Several people are reporting that they have been approached by a woman (maybe more than one) saying she had been a victim of domestic abuse and asking for train or bus fare to a shelter. When people have helped it became clear that the woman just wanted the money. These incidents have occurred over several months.
West Philly resident Kyle Cassidy wrote on the UCNeighbors listserv today:
I was on a neighbor’s porch last night when a young woman approached us saying that her boyfriend had just beaten her up and she needed to get to a domestic violence shelter but the nearest one was in XYZ and she needed cab & train fare. The neighbor is a social worker and was sure there was some place closer. With your help we rapidly found a nearby shelter, the neighbor called and found a bed available on 13th and arch — put the young woman on the phone with intake and she proceeded to have a bizarre one way conversation along the lines of “you’re closed? the only shelter you know if is in XYZ? That’s so far away. I’ll see if I can get cab and train fare.” Neighbor spoke to intake again who denied telling the young woman this at which point she walked away.
Since that posting several people have reported similar experiences. Obviously, the tricky part of this one is that no one wants to turn someone away who really needs help. No one has reported that this woman (women) has become combative or violent, so calling the police probably is not the answer. Below are some numbers that might be helpful if this happens to you. They are for local shelters, complaint hotlines, the UC Ambassadors, etc., who could help a person if they are legit. Thanks to resident Theresa Tsai for the following info:
• Abuse Assistance Unit
34 South 11th Street, Room 242
Philadelphia, PA 19107
• Women Against Abuse Hotline
215-386-7777 (24 hours)
(shelter request made through them)
• Women Against Abuse Legal center
• Women in Transition Hotline
215-751-1111 (24 hours)
• Southwest Domestic Abuse Unit-West & Southwest Division (12th, 18th,16th,19th
5510 Pine S. Street
• UC Ambassadors