Aug 25, 2021

The Center provides over 8,000 services to 210 sexual assault victims

The Center for Safety & Change, Inc. (“the Center”) is a nonprofit agency whose mission is to develop strategies to end gender-based violence and provide shelter and supportive services that empower survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse and other crimes. Since its inception in 1979, the Center has been Rockland County's sole provider of domestic violence residential and non-residential services certified by the NYS Office of Child and Family Services and Rockland's only New York State Office of Victim Services designated Victim Assistance Program. In addition, all of the Center’s staff are certified and trained by the New York State Department of Health, all staff and volunteers are certified rape crisis counselors, and, within the last decade, the Center became the sole provider of services to victims of human trafficking.

The Center offers a comprehensive continuum of programs and services that are available in multiple languages to all victims, free of charge, regardless of age, citizenship, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. These services include, but are not limited to:

• Information and Referrals: information about the criminal justice process, information about victims’ rights, referrals to other victim service programs, and referrals to other services, supports, and resources;

• Advocacy and Accompaniment: victim advocacy/accompaniment to emergency medical care, victim advocacy/accompaniment forensic exams, law enforcement interview advocacy/accompaniment, individual advocacy, performance of medical forensic exam or interview, or medical evidence collection, immigration assistance, intervention with employer, creditor, landlord, or academic institution, childcare, transportation assistance, and translation/interpretation services;

• Emotional Support and Safety Services: crisis intervention, hotline/crisis line counseling, on-scene crisis response, individual counseling, support groups, therapy, and emergency financial assistance;

• Shelter and Housing Services: emergency shelter, transitional housing service, and relocation assistance; and

• Criminal and Civil Justice System Assistance: notification of criminal justice events, civil legal assistance in obtaining protection or restraining order, civil legal assistance with family law issues, immigration attorney assistance, prosecution interview advocacy/accompaniment, criminal advocacy/accompaniment, and other legal advice and/or counsel.

Over the last three months, the Center provided 8,337 services to 210 victims in the sexual trauma program. 

 This reporting period: 

 

  • The Center’s Senior SAFE Coordinator responded to a sexual assault case at a hospital in Rockland County, NY. The survivor was assaulted by an unknown male at a local hotel. Our SAFE examiner was able to connect the survivor with proper law enforcement officials, collect forensic evidence for processing, provided her with post-exposure prophylaxis for STI’s and was able to refer her for follow up and counseling after discharge. While speaking with the rape crisis counselor, the survivor disclosed that she was also a victim of child abuse and didn’t feel safe going home to her parents. The Rape Crisis Counselor and the SAFE examiner collaborated with the Emergency Department staff to report this to Child Protective Services and made arrangements to hold the survivor in the Emergency Department until a proper and safe disposition could be made.
  • Center staff met with a sexual assault survivor in the hospital who was overwhelmed, afraid, and uncomfortable. The client was only Spanish speaking, which made her feel more unsafe due to everyone around her not speaking her language. Staff reassured the client they were there to help and provide services to them as well as to make her safe. After explaining services to client and explaining to her the SAFE exam client felt relieved to have someone who could understand her on an emotional level. Client was afraid to be alone and staff accompanied client throughout the exam as well to the police station. Staff provided client with emotional support, safety planned, crisis prevention, and validation. Client feels she would have been unable to go through the process if she didn’t have anyone there for her during this traumatizing moment.
  • The Center worked with a woman who was sexually assaulted by a religious leader in her church. When she first came to therapy, she appeared to be very anxious, depressed, and even paranoid in her daily life. She has been working hard to get herself back to who she was before the attack—being honest in therapy on how she is feeling and processing when her anxiety is triggered and how to work through triggers. She found her strength while in therapy. Now, we are a few weeks away from trial and she said she feels strong enough to testify against him.
Apr 27, 2021

The need for services continues to rise-The Center provides 9,438 services to 207 victims

The Center for Safety & Change, Inc. (“the Center”) is a nonprofit agency whose mission is to develop strategies to end gender-based violence and provide shelter and supportive services that empower survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse and other crimes. Since its inception in 1979, the Center has been Rockland County's sole provider of domestic violence residential and non-residential services certified by the NYS Office of Child and Family Services and Rockland's only New York State Office of Victim Services designated Victim Assistance Program. In addition, all of the Center’s staff are certified and trained by the New York State Department of Health, all staff and volunteers are certified rape crisis counselors, and, within the last decade, the Center became the sole provider of services to victims of human trafficking.

The Center offers a comprehensive continuum of programs and services that are available in multiple languages to all victims, free of charge, regardless of age, citizenship, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. These services include, but are not limited to:

• Information and Referrals: information about the criminal justice process, information about victims’ rights, referrals to other victim service programs, and referrals to other services, supports, and resources;

• Advocacy and Accompaniment: victim advocacy/accompaniment to emergency medical care, victim advocacy/accompaniment forensic exams, law enforcement interview advocacy/accompaniment, individual advocacy, performance of medical forensic exam or interview, or medical evidence collection, immigration assistance, intervention with employer, creditor, landlord, or academic institution, childcare, transportation assistance, and translation/interpretation services;

• Emotional Support and Safety Services: crisis intervention, hotline/crisis line counseling, on-scene crisis response, individual counseling, support groups, therapy, and emergency financial assistance;

• Shelter and Housing Services: emergency shelter, transitional housing service, and relocation assistance; and

• Criminal and Civil Justice System Assistance: notification of criminal justice events, civil legal assistance in obtaining protection or restraining order, civil legal assistance with family law issues, immigration attorney assistance, prosecution interview advocacy/accompaniment, criminal advocacy/accompaniment, and other legal advice and/or counsel.

Over the last three months, the Center provided 9,438 services to 207 victims in the sexual trauma program. 

 This reporting period: 

  • The Center's Senior Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner performed a SAFE exam at Nyack Hospital on a cognitively impaired victim who was sexually assaulted by a former roommate/family friend.  The SAFE examiner and the Rape Crisis Counselor were able to comfort the victim and her father, and subsequently perform an evidence collection and release it to law enforcement.

  • The Center's Senior Director of Children and Youth Services provided therapeutic services to a 14-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted by her stepfather. At first, staff noticed her hesitation in therapy sessions. In order to help client feel comfortable during sessions, staff told her, "let’s talk normal stuff. I want to get to know who you are as a person. The rest will follow." The client was happy just to talk about everyday things instead of the trauma that led her to come to therapy. She said she was just happy to have someone want to get to know her.  Last week, she was more comfortable to talk about what led her to therapy. With this, came a family session with her mother and she was able to open up about some things she was unable to tell her mother on other occasions. The Center will continue working with this client in order to help her process and heal from her trauma.
  • A young adult woman sought help from the Center after receiving a referral from law enforcement following a sexual assault. The client reported she was being sexually assaulted by an acquantaince. It quickly became clear that safety planning was an important component of treatment, as the client is living in an unsafe environment. Due to the pandemic, the client was forced to leave her former housing  and she had to return to her parent's home, where there is a history of domestic violence and child abuse. This client began working with her therapist, meeting twice weekly, due to her situation and needs. This is the first opportunity she has had to address the effects that her traumatic childhood and recent sexual abuse has had on her. She is also trying to cope with her present living situation in which she is isolated from peers. Lacking the support from family members has added to her stress; like many of the sexual trauma survivors we serve, her family blames her for the symptoms of PTSD she experiences and have no understanding or empathy regarding the sexual trauma. Recently, she expressed her desire to participate in a 10 week sexual trauma support group facilitated by the therapist. She has engaged in this group, sharing and processing her experience with the other members, while receiving and providing mutual support and encouragement with them. The client expresses that she feels it is helpful to know that she is not alone in her feelings--there are are other girls and women who have also been abused and she is not to blame for what happened to her. 



Dec 29, 2020

Continued Services Throughout The COVID Pandemic: The Center Serves 180 Sexual Assault Victims

The Center for Safety & Change, Inc. (“the Center”) is a nonprofit agency whose mission is to develop strategies to end gender-based violence and provide shelter and supportive services that empower survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse and other crimes. Since its inception in 1979, the Center has been the sole provider of domestic violence residential and non-residential services certified by the NYS Office of Child and Family Services and is the only New York State Office of Victim Services designated Victim Assistance Program in Rockland County. In addition, all of the Center’s sexual trauma staff are certified and trained by the New York State Department of Health, all direct service staff and volunteers are certified rape crisis counselors, and, within the last decade, the Center became the sole provider of services to victims of human trafficking.

The Center offers a comprehensive continuum of programs and services that are available in multiple languages to all victims, free of charge, regardless of age, citizenship, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. These services include, but are not limited to:

• Information and Referrals: information about the criminal justice process, information about victims’ rights, referrals to other victim service programs, and referrals to other services, supports, and resources;

• Advocacy and Accompaniment: victim advocacy/accompaniment to emergency medical care, victim advocacy/accompaniment forensic exams, law enforcement interview advocacy/accompaniment, individual advocacy, performance of medical forensic exam or interview, or medical evidence collection, immigration assistance, intervention with employer, creditor, landlord, or academic institution, childcare, transportation assistance, and translation/interpretation services;

• Emotional Support and Safety Services: crisis intervention, hotline/crisis line counseling, on-scene crisis response, individual counseling, support groups, therapy, and emergency financial assistance;

• Shelter and Housing Services: emergency shelter, transitional housing service, and relocation assistance; and

• Criminal and Civil Justice System Assistance: notification of criminal justice events, civil legal assistance in obtaining protection or restraining order, civil legal assistance with family law issues, immigration attorney assistance, prosecution interview advocacy/accompaniment, criminal advocacy/accompaniment, and other legal advice and/or counsel.

Over the last three months, the Center provided 6,254services to 180 victims in the sexual trauma program. 

 

This reporting period: 

  • The Center provided supportive services to a young woman who lives in the Orthodox Jewish Community who was sexually assaulted by her boyfriend. This young woman is struggling with self-esteem issues; she feels worthless and ashamed because of the assault. She feels her community and her family blame her for what happened.  She has tried to feel supported by family members but found they are uncomfortable hearing about her experience. She expresses feeling rejected by the significant people in her life, and alienated from her spiritual roots. She fears she will not be able to get married, which is very important to her.

    The therapist is aware that in order for therapy to be effective, this client needs to feel that her culture, including her religion and values are understood and validated.  The Center staff is well trained in providing services to members of all the communities who seek help at the organization. The therapist has been able to gain this client’s trust and confidence, as she, (the client), feels she can express herself without fearing judgement. She has expressed this by sharing the following: “I know you’ll hear what I have to say.” She also shared, “I want to have respect for myself.” The therapist is helping her heal from the trauma she has endured and to gain hope for her future. 
 
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