The Bozeman nonprofit that serves survivors of domestic violence has seen an increase in people who need help.

Haven served 1,120 people who lived through an abusive relationship during the nonprofit’s 2019 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

Haven Executive Director Erica Coyle said that number is close to the organization’s 2018 service numbers, which was an increase of 14 percent from the year before.

“Overall, we know the need for services like Haven is going to continue,” Coyle said Monday before she presented the data to Bozeman commissioners.

She said the area’s increase is likely tied to Bozeman’s population growth. The organization also gets an increase in calls anytime domestic violence makes news.

“Which has happened in Bozeman multiple times in the last three or four years,” Coyle said. “We’ve had survivors see a story and say, ‘That could have been me and I’m ready to reach out for support.’”

The presentation followed a $30,000 grant the city of Bozeman awarded Haven last year.

Coyle said that money went toward increasing what the nonprofit offers through the night.

She said previously, full-time staff worked on call to answer Haven’s support line through the night. The city’s grant helped the nonprofit hire staff whose main job is to answer that line overnight.

Those new positions also increased Haven’s nightly in-person response, meaning staff can respond to a call from places like the hospital.

Often, those calls come from city police who are with a survivor of abuse they want to connect to resources. Other times, she said the person who dials that line may need help right away.

“If you’re calling at 2 a.m., usually something bad has just happened, usually there’s been a physical altercation,” she said.

Out of the survivors who tapped into Haven’s services, 145 people stayed in the nonprofit’s shelter.

There were also 331 survivors of domestic and sexual violence who talked with Haven’s legal advocate to navigate the court system.

Coyle said the organization isn’t just providing intervention, which she called a bandage to a longtime issue.

The nonprofit educated 3,351 people throughout the year on healthy relationships, including more than 1,200 teenagers.

At the end of Monday’s presentation, Deputy Mayor Chris Mehl asked what advice Coyle has for people in Bozeman.

Coyle answered Haven can provide education on what domestic violence looks like and how to respond.

She said some people think they have to be physically hurt to qualify for help, but added abuse is about power and control. That extends to financial and verbal abuse, threats and intimidation, Coyle said.

“Survivors often tell us that their biggest fear is not being believed,” Coyle told commissioners.

People can reach Haven’s domestic abuse hotline at 406-586-4111 or go to https://havenmt.org/contact/ for more information.

Katheryn Houghton can be reached at khoughton@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628. Follow her on Twitter @K_Hought.

Katheryn Houghton is the city government and health reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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