Jenny Delacruz serves as the Executive Director of Hazael Haven, Inc. She is passionate about serving women and children experiencing domestic violence, and founded Hazael Haven in 2011 with the help of five women. Jenny is a licensed professional counselor for the state of Pennsylvania. She has served in the social sector field for 10 years as a senior social worker, child and family therapist, and clinician.
Jenny has volunteered as a Life Coach at Epiphany Fellowship Counseling, an Agency Representative for the Division of Social Service, an Events Coordinator at Faith, Hope, and Love Ministry, and an Advocate at Women Rights Humanity & Dignity. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband and son.
Tell us a little bit about your non-profit.
Hazael Haven’s mission is to provide a safe refuge to women and children who have been affected by intimate partner violence. We offer hope and healing through Christ-centered, biblical approaches to counseling, education, prevention, and outreach.
Why did you start Hazael Haven?
As a family therapist, I came face to face with broken families and the prevalence of intimate partner violence that exists in these families. I began to have dreams of serving victims and prayed for direction. My burden to serve this vulnerable population grew as I conducted research and discovered the public health crisis that exists in Philadelphia as a result of intimate partner violence.
In 2012, due to lack of a safe shelter, 8,535 requests for shelter were turned away in the Philadelphia region. I shared my ideas of establishing a safe refuge — that would incorporate biblical counseling — with a few friends and they eventually supported me and became our first board members. The Safe Refuge Project and Hazael Haven’s first Board of Directors were established in 2011.
How does the Bible apply to intimate partner violence?
The Bible makes it clear that God is grieved by abuse and that He hates violence. The scriptures offers hope to victims, because God is near to the brokenhearted and revives the crushed in spirit. A few scriptures that can be applied here are: 1 Cor. 3:16-17, and Col. 3:19.
Hazael Haven is a resource to the church as it addresses issues of intimate partner violence in the church and surrounding community.
Why should Christians care about this issue?
Christians should care about domestic abuse (now coined as intimate partner violence), because God hates violence and will judge violent behavior. Intimate Partner Violence destroys marriages and families.
Christians should care because:
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men, in their lifetime, will experience intimate partner violence in the United States.
- 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence (90% are eyewitnesses).
- 20,000 calls a day nationwide are placed as a result of domestic violence.
- 72% of all murder/suicides are a result of intimate partner violence.
- The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $8.3 billion a year.
- Most cases of intimate partner violence are never reported. (Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence).
- Lastly, Christians should care because marriage is a portrait of the gospel, and intimate partner violence shreds that picture apart.
What’s the best way to help someone in a case of intimate partner violence?
The first thing to do is to listen with compassion and immediately address the victim’s safety. Hazael Haven offers resources and support to individuals and churches in developing a safety plan. Developing a safety plan is crucial, because it’s challenging for the victim to be able to think clearly in a crisis.
What should one do if they find themselves in this situation?
Call the domestic violence hotline for help. 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). It’s operated 24 hours a day. Trained advocates are available to assist you.
How can abused women heal and cope?
A victim can find healing in community. We stress the importance of developing a support system. A woman who is abused is overwhelmed by guilt and shame. She blames herself for the violence done to her. She is wounded emotionally and physically. She feels isolated from the world. Christ, working through a safe and loving community, promotes a sense of safety and hope.
In this atmosphere of community, healing is possible. On September 22nd, we will have an Open House to increase awareness about developing support groups and other resources. We encourage any woman who is interested to contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (267)-291-4558 for more information.
How have you seen God at work so far in this non-profit and what are your plans for the future?
With God’s help, we have been able to support women in crisis and provide education and outreach to universities and elementary schools. We have participated in numerous awareness campaigns during community outreach events.
Our vision is to establish a network of safe homes across the Delaware Valley. Hazael Haven is raising funds to launch our pilot project: Safe Refuge. Safe Refuge will serve as a haven for women and children escaping intimate partner violence. See our website for additional information.