About Us - Human Options

Our Story

Human Options began with three leaders – Vivian Clecak, LCSW, Director of the Orange County Department of Mental Health in South Orange County, Carolyn Churm, Chairman of the Mental Health Advisory Board, and Margaret Thoreau, Vice Chairman, taking the lead in learning about domestic violence in Orange County. In 1981 a fourth founder, Anne Wright, joined them. Stunned by the stories they heard from clients and the awareness that one in four women is a victim of domestic violence at some point in her life, they dedicated themselves to making a difference.

From its earliest days, Human Options has been committed to innovation. We opened the first battered women’s shelter in South Orange County, growing from a small grassroots agency to a multi-service, countywide program. We began the first domestic violence prevention program for teens in local high schools in 1984 and the first transitional housing program in Orange County in 1993. We also developed the only program in Orange County dedicated to serving seniors who are victims of family violence.

We have been leaders in partnerships for early intervention and prevention. Our educational programs have impacted major health systems, and our legal advocacy program guides clients through complex legal issues. From the beginning we provided counseling programs for women and children and we have continued to strengthen our services to help clients heal from the trauma of domestic violence. Today, our mission and vision remain strong.

Mission: Human Options provides safe haven and life changing programs to help abused women, their children and families rebuild their lives – and works with the community to break the cycle of domestic violence.

Vision: A world in which no woman or child should ever feel afraid in her/his home.

To date we have served:
More than 32,419 individuals in our counseling and shelter programs
More than 70,984 hotline callers and crises
More than 328,288 individuals in our prevention programs

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