GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

January 2, 2013

HAWC ordered to make changes at shelter

SALEM — The managers of a battered women’s emergency shelter run by the regional Healing Abuse Working for Change — or HAWC — program will be required to develop an improvement plan, provide additional training for employees and establish set policies for terminating services for residents, following a six-month investigation into allegations of mismanagement and a “climate of abuse” at the Salem facility.

The report, completed last month by the Department of Children and Families and turned over to HAWC, found that many of the claims by residents of the Salem shelter were unfounded, including accusations that residents were subjected to humiliating or retaliatory behavior by staff after they complained about conditions, including an allegation that they were forced to fight over donated clothing and beg for supplies or cots.

“Overall, the investigation showed that HAWC was diligent in maintaining good relations with residents, and the complaints were not typical,” said Nancy Sterling, a spokeswoman for the organization, which received the report late this month.

But the shelter has not been accepting any new residents since the allegations first came to light in a letter from attorneys from Neighborhood Legal Services to the Department of Children and Families, which administers grant money used to fund the home. While HAWC is based in Salem, it offers services throughout the North Shore and participates in a number of fund-raising efforts in Gloucester and across Cape Ann, as well.

Neighborhood Legal Services was representing at least six residents of the shelter in eviction proceedings in the Housing Court.

Cayenne Isaksen, a spokeswoman for DCF, said the agency supported the decision by HAWC to stop taking in new residents until the issues, including the development of a clear policy on termination from the program, were addressed. Neither Isaksen nor Sterling could say whether there are currently any residents at the shelter.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape