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Durham crisis agency adds clinical director

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By Tucker Pollard

Aiming to serve more victims of domestic and sexual violence more directly, the Durham Crisis Response Center has added a full-time director of clinical services.

The agency, which last year provided shelter for 190 women and children, and served another 1,700, expects to increase to 30 to 50, from 10, the number of clients it can serve at any one time, says Dina Helderman, director of community education.

The new clinical director, whose position is funded through Medicaid and private insurance, is Sheila Broderick.

Broderick, who has worked part-time for the center for the past year and uses clinical hypnosis to help clients reduce symptoms related to trauma, will focus on mental-health treatment and intervention services.

She also will better equip the agency to refer clients to therapists “who are specifically trained to address sexual and domestic assault,” Helderman says, and “avoid referrals to people who blame the victim.”

The center, which provides free and confidential shelter, is the only nonprofit agency in Durham offering assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence.

While only five of the center’s staff of 10 people have had professional mental-health training, half of its clients experience some sort of mental-health problem and are not comfortable asking for help for a variety of reasons, including lack of insurance and a sense of shame, Helderman says.

Clients also will be able to receive support such as legal advice, counseling, safety planning and referrals.

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