Domestic violence is more than just a statistic, it’s a reality for far too many. Though countless victims still suffer in silence, help is out there. Numerous organizations and individuals across the country and in Chicagoland are committed to aiding survivors and their families — offering everything from social services to emotional support. How can you help? Read on to find out where to donate, volunteer and advocate, giving critical support to these essential organizations.
Editor’s Note: The article below centers on fighting domestic and sexual violence, readers sensitive to these topics please be advised.
How To Help:
Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence
This statewide organization has answered the call to action to help domestic violence survivors and their children. They have a network of over 50 member organizations throughout Illinois that deliver actual care and support to those in need. They also passionately advocate for safer policy; train those who work on the front lines of this issue; and give technical assistance to their many partner organizations. More details on what they do and who they serve can be found on the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence website — donations can also be made there.
806 S. College St., Springfield, IL
A 2019 Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Award Winner
With headquarters both in the Chicago area and Florida, Selah Freedom is an anti-human trafficking nonprofit that seeks to bring freedom and safety to those who have been exploited. Their mission is based around five key programs: Awareness, Prevention, Outreach, Residential and Organizational Consulting — through this they have served almost 6,300 survivors. Details on how to donate to this critical cause can be found on the Selah Freedom website, where statistics on human-trafficking can also be found.
Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC)
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For this nonprofit, every service they offer is rooted in ending domestic violence. Since 1979, the organization has helped survivors through their 24-hour hotline and shelter, as well as offering navigation for counseling, social services and getting clients and their families on a safe path forward. CAWC believes everyone has a “right to violence-free lives” — to help that mission continue, visit the Connections for Abused Women and their Children website for more on donation opportunities.
1116 N. Kedzie Ave.
WINGS Program, Inc.
Through housing, integrated services, education and advocacy, WINGS aims to end domestic violence, specifically in Chicagoland. The safety-focused and trauma-informed services and facilitators at this organization have helped give voice and resources to survivors trying to break the cycle. While monetary donations are always welcome and needed, they also accept in-kind donations and have volunteer listings as well. “At WINGS, our goal is to provide a pathway that leads away from a life of chaos, abuse and fear and toward a future of safety and independence.” Learn how you can help by visiting the WINGS Program online.
The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence
Education and collaborative work are at the core of The Network, an organization that works to “imagine and realize radical ways to respond to and end gender-based violence, focusing on the intersections between systemic violence and gender-based violence.” With over 40 member organizations, they are able to reach a wide breadth of people — or so say the 36,150 hotline contact calls they fielded in 2022. Donations are encouraged, whether individual or corporate giving. Want to do more? Volunteer or sponsor an event to raise awareness and necessary resources — more details at The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence.
33 N. Dearborn, Suite 2210
Center on Halsted
Center on Halsted is considered the Midwest’s most comprehensive community center dedicated to the safety and advancement of the LGBTQIA+ community. Among many other elements — such as housing, career or counseling services — the Center upholds an Anti-Violence Program, which seeks to end all forms of violence, by offering an affirming space for survivors who require varied services. Through trauma-informed case management and more, this organization continues their decades-long fight — help them keep it going by donating, volunteering and more, all at the Center on Halsted.
3656 N. Halsted St.
Illinois is just one of the many national and international branches of Love Purse, which distributes purses full of toiletries and notes of inspiration to women in domestic violence, homeless and trafficking shelters. Want to make this mission go further? You can help by hosting purse collections and parties at work or at home; challenge fellow co-workers to donate a purse for each purse you collect; and engage your congregations and communities to get involved. A $50 donation could provide one fully-stocked purse — see all this organization does on the Love Purse website.
Center For Advancing Domestic Peace
Since 2003, CADP has taken a unique approach to stopping domestic violence, one that is not replicated elsewhere in the Chicago area. At CADP, they work to stop domestic violence where it starts, by “helping those who have harmed take responsibility for their behavior, create healthy relationships and strengthen their communities.” These services are offered to anyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The change we seek starts with addressing the root issues, donations to this cause allow participants to access the services to change their lives — more details at the Center For Advancing Domestic Peace.
At Zacharias Center, they recognize that sexual assault and abuse can happen to anyone. That’s why they are rooted in a holistic approach to healing, which includes “free counseling and advocacy services to survivors of sexual abuse and assault, and non-offending loved ones.” Their services and organization members are equipped to offer a safe, nurturing environment that welcomes people from all walks of life as they head for a brighter tomorrow. Volunteering is always encouraged, as are donations — visit Zacharias Center for specifics on how to get involved.
For many survivors, securing basic needs after leaving situations of domestic violence can be difficult. For them and other individuals facing the difficulty of providing for their families — especially in the COVID-era — Chicago Commons is an invaluable resource for overcoming systemic barriers, poverty and empowering next generations. Donations will go toward feeding, housing and supporting the general livelihoods of their clients, many of which are in great need. Visit the Chicago Commons website for details about the good they do and monetary donation logistics.
515 E. 50th St., Suite 200
If you or a loved one may be experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233. Some of the groups listed above are also equipped with their own organization-specific hotlines, many of which are 24-hour.
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Margaret Smith is a Chicago-based writer and editor with a passion for socio-political storytelling about their community. They are a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.