The Advocates Crisis Support Services team from left, Bruce Cummings, Gerard Geis, Pattricia Maradiegue de Wagner, Denise Bagley and Sharon Farquhar.

Photo by Erin Fenner

The Advocates Crisis Support Services team from left, Bruce Cummings, Gerard Geis, Pattricia Maradiegue de Wagner, Denise Bagley and Sharon Farquhar.

Advocates Crisis Support Services speaks out for victims in need

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Advocates Crisis Support Services is here to help victims in need.

The agency that reaches out to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault started in a Craig basement in 1978. Since then, the nonprofit has expanded their space to offer a shelter for families who need a place to stay during a tough transition. The agency also added to their resources to reach as many people in the community as possible.

“The main programs that people know us for is that we’re the domestic violence and sexual harassment agency,” said Sharon Farquhar, executive director of Advocates. “One thing that is kind of unique about any organization that serves victims of domestic violence or sexual assault is that our services are protected. Nothing about our services can ever be subpoenaed to court.”

Advocates also makes sure to help immigrant families, children and men in their services. The only people they turn away are the abusers, Farquhar said.

“Our job is to advocate for the victim,” she said.

Domestic violence and sexual assault are issues that affect everyone, she said.

“Domestic violence and sexual assault are not a woman’s issue. If we treat it as a women’s issue then we’re really never going to prevent the problem,” Farquhar said.

That means that the organization, on top of addressing the needs of victims who want out of a bad situation or who are seeking assistance through tough court proceedings, also works to educate the community about this sort of violence so friends, family and neighbors can help each other and prevent victimization.

“Outreach to men and boys is really important,” she said.

A shift in culture, away from that type of violence, takes everyone, not just women, and men and boys can be victimized as well, she said.

Among other things the agency provides 24-hour counseling, non-clinical counseling and an emergency shelter.

Sometimes they provide services “just depending on what someone needs,” Farquhar said. “There is no one that we would turn away.”

Because they seek to help everyone they have several employed advocates who handle their cases with a specialized approach: a children’s advocate, men and boy’s advocate and a Latina outreach coordinator, Patty Maradiegue de Wagner.

Maradiegue de Wagner came into her position from a place of experience: she was a client of Advocates in 2001. Then she started volunteering, and eventually became an employee and integral part of the team.

“I receive all of the help and for me it was like a blessing and I like to share this experience,” she said.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@craigdailypress.com.

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