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InterAct faces rising demand

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Leigh Duque

Leigh Duque

Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — At InterAct of Wake County, which serves adults and children who have suffered from domestic violence or rape and sexual assault, demand for services has tripled in the past two years.

To better address that demand, InterAct and eight other agencies are providing a broad range of services in the $10 million, 60,000-square-foot facility InterAct opened two years ago on Oberlin Road in Raleigh.

Clients who visit the facility can find mental-health services; primary medical care; legal assistance; police intervention on family violence; substance-abuse counseling; life-skills training; a meal, as well as culinary-skills training; programs on self-reliance and empowerment; and aquatic activities and after-school and summer day-camp programs.

“It’s one-stop shopping,” says Leigh Duque, InterAct’s executive director. “It’s all of the services and support that a victim of domestic violence or rape and sexual assault would need under one roof.”

Before it moved into the new facility, InterAct was seeing seven families a day, compared to 23 families a day this year, when demand for services has been growing another 5 percent, says Duque, who joined InterAct in August after serving as chief development officer for the Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines.

Operating with an annual budget of nearly $3.2 million and roughly 60 employees, InterAct served nearly 42,000 people in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, up from over 31,000 three years earlier.

Those clients included 7,000 who were direct victims of domestic violence, or rape and sexual assault, including adults and children.

The agency also provided 35,000 people with community-based services, such as community outreach, training in workplaces, and education services for youth.

Two 24-hour crisis lines, one for domestic violence and the other for rape and sexual assault, fielded a total of over 15,000 calls in the most recent fiscal year, up from 12,000 the previous year and 10,000 two years earlier.

InterAct also provides counseling for children and adults; an emergency shelter with 45 beds, up from 18 two years ago, and serves 300 children and adults a year; and court advocacy for about 2,700 clients a year.

And the SAFE Center it operates at WakeMed, providing forensic exams for sexual-assault victims, will move to InterAct’s facility in April.

InterAct also offers a youth education program that serves 12,000 students in grades three through 12 in the Wake County public schools, providing a full curriculum on violence prevention.

Providing all its services for free, InterAct counts on public support for 81 percent of its budget, and on over 1,000 volunteers who last year contributed over 39,000 hours valued at nearly $814,000.

The agency now is working with Fidelity Investments, which will provide strategic consulting on a pro-bono basis to help the agency build its capacity in areas such as planning, program development and resource development.

The nine agencies at InterAct’s facility, which meet once a month to share information about their programs and operations, and talk about ways to work together, are focused on better coordinating services for clients, Duque says.

“It’s a single point of entry,” she says, “and wrapping those supports and services around the clients based on their individual needs.”

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