CGMA provides financial security for victims of domestic violence > United States Coast Guard > My Coast Guard News

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) recently formalized its financial assistance to victims of domestic violence through its Safe Harbor program. This development also coincides with Domestic Violence Prevention Month, which is observed throughout October.

The Safe Harbor program provides a combination of grants and interest-free loans as needed for housing, food, transportation, and childcare costs. The amount of funding and duration of assistance CGMA provides to help survivors may vary from person to person depending on the survivor’s needs and circumstances. Erica Chapman, CGMA Educational Services Specialist adds, “We want this program to provide immediate, short-term support until other resources become available. This could mean up to several months of care.

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), safe housing and shelter accounts for more than 50% of unmet service requests made by survivors in the United States. This is one of the reasons CGMA stepped in during the pivotal time of leaving an abusive situation to allow more survivors the resources needed to transition.

Jessica Manfre, Case Manager and Certified Social Worker with CGMA, explains: “Leaving is often the most dangerous time for victims of violence. Financial support during this vulnerable phase is a crucial step in empowering a person to take the steps that will keep them safe and give them a greater chance of success away from an abusive situation.

Some victims of domestic violence will find out about CGMA services through other programs they offer and others will be referred by caring friends or family members. “We’ve supported survivors in a number of ways before, but we’re expanding support with this official program,” Chapman said. “The government is providing a transition allowance, but it can take several months for this to be processed and the funds to be issued. Still looking for a way to keep us out.

If you are looking for help and resources, you can also contact your local Work-Life field office, Family Advocacy Program, at 202-475-5100. A Family Advocacy Specialist is available to offer free and confidential support, advice, safety planning and resources.

The Coast Guard officially responds to more than 300 incidents of domestic violence each year. About 60% of them include people involved in previous cases. These are only reported and investigated cases. Statistically, unreported cases are likely to exceed three or four times that number. It is not currently known how many children are being abused since these cases are usually reported as domestic violence.

One of the earliest Safe Harbor recipients summed up the power of that support: “It was by far the most difficult time of my life. I lived in fear and isolation for years. My [child] gave me the strength to flee, my greatest thanks for your help in changing the course of [their] life.”

This is the type of hard-hitting support that CGMA envisioned. “The Safe Harbor program mobilizes financial support as a haven for those taking steps to seek freedom that would otherwise be complicated or delayed,” said Rear Admiral (Retired) Cari B. Thomas, Executive Director of the CGMA.

To request assistance, please email Jessica Manfre, CGMA Case Manager or call 571-438-9501.

Additional Resources:

  • If you are a victim of domestic violence or need help to feel safe online or in your relationship, contact your local Work-Life Field Office, Family Advocacy Program, at 202-475-5100. A Family Advocacy Specialist is available to offer free and confidential support, advice, safety planning and resources.
  • CG SUPRT – CG SUPRT is available to help active duty members, reservists, civilian employees and family members with a full range of issues such as financial issues, relationship discord and other stressors at the work.
  • Call 1-855-CG-SUPRT (247-8778) or go online.
  • Chaplains – Chaplains are invaluable resources. Call 1-855-USCG-CHC (872-4242) or connect with them online.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). This hotline can provide information on shelters, housing, advice, job training and legal assistance in your area.
  • Coast Guard Legal Assistance – Coast Guard Legal Assistance attorneys provide free advice and counsel regarding personal legal matters. Find a legal aid attorney.

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