Centre Against Abuse Celebrating 40 Years

October 17, 2019

This year the Centre Against Abuse [CAA charity #146] is celebrating 40 years of service specifically to help victims of abuse on island.

A spokesperson said, “Centre Against Abuse became a registered charity June 11, 1979 under the name the Physical Abuse Centre. The services at that time included the first hot line, crisis intervention, counselling, and safe housing.

“The Charity is now in its 40th year and the members and volunteers remain committed to their mission and purpose to provide crisis support services to male and female adult victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault; and we educate the community by providing building blocks for healthy relationships.”

Executive Director of the Centre Against Abuse, Laurie Shiell-Smith said, “This is the 40th Anniversary of Centre Against Abuse, and we want everyone to understand the services we provide for male and female adult survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

“CAA offers immediate intervention and support, and through our counselling service, court advoacy and education, we empower people to have zero tolerance for domestic abuse and sexual assault. For domestic abuse and sexual assault adult survivors, our confidential 24-hour hotline connects callers directly with a trained worker who can immediately offer counsel and provide next step advice.”

Mrs. Shiell-Smith added “From August 2018 to August 2019, CAA helped 101 hotline crisis callers; assisted with maintaining the safety of 238 walk-ins and responded to and supported 11 sexual assault survivors through the Sexual Assault Response Team [SART].

“SART is a community-based team that coordinates the response of survivors of sexual assaults. In past years we have seen an increase in our court advocacy work. We offer court advocacy, by assisting clients with Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Summary Offence Letters.

“CAA also provides support to survivors of historical sexual assaults, through educating them on their rights, assisting them with navigating the judicial system, and counselling support.”

CAA Co-Chairman Lorna Dixon-Marable explained, “In Bermuda, 1 in 3 women and approximately 1 in 6 men will be affected by domestic abuse and sexual assault. If you look around at your family, friends and co-workers, you will know someone who is a survivor. “

Ms. Dixon-Marble added, “Right now CAA is the only non-governmental organization that provides services for adult domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors in Bermuda. CAA operates from a $25,000 monthly budget to support residents and visitors of our island.

“Sadly, like many other charities, CAA has been under serious financial hardship due to lack of sponsorship. We persevere because we know that we are the only facility that provides resources that could literally mean the difference between life and death for our clients.

“Without donations to our charity we will not be able to sustain our vital services, which would leave a gaping hole in our community. We ask that you please donate, each contribution makes a significant difference in the lives of those who are seeking immediate help from abuse.”

“A full description of our services can be found on our website www.centreagainstabuse.bm.

Testimonial From Our Clients

“These two scenarios are a compilation of real experiences. If any of these events happened to you, where would you turn?

“1. “On many occasions I would spend my lunch hour with a friend of mine. I usually disregarded his sexual remarks although at the time I thought he was comical. As I felt quite comfortable with him, I asked him to accompany me to my good friend’s wedding.

“Upon his request I agreed he could come over to discuss the wedding arrangements. He came by about a week before the wedding with a prized bottle of vodka and asked if I wanted to partake. We started drinking and conversing. Before I knew it we had had several drinks and were both laughing hysterically at his jokes. A few hours later I found myself alone, half undressed with the cover from the couch over my body. I tried to remember exactly what had gone down but everything was a blur.

“After several minutes of trying to put the pieces together, I realized what had happened. I felt violated and ashamed. Then I felt angry and confused. I didn’t know where to turn as I thought people would say I had asked for it……”

“2. “My partner had been physically and emotionally abusing me for about twelve months. It started with pushing and shoving and taking my keys when I wanted to leave.

“We would have evenings where he’d been drinking and start accusing me of being unfaithful, [although that was not the word he used], amongst other derogatory and hurtful names. It would go on for hours until he would fall asleep. The next day it was always the same, he was apologetic, showered me with gifts, and tell told me he didn’t know why he said and did the things he did; but swore that he would never do it again. I believed him at first but after the third time I knew it was a mistake and I had to get out.

“The final straw was the worst behavior, hours of verbal abuse yelled into my face, cruel name calling and then he became violent when I tried to call someone. That night it dawned on me, things would never change…..”

The Centre Against Abuse – We are here for you.

“If you are in an abusive relationship with your current or former partner or you have been sexually assaulted and are in need of services to help you move forward through the trauma into a safe and healthy environment, please call CAA on 292-4366 or email us on info@centreagainstabuse.bm

How You Can Help

“CAA believes that through our services we will create a Bermuda where everyone is safe, and free from fear, violence and assault. We need your help to achieve it. Please help Centre Against Abuse through your donation to HSBC a/c 010 284 636 001 or online at our website.”

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