SafePlace, a nonprofit agency in Austin, Texas, was created in 1998 with the merger of the local domestic violence and rape crisis centers. SafePlace’s mission is to end sexual and domestic violence through safety, healing, prevention, and social change. In 1996, 2 years before the merger, the rape crisis centers had established a nationally recognized disability services program to educate persons with disabilities about sexual violence prevention and sexuality. Two years later, the program broadened its focus to include domestic and caregiver violence. As national attention on this issue grew, the disability services program began providing consultation and training to other service providers throughout the Nation in developing protocols and community partnerships and in increasing staff members’ skills for providing accessible services. To date, SafePlace staff have provided training and education to more than 50,000 professionals around the state and Nation as well as to persons with disabilities, people who are Deaf, and family members.
The three pilot sites follow:
- Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) of Duluth, Minnesota, has served Duluth and its surrounding communities with coordinated community responses since 1980. Its services include a domestic violence response team in the Duluth Police Department, advocates who help victims navigate the justice system, and individual support for victims of domestic violence. St. Louis County, which is in the northeastern corner of Minnesota, features large rural areas and contains pockets of poverty and isolation. DAIP offers domestic violence training and resources to help this region’s community activists, domestic violence workers, practitioners in the criminal and civil justice systems, human service providers, and community leaders make a direct impact on domestic violence.
- Family Crisis Services (FCS) of Portland, Maine, is a domestic violence project serving victims and survivors in Cumberland and Sagadahoc Counties. The project covers urban, suburban, and rural communities, ranging from Portland, with a population of 64,505, to Frye Island, with a population of 70. FCS was founded in 1977 and serves nearly 4,000 crime victims and survivors each year. The project offers an emergency shelter, support groups and outreach programs in multiple locations, transitional services, and an extensive educational program that focuses on dating violence and youth.
- Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) is a sexual assault intervention and prevention program that has served Columbus, Ohio, and the surrounding suburban cities within Franklin County since 1992. Columbus is both the state capital and the largest city in Ohio. SARNCO is part of the OhioHealth hospital system and works with local law enforcement, hospital systems, and social services agencies to provide medical and social support services to survivors of sexual assault. Services include evaluation and treatment in local emergency departments, emotional support from volunteer advocates, a 24-hour rape helpline, long-term advocacy, referrals to aftercare counseling, and community outreach and prevention education.