A Safe Place
A Safe Place organizes four fundraising events each year--in August they will host their Drive Out Domestic Violence Golf Outing. The golf outing, which raises much needed funds for programs and services that help transform the lives of victims of domestic violence and their children, will take place at Briarwood Country Club in Deerfield on Monday, August 19. Registration and sponsorships are available at www.asafeplaceforhelp.org/golf-outing.
Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce: What was the inspiration for starting A Safe Place?
Pat Davenport: The organization was founded 40 years ago. The Lake County State's Attorney at the time had seen an uptick in domestic violence cases in the county. He decided to form a task force of about 30 people including judges, lawyers, community agencies, to address the issues that our county was experiencing. Out of that came the recommendation that we needed an organization like A Safe Place. Through the years we have expanded our services to remove barriers to services and barriers for a victim to leave an abusive relationship. This past year in collaboration with Lake County States Attorney Mike Nerheim and law enforcement we expanded our services to include human trafficking due to demand.
LFLBC: What is your vision for A Safe Place?
PD: Our vision is to be the leading domestic violence organization in the northern part of Illinois working to end domestic violence. And we do that in different ways. One is through our victim center approach, working on intervention, but also, prevention. For example, we work in the school's with young people to help them understand what a healthy relationship looks like, and to watch for red flags.
LFLBC: What has been A Safe Place’s most successful initiative?
PD: We provide a comprehensive safety net of services through 13 different locations in Lake County. Last year we served over 16,000 of our neighbors. We offer a 24-hour crisis line, so when the victim takes that courageous step to make that phone call, we're there. Also, we have a ‘crisis response service.’ One member of our team attends domestic and human trafficking police calls so they can start building a trusting relationship little-by-little. So, when we are called to a residence, we offer support and encouragement to the victim. The next step in our safety net is housing. If a victim is fleeing home because his or her life is in danger, the emergency shelter is a place victims can stay up to 3 months to start rebuilding their life. Other victims may need transitional housing (up to 2 years) or permanent housing. We also help them to find employment, go to school, and to address their basic needs. We also provide legal advocacy. We actually have an office in the courthouse and we are right next door to the domestic violence courtroom. We do about 90% of the Orders of Protection. We also provide behavioral health services (individual, and family counseling, support groups and art therapy, transitional and permanent housing as well as supervise visits and custodial exchanged at our family visitation center. And we are actually a dual agency-- our main focus is victims work, but we also provide services to abusers.
LFLBC: What is one thing you want people to know about A Safe Place?
PD: Domestic violence can happen to anyone, women and men, regardless of your class, money, race, age. People think we only serve women who have been abused, but we also provide services for male victims.
LFLBC: Do you collaborate with any other local organization?
PD: [Having our offices at Gorton] is awesome, because everybody here works beautifully together. [Our neighbors] include Fill a Heart for Kids, Mother’s Trust, Bravo… and they'll pitch in and help out when it's time. We cannot do what we do alone – without people helping out, we would not be able to accomplish our goals.
LFLBC: How do you give back to the community?
PD: How we give back is the return on the investment of our work in the community. [Domestic violence] results in health-related costs, not to mention the social impact.
LFLBC: Is there anything that we didn't discuss that you would like to share?
PD: What we do is help people, and we could use help with that! If there are companies out there who want to do service projects, we have facilities throughout Lake County that need work. We work very hard to keep our overhead low so we can have as much money go to programming as possible. We rely on volunteers to do so much of what is needed. So, contact me and I will be happy to put you to work!