A rural mobile Growing Asset Center in Southeast Indiana to build positive behaviors in youth.
Providing help, healing and hope to build a community free of domestic and sexual violence.
Safe Passage is the sole provider of domestic and sexual violence support services in a six county area of southeast Indiana. Since 1997, we have helped over 14,000 victims and their children free from a lifestyle of violence. The number continues to increase. To stop the violence before it starts, our Prevention team goes into schools and libraries to promote a safe environment. Research shows that the more assets an individual has the less likely to engage in negative behaviors. The 30-bed shelter’s Greatest Assets Center room focuses on the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets through intentional asset-building play. Yet not all victims need shelter but all do need support. With that in mind, we’ve taken our Greatest Asset Center and staff on the road to the rural, low-income communities, working with Headstart programs, libraries and K-8 grade at-risk students. Depending on the age, we present asset lessons or healthy relationship programs.
There is no cost to the school or organization for the Rural Mobile Greatest Asset Center, and no other organization in the six counties is providing this mobile character-building service. Although DV does not discriminate, it’s the low income, rural victims we tend to see more of due to their lack of resources. Last year we had 131 in shelter, another 276 through the non-residential programming, and over 600 toll-free calls. The issue greatly impacts the children who witness it; statistics indicate they are 74 times more likely to be involved in a violent crime or a victim themselves. Arming the youth with assets is a proven defense. The funding would allow a greater presence in all six counties by supporting staff and materials, such as books, crafts and more, plus a vehicle. Currently there are two leased vehicles shared among a staff to cover 1900 square miles. This funding could help with the vehicle purchase, thus eliminating restrictions on mileage in our vast territory.
To change the cultural mindset of domestic and sexual violence we need to start with the youth. The Mobile GAC would help reach youth in the rural communities of six counties and not only develop character traits to thwart negative behaviors but also create a better awareness of Safe Passage’s services and the domestic violence issue. As there is no public transit system in the rural district, we offer clients transportation to shelter, to court hearings, to the hospital, if needed. We also know domestic and sexual violence is often cyclical in generations. However, we emphasize to youth that no amount of violence is normal in a healthy relationship. Because this area was vastly under-served, Safe Passage launched a sexual assault crisis center in October 2018. Our client numbers are expected to increase as a result. Domestic violence is not a personal issue, but a community one. Ultimately, the mobile GAC impact is to create a safer, healthier community for generations to come.