The statistics on domestic abuse in America are sobering; one in every four women will experience abuse from an intimate partner during their lifetime, and only 20 percent of them will report it to the authorities or seek help. These abuses occur across cultures and across religions, and the Jewish community is no different. In response, SHALVA strives to meet the needs of all Jews who face violence and abuse at home.
Established in 1986, SHALVA was the United States’ first independent domestic abuse organization devoted to the needs of the Jewish community, and it has expanded its reach to an incredible degree since its first year, when it assisted 24 clients. Today, SHALVA partners with domestic abuse agencies, Jewish community leaders, and others engaged in the fight against domestic abuse, and its work has been critical. Its newsletter reaches nearly 20,000 homes and organizations, and its educational resources have been used by thousands of community members and leaders across the Chicagoland area. Since its founding, SHALVA has assisted more than 4,000 clients.
The organization’s core mission is represented in its flagship programs, which include providing counseling in group and individual settings, offering information regarding legal remedies and financial aid, and staffing a 24-hour hotline for those in crisis, all administered with the best possible security, confidentiality, and community support.
SHALVA’s efforts in the wider community are equally important, and include myriad educational events and services. From its 60-minute classes on subjects like safe dating practices, developing healthy relationships, and avoiding bullying in real life and online, to interactive programs such as Understanding Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community and Understanding the B’nai Mitzvah Experience, SHALVA strives to supply information to all those who might benefit from it.