Friendship Center

Friendship Center

Chelsea NottinghamThe Friendship Center
Ruah Ferst, Victim Advocate
(406) 442-6800
St. Charles Hall, Room 023, every 1st and 3rd Monday, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
1430 N Sanders St, Helena, MT 59601

The Friendship Center provides dedicated victim advocacy to Carroll College students, faculty and staff.  The Friendship Center has dedicated Ruah Ferst as Carroll College's Victim Advocate.  The Friendship Center is a community resource which provides safe shelter and a broad range of support services to victims of domestic and sexual violence. The Friendship Center's primary objective is to provide immediate safe shelter for adult and child victims and to provide opportunities for them to access the services they need to rebuilding their lives. Services include:

  • 24/7 Domestic violence and Sexual Assault Crisis Line - (406) 442-6800
  • Emergency and Transitional Shelter
  • Crisis Intervention and Emotional Support
  • Support groups and Education Course for Individuals (with free child care during the groups)
  • Individualized Case Management
  • Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice System Advocacy
  • Legal Advocacy, including Order of Protection assistance
  • Limited Emergency Financial Assistance
  • Danger Assessment and Safety Planning
  • Information and Referrals
  • Community Education and Outreach

Ruah also holds office hours in St. Charles Hall, Room 023 each 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. All services are free and confidential.

Order of Protection

What is an Order of Protection?
An order of protection is a court order, signed by a judge, which prohibits the person who has harmed you or threatened to harm you, from having further contact with you. There is no requirement that the abuse be reported to law enforcement. There is no filing fee for orders of protection.

Who is eligible for an Order of Protection?
You can petition for an order of protection if the person abusing you, or threatening to abuse you, is a family member, intimate partner, or former intimate partner. There is no relationship requirement for victims of sexual assault, incest, or stalking.

Where do I file an Order of Protection?
An order can be filed in city, justice, or district court. If you and the respondent have any court actions filed in district court (i.e. divorce and/or custody action), the order must be filed in district court.

How can I file for an Order of Protection?
Order forms are available in the city, justice, and district court offices. The Friendship Center also has order forms, and a trained legal advocate available to assist you in completing the necessary paperwork. The advocate (from The Friendship Center) can also accompany you to court to file your order of protection and can attend the hearing with you, to make the order permanent.

If I receive an Order of Protection, what else can I do protect my safety?
An order of protection is only one part of a safety plan. No one thing can guarantee your safety at all times. Other things that you can do to help you stay safe after you obtain an order of protection include:

  • Trust your instincts; if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't
  • Report all violations of your order of protection to law enforcement
  • Change locks of doors and assess outdoor lighting around your home
  • Create an escape plan from your home
  • Teach your children to call 911
  • Devise a code word for "danger;" share the code word with children, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers
  • Alert trustworthy neighbors about your situation
  • Identify a safe way for necessary communication with your abuser
  • Keep your vehicle locked at all times
  • Alert your employer of your situation and provide them with a copy of your order of protection
  • Avoid places where your abuser goes
  • Keep an emergency bag packed with clothing, money, emergency phone numbers, credit card, toys for children, and prescription medications.