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The Short Version: Survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or human trafficking may sometimes feel like they have nowhere to turn to, but help is always out there. A community of advocates can provide legal guidance, emotional support, and social services to aid those trying to escape bad situations. Based in San Clara County, Community Solutions offers crucial resources for individuals, families, and children facing mental health issues, substance abuse, human trafficking, and sexual or domestic violence. Since 1972, the nonprofit agency has served people in Santa Clara and San Benito counties with proficiency and compassion. Anyone in need can use Community Solutions’ free and confidential programs to recover from trauma and move forward with their lives.
When Lucy gave birth to her first child, she knew she had to protect her baby girl and leave her abusive husband. Although the soft-spoken woman had excused and explained away her husband’s violent behavior in the past, she decided to take a stand and get a divorce for the sake of her daughter.
The advocates at Community Solutions, a nonprofit organization in California, supported Lucy every step of the way. They helped her secure a restraining order and found her and her daughter a shelter where they could feel safe. Ultimately, the team’s good work gave Lucy the resources she needed to tell her story in court and free herself from a cycle of abuse.
Community Solutions started as a teen drop-in center in 1972, but it has since expanded into a full-service support center for survivors of abuse, trauma, and severe family dysfunction. People like Lucy show up at these offices every day hoping to get help in times of crisis. The professional advocates and case managers walk clients through what they can do to heal, recover, and move forward with their lives.
Whether clients need therapy sessions or simply someone to provide them with emotional support as they navigate the legal system, the Community Solutions team is there to do whatever it takes to protect people in Santa Clara and San Benito counties. If you’re in a toxic relationship or fear for the welfare of your family, you can rely on Community Solutions to put you in touch with folks who can help.
“We support individuals as individuals,” said Perla Flores, Program Director at Community Solutions. “Our services are empowerment-based and trauma-informed.”
Every year, Community Solutions works closely with over 4,800 clients in all their programs, and 2,300 of those are survivors of domestic violence. Solutions to Violence is a group of comprehensive programs to support and strengthen clients facing serious challenges in their lives.
In compliance with California law, the state-certified agency has a confidential 24-hour contact line for domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors. You can call 1-877-363-7238 to get in touch with someone who can recommend helpful services and support groups for women, men, children, and families.
From housing assistance to in-person counseling, the team is sensitive to the needs of survivors and works hard to give them access to resources in the legal system, law enforcement, and social services. Clients can also join local support groups where survivors can speak out about their experiences, hopes, and fears.
“We want to support women in a way that’s compassionate to the individual and addresses all forms of gender-based violence,” Perla said. “We’re a liason and a buffer between survivors and the systems they have to deal with.”
Local offices are open Monday through Friday and accept walk-ins. Around 40 people show up every day in search of support. After a thorough screening process, the Community Solutions team will identify what they can do to help survivors of abuse and trauma meet basic needs for shelter, food, and safety. The organization’s confidential and free programs have supported thousands of people seeking a better life for themselves and their families.
Perla described the Community Solutions team as nonjudgmental helpers. The 26 full-time staff members come from different educational backgrounds — some studied social work while others pursued business management — but they all share a common passion for supporting victims of violence and sexual abuse. Some team members have survived trauma themselves or seen a family member deal with abuse, so they can empathize with the people who turn to these offices for assistance.
Although team members go through hours upon hours of training, they all possess a compassionate spirit and can-do attitude that can’t be taught in a class.
“Everybody has a different role to play,” Perla said. “But, at the end of the day, we’re all advocates, and we have to be able to connect with people and meet them where they’re at. We use the skills we have to help clients explore their options and make their own decisions.”
In the coming months, the Community Solutions team plans to develop an evidence-based system to evaluate and handle human trafficking cases more efficiently. Once Community Solutions has perfected its screening tools, the advocates will be able to connect every individual with the particular services he or she needs more quickly than ever before.
“It’s exciting,” Perla said. “Our goal as an agency is to expand and provide survivors of gender-based violence with everything they need in one place.”
A majority of Community Solutions clients are adults between 18 and 30 years old. Perla said that about 60% of clients are Latinas, many of whom are undocumented residents. Because of their undocumented status, these women often fear turning to the state’s legal and criminal systems and face many obstacles when seeking personal safety. Community Solutions is there to help these women without judgment or censure.
The team advocates on behalf of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and works alongside governmental agencies to find solutions for individuals and families in crisis.
“The main priority for us is looking out for our client’s safety.” — Perla Flores, Program Director at Community Solutions
“Community Solutions has helped me learn who I am again. I feel safe now. I couldn’t ask for more,” said Raina, a survivor of intimate partner abuse.
“It’s a huge responsibility,” Perla said. “When a survivor of domestic abuse leaves the relationship, it’s the most dangerous time for them. So the main priority for us is looking out for our client’s safety.”
When Lucy walked into the Community Solutions office, she found people who would have her back as she went through a difficult and dangerous process. The team’s steadfast support empowered her to leave her abusive relationship with her husband and keep herself and her baby daughter safe from harm.
Community Solutions has helped thousands of individuals and families deal with bad situations involving domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other forms of trauma. A nonjudgmental team expertly navigates the legal system and provides free resources to keep clients in Santa Clara and San Benito safe. All year round, dozens of trained professionals assist people of all ages and backgrounds via the abuse helpline and case management program. If you’re facing gender-based violence at home, this nonprofit can help you find solutions on the road to recovery.
“The best thing that happened to me was coming into the Community Solutions program,” said John, another survivor of trauma. “They offer a full spectrum of therapy services… it was a godsend for me.”