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 a total of 7,221 services to 180 victims in the Sexual Trauma Program. This quarter:
• The Center worked with a client who recently came to disclose that she was sexually assaulted by a person she looked up to. She was very scared of coming forward due to the backlash she thought she would face because of who the individual was and because she took some time to come forward and disclose the incident. The Center provided advocacy, emotional support, and safety planning, which has given her a courage to keep going. The agency has also assisted the client with therapy to help her process the trauma and help her with her anxiety. She stated she would not have been able to fully go through the criminal justice process if she did not have an advocate with her.
• This quarter, the Center provided services to a young woman who had been raped in her home. She reported the incident to police, and staff accompanied the victim to her apartment while the police were collecting evidence. The Center also accompanied her to the hospital ER, where a rape exam was conducted. The Center provided supportive counseling, validation and support, information and referrals, as well as other legal options. The Center continues to work with this victim and help her through the healing process.
• “The first time I met with you, you helped me to get me grounded…I was out of it for so long. I always feel safe and grounded when I’m with you.”
• “Thank you so much for caring when no one else did.”
- "I wouldn't have been able to do this without your support."
• “I feel safer after coming here for services and help.”