‘A Way Out’ for Those Facing Violence and Abuse

In northern Wisconsin, New Day Advocacy Center provides shelter, counselling advocacy and support
Apr 18, 2024 12:25 PM ET
Sunrising in the distance

Physical safety. Protection and advocacy. A way out.

These are what victims of family violence and sexual abuse urgently need, and it’s what they will find at New Day Advocacy Center (NDAC) in Ashland, Wisconsin, a small city of 8,000 on the shore of Lake Superior.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for victim supports has been rising.

“In 2023, we served 294 people, which was a 15% increase over 2022,” says NDAC’s executive director Lyle Poppe.

“We're in a very rural, sparsely populated area. To have 294 victims who need support is astronomical,” he adds. “It speaks to the need for these services and for education and outreach work to prevent victimization going forward.”

NDAC’s assistance is broad, covering a range of services to keep victims safe. The non-profit offers emergency shelter, a 24-hour crisis hotline, counselling, advocacy and financial support, in addition to life-skills education and career services. They deliver education and awareness campaigns to prevent human trafficking and to help people recognize and prevent bullying, controlling and abusive behaviors.

They also help their clients plan how they can get out of dangerous and unhealthy situations.

“A big part of our work is helping people with safety planning,” Poppe says, noting the work is specific to each person and their relationship with the perpetrator. “We ask, who are safe people in your life? How can you get out of an emergency situation? What are the key markers that something is going to happen, so you know how to react to keep safe?”

This work is essential and can be life-saving. He shares a sobering statistic: 96 people died of causes directly related to domestic violence in Wisconsin in 2023.

To meet the urgent and rising need, NDAC has doubled its service area in 2024, expanding from two to four counties in the north of the state. They recently added a new position, an advocate who focuses on working with marginalized communities, specifically Indigenous people from three nearby tribes—Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

“We are sensitive to underserved communities,” Poppe explains, noting a third of their clients are Indigenous.

The support of funders is essential to the non-profit’s growth.

Enbridge has been supporting NDAC’s mission since 2021. Last year, we contributed a $50,000 Fueling Futures grant to continue to help NDAC deliver its programming to protect children and families.

Safety is our top priority—in the workplace, at home, and in the community—and we are proud to support the vital work being done by NDAC.

Poppe says he could share many stories of lives saved and destinies changed for the better, thanks to NDAC’s services.

One client summarizes the impact succinctly: “(NDAC) helped me stay alive."