According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, on a single day in Idaho, 514 victims of domestic violence sought safety and services from community-based domestic violence programs.Idaho State Police also reported 5,774 incidents of violence between spouses, ex-spouses, and couples in 2017-- not to mention incidents left unreported.
Throughout Idaho, and across the United States, victims are left without proper resources.
The Idaho Crime Victims Needs Assessment has noted a lack of services available to vulnerable and marginalized populations. They also noticed survey trends suggesting that some victims have been denied access to services.
Even if resources are there, victims may feel hesitant to turn to them because they fear not being heard.
For Denise McClure, healing came from opening up Freedom Reigns, Trauma Therapy. As the founder and CEO, she has made it her mission to help others grow.
Freedom Reigns is a nonprofit, Christ-based organization founded on the basis of healing by victims, for victims of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and PTSD. By working with therapy animals, such as dogs and horses, they aim to help victims find their voice and their own strength.
“The animals help individuals who have experienced trauma of some sort find themselves in so many different ways,” McClure said.
Her inspiration for starting Freedom Reigns was simple. She was tired of seeing the pain of abuse, from her personal life and in other victims’ lives.
She has seen the healing properties using therapy animals can promote firsthand.
“Animals don’t judge, they don’t talk back. When a 80-pound child can control a 1,200-pound horse, there’s some serious self-esteem building going on there. It’s magical,” she said.
One of her greatest accomplishments came in the form of a ten year old boy. Coming into Freedom Reigns, he was violent and aggressive, stemming from severe trauma he had experienced.
Through working with Esther, Therapy Reigns’ therapy dog, he has learned how to develop the skills necessary to promote healing.
“We want people to know they’re not alone. The more they tell their story, even if it’s to an animal, pretty soon it’s to a human being, and it’s someone who will listen and advocate and do something for them,” McClure said.
For more information on Freedom Reigns, visit freedomreigns.org or call (208) 221-9555.
Continuing Education/Workforce Training is offering courses that provide additional information about health and available resources. For additional information on CEWT’s health program, please visit cetrain.isu.edu or call us at (208) 282-3372.
Bostaph, King, Gillespie, and Goodson (2015). Crime Victims in Idaho: An Assessment of Needs and Services. Boise State University School of Public Service, Department of Criminal Justice.
Idaho State Police (2017). Crime in Idaho: Crimes against persons. Retrieved from https://nibrs.isp.idaho.gov/CrimeInIdaho/Publication/Active/Sections/3.%20Crimes%20Against%20Persons.pdf
National Network to End Domestic Violence. (2017). Census: ’17 Domestic violence counts – Idaho summary. Retrieved from https://nnedv.org/mdocs-posts/2017-idaho/.