How SARN has grown and changed in 2016:
- As an agency that meets the Core Standards for Rape Crisis Centers for our state, we’ve prided ourselves on our excellent services for people who have experienced sexual assault. This past year, we broadened our gaze to all crime victims and to those who experience crimes in neighboring counties. We saw that people who had experienced sexual assault in one county may live in another or go to a different county to have evidence collected. Thus, in order to reach everyone who might need our services, we needed to learn who was providing these services in our region. Given that both our hotline and Sexual Assault Response Network (SARN) Program was hearing from crime victims in these counties, it became clear that we needed to build relationships/partnerships with allied professionals in our region. By having these relationships, we can make better connections for crime victims while working to make sure that no one slips through the cracks in the process. Our regional focus includes: Delaware, Morrow, Crawford, Wyandot, Union. Marion, and Franklin Counties. Thanks to additional funding, we hired a Regional Outreach Coordinator who helped us identify who was providing support services to crime victims in these counties and begin to build or strengthen our relationships with allied professionals who provide support services to crime victims. We held a successful Summit and Secondary Trauma Retreat for this region’s allied professionals and, as part of that process, learned that our colleagues would like to meet quarterly. We anticipate that these quarterly meetings will lead to more information being shared and stronger relationships being developed. How does that benefit crime victims? Imagine hearing, “Nora at HelpLine can help you with that.” vs. “Call HelpLine and tell them what you need.” This simple shift will also allow us to provide co-advocacy for crime victims; ensuring no matter where they are or what they need, they will be connected to advocates dedicated to providing them with assistance.
- We will also have a new SARN Program Manager coming on board, Lauren MacDade, who will help us make sure that rape crisis services are provided in all of the counties with whom we’re building partnerships. While HelpLine provides services in four counties, we want to work with our neighboring counties to combine our efforts and resources to ensure that, no matter where you live or experience this crime, you have access to the same level of support.
- We have a new Violence Prevention Educator who started James Fairfield, PhD. He’s taught English at Ohio State and Columbus State but has moved onto wanting to do violence prevention with us. His classroom experience and working with college students, more specifically, will enrich our prevention programs. Best practice in providing prevention education includes having male and female presenters provide information. He will help us meet the requests that we get from area schools and organizations to provide violence prevention programs.
- We also anticipate adding contingency advocates in the coming year. These will be similar to hotline contingency workers – coming on board to help us provide on call coverage for rape crisis advocacy, as well as helping us out with some administrative tasks. By adding these positions, we should be able to maintain our record of 100% response to counties’ hospitals and law enforcement departments while maintaining a healthy work/life balance for our staff. The Contingency Advocate position will also give our volunteers an option to consider, if they would like to earn a little more income while doing this important work.