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Crisis center launches campaign to help victims access services

By Sue Sitter - | Sep 26, 2020

Sue Sitter/PCT A placard on a shopping cart in the parking lot of Leever’s Foods in Rugby carries information about services available to domestic violence victims.

Help can come from unexpected places.

For local victims of domestic violence, help to access life-changing resources is now available through placards on shopping carts at Leever’s Foods in Rugby.

The placards encourage people needing help and information to call 701-857-2500 to connect with a 24-hour domestic violence crisis line. The placards also advertise the web address courage4change.org, which connects to the Domestic Violence Crisis Center of Minot.

“It has a QR code,” said Marlene Hershberger-Collazo, the center’s community relations specialist as she pointed to a placard she placed on the inside of a cart. “That would take them directly to our webpage.”

The code, a square at the bottom of the placard, says “Scan me.”

“That would take (victims or others seeking information) directly to our webpage,” Hershberger-Collazo said.

“This is with the hopes that someone who can utilize the services themselves or someone who knows someone would be able to safely refer a victim to our services,” she added. “We want people to see that we have services. Resources are available to the community and we want to make sure they know they have those access points, whether it’s the victim who sees it or someone (who can refer the victim).”

“We know that Leevers is here in Rugby,” Hershberger-Collazo added. “It’s the only supermarket here and everybody has to go grocery shopping, right? I felt like this was the way to kind of introduce this message to the masses.”

Hershberger-Collazo said the placards’ presence wouldn’t likely arouse suspicion in domestic violence perpetrators, who often try to keep their victims under control.

“You can see it; you can scan it,” Hershberger-Collazo said. “Everyone’s using a cart, so it’s not suspicious that you’re looking at the sheet that’s on it. You can do it inconspicuously.”

Hershberger-Collazo noted the placards would be placed in supermarkets in communities adjacent to Pierce County.

“We have Leevers in Rolla, and (the placards refer people to) the Family Crisis Center in Rolla and Bottineau Counties,” she said.

“Also, we have placards in J and J Market in Towner. In Renville and Mohall, we have them in Jason’s Market there,” Hershberger-Collazo added.

“It’s just rolling out right now,” she said of the placard campaign. “We’ve been doing this for two weeks.”

Hershberger-Collazo said she plans to survey community focus groups to ask if they’ve seen the ads on the placards. The center is also launching an ad campaign on social and broadcast media, and they hope to measure the campaign’s effectiveness.

“As we have (people seeking services) come in, I hope to have them check a box on a form to see how they were referred,” she said.

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