This month, to build awareness for domestic violence awareness, we interviewed Lutheran Settlement House to learn more about their services and how they can be accessed.
Health Fed: What types of services does LSH provide?
LSH: Lutheran Settlement House is a multi-service agency located in Fishtown. We have a bilingual domestic violence program that is available for anyone, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, or socioeconomic background. We provide counseling for teens and adults experiencing domestic violence, group counseling for adults, and children’s counseling for kids ages 3-17 who witness domestic violence in the home. We also have staff available at several area hospitals (CHOP, CHOP Karabots, Einstein, and Jefferson Frankford/Torresdale) who can connect patients and families with lifesaving resources in a crisis. In addition, LSH also has a food pantry available to anyone in Philadelphia. There are no eligibility requirements. We just ask that you sign in with the front desk and wear a mask in the building. We also have a senior center for Philadelphians 55 years and older that offers meals on-site, grocery delivery, and activities ranging from chair yoga to computer classes to movie viewings to art classes. Bingo is always a big hit! Finally, we have a family shelter for families experiencing homelessness that is funded through the city’s Office of Homeless Services.
Health Fed: What information is important to provide to LSH if providers are making a referral or talking with patients about the organization?
LSH: When referring to our domestic violence program, it’s important for us to know the level of crisis the person or family is in. What is their most pressing need? What kind of risks are they facing? And, equally important, the person experiencing abuse needs to decide these answers themselves. LSH cannot provide services to anyone who is uninterested in working with us, because we come from a place of empowerment when working with folks who have most of the control over their lives taken away. It’s also important to not overpromise what we (or any social service) can do. Often domestic violence is so scary to us as professionals that we want the problem fixed immediately, which isn’t always possible. In those cases, we focus on increasing safety in the moment until the need can be met. If you are in need of support outside our business hours of Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, please contact the 24/7 Philadelphia Domestic Violence hotline at 866-723-3014.
Health Fed: How does LSH handle privacy and confidentiality of clients being referred to services?
LSH: As a state-funded domestic violence program, we have absolute privilege with our clients according to the Protection From Abuse Act. That means we have very strict confidentiality standards that are monitored by our state funder, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Without written consent from the client (a form we fill out together that includes an expiration date), we are unable to speak to anyone outside our department about a person’s situation or safety plan—or even acknowledge that we are working with the person at all. For us, confidentiality is rooted in safety, so it is a critical piece of our programming.
To view the activities calendar for seniors, visit https://www.lutheransettlement.org/lsh-services/senior-services/.
To sign up for an intake for domestic violence counseling, call 215-426-8610 ext. 1282. If you are located at one of our partner hospitals above, please contact email@example.com to be connected to your health system’s Intimate Partner Violence Specialist.
To visit our food pantry, stop by our Fishtown location at 1340 Frankford Ave Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm. We also have free Community Meals every 3rd Thursday of the month, and vegetarian options are always available—see here for more details.