children feel safe and they also feel they can be children and play without having the responsibility or fear that 'I'm not safe, something might happen to me,'" says Usha Ramachandran from STAND.

The women I interviewed say they took their kids and left what they call unhealthy relationships.

"When I was pregnant with my daughter and he punched me in my stomach. So I ran, I left the house, and he said he would never do it again, but that was a lie," says Ronda, a STAND client.

"Mine was more emotional and financial. I was always told I was too ugly, I was too this, no one else would love me," says Diana, a STAND client.

And those who want it can move into secure, transitional private housing, complete with communal kitchen facilities and food, while they go through counseling and get their lives back together.

"I'm in transitional living with STAND and I'm a student at Contra Costa College and I plan on transferring to U.C. Davis next year," says Ronda.

"We changed for the better and without this agency, I don't know where we would be," says Diana.

STAND has a big fundraising luncheon on Thursday at the Concord Hilton. Comedian Niecy Nash will be the keynote speaker. She was on "Dancing With the Stars" last season.

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