DC SAFE’s mission is to ensure the safety and self-determination of domestic violence survivors in Washington, DC through emergency services, court advocacy, crisis housing, and system reform. DC SAFE empowers more than 5,000 victims of domestic violence each year.
As the first responder for domestic violence services in DC, DC SAFE's Advocates begin working with survivors within just moments or hours of a violent incident to create immediate safety for survivors and their families. DC SAFE provides valuable information and services to survivors in order to help them break the cycle of violence and reduce the likelihood of future abuse.
DC SAFE began as a program of the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1997, with one advocate providing services to all survivors of domestic violence who sought assistance through the DC Superior Court. In 2006 DC SAFE became an independent organization and has since grown to include a staff of 30, hundreds of volunteers, and an active Board of Directors.
DC SAFE provides Crisis Intervention Services to support domestic violence survivors in the critical window immediately after they report a violent incident to the police, courts, or other service providers. DC SAFE operates the Response Line to provide crisis services by telephone and inform victims of their rights and services that they can access. Additionally, On-Call Advocates meet survivors 24/7 at locations such as police stations and hospitals, to coordinate the immediate needs that survivors have such as shelter and access to medical care.
DC SAFE also operates SAFE Space, DC’s only crisis shelter for domestic violence survivors. Survivors and their children can live at SAFE Space for up to 20 days, while receiving case management services to help survivors meet their long-term housing goals. In 2014, 749 survivors received housing services at SAFE Space.
Supportive Advocacy Services include assistance with applying for protection orders at the DC Superior Courthouse, court advocacy, and information about criminal and civil legal options, as well as referrals for legal representation and other needs that survivors have.
The Lethality Assessment Program provides enhanced and specialized services for survivors at high-risk for future harm. Approximately 30% of DC SAFE's clients are assessed as high-risk.