Women in Distress

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Women in Distress
Womendistress lg.gif
Abbreviation WiD
Formation 1974[1]
Type Domestic violence center
Legal status 501(c)(3)[1]
Headquarters Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Region served
Broward County, Florida, United States
President and CEO
Mary Riedel[1]
Website www.womenindistress.org

Women in Distress (WID) is a nationally accredited, state-certified, full service domestic violence center in Broward County, Florida.[2] WID adopts an empowerment based model.[3] WID provides victims of domestic violence with safe shelter, crisis intervention and resources, and raises community awareness through intervention, education and advocacy.[4] WID works in partnership with the Broward County Sheriff's Office (BSO).[5][6] At a press conference in October 2009, Florida Governor Charlie Crist commended Women in Distress and Broward Sheriff's Office for their joint efforts to combat domestic violence. Tiffany Carr, the CEO of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) said Broward County had been chosen to lead the rollout of Florida's new $1.2 million program to combat child abuse, because the successful partnership between Women in Distress and Broward Sheriff's Office had rapidly exceeded all expectations.[7]

In 2010-2011, WID received 3,772 calls on their 24-hour crisis line, housed 339 women and children for 15,801 shelter days, and provided outreach services to 1,795 people.[8]

History and Services[edit]

Women in Distress was established in 1972 as a nonprofit agency helping women in crisis, by feminist and women's rights activist Roxcy Bolton.[9]

In 1974,[1] Women In Distress of Broward County, Inc. was co-founded by Edee Greene. WiD's first refuge for homeless women was a donated four bedroom home. Eventually they opened their first crisis shelter, housing 12 homeless women. Following the murder of a client who had returned to her violent spouse to rejoin her children, further donations enabled the purchase of a 54 bed shelter, accommodating children of domestic violence victims and homeless women. In November 1995, the Jim and Jan Moran Family Center opened. In 1999 a $1 million endowment allowed WID to open a second 8-bed shelter in Hollywood.[4]

In 2008, WID expanded with the purchase of a 6-acre campus in Deerfield Beach.[10] The campus included a new Jim & Jan Moran Family Center, with 62 beds and the capacity to expand to 100 beds.[11] Services at the center include crisis intake, individual and group counseling, parenting classes, and respite child care.[2][8] There is also a sub-station of the Broward Sheriff's Office on the site.[5]


To coincide with the county's growing diverse populations, WID has expanded its target communities to include Spanish, Creole, African, Middle Eastern, Russian, and Eastern European communities. Language services are provided by staff in English, Spanish, Creole and Portuguese.[12] WID supports same-sex domestic violence victims through the EAGLE (Ending Abuse of Gays and Lesbians Everywhere…even at home) program.[4]

In 2007, WID received an AmeriCorps grant. Twenty AmeriCorps members now work full-time in community education, each with a special focus area. These include schools, the Latin, Haitian, African American and Caribbean communities, legal professionals, civic groups, corporations, media, faith based organizations, health/fitness, and beauty salons.[4]

Financial effects on Women in Distress[edit]

The 41 domestic violence centers in Florida have seen a 25 to 30 percent increase in their demand for services since 2009. This is due to an increase both in incidents of domestic violence, and in the lethality of these incidents. In July 2011, Mary Riedel, the president and CEO of WID, stated that the steep increase in frequency and lethality of domestic violence is probably due to the impact of the economic downturn and the recession on families.[12] Despite the increasing demands for its services, in August 2011, WID received news of an $8000 funding cut which will impact WID's phone hotline and counseling services.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Women in Distress of Broward County, Inc". Nonprofit report. GuideStar. 2010. Retrieved 16 Aug 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Women In Distress of Broward County, Inc". Directory Listing. Office of the Attorney General of Florida. 2008. Retrieved 15 Aug 2011. 
  3. ^ "October 10, 2006 - "MARDI GRAS CARNIVALE" benefits Women In Distress". Captured Event. Blacktie, South Florida. 2006. Retrieved 15 Aug 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Women in Distress". Women in Distress. 2011. Retrieved 15 Aug 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Women in Distress Grand Opening. Broward County Sheriff's Office. 2011. Archived from the original on 15 Aug 2011. Retrieved 15 Aug 2011. 
  6. ^ "BSO & Women in Distress Team Up to Raise Domestic Violence Awareness". Broward County Sheriff's Office. 2008. Retrieved 15 Aug 2011. 
  7. ^ Domestic Violence Prevention Press Conference. Broward County Sheriff's Office. 2009. Retrieved 15 Aug 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Women in Distress of Broward County, Inc.- GuideStar Exchange Report". GuideStar. 
  9. ^ Buchanan, Edna (1989). "Sex". The Corpse Had a Familiar Face: Covering Miami, America's Hottest Beat. Charter. p. 173. ISBN 1-55773-284-1. 
  10. ^ "PNC Bank buys former Women in Distress HQ". South Florida Business Journal. 1 February 2011. 
  11. ^ "Shelter space for domestic violence victims increasing". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 19 April 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Mary Riedel, president and CEO of Women in Distress, discusses domestic violence trends". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 24 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "Hollywood set to eliminate social-service grants". Miami Herald. 2011-08-08.