Founded in 1976 as the Women’s Center of Southeastern Connecticut, Safe Futures began as an information and referral service for women entering the workforce. When a rape crisis hotline was added to the services offered, it soon became clear that the perpetrators of the assaults were men the callers knew – their husbands and boyfriends. This realization lead to the opening of several safe houses, and eventually a permanent emergency shelter in 1978. As demand for the Women’s Center’s services grew, so did its programs and expertise in the field of domestic violence. In 2012, the Women’s Center changed its name to Safe Futures to better reflect those being served by the agency as well as its full scope of programs. The name Safe Futures also ensures that everyone in southeastern Connecticut who can benefit by services will know that Safe Futures is here to help them.
- The first domestic violence agency in the state of Connecticut to open a Transitional Living Program, Phoenix House, in 1991. Today it is one of only 4 such programs in the state.
- The first domestic violence agency in Connecticut to offer a supportive housing program, where homeless families struggling with behavioral health disabilities receive safe, affordable, permanent housing and supportive services.
- In partnership with the Norwich Police Department, Safe Futures pairs a victim advocate with law enforcement officers to serve victims at the time of an incident–considered a model program by the Chief State’s Attorney.
- Over 9,000 individuals participate each year in a wide variety of Community Education Programs in schools, businesses, community organizations and other community partners.
- Violence Is Preventable (VIP) program, a K-8th grade, science-based curriculum provided to local schools where students learn anger management techniques, communication and problem solving skills in order to deal with their conflicts nonviolently. VIP has been in southeastern Connecticut since 1992.
Today, Safe Futures operates two 24-hour hotlines, an emergency shelter and a transitional living program for families working to rebuild lives shattered by domestic violence or sexual assault. Safe Futures also provides legal assistance, counseling and advocacy, case management, support groups, and educational programs for schools and community groups. All 21 towns in New London County are served by the agency.
Safe Futures is part of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV). Safe Futures is also a Partner Agency of United Way and its programs are funded in part by the State of Connecticut’s Departments of Social Service, Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Office of Victim Services, Judicial Branch.