Middle Way House
Middle Way House is a nonprofit domestic violence and rape crisis center dedicated to helping women and children who are the victims of domestic abuse, rape, or sexual assault.
The center was created in 1971 with a mission of providing crisis intervention services to people in Bloomington, and it operated that way for ten years. It provided peer counseling to substance abusers, operated a venereal disease clinic, and provided a 24-hour crisis hotline.
In 1981, Planned Parenthood and the South Central Community Mental Health Center opened, and Middle Way House narrowed its focus to abused women and children. While continuing the crisis hotline, the agency opened a domestic violence shelter and support group facilitation.
Over the next fifteen years, the shelter worked with the city to dramatically expand its offerings. It opened children's programming in the shelter, a rape crisis center, a legal advocacy program, and a resource center. It also expanded its area of service to all of south-central Indiana, and began providing support to police at domestic violence and sexual assault calls. In addition, it began a range of offerings meant to provide support to women and families on the brink of homelessness, including employment at Confidential Documents Destruction and Middle Way Food Works.
In 2008 Middle Way House purchased the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant on South Washington Street and is operating from that location.
Today, the agency offers a large variety of services to its clients.
Middle Way House continues to operate its Crisis Hotline: a 24-hour Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Hot Line (812-336-0846) staffed by paid employees and trained volunteers who help callers through dangerous situations, provide information and referral, and act as sympathetic listeners.
The agency operates a transitional housing facility, The Rise!, for female-headed families that have been victims of violence.
It offers a series of support groups for:
- women coping in the aftermath of domestic violence
- parents coping with single parenthood in the context of past domestic violence
- children and youth living in shelter and transitional housing
- survivors of sexual assault
It offers Case Management. Case workers work with residents and clients to determine the shape of their future. Children at Middle Way House also have their own advocate/case manager. As soon as they are old enough, children are encouraged to meet with their advocate to discuss any problems they are encountering in shelter, at school, or in the larger community.
Rape Crisis Center
If offers 24-hour crisis intervention to victims of rape, incest, and sexual assault, and sexual harassment, as well as support consultation for survivors from 8AM until 6PM, as well as counselling for family members and friends of victims. A support group for survivors assaulted as adults provides ten to twelve weeks of structured discussion on the aftermath of rape, the healing process, and self-nurturing.
In addition, consultation and training is provided to other professionals in the community (counselors, teachers, physicians and emergency room personnel, law enforcement, and clergy) working with rape survivors.
For information about the Rape Crisis Center or a rape support group, individuals can contact Middle Way's Crisis Services Coordinator at (812) 333-7404.
Child Care and Programming
Middle Way House operates a licensed childcare program which serves pre-school and school-age children whose parents are participating in Middle Way's programs. For school-age children, after-school programs are availble to provide homework help and tutoring, recreation, arts and service projects, as well as mentoring opportunities.
The agency provides advocates to meet with clients to help them understand their legal options, prepare them to give testimony, and otherwise shepherd them through the legal system. The agancy also monitors courtroom hearings and trials to gauge the ability of victims to meaningfully participate. Periodically the agency issues reports and educational packets to summartize these findings.
Middle Way House provides many public presentations and trainings. Sessions are generally on sexual assault, domestic, or dating violence are targeted to church groups and service clubs, other social service providers, and law enforcement
One important presentation is the Rape Prevention Program. Targeted at high school and younger students, this program encourages participants to discuss attitudes about sexual assault victims and perpetrators, and provide them with information about consequences and resources.
The agency provides opportunites for women wishing to enter the workforce. Along with the two wholly-owned businesses that are staffed by clients, Middle Way House provides opportunities for skills training and also support for women interested in opening their own small business.
Volunteer opportunities and training
Most of the programs listed above require significant volunteer assistance. Almost all volunteers must undergo at least 8 hours of domestic violence training. Volunteer positions include:
- Crisis Line manning
- On-Scene Advocates (O.S.A.)
- Children's Programming leaders
- Rape Prevention Program speakers
- Legal Advocates
- Women's Program Support
- House Managers
- Life Skills Educators
- Administrative Development
- Site Management Support
- Adult Educators
- Share Store and Food Bank workers
- Jump Start Program workers
- Daytime security
- Official website: http://www.middlewayhouse.org/