| Dec 21, 2021
Center for Safety & Change Provides 8 Sexual Assault Forensic Exams and Helps 211 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 6,434 services to 211 victims in the sexual trauma program.
This reporting period:
- The Center provided 8 sexual assault forensic examinations, three of which were victims under 18.
- The Center's SAFE Director responded to a sexual assault case ain which the victim had been continuously assaulted by her husband over a period of one year. She had arrived to the Emergency Room with her teenage son and all of their belongings, knowing that she could not return home. Our SAFE Director worked with the Emergency Department staff and Orangetown Police Department on the sexual assault case while also coordinating with CPS for emergency placement for the teenager, as the survivor was likely going to need hospitalization. The RCC and SAFE Director remained at the hospital with the survivor and her son until an acceptable disposition had been finalized for both parties.
- A fifteen-year-old walk-in came into the office seeking emotional support as well therapy services. Client shared that she came to the US two months ago, escaping violence in Guatemala. Client reported that an older man from her town who is rich and powerful, drugged her and sexually assaulted her while she was with some friends at his house. Client also shared that she woke up in the hospital with her parents and does not remember anything of the incident. Client did share that she pressed charges against the man, but he threatened the client and her family, so they dropped the charges. Client shared that the perpetrator continued making threats after charges were dropped, which scared client and motivated her to flee the country. The Center was able to provide supportive counseling, safety planning, and send a referral to children & youth department.