- Who we serve
- About Abuse
- Emergency Shelter
- Other Services
- Who we serve
A: Violence and abuse can affect anyone. Our services are free and available to all people, of all identities, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sex, ability, immigration status, or any other factor. We serve men, women, gender nonbinary folks, singles, families of all types – everyone.
Q: Do you accept pets or service animals in your shelter?
A: SAFE accepts service animals in our shelter. When you contact the SAFEline to request information about shelter at SAFE, please let them know that you have a service animal.
Q: Do I need to report to police to receive SAFE services?
A: You do not need to report to police to receive SAFE services. Our SAFEline is our front door, and our SAFEline operators are ready to talk with you and help you determine what you need to heal.
Q: Does SAFE work with CPS and/or law enforcement?
A: Yes, SAFE does work with Child Protective Services and law enforcement.
In regards to CPS, when an individual or family is struggling, SAFE can provide a family court legal advocate & CPS advocate. This advocate can provide specialized services for all survivors with children involved in CPS; case management and support; assistance with housing, mental health, other issues affecting well-being/stability; case consultation to survivors and service providers (DFPS, CASA, attorneys, etc.); connect survivors to SAFE and community and resources. SAFE also provides family violence education, including Domestic Violence (DV) 101, the DV Series, and Protective Parenting, as well as support groups that allow survivors to share their experiences, meet people in similar situations, and learn new tools to manage stress.
In regards to Law Enforcement, SAFE works with the police departments, sheriff departments and other law enforcement agencies in Central Texas to ensure that our survivors are receiving what they need to heal. For example, when someone is sexually assaulted, it is frequently law enforcement and/or their victim services team that will bring the survivor to SAFE for a sexual assault forensic exam. SAFE will then work with the survivor to determine to what extent they want to include law enforcement moving forward. SAFE also works with law enforcement to protect survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, to enforce protective orders, to ensure that incarcerated survivors are also receiving services, and more.
Q: How many people do you serve?
A: In 2018, SAFE responded to 19,513 SAFEline calls, chats and texts. We provided services to 6,168 youth and adults. We provided 565 sexual assault forensic exams. 26,182 community members and professionals participated in 1,160 trainings and presentations. And 12,358 youth were reached by our Expect Respect trainings and education.
- About abuse
A: Yes, this may be abuse.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, education, religion, class, disability status, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. It can happen among couples who are married, living together, or dating. Abuse can take many forms and often begins with one partner exerting control over certain parts of their partner’s life. The abuse then progresses in frequency and intensity. Abuse can be physical, emotional, economic, or psychological – and all of these forms of abuse could incorporate a verbal component. Many survivors and families realize after physical abuse begins that emotional, economic, or psychological abuse were present during the early stages of the relationship.
Q: Is verbal abuse domestic violence?
A: Yes, verbal abuse may be domestic violence.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.
Q: How can I help someone who is being hurt but refuses to accept help?
A: Abuse can include much more than physical violence – It can include emotional, psychological, or financial abuse and revolves around maintaining power and control over a partner. You can learn more about these dynamics here so you can comfortably discuss them with your friend if they would like.
Be thoughtful about how you bring this conversation up. Start by listening and letting your friend know that they don’t deserve to be abused and that you are there to support them in whatever decisions they make about the situation. Leaving an abusive relationship is a very difficult thing to do, and it’s important to not pass judgement on your friend. It’s also important to remember that leaving can be one of the most dangerous and highly lethal times for a survivor. Remind them that they are not to blame for the abuse and that they deserve to be safe. They can always contact the 24/7 SAFEline to talk about safety planning; it is a very important step when making a decision to leave an abusive situation. Offer to help them find local resources if they are interested. If they don’t know exactly what they want or need at this point, that’s ok. Talk to them about various options and allow them to choose what feels helpful.
Don’t give up. Everyone works through difficult situations in their own way and in their own time. Be mindful that although your friend may make choices different from what you may hope, ultimately they know what is best for them and their situation. Continue being supportive, and seek out support for yourself if needed, as offering support as a helper can be taxing.
Q: Do people who abuse others really ever change, or do they just change the way that they abuse so it is less visible?
A: At SAFE, we believe that people can change. We recognize that often the perpetrators of violence are a part of a cycle of violence that began many generations ago. We work with families, survivors, youth and more to stop that cycle of violence.
Historically, victim services have been segregated by the type of violence perpetrated or the age of the victim, creating artificial silos of service that are less effective. Silos like domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, trafficking, etc., fail to take in to account what research and our own experiences have shown — that the multiple forms of violence and victimization are interconnected. Addressing an issue as integrated as violence through a narrow framework only results in diminished resources, capacity, expertise and funding streams. To improve the effectiveness of violence prevention and intervention services, a more comprehensive and collaborative approach is required. SAFE was created with that goal in mind.
- Emergency Shelter
A: While we do generally have a waitlist, SAFE serves survivors of abuse in many ways. When a survivor of abuse calls us in need of emergency shelter, our SAFEline operators work with them to determine whether there is room at SAFE, or at another shelter nearby. SAFE also has other resources, including the Bridge to Safety program which allows our SAFEline operators to help the survivor to problem solve and find shelter.
Q: How can you call yourself an emergency shelter if you don’t have space for emergencies?
A: When you call the SAFEline, there are a number of ways that our operators can help you. We can:
- Offer a safe space where you can talk about your concerns with someone who cares and won’t judge
- Assist you in determining if you or a loved one is being abused verbally, emotionally or physically
- Help you build a safety plan so you can find ways to be safe and prepared to leave if/when the time is right
- Make referrals for shelter, either with SAFE or another agency if we are full
- Provide family and friends with the resources they need to support the survivor
- Give you access to support services so you can begin to heal from the trauma of rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, or human trafficking
- Provide information about and connection to all SAFE services and local resources.
Q: Why aren’t y’all building more shelters if you are always full?
A: While we do have a large organization, we do not have the funds to build additional shelter buildings.
Q: How many beds are in Family Shelter?
A: We have 105 beds in our Kelly White Family Shelter.
Q: Do I need to be at the shelter to have access to other services?
A: You do not need to be in our Family Shelter to access our other services. Please contact our SAFEline to learn more about how SAFE can help you.
- Other Services
A: You do not have to be in crisis to get services or counseling. Trauma can have ongoing and unexpected impacts on your mental and physical health; there is no one timeline for when trauma might impact you. To that end, while we do have a waitlist for many of our services, we do not mandate that clients be currently in crisis.
Q: Are all your services free? What about trainings to community groups or professionals?
A: All of our services to clients facing violence and abuse are free.
Many of our trainings for community groups are free, although we do have some trainings designed for the business community that have a fee associated.
Q: What’s the difference between SAFE and SAFE Institute?
A: SAFE Institute is the professional services division of SAFE, a nationally recognized Central Texas nonprofit that has been working to stop abuse and build healthy environments for over 45 years.
We created the SAFE Institute to scale our mission and deploy our expertise into companies, institutions, and communities. In addition to inspiring safe cultures, we are determined to create a sustainable funding source to expand our direct services to survivors.
This is why our proceeds go directly to support victims of sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, and human trafficking. From emergency shelters to our counseling and legal services – your investments help build a safer community in Austin, TX and beyond.
A: Thank you for supporting SAFE!
You can send your contribution to:
P.O. Box 19454
Austin, TX 78760
Q: What is your tax EIN?
A: Our SAFE EIN is 74-2320657.
Q: How do I throw an event on behalf of SAFE?
A: By choosing SAFE as a beneficiary for your upcoming event, you not only raise much needed funds but also bring awareness to the community about the help available to those affected by child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. We are grateful to members of the community who wish to support our work. Our mission and philosophy, which drive the work we do, include creating changes in attitudes and behaviors which contribute to or impact the community’s understanding and responses to abuse.
In keeping with this goal, we reserve the right to not partner, be involved or affiliated with events that include activities, language, or advertising that demonstrates beliefs and behavior that are not aligned with our mission and vision. In addition, please note that SAFE cannot guarantee a representative will be able to attend your event. Please know that SAFE is a 501(c)3 and cannot be affiliated with any political event or rhetoric. We thank you for helping us maintain our nonpartisan status and are grateful for your support of SAFE. You can learn more here: https://www.safeaustin.org/get-involved/engage-your-community/hold-an-event/.
Q: How can I sponsor an event?
A: SAFE hosts several events throughout the year with many sponsorship levels. Contact Scott Ertresvaag at email@example.com for more details.
Q: Who funds your services?
A: In 2018, SAFE received approximately $7.7 million in philanthropic dollars, $9.2 million in local, county, state and federal government grants, $3.1 million in reimbursements and fees, $1.5 million of in kind funding, and $.6 million in earned revenue. You can find more about our finances here: https://www.safeaustin.org/about-us/our-mission/financials-reports-and-forms/.
Q: Can I donate my car to SAFE?
A: Thank you for considering a car donation to SAFE! You can make a car donation by reaching out to Jacque Smith-Francis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A: We welcome the involvement of community members offering their professional skills and services to the agency and its clients. Our agency clients often have a wide range of needs, some not possible for SAFE to meet directly. Partnering with the community is an important way to help ensure these needs are met in the fullest possible way. Join us at a volunteer info session for more information.
Q: If I cannot donate, how else can I get involved with SAFE?
A: In addition to the opportunity to volunteer or donate, you can also get involved with us in some of the following ways:
Fundraise For Us
Start your personal fundraiser today! Through our Peer-to-Peer fundraising site you can join an existing team, start your own team, or fundraise as an individual. Make it personal by adding a story, set a fundraising goal, include an engaging photo, and even thank your donors in real time. Peer to peer is a great way to get your loved ones involved and engaged in causes that matter to you.
Start a Facebook fundraiser by visiting our Facebook page and selecting “Start a Fundraiser.” This will take you through an easy step-by-step process to create a campaign that you can immediately share with your friends and family. Many people choose to do this in honor of their birthday or other celebratory moments.
Organize a Conversation
If you would like to engage your community to stop the cycle of violence, we encourage you to organize a community conversation. Depending on the size, date, topic and location of the gathering, SAFE can send someone from our organization to open up a dialogue with your community.
Join TEAM FX And Run For SAFE Children’s Shelter
Each year, runners from around the world race through Austin’s streets for The Austin Marathon and Half Marathon. TEAM FX has already begun training and fundraising for the big day, all to benefit SAFE Children’s Shelter – but it is not too late to get involved.
Q: Does SAFE offer Volunteer Opportunities for Middle or High School Students?
A: SAFE requires that all onsite volunteers are at least 18 years old.
We do have other ways that your kiddos can be involved with SAFE. We love when groups can make themed goodie bags with homemade treats for us to hand out to survivors who are receiving our services. We can keep these at the front desk, hand out to the kids at the Charter School, give out during a Life Skills workshop, etc. These bags can also contain homemade cards. We also love to accept homemade or store bought holiday decorations that people can use to decorate the shelter, cottages, and common areas.
A: While the amount of violence in American society does continue to rise, in speaking with survivors who have received services at SAFE we see that SAFE is having a positive impact on the lives of those who’ve experienced violence and abuse.
Q: Why is American society so violent?
A: Oof. We have a long history of violence in this country, and trauma, technology, loneliness, and the proliferation of weapons do not help. That said, according to John Gramlich of the Pew Research Center,
Violent crime in the U.S. has fallen sharply over the past quarter century. The two most commonly cited sources of crime statistics in the U.S. both show a substantial decline in the violent crime rate since it peaked in the early 1990s. One is an annual report by the FBI of serious crimes reported to police in more than 18,500 jurisdictions around the country. The other is a nationally representative annual survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which asks approximately 160,000 Americans ages 12 and older whether they were victims of crime, regardless of whether they reported those crimes to the police.
If you have additional thoughts about why America is so violent, we would love to hear from you!
Q: Are y’all still a feminist organization?
A: The SAFE Alliance grew out of the courageous work of the Center for Battered Women, the Austin Rape Crisis Center, and the Austin Children’s Shelter, all respected, women-led human service agencies created by volunteers and informed by survivors who needed support, safety and justice. We continue to ascribe to the radical notion that women are people.[this is great!].