Advocate of the Month: January 2015

Advocate of the Month: January 2015

Kylie is January’s Advocate of the Month!

In January, Kylie excelled at her individual client work, providing on-going, comprehensive services to clients both on the Response Line and in the Domestic Violence Intake Centers. Kylie played an integral role in the expansion of our Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Access Project, providing 24-hour in-person services to survivors who present at Washington Hospital Center for a domestic violence forensic exam.

Aside from her client work, Kylie is responsible for monthly statistics for our Response Line and ensures that we are up to date on our billing so that we can continue to place clients in crisis housing 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

Welcoming New Beginnings

Welcoming New Beginnings

Artwork created by a survivor staying at SAFE Space to welcome other survivors.

A new year is a time to reflect on new beginnings. We are so grateful for the generosity of DC SAFE’s supporters who raised a total of $28,528 for SAFE Space during our holiday campaign. With these funds, more survivors can receive crisis housing and supportive services to create a new beginning free from violence and abuse.

SAFE also received an outpouring of support for survivors through in-kind donations from SAFE’s Amazon Wish List. We also received generous support from local groups such as employees giving programs and faith-based organizations, such as New Direction Church. These donations will be vital to helping survivors and their children feel more comfortable and at home.

We were touched to receive many special messages from community members expressing their support of SAFE and the survivors that SAFE empowers.

“You are an amazing organization and I’m in awe of the work you do to help people who come to SAFE. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a happy 2015.”

“My daughter is volunteering for your organization and I would like to make a donation in her honor. May this donation help you reach your financial goals and to continue the work you do in support of individuals who have suffered at the hands of domestic violence.”

“This donation is made by my company’s Charitable Contributions Company. DC Safe was recognized as an organization making a difference in our local community and we wanted to help.”

We are so grateful to receive generous support from our volunteers, board members, community members, and many others. Your support welcomes survivors and their children to a new life free from abuse and violence.


Advocate of the Month: December 2014

Advocate of the Month: December 2014

Charity is December’s Advocate of the Month! Charity was nominated by her co-workers for her above-and-beyond advocacy and passion for the work. In her short time with DC SAFE, Charity has developed expertise in both the court process and victim advocacy. Since she began in Sepember 2014, Charity has been a relentless advocate, building relationships with survivors in court who hadn’t previously received SAFE services and ensuring that they’re connected to all available resources. Charity’s passion extends outside of the Courthouse: Charity regularly signs up for Ride Alongs with the Metropolitan Police Department, providing in-person crisis services and building relationships with officers. Congratulation, Charity!


Advocate of the Month: November 2014

Advocate of the Month: November 2014

Lindsey is November’s Advocate of the Month! Lindsey was nominated by her co-workers for her client-centered, comprehensive work on the On-Call Response Line. Lindsey has done an incredible job ensuring that the most vulnerable clients’ needs are met quickly and efficiently through the Lethality Assessment Project (LAP).  Lindsey’s great work ethic and dedication to her clients has allowed LAP to flourish despite staffing shortfalls during the months of October and November.  Lindsey’s professionalism and commitment with both LAP and the response line has resulted in greater engagement by partner agencies and more positive interactions for SAFE clientele.

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

It is that time of year where we all pause to reflect on the year past– how far we have come, and who helped us along the way. DC SAFE is so fortunate to be working alongside caring, supportive, and passionate organizations and individuals. We are not exaggerating when we say that we could not provide our critical services without their help, and at this time of year we want to take a special moment to recognize some of this year’s shining stars. You are all superheroes. Thank you for being part of the DC SAFE family.


Beveridge card

Building Partnerships card

Cafritz card

CVCP card

Katten card

Mary Kay card

OLA card

OVS card

SEIU card

Verizon card

Mary Kay Foundation Includes DC SAFE in 2014 Grantees

Mary Kay Foundation Includes DC SAFE in 2014 Grantees

DC SAFE is honored to have been selected from among hundreds of applicants as one of the 2014 grant recipients for The Mary Kay Foundation domestic violence shelter grant program.

While domestic violence has experienced a recent boost in awareness, shelters around the country are struggling to overcome funding gaps which directly affect their ability to provide resources for women and children fleeing abuse.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, The Mary Kay Foundation has awarded $3 million in grants to 150 domestic violence shelters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Each shelter will receive a $20,000 grant to maintain critical services and programs.

“It’s been a bigger challenge than ever for shelters to keep their doors open and grants from The Mary Kay Foundation are a vital part in helping shelters move forward in their missions,” said Anne Crews, board member for The Mary Kay Foundation and Vice President of Public Affairs for Mary Kay Inc. “We have witnessed significant progress in raising awareness that domestic violence is an unacceptable crime but there is much more work to be done. These grants are a signature program for us and we know the nearly 400,000 women and children served by the 150 shelters receiving our funding will have their lives changed for the better and join The Mary Kay Foundation in changing the dialogue surrounding abuse for generations to come.”

While more than half of the grant recipients use the unrestricted funds for basic operating expenses including utilities and meal preparation, others hire much needed personnel, complete repairs and facility renovations or add additional programs and resources based on the unique needs of their shelter and the clients they serve.

‘There is never going to be enough money to address the full needs of shelters and their programs,” said Crews who, as a long-time advocate against abuse, is the Mary Kay liaison to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence and serves as president of the board of directors for the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. “It’s up to all of us to volunteer or get involved with nonprofits focused on the issue.”

Through the Foundation’s annual shelter grant program, $37 million has been granted to domestic violence organizations since 2000. Each year, grants are awarded to at least one domestic violence shelter in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam with remaining grants distributed based on state population. Nearly 700 shelters applied for funding this year.

Click here for a full list of 2014 grant recipients or visit for additional information.

Advocate of the Month: September 2014

Advocate of the Month: September 2014

The SAFE Advocate of the Month for September is . . . all of you!

Our SAFE Advocates have worked hard through one incredibly busy summer, without for one second compromising the high quality of client services that we expect from all our staff. We’d like to take a moment to thank you for your amazing dedication, resourcefulness, and passion. You are an incredible team, and we are so fortunate to have you all with us. Thank you!



Valerie Collins Honored to Be SAFE Award Recipient

Valerie Collins Honored to Be SAFE Award Recipient

We were so pleased to receive this kind note from one of our awardees after our recent Keep DC SAFE event. We are so touched that these awards mean as much to the recipients as they do to us. We select our awardees carefully and it means so much to know that they appreciate this honor. Thank you again, Valerie Collins, for being a hero to domestic violence survivors!

“I am thankful that DC SAFE selected me as the 2014 recipient of the Laura Banks Reed Award for Community Service to Victims of Domestic Violence. It is truly an honor and especially from your organization. I value the CSOSA/SAFE Partnership and know it is making a difference to keep victims safe and hold batterers accountable. I look forward to our continued collaboration to provide safety and support to DV Victims.”

-Valerie Collins, Branch Chief, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency

Reporting Back: DV in DC 2014

Reporting Back: DV in DC 2014

While domestic and intimate partner violence affects all communities and exists across all social and economic groups, each community faces unique challenges that impact the way in which survivors can access services, the way those services are delivered, and the outcomes that result. In 2013, in order to better understand the survivors it serves and the outcomes that these survivors in DC face, SAFE conducted a survey of its clients at all points of access to services during a two-week period in July. The survey asked clients who agreed to participate to provide additional information to what is normally collected during the intake process.

The DV in DC 2013 Report was published from the results of this survey, and provided a valuable insight into the characteristics of the DC survivors SAFE serves, and of specific challenges that survivors of domestic violence in DC face. However, the report was only able to examine this group of clients in the immediate aftermath of their access to services, and while it proved a valuable tool in understanding the people affected by violence and their needs and purpose in seeking resources, its insight into longer term demographic changes and outcomes from violence or from accessing the system of service providers and government relief was necessarily limited.

The intent of the 2013 report was to be the first in a series of reports that examined successive cohorts of SAFE clients seeking services, in order to better understand their needs and their outcomes. That report noted that a static representation of clients provided a woefully incomplete portrait of survivors as people, living dynamic lives, taking resilient action, and facing significant obstacles. In 2014, instead of repeating the survey study on a new cohort of clients, SAFE set out to examine the same group of survivors from 2013 through available measures, and critically including survivors’ voices in the process. This report is intended to carry forward the work of the 2013 report.

To learn more and read the 2014 report, click here.

To view a snapshot of our survey population, click here.

Who helps us Keep DC SAFE?

Who helps us Keep DC SAFE?

The 4th annual Keep DC SAFE is coming upon October 2, 2014. This annual awards reception will feature light fare, beer and wine, live music, and an awards ceremony at which we recognize the partners who have been crucial to our past year’s domestic violence crisis services. We’d like to take a chance to tell you all about this year’s special award recipients and invite you to join us in recognizing them. Please click here for information and tickets.

This year’s Laura Banks Reed Award for Community Service to Victims of Violence will be presented to Valerie Collins of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA). CSOSA is a longtime partner of SAFE, and in the past year they have stepped up training for Court Supervision Officers around domestic violence issues and have worked closely with our Lethality Assessment Project staff to tighten alert processes and offender accountability strategies in high lethality cases. This means that victims at high risk of re-assault or homicide can get help from CSOSA in enforcing their abuser’s release status conditions, reducing the survivor’s risk of harm and giving her time to secure additional supportive resources to protect her from abuse. The award is named for Laura Banks Reed, the Director of Crime Victims’ Compensation Program and a valued community partner for DC SAFE.

The MPD Officer of the Year Award for Outstanding Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence will be presented to Officer Derek Dude, Officer Joseph Devlin, Officer Justin Roth. These outstanding officers are being recognized for their heroic actions in the field to save the life of a domestic violence survivor. The victim  was stabbed 15 times by her abuser and left in the street to die. Officers Dude, Devlin, & Roth responded to the scene, and when they saw the amount of blood surrounding the victim, they suspected an arterial bleed. The officers improvised a tourniquet from a passerby’s belt to stop the arterial bleeding, provided compression to the wound and elevated the leg to slow the blood flow, while they waited those critical few minutes for the ambulance to arrive and transport the victim to a hospital. Without their quick action, this survivor would not have lived to celebrate her birthday, just a few days following the attack.

The SAFE Volunteer Advocate of The Year Award will be presented to Robyn Swirling. Robyn has been volunteering with DC SAFE since September 2012, and is one of our most dedicated volunteers, working at minimum 12 hours per month on SAFE’s 24-hour Response Line. DC SAFE receives approximately 4,500 calls on our Response Line each year. In 24 months as a volunteer, Robyn has answered approximately 150 calls from survivors seeking help. Robyn coordinates shelter placements, lock changes, criminal justice advocacy, and walks clients through the protection order process. She also accompanies police on monthly ride-alongs to provide in-person advocacy at the scene of a domestic incident. Aside from performing her volunteer duties above and beyond expectation, Robyn uses her social media savvy to advocate, inform, and raise awareness about domestic violence in Washington, DC. She regularly tweets about her experience as a volunteer, encourages others to engage in the local domestic violence community, and solicits donations. She also assists with training new volunteers, where her enthusiasm and expertise is an inspiration to volunteers new and old. She is an exemplary volunteer, and it is people like Robyn that make our work possible.

In addition to Robyn, we’ll recognize two more volunteers who have gone above and beyond in the past year. Kim Martin will be presented with the OCAP Sleepover Award for signing up for more overnight Response Line shifts than any other volunteer – 72 out of 124 volunteer hours this year. This is our most grueling shift and the hardest to get coverage for – thanks, Kim, for being a hero for local survivors.

We’ll also honor Nadja Todt with the Ride Along Representative Award. Nadja has done more MPD Ride Alongs than any other volunteer. Since January, she has spent 152 hours on 19 Ride Alongs, providing in-person advocacy to victims immediately after abuse has occurred. This in-person advocacy is so valuable for survivors, and engaging with our MPD partners helps strengthen this terrific collaboration even further.

This year’s event also features a truly exciting musical guest, Deaf Dog & The Indictments. This band includes six DC Superior Court judges (Judge William Nooter, Judge Franklin Burgess Jr., Judge John Campbell, Judge Russell F. Canan, Judge William Jackson and Judge John McCabe) plus non-judge drummer and psychologist Marc Feldman. This band formed as part of a talent competition during a DC Superior Court staff retreat, and has gone on to perform numerous gigs around the DC Metro area, including charity events for Children’s National Medical Center, Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, and the National Juvenile Defender Association. They have even performed at the famous Bitter End in Greenwich Village.

We hope you will join us on October 2nd for this terrific event. Help us continue to make DC a safer place for domestic violence survivors.