U.S. Department of Justice Awards $431,000 Grant to S.A.F.E. Place and Sexual Assault Services

U.S. Department of Justice Awards $431,000 Grant to S.A.F.E. Place and Sexual Assault Services

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women has awarded S.A.F.E. Place and Sexual Assault Services, a department of Bronson Battle Creek Hospital, a three-year grant totaling $431,444 to prevent and respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking against children and youth in Calhoun County. This national grant is one of 11 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice in the 2020 grant cycle.

This grant will fund the Calhoun County Inter-Agency Youth Violence Prevention Project, which aims to enhance and expand existing youth prevention programs that address those issues.

Specifically, the grant will:

  1. Expand school-based services to prevent, intervene and respond to dating violence, sexual assault and stalking for youth ages 5-19.
  2. Hire a full time community outreach coordinator to lead the initiative on behalf of S.A.F.E. Place and collaborate with the community educator at Sexual Assault Services.
  3. Establish a Coordinated Community Response Team that meets regularly to plan and implement the program.
  4. Conduct training on sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking for Battle Creek Public Schools staff, parents/caregivers and students (as determined to be developmentally appropriate).
  5. Collaborate with program partners to develop, strengthen and expand policies to prevent and address dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

“We believe that violence prevention programming is an important piece of a comprehensive community effort to reduce trauma and improve safety, health and well-being for children, families, individuals and our community,” says Laurie Hartman, Sexual Assault Services Community Education & Resource Coordinator.

In 2019, 1,513 persons affected by sexual assault received services from Sexual Assault Services. Additionally, they interviewed 265 children following disclosure/suspicion of sexual abuse or severe physical abuse.

In that same year, S.A.F.E. Place served 2,177 individuals affected by domestic violence, and shelter was provided to 544 individuals, which includes 249 children.

“It’s an honor to partner with Sexual Assault Services. By educating students at an early age, we hope to combat the issues of violence, harassment and sexual assault both today and beyond as these students enter adulthood,” says Ellen Lassiter Collier, S.A.F.E. Place CEO. “Our future is in the hands of our youth.”

All services provided by S.A.F.E. Place and Sexual Assault Services are free of charge. In order to ensure the safety of victims and their families, all program partners will protect the confidentiality and privacy of persons receiving services.

If you are a victim of sexual assault, call Sexual Assault Services’ 24-hour crisis line at (888) 383-2192. If you are a victim of domestic violence, call S.A.F.E. Place’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 664-9832. Their teams of specially trained individuals can offer support, answer your questions and get you the resources you need.

About Sexual Assault Services

Sexual Assault Services is committed to providing empathic, non-judgmental, comprehensive services, support and advocacy for survivors and others affected by sexual assault or sexual abuse; raising awareness of sexual assault; engaging others to join in working toward a community free of sexual violence. Sexual Assault Services is a department of Bronson Battle Creek funded by grants and individual donations through Bronson Health Foundation.

About S.A.F.E. Place

S.A.F.E. Place exists to provide safety to, empower and advocate for victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking and their families. S.A.F.E. Place envisions a future where all people enjoy the right to safe, healthy relationships.