Safe Haven's Impact
Safe Haven specializes in working with families who are experiencing high conflict or domestic violence. We provide supervised visitation or safe child exchanges in our secure building, removing the threat of violence or conflict. The number one goal of Safe Haven is to keep children safe. When domestic violence has occurred, we also recognize the need to keep the adult victim safe. We understand that the risk of danger for the adult victim and children increases greatly after separation, as the aggressor often feels they are losing control.
I Would Have Never Guessed
"One never imagines finding oneself in the midst of serious domestic dysfunction. In fact, if you had asked me five years ago what I’d be doing at this moment in time, I would have never guessed that I would be a client of Safe Haven. Five years ago I didn’t even know Safe Haven existed. And, yet, here I find myself, a very grateful member of the often silent Safe Haven community.
"I bet you are wondering who I am. Who am I? I am really a lot like you. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a social worker. I am a local volunteer. I am a donor to several nonprofit organizations. I’m an active member of my church and our local school. I too am an advocate for many who cannot speak for themselves. I am you. I am your sister, your daughter, or maybe your mother. I am your neighbor. The most amazing thing is that, given any number of factors in your personal lives, you could be me.
"My children and I have survived our own hardship and Safe Haven has lent us shelter and strength… Safe Haven has provided my family with a predictable and secure location for parental exchanges. Without a doubt, Safe Haven has minimized our stress and conflict. Safe Haven has been a positive, consistent and routine force in our weekly schedule. In Safe Haven, I have found a network of support that empowers me to keep the focus on my beautiful children. My children have found a community of adults who believe in them and allow them to be just who they are…beautiful children…my children, who are really just like your children…and grandchildren…and neighborhood children. Children whose main focus should be growing, growing their minds, their bodies, and their spirits.
On behalf of my family, I thank you. I thank each and every one of you. We are grateful for your support and we have benefited from all of your unique contributions on so many levels. You and Safe Haven have made a healthy difference in our lives."
Creating a Safe Haven
Susan* experienced severe domestic violence during her relationship with Steven*. Afraid and thinking of her son, Susan ended the relationship, but Steven's abuse continued. Susan wanted her son to have a relationship with his father so she arranged to meet Steven at McDonalds* for an exchange and brought her father along for support.
The exchange turned violent. Steven assaulted Susan and her father before driving away with the child.
Fortunately, Safe Haven services were ordered by the courts. Now, exchanges occur at Safe Haven where Susan and Steven use staggered arrival times and separate entrances and have zero contact with one another. Safe Haven has helped ease Susan's anxiety and safety concerns during custody exchanges, providing support, referrals, education, and other services to both her and Steven. She continuously lets staff know how much she appreciates what we do and how she does not know what she would do if this program was not available in our community.
Finding Safety and Peace
Kathryn is a young mother of 6 who was physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by her husband. Her male children were beginning to emulate their father’s unacceptable behaviors toward her. She found the strength to take her children and leave the abusive home after her husband kicked her in the stomach late into her last pregnancy, resulting in a devastating miscarriage.
The family was court-ordered into Child & Family Services’ Safe Haven program. Early into her Safe Haven experience, Kathryn would literally shake with fear at the thought that she would have contact with her husband. Even the safety procedures that characterize the program, such as staggered arrival times and locations, could not calm her fears. During this time, when she dropped her children off for their visits with their father, she would remain in her running car, with her seatbelt fastened and her foot near the gas pedal, ready to flee in an instant.
After 18 months in the program, she has divorced her husband, started a new career, and she and her children are doing remarkably well. She believes the help she received from Safe Haven literally saved her life.
*Some details of the stories have been changed to protect individual's privacy. Photos are not accurate representations of the individuals in the stories.