SafePlace is proud to offer services to survivors of sexual and domestic violence in our community. Our programs are provided under the structure of Residential and Community Services.
Our Residential Services includes our 28-bed shelter, where survivors receive basic needs of safe community housing and food, safety planning, long-term housing advocacy, and support with legal issues. Also included is our children’s program, for our youngest shelter residents. The Children’s Program provides age-appropriate emotional support, safety planning for child and parent, non-violent play activities and parenting support. The third component of our Residential Services includes our 24-hour help line. Trained advocates and volunteers provide callers with information and advocacy, anytime, day or night, with domestic violence and sexual assault crisis needs, as well as follow-up support. The help line is the main entry point for people into our shelter.
Our Community Services Program includes drop-in, multi-lingual advocacy two days a week at our public Community Services office. Additionally it includes our 24-hour sexual assault response program, facilitated community support groups (1 sexual assault, 2 domestic violence, 2 Spanish-speaking and 1 Asian Women’s group), where participants grieve, process, and heal. Finally, our legal advocacy services are also offered to ensure that the survivor’s interests and rights are presented in court, and twice monthly free legal clinics are hosted in partnership with Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
2011 was an exciting year for SafePlace. In addition to celebrating 30 years of service in the community by serving ever more sexual and domestic violence survivors, we were also the proud recipients of one of six 3-year federal grants throughout the nation to establish best practices in working with sexual assault survivors. This grant not only allows SafePlace to provide more and better services to survivors of assault, but the programs and strategies we create will be replicated in similar agencies across the United States. This vote of confidence from the Office of Violence Against Women reflects on the high quality service delivery SafePlace has offered over the past 30 years. We are honored by this award, and excited to implement the project in 2012.
SafePlace is not without challenges. One of the most troubling needs we face is that of accessing long-term or transitional housing for our shelter clients. Of the 150 families that exited our shelter in 2011, only 11% went on to a secure, permanent place to live. Of those who did not move to permanent homes, some went to other emergency shelters, others found family or friends to reside with temporarily, and sadly, some survivors went back to the abusive homes they escaped from or to the streets. SafePlace has identified this as a major issue need for those we serve, and is working to better identify ways to help our residential clients find secure, safe places to reside upon leaving the shelter.