Cornerstone: Rebuilding Lives. Restoring Hope.

Our September speaker, Cheryl Kolb-Untinen, is the Program Director for Cornerstone’s Prevention, Education and Clinical Services program.  In addition to her academic qualifications, she is a certified “Danger Assessor”   and a “Personal Empowerment Facilitator”

Cornerstone has two statewide programs providing services, Day One and General Crime Services.

Founded in 1983, Cornerstone serves the needs of victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual trafficking/exploitation and general crimes. It’s important that people have information on these services and how to access them.
Mission Statement:   Cornerstone’s continuum of service helps to create communities where individuals and families are safe and children thrive.   We advocate, educate, and lead the way to social change.

First:  defining key terms
Domestic violence — Based on Minnesota Statute  518B.01 the Domestic Abuse Act, there are seven relationships types that qualify as domestic abuse:
(a) Family or household members include:
(1) spouses and former spouses;
(2) parents and children;
(3) persons related by blood;
(4) persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past;
(5) persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or
have lived together at any time;
(6) a man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father,regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time; and
(7) persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.
(b) Domestic abuse means the following, if committed against a family or household
member by a family or household member:
(1) physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;
(2) the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or
(3) terroristic threats, within the meaning of section 609.713, subdivision 1; criminal sexual conduct, within the meaning of section 609.342, 609.343, 609.344, 609.345, or 609.3451; or interference with an emergency call within the meaning of section 609.78, subdivision 2.

Sexual violence — Cornerstone services are limited to adult victims and sexually
exploited/trafficked youth.  

There are several agencies in the Metro area that work with children regarding child sexual abuse including the Minnesota Childrens Resource Center at Childrens Hospital and Corner House (which does get confused with Cornerstone) both of which can conduct forensic exams and interviews.   Approximately 70% of victims of adult domestic abuse have had a previous victimization history, many in childhood or adolescence.  

Human trafficking – Minnesota law defines sex trafficking as The “receiving, recruiting,
enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining by any means an individual to aid in the prostitution  of the individual” or “ receiving profit or anything of value, knowing or having reason to know it is derived from [sex trafficking].” Minn. Stat. § 609.321, subd. 7a.

Ms.  Kolb-Untinen added that trafficking involves the benefit of something of value to a third party,  whereas Sexual Exploitation can be something like survival sex, trading sex for some unmet need, like food,shelter or cash going directly to the person who provided the sexual act.
General Crime — Any crime other than the 3 listed above is referred to as General Crime Victim Services. If someone is the victim of any crime, they can seek out services from Cornerstone general crime advocates who can provide direct service or resources/referrals if needed.

Impact of Covid —
Cornerstone runs the statewide helpline for victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence and trafficking/exploitation known as the Day One Crisis Line. This is a service for anyone in Minnesota who needs assistance or wants to speak to an advocate. If looking for shelter, a  victim only has to call Day One to get a referral for available space.   This is in contrast with a common situation in other states where a caller might get a list of places to contact in order to try and find spacein a shelter.  Day One can field the call and transfer it to a location where bed space is available or provide referrals where other desired services can be accessed.
Covid had a visible impact on the number of calls for shelter to  the Day One Crisis Line.  
Comparing a mid-March to mid-April tally, 2019 saw 470 calls, in 2020 they received 388 and in 2021 there were 323 calls.   The Covid lockdown had the unintended consequence of people being kept in the same residence that they may share with an abusive person.   It is significant that some callers stated they were hesitant to come into a shelter for fear of catching Covid. 

However, for the same period, the total number of all contacts (calls, texts, chats, email) were 1392, 1731, 1484 for the same period so actual calls for help rose in 2020.
In response, Cornerstone and nine other agencies applied for additional shelter funding so that clients could be put in individual hotel rooms which lessened the additional worry about contracting Covid.    There were also rooms set aside for people who had tested Covid positive to reduce the worry of Covid spread and to prevent being denied safe shelter.    These programs will be wrapping up at the end of September, 2021.

Services provided
Shelter:  Because funding comes from the Office of Justice programs, shelter is offered on a first come/first served basis to adults and their children escaping a dangerous or escalating situation.   It is focused on serving the immediate safety and support needs of individuals impacted by domestic violence, sexual violence and/or human trafficking.  This includes males up to age 18.  People can stay in emergency housing until their safety needs have been met and while seeking out a longer-term housing solution.   The reason to have some measure for length of stay in emergency shelters is that if people are not moved to other places, Cornerstone won’t have  open beds for new people who need to come in due to being in imminent danger.
Crisis support and advocacy:  Cornerstone can provide access to many resources for people who are seeking help, starting with being a trustworthy place to meet and talk about a participant’s situation and going on to offer options for possible next places and next steps. 

  Cornerstone’s 24-hour Helpline is 952-884-0330  

Adult Services:  Cornerstone offers support groups clinical services which are open to concerned persons and seasoned survivors.  Due to Covid-related stresses which triggered increasing numbers of callers for help, Cornerstone had to start a waiting list for people seeking that help.   Some support groups now meet via Zoom.  Cornerstone also offers support for concerned persons,  that is friends or family who know and care about someone who is experiencing domestic abuse. These support persons need to learn where to go for support for themselves or for the people they care about.

Seasoned Survivors is a group for women who identify as more mature and who no longer have minor children, who may have greater concerns about issues like co-parenting or custody.
A number of services provided by Cornerstone fall under the umbrella of Community and Economic Empowerment Services.   Some of these needs can include food support, crisis  advocacy, safety planning, financial empowerment classes or other service needs. 

Cornerstone  may also be able to assist with some economic needs through the Direct Client Assistance funds.  For instance, if an abuser broke into a victim’s residence through a window or door, this fund may be used to repair the door or the lock.
Cornerstone can provide criminal and civil legal system intervention, though civil services have  been in great demand.   While Cornerstone is temporarily no longer writing orders, they ARE  providing referrals to services that can assist with this.  Additionally, the court system has put a  lot of forms on-line with instructions so people can actually fill out some court papers on their own. 

For criminal intervention, Cornerstone has relationships with about 10 jurisdictions in the Metro area, including Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Richfield, Bloomington and other jurisdictions.  Cornerstone provides a liaison between the victim and the prosecutor so that the victim does not have to come into court for criminal proceedings if they choose not to, when an abuser has been arrested and charged.

Safe Harbor and other Sexual Violence Services, offer services to victims of human trafficking  and to sexually exploited youth and young adults.  Safe Harbor Services are now available to  people up to 24 years old.

Community and Economic Empowerment Services offer classes in financial literacy, and related  services including a rapid rehousing program.  A few years ago, HUD actually changed the definition of homeless to accommodate people fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence.   Until this change, there was not a good connection between identifying people as homeless due to experiencing domestic violence.
Youth services:    Cornerstone offers School-Based Services in middle school and high school  classrooms. They present on topics like dating violence, sexting, healthy relationships and more.   The school based services team created a social justice presentation that was approved by the  district and now can be offered to all Bloomington middle and high schools.
School based Services also includes advocacy to students referred by the schools or who self-refer. Not a Number is an educational group Cornerstone presents for youth at risk of sexualexploitation, though it is temporarily suspended because it can not be presented on Zoom.   We’re hoping it will resume soon.  It teaches youth to recognize what is happening when an adult may be grooming them or actually exploiting them.  [EQ; see]
Advocacy Services
Cornerstone is a resource and referral service to help people impacted by   violence.
Cornerstone offers speakers to explain the need for its services and to offer help to people who need that help.
Cornerstone offers volunteer opportunities to people who want to help others, including working behind the scenes, sorting donations and other services.
Cornerstone offers internship opportunities to people who are post-high school students studying in fields related to the participants we serve, such as social work, criminal  justice and gender and women’s studies..  Right now, Cornerstone can NOT offer Clinical Internships for Masters degree candidates, but hope to restart that soon.
Minnesota Day One Crisis Line – Day One is a network of over 90 victim- and youth-serving  agencies:  Together they provide:

  •  Support: 24-hour crisis supportive services
  •  Safety: Getting and keeping you and your family safe
  •  Housing: Providing emergency shelter and safe housing
  •  Resources:   Support groups, transitional housing, legal advocacy, culturally   specific services and more

CALL:  1-866-223-1111          TEXT: 612-399-9995

Minnesota Crime Victim Support Line.  Under Minnesota law, a crime victim is defined as a person who incurs loss or harm as a result of a crime.   A victim includes the family members,  guardian or custodian of a minor, or an incompetent, or an incapacitated, or a deceased person (Minnesota Statutes section 611A, subdivision 1)   Minnesota Emergency Crime Victim Fund can help pay for emergency costs that arise from being a crime victim such as assistance with the redemption fee for a car recovered from the impound lot, when other resources may not be  available.

CALL: 1-866-385-2699  TEXT: 612-399-9977Summary of ways to connect with Cornerstone Locations/phone numbers are:
Cornerstone  Bloomington (1000 East 80th St.  Bloomington MN)  952.884.0376
Cornerstone Brooklyn Center  (7051 Brooklyn Blvd. Brooklyn Center MN)  952.884.0376
Cornerstone Minneapolis (2249 East 38th St., Minneapolis MN)  612.374.9077
Call first, many services are in high demand and an appointment may be needed

24-hour helpline: 952.884.0330

MN Day One Crisis Line   Call 1.866.223.1111   Text 612.399.9995
MN Crime Victim Support Line   Call 1.866.385.2699   Text 612.399.9977

Facebook: cornerstonemn   and  dayonemn

In answer to the question about certification as a Danger Assessor, and a Personal
Empowerment Facilitator, Ms Kolb-Untinen explained both programs.
Danger assessor certification:   

Dr. Jacqueline Campbell of Johns Hopkins University worked with and studied histories of domestic violence and domestic homicide cases.   She discovered a number of common markers for danger as a relationship goes through an escalation phase.
While nothing is 100%, knowing these markers can give people an idea of where things are heading and what safety planning might be needed. 

Additionally, the most common coping skills Ms Kolb-Untinen has found in victims are
minimization and denial.  Many times when completing the assessment with participants, they  are surprised that the assessment relates so closely to their personal experience. The assessment can provide valuable information to a person who is finding it difficult to acknowledge the extent of what is actually occurring. 

Some Law Enforcement agencies in Hennepin County have assessments they can use when they are dispatched to a domestic call. is the Danger Assessment website which offers on-line training of the tool, and you can also go to  which is the Office of Justice Program PDF   There are also articles about Ms Campbell on Wikipedia.  

QQ from 2nd Precinct:   We have the Cornerstone number to hand out, but people want to know what the cost will be to them.

ANSWER:  Cornerstone referral services are free to anyone who needs them.    The only thing that would be charged for is if a person utilizes clinical therapy.  Fees for that service are on a sliding scale to make that as accessible as possible. 

Minneapolis PD has a contract with Cornerstone to provide a 48-hour phone response service, to work toward whatever the victimseems to need.
Asking about animal abuse in a troubled household, Day One has a program called MNAFAS  (Minnesota Animal and Family Safety)  through which animal care locations/veterinarians can foster and shelter an animal when a victim/survivor is going into an emergency shelter. Many  shelters are a type of communal living situation, so bringing in animals other than trained service animal is not allowed.
EQ:   Minneapolis Animal Care and Control offers safe shelter to animals in this situation also.   The complainant must have an official case file with the police or social services.   MACC will  coordinate with social services to extract the people and animals at an agreed upon time.   The  animal can stay at the MACC for a week free of charge, longer in some circumstances.   The only fee to retrieve the animal is the cost of bringing innoculations up to date and to buy a city  license if there is no license on record.

FFI:    scroll down to 1) Domestic Violence Initiative and item 2 following.

Empowerment facilitator certification: 

Twin Cities Rise is a program started in 1993 by a former General Mills executive, Steve Rothschild, who is now a board member, emeritus.   The current chairman is Donzel Leggett, another former General Mills executive.  This North Side-
based nonprofit works with people who may have been incarcerated or had challenging life situations resulting in not much support, focus on education, and perhaps little training in job  skills. 

Ms Kolb-Untinen related that the first class taught at Rise focused on the hard skillsneeded at the jobs that were lined up.   At the end of the year, very few placed persons still had that job.  Rise officials discovered that emotional intelligence and personal empowerment were necessary components to keep the job. 

Cornerstone can offer these classes where these skills can be learned. This is of particular relevance to Kolb-Untinen because one of her interest areas is the prevention of re-victimization, which is an area of vulnerability for persons who have already experienced victimization. 

Using the Twin Cities Rise Personal Empowerment curriculum, she can helpprevent that by helping people to learn to how to value themselves, set healthy boundaries and other emotional intelligence and personal empowerment skills. (Note: Classes are not currently being offered, please see for their current offerings.)
EQ Twin Cities Rise was featured in two 9/6/21 Star Tribune stories:

QQ What is the new definition of homelessness?
Cheryl :They added: fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, sexual violence or
stalking.  Further comment:  We know that one out of four women and about one out of ten men have experienced physical domestic violence.  Healing does not usually occur in a straight line, you go from here to there and you’re done. Healing is more like spiral, you do some work on the issue and then may need to re-visit parts of it when you experience a trigger or even a milestone event in life. Many people spend their life coping with the effects of victimization, [her] way of coping was using food. In deciding to work in this field,  I needed to move beyond coping and work on healing. It’s not uncommon for victim/survivors to work in the field of advocacy, estimates are that about 65-70% of people called to work in this field are survivors.

QQ: You talked about a general crime fund.   There is also a state Crime Reparations Board.

Cheryl:   We can assist people in accessing Emergency Crime Victim Funds for things like that door that got broken or the car that was impounded. 

Reparations is a little bit different.  Reparations is about longer term financial consequences of experiencing crime victimization such as lost wages, funeral/burial expenses for the survivors of a homicide victim and counseling/mental health services as some of these services can take place over a longer length of time.
Cheryl closed with a reminder that her contact information is [in this report]; if anyone needs it they should feel free to contact Emilie, who will get that to you.


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