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. It soon became apparent that a rape crisis hotline should be added to the services offered. Many of the women who called the rape crisis hotline knew the men who had assaulted them. Many callers identified their attackers as husbands or boyfriends. That stark reality prompted the opening of several safe houses. A permanent emergency shelter opened in 1978.
As demand for the Women’s Center’s services grew, our expertise and programs in the field of domestic violence evolved. 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.
- Safe Futures was the first domestic violence agency in Connecticut to open a Transitional Living Program, Phoenix House, in 1991. Today, it is one of only four such programs in the state to offer temporary shelter for victims fleeing domestic violence.
- Safe Futures was the first in Connecticut to offer services to secure permanent supportive housing for domestic violence victims in 1978. Families made homeless because of domestic violence or sexual assault who struggle with behavioral health disabilities receive safe, affordable, housing and supportive services.
- Safe Futures works in partnership with the Norwich Police Department to provide a victim advocate to law enforcement officers investigating a domestic violence or sexual assault case. This program is considered a model by the Chief State’s Attorney.
- Safe Futures launched a Violence Is Preventable (VIP) program in 1992. This science-based curriculum helps local elementary and middle schools students learn anger management techniques, effective communications skills, and problem-solving skills. The children are trained how to deal with their conflicts nonviolently.
- Safe futures 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 in 2012.