A cluster of seven to nine apartments in a near-by neighborhood afford Shelter “graduates” free housing for up to one year, together with continued individual and group counseling as well as legal aid.
For the women who come to the Jerusalem Shelter, physical distance from their batterers is not a solution to their predicaments but only a first step toward a new life. Many lack self-confidence and are unaware of their basic rights. They often have limited education, few life-management skills, and little or no earning ability.
Their stay in the Shelter is not only a respite from violence but also a chance to attempt to address needs that have been long neglected and that keep them in the vicious cycle of dependence and violence. But four or five months in the safety and security of the Shelter is only the beginning of a process which our experience has shown requires energetic follow-up and consistent maintenance. For nearly 20 years Woman to Woman has provided this on-going framework in the form of seven to nine “halfway” apartments, all located in the same Jerusalem neighborhood, for families who have gone through the Shelter experience and are on the way to independent lives.
Every year the program can offer 25-30 women and their children free housing for 6-12 months, group and individual counseling, tuition in life skills, vocational guidance, continued legal aid, and activities for children. A vibrant tutorial program allows the children in the Halfway Housing to enjoy individual homework help so that they can keep up with their school work despite the physical and emotional upheavals. Hundreds of women have benefited from the program since its inception; nearly 90% of them have not returned to abusive situations and have successfully integrated into communities all over Israel.
On the basis of its innovative Halfway Housing program, in January 2009 Woman to Woman was awarded the prestigious Knesset Speaker’s Quality of Life Prize for its contribution to society and the community in combating domestic violence.