Last week WINDOW Victim Services announced on Facebook that they will be closing their doors after more than 30 years of service.
WINDOW served Carlton, Kanabec and Pine counties. The mission statement of WINDOW Victim Services was to provide advocacy services for crime victims, strive to provide a safe community through education and work to change attitudes and values that tolerate and accept abuse.
WINDOW Victim Sevices got its start in early 1986, when a group of women came together to form “The Northern Pine County Alliance for Women” and began assisting women and children fleeing domestic abuse and began working toward the establishment of a 24-hour crisis line and a network of safe homes. In August 1986, the Alliance formally incorporated as W.I.N.D.O.W. (Women In Need Depending on Other Women).
Longtime WINDOW Executive Director Lisa Lilja wrote a plea for public support in April. “Our state government is withdrawing funding from WINDOW which will result in its closure,” Lilja said. “This is a devastating loss for nearly 2,000 victims served by WINDOW each year.”
In a May editorial, State Senator Jason Rarick also pledged his support.
“WINDOW has been a triumph,” Rarick wrote. “Consider their 2018 results: in only one year, 1 in 50 people in the entire Senate District were directly helped by WINDOW’s services. This is a staggering achievement. Last year they advocated for 961 primary and 88 secondary crime victims, served 509 primary and 69 secondary victims of domestic violence, supported 57 primary and 27 secondary victims of sexual assault, and supervised 95 children at visitation centers, and nurses within their innovative SANE program provided rapid crisis response to 28 sexual assault survivors. It is a testament to the outsized impact a small organization can have on a community. Unfortunately, WINDOW is at risk of being shut down by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Office of Justice Programs (OJP).”
The final Facebook post from WINDOW read:
“After 30 + years of advocacy for victims in Carlton, Kanabec and Pine Counties WINDOW Victim Services will be closing our doors on October 1st, 2019.
“We have been proud to work with other organizations committed to advocacy, standing strong with victims and will miss our staff, co-workers and friends.
“As of Sept. 20, advocacy will turn over to Family Pathways and on Sept. 28, supervised visitation will also turn over to Family Pathways.
“Please contact them through their 24 hour crisis line; 1-800-338-7233”
The WINDOW Victim Services Facebook page has since been taken down.