October 2015 Newsletter

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In This Issue

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
What Happens on the Hotline?
Trafficking on Long Island
Our Fight Against Campus Rape & Sexual Assault
Annual Girls Retreat A Huge Success
The Training Institute at The Safe Center
2015 Annual Gala
Upcoming 2015 Events

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is upon us. And because it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we encourage people to take note of the existence of domestic violence and the potential victims around us. This type of awareness of domestic violence should remain consistent, even past the month of October. Get involved, raise awareness and take action. Find out more information on events, resources, and ways to TAKE A STAND.

What Happens on the Hotline?

Welcome to the Crisis Center! Often referred to as the doorway to The Safe Center and the “hot” place to be, the Crisis Center consists of a Coordinator and 5 very dedicated and high energy employees who take on all types of intense situations on a daily basis.24 hour The Crisis Center staff answers the 24 hour hotline, handles emergency walk-ins to the agency, reaches out to victims on police reports throughout Nassau County, sends out advocates to the emergency rooms as needed, and intakes all new domestic violence victims and connects them to services.

Nothing is Typical
I would love to tell you about an average day, but each day is different. Sometimes there are phones ringing off the hook, other days a victim comes to us requesting counseling, and upon assessment also needs more assistance filing out an OVS (Office of Victim Services) application, help with CPS (Child Protective Services), DSS (Department of Social Services), and police advocacy, as well as legal advice. Of course there are the constant housing assessments and screenings which usually require transportation, meals, child care, empathy, energy, kindness, and plenty of paperwork lasting approximately 3 to 5 hours.

Staff is Always Prepared
The staff take great care when servicing anyone who contacts the agency. Many phone calls consist of people needing information in order to assist domestic violence and rape sexual assault victims: police officers, medical staff, friends, family, CPS workers, court personnel, and students. The atmosphere of the Crisis Center is often chaotic, but the staff manages to keep the atmosphere light. In order to manage the often stressful work environment the staff is often sharing stories with each other about family, friends, travel, music, sports, movies and the two most important subjects, television and food. The current staff are real foodies and often keep a supply of chocolate near to deal with some of the heavier cases.

The work done by these crisis workers every day, as well as the agency as a whole, is something to be proud of. Calling the hotline is often the beginning to ending the cycle of violence and helping human beings discover that they deserve better treatment, that the abuse is not their fault, that there are resources out there, that there is strength in asking for help, and hope for a better, safer, and happier life in the future.

If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse call our 24/7 confidential Hotline at 516-542-0404.

Leigh, Crisis Center Coordinator

Trafficking on Long Island

Traditional depictions of trafficking may give you specific ideas about what it looks like, but the reality is vastly different from the images we often see on television or in films. Human trafficking is happening every day in Nassau County, in our communities and on our streets. Traffickers rarely use handcuffs or chains — instead, they control their victims with threats, psychological manipulation, and violence. Oftentimes, traffickers will encourage a “trauma bond” between themselves and their victims, very similar to the bond that develops in a domestic violence relationship.

Connection to Domestic Violence and Child Abuse trafficking
The Safe Center recognizes the correlation between domestic violence, child abuse, and human trafficking, and provides comprehensive services to victims based on this understanding. Traffickers utilize a mix of loyalty, fear, and dependence, making it difficult for a victim to leave. These tactics often cause victims to relapse and return to the trafficker or abuser, even after they seek help and services. This can be very frustrating to service providers, so it is important for them to remember that, similar to the situation facing domestic violence victims, it may take many attempts for a trafficking victim to break ties with his or her trafficker.

Working Proactively and Collaboratively
In some cases, survivors may not understand that they are being exploited and are victims of a crime. The Safe Center takes a proactive approach to identifying clients by collaborating with other agencies in Nassau County who are likely to see or work with this population. For example, The Safe Harbor program works to connect children who are at-risk or who have been trafficked, with specialized services utilizing a  multi-disciplinary approach. Specifically, The Safe Center is able to provide clinical and forensic services to youth, as well as case coordination assistance.

Serena Curry, our Safe Harbor Coordinator, is working to develop a county-wide service network by conducting education and outreach with local agencies that are likely to serve trafficked youth. Safe Harbor partners include the Department of Social Services, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau Haven, and Nassau County Probation Department.

Humanizing the Issue
Tabitha Carter and Esther Lai from the Adult Human Trafficking Program work proactively through the Nassau County Human Trafficking Intervention Program to provide clinical services and advocacy to individuals with prostitution charges. This program recognizes the inherent risk of violence for an individual involved in prostitution, and the likelihood that those who are referred to The Safe Center are survivors of severe trauma, victimization, and human trafficking. Tabitha and Esther play a critical role in “humanizing” the issue of human trafficking, and are tireless advocates for their clients.

The Safe Center hotline staff is trained on identifying potential trafficking cases, and act as a primary first contact for clients.
Hotline: 516-542-0404
National Human Trafficking Resource Center: http://traffickingresourcecenter.org/
NYS Office of Children & Family Services: http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/humantraffic/

Our Fight Against Campus Rape & Sexual Assault

As another school year begins, campus safety is on the minds of parents and students alike.nyit_campus2It seems a week doesn’t go by without hearing a report of a student being sexually assaulted on a college campus, or at times an unsatisfactory response by a university. The safety of students attending schools here on Long Island, and beyond, is a prime concern for The Safe Center.

In conjunction with the Nassau County Police Department and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, we have put together informational meetings for key staff from area colleges, helping them navigate the difficult waters of Title IX and aiding their response to allegations of campus rape and sexual assault. We’ve given special training to staff from Adelphi, LIU Post, NYIT, and Molloy, to help them better meet the needs of their students at some of the most difficult times.

Our education staff is also working hard to train students themselves on how to prevent, recognize and respond to rape and sexual violence. The new “law of the land” in NY State is “Yes Means Yes”, known as positive consent, and we’re helping learning communities to make this transition and strengthen safety for all.

Prevention Begins Early
We realize that the attitudes and values which have allowed sexual assault to proliferate start way before college age, and are reinforced over years. That is why The Safe Center offers special trainings for students in high schools and middle schools across Nassau County to help them explore their understanding of relationship safety, and empower them to know that there is no such thing as an “innocent bystander” when it comes to issues of dating violence, rape and sexual assault. To date, we have trained thousands of students in the Safe Dates program, with very positive results.

We’re Ready
Staff from The Safe Center are ready and willing to speak with your community group, faith group, business, school or organization on any of the important issues we deal with. A community which knows more about sexual assault, intimate partner violence and child abuse is in a better position to keep its children, as well as its adults, safer and healthier. For information on The Safe Center’s trainings, email our Education Department at training@tscli.org

Anthony Zenkus, Education Director

Annual Girls Retreat a Huge Success

This year sdour Girls On The Move themed 11th Annual Girls Retreat for survivors of sexual assault was held on August 21, 2015. The retreat was a day full of activities in a safe social setting directed to building self-esteem, empowerment and positive coping skills,  and preventing re-victimization. When the girls arrived they were very anxious and nervous about what the day might entail but after they had breakfast and began to mingle, it seemed like that all disappeared.

This year the girls took part in activities like self-defense, painting, and self-esteem building.The activities included a workshop where the girls were helped to identify their own inner critics and then work on ways to break free of negative thoughts and change them to positive ones.

This year The Safe Center brought in Paint Nite to assist in painting a piece of art called “Snug A Bug”. The girls had so much fun showing each other their artistic sides.050 I received a call later that week from a caseworker of one of the girls who was living in a shelter, stating that she had requested art supplies from the staff so that she can spend some of her free time painting. She had a blast at the retreat and found it soothing and therapeutic. Another participant told us that she enjoys coming to the retreat every year because it’s the only place where she meets new girls that can become her friends.

The final workshop of the day was facilitated by staff from 1-800-FLOWERS. This was their 3rd year volunteering their time to TSCLI as part of their “Summer Of A 1000 Smiles” program. The girls enjoyed creating floral crowns but moreover had a great time learning the names and types of flowers that they were working with.

At the end of the retreat we read a poem to reflect on what a great day we had. At the end of every retreat it’s hard for the girls to leave each other…they have formed such great bonds and are looking forward to creating long lasting friendships

Christine Shaver, Assistant Director of Advocacy Services

The Training Institute at The Safe Center

The Safe Center is proud to announce that we are now approved to provide Continuing Education Credit Courses (CEUs) for Social Workers. We offer a variety of courses to area proffessionals based on the latest research in the areas of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and the effects of trauma on individuals and families.

For a list of upcoming training’s with dates and times and to register see here.
For more information email our Education Department at training@tscli.org

2015 Annual Gala

October 28, 2015
6:00 – 10:00pm
Garden City Hotel

More about The Gala.
Purchase Tickets.
For additional information, contact Fran Medaglia at 516-465-4748 or fmedaglia@tscli.org.

Upcoming 2015 Events

9/1 – 12/1
Annual Mittens Drive in collaboration with The Nassau County Women’s Bar Association
Support our violence prevention programs!

9/17 – 12/15
Fortunoff’s 10/10 Philanthropic Program.
10% off your jewelry purchase, 10% donated to The Safe Center
More details.

“Every Home A Safe Home”
Annual fundraising Gala from 6-10 pm at The Garden City Hotel.
Learn more.

Free Legal Information Day in celebration of National Pro Bono Week
3- 6 p.m. at Nassau County Bar Associations Headquarters.Learn more.

Thanksgiving and #GivingTuesday are around the corner!
A global day of giving back!
Find out more.

Brooks Brothers Champions for Charity Holiday Kickoff
Champion Card is complimentary but required.
Register here.

12/3 – 12/6
Champions for Charity Holiday Shopping Benefit
Participating Americana Manhasset stores and restaurants will donate a percentage of purchases to The Safe Center.
Details here.

(PDF version of the newsletter)

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