The Department of Justice recognized DC SAFE with the National Crime Victims’ Service Award during a national ceremony April 9, 2014, for providing rapid access to services for domestic violence victims.
“Through their courage and critical contributions to assist and empower victims, these individuals and organizations have given hope to countless Americans victimized by crime– even under the most difficult circumstances,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “I am proud to recognize these extraordinary advocates by celebrating their achievements and assure them that the Department of Justice is more determined than ever to help ensure their continued success.”
The SAFE Space program was established in 2011 to fill a gap in local emergency shelter resources for domestic violence survivors. Most other providers have a multi-week entry period, counseling requirements, or other barriers that can delay a victim’s entry into shelter. Immediate access to shelter is one of the most urgent safety needs faced by domestic violence survivors. After years of struggling to find safe shelter for our clients, SAFE partnered with a local real estate developer and the DC Crime Victims’ Compensation Program to establish SAFE Space, and create the city’s first and only emergency domestic violence shelter.
SAFE Space provides certified domestic violence advocates onsite. The program also enables timely access to government and social services, including expedited public housing transfers away from their abusers, clothing, personal care items and household necessities. This enables victims to return to work, send their children back to school and resume their lives.
This program also works closely with DC SAFE’s Lethality Assessment Project to identify high-risk clients and devise a client-led advocacy plan that expedites services provided by partnering with DC government agencies. DC SAFE has provided immediate shelter and vital services to 423 adults and their 604 children since May 2011.
“We are humbled and proud to recognize these extraordinary individuals, teams, and organizations for their outstanding service” said Deputy Attorney General James Cole. “These compassionate honorees have become beacons of hope for so many others who have endured shock and deep sadness in the face of too many incidents involving violence and loss.”
In addition to DC SAFE, the Department recognized nine other individuals and programs for their outstanding efforts on behalf of crime victims. Descriptions and videos of the honorees are available at the Office for Victims of Crime’s Gallery.
President Reagan proclaimed the first Victims’ Rights Week in 1981, calling for renewed emphasis on, and sensitivity to, the rights of victims. National Crime Victims’ Rights Week will be observed this year from April 6-12, and the theme is “30 Years: Restoring the Balance of Justice.”
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov.
Check out the award recipient videos above, and click here to read DCist’s coverage of the event.