BARRON COUNTY -- Starting January 1, 2019, Embrace Services, Inc. will be expanding advocacy services for domestic violence survivors into Barron County. Embrace is a nonprofit organization that currently works in the tri-county area of Rusk, Price and Washburn Counties.

Earlier this year, Barron County Health and Human Services invited Embrace to consider including Barron County in its service area. “More outreach, prevention, and awareness programs were identified as a need in Barron County, and Embrace’s advanced services will meet this important need,” said Katie Bement Executive Director at Embrace. “Embrace's wrap- around services and program growth over the past several years have been very positive for survivors and the communities of our current tri-county area.”

“Embrace has the capacity to bring innovative and unique approaches to services that will meet the needs of domestic and sexual violence survivors in Barron County,” explained David Willingham President of Embrace’s Board of Directors. “By relying on Embrace's current set-up, the expansion of services will be possible without a major increase in administration costs.”

The Barron County service expansion is funded by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Domestic Violence Outreach Services grant. More Embrace staff members will be hired and a new office will be set up in Rice Lake in 2019 that will allow easy-to-access and high quality services. “Embrace hopes to share an office space with the sexual assault services providers in the County, St. Croix Sexual Assault Response Team and Community Referral Agency (CRA), to create a single hub for services,” said Brittny Olson Domestic Violence Program Coordinator at Embrace.

“Embrace Board and Staff are looking forward to working together with Health and Human Services staff, Law Enforcement, and all community agencies serving survivors to add to the County's system response and reduce the risk of violence and homicides throughout the communities,” highlighted Cassandra Clark Sexual Violence Program Coordinator at Embrace. “Embrace has already begun partnering with local businesses, Badger Brew and Northwoods Promotions, to raise awareness and end the silence around domestic violence as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October.”

“The Embrace Board of Directors is proud of the high quality and effective services provided by our staff and share the excitement of the staff as they embark on this new chapter in the Embrace Services story. Most important of all is to know domestic and sexual assault survivors will have healing services and support available to them to regain hope and build a trauma-free life,” continued Willingham.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or sexual violence—you are not alone! Confidential support and advocacy services are available 24/7. Call 1-800-924-0556 or text 715-532-6976. Reach out, get involved, it’s not your fault. Embracing people, change and equality.

Pictured in the photo from left to rightStacey Frolik - Dept. Health and Human Services (DHHS), Ashley Weinert - DHHS, Mary Dexter - Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald - Sheriff's Department, Katie Bement - Embrace, Brittny Olson - Embrace, Russ Maki - Gordon Correctional Center, Brianna Olson - DHHS, Laura Doberiener - DHHS, Brenda Baribeau - DHHS, Brittany Leintz - Community Referral Agency.

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