Community Violence Solutions was one of the first rape crisis centers in the US, and continues to confront the persistent and pervasive community problems of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation. 2014 marks our 40th year of doing this work.
This organization was founded by the Greater Richmond Interfaith Council in 1974 and incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in 1977. Formerly called Rape Crisis Center, the organization changed its name in 2001 to Community Violence Solutions in order to better reflect its growing continuum of services in Contra Costa and Marin Counties, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In the past decade, the agency has more than doubled in size, primarily adding services aimed at children, youth, and families. Our current programs are:
- Rape Crisis Center (RCC), providing a 24-hour crisis hotline and support services for sexual assault survivors of all ages and backgrounds. Support services include hospital accompaniment for SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) exams, court accompaniment, counseling services, and case management.
- The RCC’s Anti-Human Trafficking program, focusing on commercially sexually exploited youth and operating drop-in centers in San Pablo and Antioch. This program works in collaboration with law enforcement, probation and other community-based organizations for referrals and service coordination, including safe and stable housing, education, employment, and psycho-educational support and life skills groups. At our drop-in centers, youth can meet with case managers, have access to clothing, toiletries, and food (including a home-cooked, family-style sit-down dinner), engage in therapeutic or creative projects or life skills training, or simply have a safe place to rest or sleep. Some participants join our Speakers Bureau, receiving public speaking training and helping staff train partner agencies and the community on human trafficking, including sharing some of their own experiences.
- Prevention and Education Program, offering in-school violence prevention programming to elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as self-defense training.
- Child Welfare Redesign/Differential Response, providing case management for families who are at risk of involvement with Children and Family Services (CFS), to improve family functioning and prevent referral to CFS.
- Children’s Interview Center (CIC), working with a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT), which includes police, prosecutors, and CFS, to respond to allegations of child abuse (primarily sexual abuse) and to connect families to resources. CIC staff conduct age appropriate forensic interviews as part of the MDT. This program has seen 30% increases in the number of children served in each of the past two years.
CVS provided direct services to more than 2,000 individuals last year, approximately half of whom were minors. An additional 8,000 children and youth in West Contra Costa County participated in violence prevention and education programming at school.