New Partnership Provides Local Resource for Survivors of Domestic Abuse, Sexual Assault and Children Impacted by Substance UseOct 29, 2020 10:12AM ● By J.D. O’Gara
The SAFE Coalition, a non-profit organization that provides supportive services to those impacted by Substance Use Disorder in nine local towns, including Norfolk, Franklin, Medway and Millis, has recently announced a partnership with Wayside Youth Services, a new style of clinical support for those impacted by sexual assault and children impacted by substance use. These clinical and informational supports provide direct care to victims and offer a new way for community members to receive clinical care.
“As COVID has impacted the environmental safety and recovery of our community members, these clinical resources allow for victims to receive the services in real time, in person, and in a confidential setting,” says Jennifer Levine, Executive Director and co-founder of The SAFE Coalition. “We are so thankful for this partnership and for the federal programs that are allowing us to do this work completely free of charge.”
Features and benefits include
• Sexual Assault Counselor – in person Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., free of charge, also provides legal advocacy
• Children Impacted by Substances – ongoing, in-person Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., free of charge
• Resource for services – QR code given on business card with no language for discreteness, once scanned on a smart phone additional resources pop up
“The SAFE coalition will provide substance use training for Wayside, and then Wayside will provide clinical care in the form of therapists at the SAFE offices to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and to children impacted by substance use,” says Levine.
Levine says the SAFE Coalition routinely encounters the issue of domestic violence and sexual abuse “about three to four times a week. While SAFE started out of a need for substance use support, as we’ve grown, we’ve realized how intertwined domestic abuse and sexual assault were.”
According to Michelle Palladini, of the Norfolk Police Department, who is a school resource officer, mindfulness practitioner, developer of the L.E.A.P program, and member of the S.A.F.E. Board of Directors, the need for local counseling for these issues is great.
“It is challenging enough to try to navigate the healthcare system to find a provider that meets your needs, is local, has availability, and takes your insurance,” says Palladini. “In addition to all of that, it’s so hard for someone who has experienced domestic violence or sexual violence to ask for help, because of the stress, fear and shame that comes with those situations.
Palladini adds, “There are few places locally that specialize in clinical support for domestic violence and sexual assault. Our closest resource centers are DOVE in Quincy, and NEW HOPE in Attleboro … Having an option for clinical support, or just someone to talk to/point you in the right direction right in Norfolk is going to be an unbelievable option. It will help survivors of these types of crimes get confidential assistance for FREE (without making multiple phone calls) which is invaluable and reduces the stress of an already traumatic event.”
“At Wayside, we are ‘empowering children, young adults and families to achieve greater independence and emotional well-being,’” says Nanci Coelho (DaSilva), Wayside Program Coordinator and Clinician. “Our Wayside Trauma Intervention Services and SAFE Coalition both have the tag line ‘You are not alone,’ and that is exactly how we want services to be carried out. The hope is, one day, any service an individual or family seeks in the state of Massachusetts, will be trauma-informed and have resources readily available for whatever challenge they may be facing. This is an important partnership for moving out of our silos and helping community partners get the support they need and appropriately streamline resources for individuals and their families around mental health, trauma and substance use.”
Palladini believes these resources provide add a layer of protection to the community.
“From a law enforcement perspective, Palladini says, “I believe that when we look at the root causes of substance abuse, and ancillary crimes that sometimes ensue, it is most often determined that the person has experienced some type of trauma in their life. By supporting those who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence, we are able to help establish healthy coping skills, as opposed to them developing negative coping mechanisms, such as drugs or alcohol, or other addictions.”
For more information on the SAFE Coalition, visit www.safecoalitionma.org.
For more information on Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, visit www.waysideyouth.org.
Top 3 Things You Can Do to Keep Safe if Living with an Abuser during COVID-19
The following was published at Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s website, at www.waysideyouth.org.
1. Programs across the state are running virtually. Find a program in your region by visiting Jane Doe Inc.’s website (https://janedoe.org/covid19/) for resources. Reach out to a local Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault program to connect with an advocate. Wayside Youth and Family Network is running a FREE hotline without interruption 24/7 at 1-800-511-5070.
2. Create a step by step safety plan. An advocate can help survivors devise a plan that is specific to your situation. Don’t afraid to use an advocate’s time.
Safety planning is crucial, so when it’s time to leave a survivor knows who to contact or where to go. Shelters may be a difficult option right now – investigate alternative safe places, such as religious centers or staying with a friend. Connect with family, friends and/or an advocate to make them aware of the plan. This can be when the abuser is in the shower or sleeping. If survivors have children, consider their needs and how to keep them safe. Locate important documents like divorce papers, custody documents, birth certificates, immigration documents, and put them in a place that is easy to access during an emergency. Store contact information for health care providers and prescriptions in your phone if possible, or try to memorize it.
3. Practice self-care. Taking care of basic needs is the foundation of self-care. To stay grounded, survivors can remind themselves of what they have overcome in the past and know that they can get through this as well. Practice mindfulness strategies such as mediation and yoga to help stay focused. Pay to what you can control when you feel like you’re losing control. Try making a list of things to remind you how strong you are.
Other resources in Mass. from Jane Doe’s website:
• View a list of rape crisis center hotlines and direct links to their websites at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/rape-crisis-centers.
• Domestic Violence Safelink (a 24-hour multilingual statewide hotline) – 1-877-785-2020 TTY: 1-877-521-2601
• Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program (https://www.mass.gov/service-details/rape-crisis-centers)
• Children Exposed to Domestic Violence (https://www.mass.gov/media/1858451/download )
• Supervised Visitation – (https://www.mass.gov/media/1858451/download )
• Civil legal needs for survivors of sexual assault and rape – Victim Rights Law Center (http://www.victimrights.org/)