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 9,404 services to 222 victims in the sexual trauma program.
This reporting period:
The Center worked with a 16 year old who disclosed that she was sexually abused for 4 years by her mother’s partner. She expressed that she was threatened to keep silent and was bribed with expensive gifts to keep silent. Client expressed that after she had learned that her cousin had the similar experience and came forward, she felt like she had to disclose to someone. Client expressed that it was not easy to tell her story, but that the support from her mother and some family members made it easier for her to work towards healing. Client has been attending weekly in-person sessions to continue to process past trauma. Client was provided with supportive counseling services, advocacy, legal services, information on safety planning, consent, coping skills, and effects of trauma.
The weekly Sexual Trauma Support Group continues to be a safe space for survivors to consistently receive support and provide support to each other. During a recent group meeting, one survivor shared that when she first attended the ST group, over a year ago, she was very nervous and couldn’t imagine ever sharing her story or making herself vulnerable with this group. For the group facilitators, this is hard to imagine. Now, when this member comes to group, she is a leader. She shares her own story, struggles, and journey, while offering thoughtful support to other survivors.
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