Blog Archives - Human Options

Success Stories: Charlotte’s Story

After enduring more than six years of physical, verbal, financial and emotional domestic violence, Charlotte took the first step in her healing journey by entering Human Option’s Emergency Shelter with her two children, Sara and Evan, who were only one and three years old. The last physical aggression by her partner happened in front of her children and that gave her the strength to call law enforcement. Sara, at only 3 years old, told the officer with tears in her eyes that “daddy was being very mean to mommy, broke her phone, yelled too loud and needed to go away”. High levels of stress, anxiety and worry led Charlotte to…

Success Stories: John’s Story

John, age 10, arrived at our Emergency Shelter with his mother and younger sibling in November, 2021. After fleeing from an extremely dangerous and violent situation, this family received motel vouchers for two weeks through Extended Stay America and entered our Human Options Emergency Shelter. Upon arrival, John was extremely quiet, disengaged, and scared for the safety of his family. He would say he wasn’t interested in joining Children’s Program as he wasn’t interested in anything and didn’t want to leave his family alone as it was his job to protect them. Additionally, his interest in life was minimal and frequently discussed suicide with his mother. After Children’s Program was…

Meet Our Chief Operations Officer!

We are so excited to announce our new Chief Operations Officer, Sara Behmerwohld, Esq.! Sara has led the Legal Advocacy Services and Program at Human Options for the last 8 years and most recently has served in the role of interim Chief Program Officer. Sara’s passion for addressing domestic violence, her demonstrated strength in enhancing operational efficiencies and leading high impact programs will be of tremendous value in her new role! Sara is a member of the HOME Cohort, our statewide work on the intersection of domestic violence and homelessness and leads Human Options Criminal Justice Response partnership with the Santa Ana Police Department. Additionally, Sara is the Chair of…

Press Release: Orange County Domestic Violence Death Review Team Releases Decade-Long Study Highlighting Fatality Trends & Recommendations for Prevention & Intervention 

IRVINE, Calif., February 16, 2022 — The Orange County Domestic Violence Death Review Team (DVDRT), a multidisciplinary task force, released its first ever study that analyzed a decade of trends in domestic violence fatalities. The team reviewed county coroner case files from 2006 through 2017 and analyzed domestic violence-related homicide and homicide/suicide cases to develop recommendations for community prevention and intervention initiatives in reducing and eradicating domestic violence. The DVDRT is co-chaired by Maricela Rio-Faust, Chief Executive Officer of nonprofit Human Options, and Professor Jane Stoever, who directs the University of California, Irvine School of Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic and the UCI Initiative to End Family Violence and includes multiple…

Program Highlight: LAV Project

The LAV Grant Program is intended to increase the availability of civil and criminal legal assistance needed to effectively aid adult and youth (ages 11 and older) victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking by providing funds for comprehensive direct legal services to victims in legal matters relating to or arising out of that abuse or violence. From its inception, this project involved regular, two-way dialogue from Human Options and Community Legal Aid SoCal about the systemic barriers we were seeing with our clients–and how we could address them–together. When this project began in 2018, no one could have foreseen how much more challenging navigating the legal…

Success Stories: Kim’Story

Dear Human Options, My name is Kim and I had great support from Human Option in 2006 due to domestic violence. I was really in need during that time. I remember I didn’t know how to use phone in the public phone booth, I could not drive, I did not know how to use a taxi, I was not comfortable in English…and most important I did not know my rights. Until I found Human Options.   With help from a friend, I was able to find an opening in Human Options even though was living in a different county. I still vividly remember the first day that I was escorted…

Success Stories: Suzette’s Story

Suzette and the father of her children had not been together in over five years after she completed our Legal Advocacy services to seek help and get away from her ex. Moving on and into a new relationship, Suzette’s ex began stalking both Suzette and her partner threatening to kill them both. As she was heading home one night, her ex showed up with two of his friends. As she got out of her car to go into her home, she was grabbed from behind, and started getting punched her face and head. Suzette yelled for help but continued to get physically abused. Suzette’s neighbors ran out to try to…

Success Stories: Maddie’s Story

When two year old Maddie first arrived at our emergency shelter, she showed no emotions and wouldn’t talk to anyone. Spending her first two years of life in a constant state of chaos, she suffered from severe developmental, emotional and behavioral problems.   Relationship violence has a tremendous impact on brain development. From delayed verbal and motor skills, anxiety and depression, to difficulty identifying and expressing emotions, the effects of trauma can be deep rooted and long lasting in young children.   Fortunately our programs promote resilience and strengthen children’s ability to cope with their exposure to violence, improves the mother’s emotional state and her parenting skills, and enhances parent-child…

Human Options Fall Luncheon Event Raises Nearly $200,000

IRVINE, Calif., (October 14, 2021) – Human Options hosted its annual Fall Luncheon on October 14 at the Marriott Irvine Spectrum, and via live-stream, to help educate and raise awareness about relationship violence. The event, held during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, raised nearly $200,000 to support Human Options’ relationship violence programs, including a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling program, legal advocacy and community education. The event featured a conversation with journalist, author, and domestic violence advocate Rachel Louise Snyder, highlighting the theme of her book, No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us. Named a top 10 best book of 2019 by…

Helping Victims of Relationship Violence Navigate the Legal System

Our legal system is complex, and without adequate resources and services, navigating the legal system is even harder. Our Legal Advocacy Program has seen a heightened increase in need for services and have been able to help families through the support of pro-bono attorneys, like O’Melveny & Meyers LLP. Our partnership has been critical in helping victims and survivors navigate the legal system.  To read more click the digital issue here on pages 46 and 47.