Monday, January 13, 2014

Question & Answer Interview with VARO Crisis Services Supervisor Latisha

1. What is your mission (goals & objectives) at VARO?

 It is the mission of VARO to not only respond to all victims of violent crimes and traumatic events, but to also elevate the stature of women and children on our island, those who are most often victimized by physical and sexual abuse.

 2. What specific services does VARO provide?

VARO offers emotional support, information and referrals to community partners based on the their needs, personal advocacy, emergency food, emergency clothing, emergency transportation, emergency shelter (up to 3 days). We can assist in helping them fill out GHURA applications and Pro Se forms (self representation for protective orders).

3. Who is your target audience?

Primarily women and children of domestic violence, sexual assault, abuse, other violent crimes and traumatic events. We also service men. 

4. What are your hours of operation and what is the best way for people to reach you that are interested in assistance?

Our 24-hour hotline: (671) 477-5552

Also, VARO’s Facebook account, but because of safety reasons if someone messages us on Facebook we will instruct them to then call our hotline.

5. What resources does VARO offer?

The expertise of our advocates, emergency clothing, food, shelter and transportation.

6. Looking at current events, how do you foresee these recent events in your field of work affecting your organization and its work?

Decreased Federal funding will mean less money available for victim services. Increased crime rates will mean more people needing services from VARO.

7.  Can you discuss your community partnerships and how they contribute to the overall success of the VARO individually.

We do heavily rely on our community partners. If a client needs a protective order we refer them to Guam Legal Services - Disability Law Center and Public Defender.

For sexual assault cases we refer them to Healing Hearts Crisis Center and can be present with them during their exam, if they wish. 

Also, Alee Shelter provides longer term shelter for abused women and their children that we cannot provide due to our funding. We also refer clients to Oasis Empowerment Center for transitional housing.

8. Can you touch on the history of VARO and how the organization is set up?

Guam Task Force on Family abuse and Sexual Assault established VARO in 1982 and Sexual Abuse, Before "VARO" it was called CARO, Counseling Advocates Reaching Out

9. Any upcoming plans or projects that our island community should be aware of?

We will continue to service all victims of violent crime and traumatic events. We will continue to recruit volunteers to become advocates and/or support volunteers.

10. Why do you think your work is important?

I truly feel my work is important because there are people out there that have experienced traumatic events and violent crimes and they need our help. We assist victims and survivors by providing our free services. We want them to know we are here for them, they’re are not alone, and there are free services including ours.

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