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.