Ambi Grant: Community Engagement Manager for the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County

This month, I had the opportunity to hear from Ambi Grant, a Community Engagement Manager for the Domestic Abuse Project (DAP) of Delaware County. The Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County is a non profit that works to prevent domestic violence and empower victims to move towards self-sufficiency.

Her Campus:  How did you get involved with the Domestic Abuse Project?

Ambi Grant: I first became involved with DAP as a Volunteer Legal Advocate.  I wanted to utilize my legal education and experience to aid victims of domestic violence in navigating the legal process.  That role allowed me to assist victims in crisis by informing them of their legal options and advocating on their behalf as they petitioned the court seeking  Protection From Abuse (PFA's) orders. The process is typically lengthy and can be overwhelming in the time of crisis. My role was to help guide clients through the process and provide in court advocacy for the initial hearing  to obtain a temporary protection order. Afterwards, clients would be represented at the final hearing by a DAP staff attorney as they seek a permanent order. Advocating for victims of domestic violence has long been my passion and what ultimately lead me to the agency and transition in to my current role.

HC: If you are in an abusive relationship, what should be the first step in reaching out for help?

AG: The first step can look different for each victim, however, contacting a local domestic violence agency is an excellent way to get assistance. Domestic violence agencies are prepared to handle crisis and non-crisis calls and are able to assist in safety planning, accessing domestic violence specific counseling services and many can also assist with obtaining safe housing, if necessary.  

HC: If you believe a friend is in an abusive relationship, how would you best confront the matter?

AG: Any conversation had should be in private (away from others, including family members). It is essential to build trust by having the conversation in confidence, and this is also key to safety.  Listen to them, validate their feelings and let them know they are not alone. Recognize the injustice that is happening and make note that the abuse in not their fault. Let them know that many have suffered abuse and have been able to heal from it.  Be knowledgeable about the domestic violence services in the area, perhaps suggest making a hotline call while you are there to support them. Try to create a safety plan with them, ask what have they done to keep themselves safe and if they have a place to escape if need be. Lastly, recognize their autonomy. They are the expert in their own life and you may not fully understand the depths of their situation. You must respect their right to make decisions for their own life when they are ready to do so.  Even if you do not agree with all of their choices, be the friend that does not go away, so that when the day comes that they are ready to make a life changing decision, they know that they have your support.

HC: What types of resources does the Domestic Abuse Project provide to those who need help?

AG: DAP operates a 24-hour hotline for those in crisis or seeking information on obtaining assistance, along with counseling services, legal assistance, medical advocacy, safety planning, educational presentations and emergency shelter. All services are free to residents of Delaware County, PA.

HC: How can college students support the Domestic Abuse Project?

AG: Students can support DAP by hosting a monetary or an in-kind donation drive, volunteering or participating in a service project.  

If you are in an abusive relationship and seeking help, call the 24/7 hotline at 610-565-4590.