It was 1997 when three women sat around a kitchen table, searching desperately for a source of help for a friend living under the threat of domestic violence. It wasn't long before they realized that Southeast Indiana was the most underserved region of the state in terms of domestic abuse resources. The closest source of support was more than an hour away. The need for help was obvious, and these three women knew they should be the ones to address that need.
Working tirelessly, they quickly gained the support of local and state government, business leaders and other women – many of whom had personal understanding of the devastating and painful effects of domestic violence. Within 2 years, Safe Passage, Inc. was incorporated and granted not-for-profit status, a 24/7 crisis Helpline was created, and a governing Board of committed local citizens established a service region encompassing Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley, and Switzerland counties. Limited outreach services were also established, but it was apparent more was needed.
In August of 2004, Safe Passage, Inc. completed construction of a highly-secured, state-of-the-art shelter in Ripley County, where victims could come for safety, healing, and extensive support services. They immediately began housing individuals and families. Outreach services continued to be expanded, and by 2015, Jefferson County was added to the Safe Passage service region and four satellite offices were serving those in need throughout the large six county area.
Today, the legacy of that meeting around the kitchen table is stronger than ever. In 2011, one of the original founders of the organization was hired as its Executive Director to continue the organization's award-winning programs and services that help build healthy relationships and communities.
Beginning in 2015, the staff at Safe Passage began to notice a growing need for services specific to survivors of sexual violence. After several years of research and discussion, the Safe Passage Board of Directors voted in August 2017 to pursue funding in order to expand existing services to include these survivors. In early 2018, Safe Passage announced that they had been awarded the funding to establish Safe Place as an entity of Safe Passage, Inc. Safe Place is committed to offering hope, healing and empowerment for survivors of sexual violence in Southeastern Indiana while offering education and prevention services to the community.