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CAPSEA can help you with everything from temporary housing to obtaining legal representation. We are here for you – every step of the of the way.

24/7 Hotline

CAPSEA's staff provides a confidential, 24/7 emergency hotline.

Safety Planning

Learn more about best practices to help keep you and your family safe.

Crisis Shelter & Housing

Emergency shelter and temporary housing services available to women, men, children, and families.

What Is Abuse?

Learn more about what constitutes physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse.

Education & Training

CAPSEA's experienced staff is able to provide comprehensive training on various subjects.

Additional Resources

Find out what other helpful, informative resources are available to you.

Call Us, Write Us, or Knock on Our Door

24/7 Emergency Hotline

CAPSEA staff provides a 24-hour hotline, which serves as a central point of access for crisis counseling, safety planning, and referrals. If  you are unable to call,  please fill out the contact form here and we will reach out as soon as possible.

keep yourself and your family safe

Safety Planning

Go to an area that has an exit.
Not a bathroom (near hard surfaces), kitchen (knives), or near weapons.

Stay in a room with a phone.
Call 911, a friend, or a neighbor if possible. Inform them if there are weapons in the home.

Know your escape route.
Practice how to get out of your home safely. Visualize your escape route.

Have a packed bag ready.
Keep it hidden in a handy place in order to leave quickly, or leave the bag elsewhere if your abuser searches your home.

Devise a code word or signal.
Tell your children or neighbors so you can communicate to them that you need the police.

Know where you’re going.
Plan where you will go if you have to leave home, even if you don’t think you’ll need to.

Trust your judgement.
Consider anything that you feel will keep you safe and give you time to figure out what to do next. Sometimes it is better to flee, sometimes to placate the abuser- anything that works to protect yourself and the children.

Have a safe place to stay.
Make sure it is a place that can protect you and your children or grandchildren.

Find someone you trust.
Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents, and clothing with them in advance, so you can leave quickly if necessary.

Open a savings account.
Put it in your name only, to increase your independence. Consider direct deposit from your paycheck or benefit check.

Contact your county aging unit.
If you are 60 or older, learn about eligibility for public and private benefits and services such as Social Security, housing, transportation, and medical insurance.

Review your safety plan.
Study and check your plans as often as possible in order to know the safest way to leave your abuser.

  • Marriage and Drivers License
  • Birth Certificates – yours and family’s
  • Money, checkbooks, credit cards, ATM cards, payment books, car title.
  • Social Security Card, Passport
  • Divorce, custody papers, and PFA order
  • Insurance Papers and Medical Records
  • Lease, Rental Agreement, and House Deed
  • School and Health Records
  • Keys- house, car, office, friends
  • Medications, Glasses, Hearing Aids, etc.
  • Personal Items- address book, pictures, toys, etc.

(If your abuser does not live with you.)

Upgrade your security system.
Change the locks on doors and windows as soon as possible. Consider a security, service, window bars, better lighting, and motion detectors & fire extinguishers.

Have a safety plan.
Teach your children how to call the police or someone they can trust. Have a secret code word that your children agree on – to communicate trouble and for the people who are allowed to pick the children up.

Change your phone number.
Screen your calls if you have an answering machine or caller ID. Save all messages with threats or that violate any orders. Contact your local phone company about getting an unpublished number.

Talk to neighbors and landlord.
Inform them that your abuser no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see the abuser near your home.

Tell somebody.
Decide whom at work you will inform of your situation, especially if you have a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA). Provide a picture of the abuser if possible. It is your right to request and expect confidentiality from those you disclose to.

Screen your calls.
Arrange to have someone screen and log your telephone calls if possible.

Make a safety plan.
Create a safety plan for when you enter and leave your work place. Have someone escort you to your vehicle or other transportation. If you and your abuser work at the same place, discuss with your supervisor other options regarding scheduling, safety precautions, employee/family benefits.

We're here to help

CAPSEA Crisis Shelter and temporary housing services

If you are in need of shelter, learn more about CAPSEA’s emergency shelter for men, women, children, and families as well as our temporary housing program.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Abuse?

It is against the law for a man to hit or threaten his wife, girlfriend, or children and a woman to hit or threaten her husband, boyfriend, or children. Abuse can take many different forms:

  • Emotional Abuse – is making belittling or degrading comments, questioning one’s judgement or sanity, closely monitoring one’s movements and threats of violence.
  • Physical Abuse – can be slapping, pushing, kicking, hitting, choking, and hitting with an object or weapon. This is often accompanied by mental abuse.
  • Sexual Abuse – is someone forcing his partner into unwanted sexual activity either through violence or the threat of violence.
  • Marital Rape – became a crime in Pennsylvania in February 1985. It is estimated that one in ten wives in the US is raped by their husbands and that as many as 50% of women who are physically abused are also sexually abused. Marital rape is as emotionally painful as stranger rape.

Who can be the victim of sexual assault? In one simple word…ANYONE! The victim is young or old, male or female, attractive or unattractive, married or unmarried, employed or unemployed. Even strong individuals can be overpowered.

Definition of Sexual Violence/Assault

Sexual violence violates a person’s trust and feeling of safety. It occurs any time a person is forced, coerced, and/or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity. The continuum of sexual violence includes rape, incest, child sexual assault, ritual abuse, date and acquaintance rape, statutory rape, marital or partner rape, sexual exploitation, sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism.

Rape is a crime. It is motivated by the need to control, humiliate, and harm. It is not motivated by sexual desire. Rapists use sex as a weapon to dominate others.

Reporting the Sexual Assault

If you are sexually assaulted…

  • DO NOT wash, douche, or change your clothes.
  • DO NOT touch the evidence or any struggle or disarray.
  • DO call the police or go directly to the hospital (although you are not required to involve the police, this is the recommended course of action).

A police officer will come and ask you the following questions…

  • Where the assault took place?
  • What the suspect looks like?
  • How the suspect left the scene?
  • Where there any witnesses to this crime?

Know the Facts on Sexual Assault

  • Rape is a crime of violence and aggression. NOT A SEXUAL ACT.
  • Almost all victims are threatened with death or serious bodily injury.
  • Victims DO NOT provoke the attack. They are generally chosen because they appear vulnerable or defenseless. Over 90% of all rapes are planned.
  • Most rapists know their victims. Over half of all rapes occur in the victim’s home.
  • A rape occurs every eight minutes
  • Intra-family sexual assault or incest is not uncommon.
  • Rape is a crime against society. It effects everyone who is close to the victim: spouse, children and friends. It can have a devastating affect on all involved.

Child Sexual Assault

Children are innocent and are so hungry for love, affection, and acceptance that they accept any actions they view as providing things to them.

If this “affection” comes to a child as bad, the child may not know whether or not to tell, who to tell, or how to tell. Often the child has been threatened in some way which will prevent the child from telling-even if the child wants to tell someone.

If you suspect that your child may be the victim of sexual assault or incest, it is important for you to encourage your child to talk about what may or may not have happened. Discuss the idea of “good secrets” and “bad secrets” as well as the concept of “good touches” and “bad touches” with your child. Contact CAPSEA, Inc. for help and further information.

If You Have Been Raped…

  • Go to a safe place.
  • Call the police. Whether or not you choose to prosecute, you may save someone else from being the next victim.
  • Do not change your clothes, bathe, douche, or wash away the evidence.
  • Go to a hospital to be checked and to have injured treated.
  • Try to recall as many facts as possible about the attacker and circumstances of the assault. Write down anything you remember including the attacker’s clothes, height, weight, skin color, car, license number, etc.
  • Call C.A.P.S.E.A., Inc. or PCAR (800-692-7445). Services are available regardless of whether or not you choose to report the incident to the police.
  • A Sexual Assault Counselor will provide transportation and accompaniment to the hospital and police station. The counselor is there to offer support and answer your questions.

Helpful Pointers in Talking to your Child about Sexual Assualt

  • Try to remain calm
  • Children usually do not lie about sexual assault
  • Find out your child’s name for his or her different body parts.
  • Let your child tell their story in their own words.
  • Talk to our child in a room where they are very comfortable.
  • Let your child know you believe them and are glad they talked to you.

Indicators that Sexual Abuse May be Occurring to your Child

  • Sudden academic difficulties
  • Depression, crying
  • Withdrawal, few friends
  • Regression: child may return to earlier forms of behavior whenever under stress. Examples: Bed-wetting, thumb sucking, excessive clinging behavior
  • Increased irritability and hostility
  • Fears: Child might report new fears, experience frightening nightmares, fearful of going into a particular place, etc.
  • Self-destructive behavior, drug & alcohol abuse, runaway behavior
  • Seductive behaviors, promiscuity
  • Excessive sexual interest

Physical Signs of Sexual Assault

  • Unexplained bruises or cuts
  • Swelling of the genitals, buttocks or inner thighs
  • Recurrent bladder or vaginal infections
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing

Aftermath of Sexual Assault

Aside from the obvious physical ailments resulting from rape and abuse, pain can take silent or hidden forms often resulting in depression or self-injury. Another effect of rape can be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If You Have Been Raped…

  • Go to a safe place.
  • Call the police. Whether or not you choose to prosecute, you may save someone else from being the next victim.
  • Do not change your clothes, bathe, douche, or wash away the evidence.
  • Go to a hospital to be checked and to have injured treated.
  • Try to recall as many facts as possible about the attacker and circumstances of the assault. Write down anything you remember including the attacker’s clothes, height, weight, skin color, car, license number, etc.
  • Call C.A.P.S.E.A., Inc. or PCAR (800-692-7445). Services are available regardless of whether or not you choose to report the incident to the police.
  • A Sexual Assault Counselor will provide transportation and accompaniment to the hospital and police station. The counselor is there to offer support and answer your questions.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

1. Physical Symptoms:

  • Hypervigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty with concentration or memory
  • Mood irritability-especially anger and depression

2. Intrusive Symptoms:

  • Recurring distressing recollections (thoughts, memories, flashbacks, dreams, and nightmares).
  • Physical or psychological distress at an event that symbolizes the trauma.
  • Grief or survivor guilt.

3. Avoidant Symptoms:

  • Avoiding specific thoughts, feelings, activities, or situation
  • Diminished interest in significant activities
  • Restricted range of emotions (numbness)

4. Depression

5. Self Injury

12 Signs of a Batterer:

  • Jealous
  • Blames others (including you) for their faults.
  • Blames circumstances for their problems. (“If I only had a job, I wouldn’t be so upset”)
  • Behavior is unpredictable.
  • Belittles you verbally.
  • Cannot control their anger.
  • Always asks for a second chance.
  • Say they’ll change and they won’t do it again.
  • Their family resolves problems with violence.
  • Plays on your guilt. (“if you love me, you’d ….”)
  • Behavior often worsens when using alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Are close-minded. Their way is the only way.

Signs of an Emotional Abuser

If your partner or someone you care for is treating you in the following ways…they are an Emotional Abuser. Know the signs!

  • Ignored your feelings
  • Ridiculed or insulted you or your most valued beliefs (your religion, heritage, or class)
    ridiculed or insulted women/men as a group
  • Continually criticized you, called you names
  • Shouted at you
  • Claimed you were “crazy” or “stupid”
  • Withheld approval, appreciation, or affection as punishment
  • Insulted or drove away your friends or family
  • Refused to socialize with you
  • Kept you from working, controlled your money, refused to give you money
  • Made all decisions about you, your children, and your activities, etc.
  • Took car keys away or disabled your car
  • Regularly threatened to leave or told you to leave
  • Threatened to hurt you or your family
  • Punished or deprived the children when he/she was angry at you
  • Threatened to kidnap your children if you left him/her
  • Abused pets to hurt you
  • Told you about his/her affairs
  • Harassed you about affairs he/she imagined you having
  • Manipulated you with lies and contradictions

Yes. Anyone can be a victim of abuse.

  • Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any gender, race, social class, or religion.
  • Abuse often occurs without apparent reason or because of some minor occurrence.
  • Alcohol and drugs are oftentimes a factor in the situation.
  • Abuse may increase during pregnancy or times of unemployment.
  • Abuse often occurs in homes where a person feels that their partner is his/her possession and she/he makes them angry.
  • Abuse is the most underreported crime in America, often because of the shame and guilt that the victim feels. Sometimes the victim may wonder if it is a normal part of family life.
  • Victims often do not leave or may return, because of fear that they lack resources to be on their own such as a job, housing, and personal support.
  • Victims sometimes stay because they feel that if it is their fault, they should try to “do better” to keep the family together.
  • Abuse tends to happen in cycles, does not just go away, and tends to get worse over time.

Let Us Help Guide You

Education & Training

CAPSEA’s curriculum is supported by trained presenters and engaging lessons developed to promote physical, sexual, and emotional safety to children, teens, and adults. Over the past four decades, CAPSEA has partnered with school districts, businesses, youth groups, religious organizations, and childcare facilities across the region – we’d love to collaborate with your organization next!

Why Choose cAPSEA?

CAPSEA offers unique, youth-based education programs that:

Learn more about how you can help

help us to help others

If you or someone you know needs help, call our 24-hour Hotline: 

Elk County Hotline: 814-772-1227

Cameron County Hotline: 814-486-0952