SafeSpace, with support from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, is expected to open an emergency shelter in the county soon. The shelter will add to the already long list of services that the non-profit organization offers to those who have suffered from domestic violence.
The organization once had an on-site emergency shelter, but had to close it due to hurricane damage in the early 2000s. In the meantime, SafeSpace has continued to provide many services and outreach to adult victims and their children here in the county. However, those seeking emergency shelter had to go to Martin County.
“SafeSpace was originally founded in Indian River County in 1979, and we are extremely grateful to the various funders and community donors who have supported the expansion of our programs to now include an emergency shelter of 19 beds for service area residents,” said SafeSpace CEO Dr. Thérèse Albizu. “The sad reality is that the COVID pandemic is creating an insidious increase in the incidence of domestic violence, and SafeSpace is committed to providing residential and non-residential services to the hundreds of victims of domestic violence and their children who deserve to live a life without violence.
The sanctuary is made possible through the generous support of the Johns Island Foundation, Indian River Community Foundation, Impact 100 Indian River, Johns Island Community Service League and Indian River Club Community Association, Gabby Petito Foundation, as well as individual donations.
However, it will not open until it is adequately staffed. SafeSpace’s Director of Operations is actively building the team needed to serve residents of the emergency shelter over the next four weeks.
Due to the nature of the refuge, its location remains confidential. People seeking help are encouraged to call the SafeSpace hotline at (772) 288-7023. Staff will be able to assess the situation by assessing the caller’s immediate safety and the need for medical attention. Staff also help develop safety and evacuation plans, determine the need for law enforcement assistance, and determine eligibility for shelter and outreach services.
In the United States, one in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of domestic violence. On average, four women are killed every day at the hands of their romantic partners. And more than 15 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year.
SafeSpace works to empower those in dangerous home situations, providing intervention, prevention and advocacy services.
The organization runs emergency shelters – one in Martin County and one soon to open in Indian River – a 24-hour helpline, adult education and counseling programs, Shelter Support, Children’s Shelter Programs, Youth Prevention Programs, Community and Professional Programs, Outreach Services, Child Protection Program, Injunction for Protection Program, an economic justice empowerment program and event transportation.
SafeSpace also has an InVest – Intimate Violence Enhanced Service Team – a partnership of attorneys and local law enforcement agencies, including the Sheriff’s Office, which works to identify high-risk individuals. of lethality and provide them with intensive service management and accountability.
To that end, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office is seeking grants to establish a position solely to handle domestic violence cases and provide support. The agency also has two employees who sit on SafeSpace’s board of directors. The Sheriff’s Office also participates in SafeSpace events, including the annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes.
SafeSpace, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the only state-certified domestic violence center saving lives 24/7 and preventing domestic violence in Treasure Counties Coast of Indian River, Martin and St. Lucie. It is the local expert in providing domestic violence services and provides a safe haven for victims and their children as they seek refuge from physical and emotional abuse.
Call the SafeSpace hotline at (772) 288-7023.
For more information about SafeSpace, visit www.SafeSpaceFL.org or call the administrative number (772) 223-2399.
Want to work at the emergency shelter?
Positions currently open include a full-time adult advocate, a full-time children’s advocate, and full-time and part-time assistant advocates. For more information, contact Human Resources Manager, Sharon Stagner at [email protected]or by phone at 772-223-2399.
Want to help?
The emergency shelter has several needs as follows. Those wishing to donate can coordinate with SafeSpace by calling the administrative number (772) 223-2399.
Items they will need
- Personal care items: shampoo and conditioner – including ethnic products, deodorant, hand soap, razors, feminine hygiene products, lotions, hair brushes and combs and lice kits
- Masks, hand sanitizer and gloves
- Kitchen items: cutlery including forks and spoons and cooking utensils including can openers, large bowls, pitchers, pots and pans
- Food products: Peanut butter and jelly and children’s snacks
- Children’s articles: high chairs, strollers – in particular double strollers, car seats for babies and toddlers, DVDs, cradles for sleeping together, baby and toddler bottles and cups, baby baths
- Baby supplies: infant food and formula, diapers and wipes, diaper bags and pull-ups sizes 3T-5T
- Clothing, including women’s socks and maternity items
- Bathroom items such as shower curtains, rugs, accessories and towels
- Cleaning supplies: bleach, floor cleaners, glass/mirror cleaner, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, cleaning spray and wipes, and air fresheners
- Arts and crafts supplies, including paints and canvases, cork boards and bulletin boards
- And other miscellaneous items such as pillows, DVD players, umbrellas and ponchos, bicycles and locks for adults and helmets for children, and gift cards for gas, Walmart, Walgreens, Publix and Visa/Mastercard
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