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 agency serves all 21 cities and towns in southeastern Connecticut.
- The first domestic violence agency in the state of Connecticut to open a Transitional Living Program, Phoenix House, in 1991. It was one of only four 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.
- 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.
- In 2012, we became the first agency in the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence to enact the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) in conjunction with local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies.