For over 50 years, SAFE Alliance has continued to provide support and resources to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and sex trafficking.

Community Impact sat down with Dani Fletcher, the senior director of marketing and communications, to speak about the evolution of the nonprofit, the services and programs offered and how people can get involved.

What is the history of SAFE Alliance?

50 years ago, there was a grassroots movement that saw this crisis happening with women experiencing sexual and domestic violence. As a result, the Austin Rape Crisis Center opened. The center realized that while they were getting the information that they needed to help people, they didn't have the housing to support those women and their children. Shortly thereafter, the Center for Battered Women opened their doors.

Abuse is complicated. It became clear that not all situations are safe for children, so the Austin Children's Shelter opened separately. There was a group of concerned citizens that saw a growing need for a shelter for kids who were experiencing abuse and neglect and the Austin-Travis County Shelter for Infants and Children was founded in 1984, which eventually was named Austin Children's Shelter in 1998. In 1998, the Austin Rape Crisis Center and the Center for Battered Women became SAFE Place. In 2017, all of these different entities combined to become SAFE Alliance.

What is the benefit of all of these agencies coming together?

We created all these wraparound support services and programs to help families stay together and help survivors find a place where they would be recognized with dignity, respect, healing and hope.

What are some of the programs and services offered through the SAFE Alliance?

We have over 30 programs that support survivors because it is such a complicated, nuanced thing.
  • Foster and Adopt in Austin works with families to place kids who need homes, and works to provide kinship care for kids.
  • Strong Start is the parent program that teaches parents how to build healthy, safe relationships with their kids by giving them parenting tools.
  • SAFE Futures works to keep families together that have open cases in child welfare. This program helps families navigate the legal system so that when it's safe they can stay together.
  • SAFE Cares serves people who are in at-risk communities or people who are survivors of sex trafficking.
  • Eloise House is a safe space for people who have experienced sexual violence and abuse. They, along with our Sexual Assault Services program, offer trauma informed care, examinations, and advocacy partners for anyone who has experienced sexual trauma.
What has been the biggest evolution of SAFE Alliance?

The greatest change was when we became the SAFE Alliance because instead of having these factioned areas, we have this amalgamation of services that created a rich ecosystem of wraparound care. This helps create a sense of safety, belonging and humanity for people who are able to tap into all the resources we have available as an organization. The last thing you need to worry about is chasing things down in a complicated legal system or a messy financial situation. We try to create as little friction as possible in these matters.

What are the goals of the nonprofit for this year?

One of our biggest goals is creating more housing. It is the number one requested resource we have on the SAFEline when people call in to ask for our services. Housing is number one, and we have two really big housing projects launching in 2025.

How can the community get involved with SAFE Alliance?

We just relaunched our volunteer services team. You can get involved as a corporation and have employees partake in things like creating kits for survivors. People can volunteer individually if they'd like and participate in our events, or they can volunteer regularly with the warehouse or in other areas of service.

What do you want the community to know about SAFE Alliance?

SAFE is a support system. The first thing that we want to do is make sure we're listening to survivors. They know what they need more than we do. We're not going to try to make anybody report something they don't want to, or work through the legal system in a way that they don't want to. We want to empower them to make the choices they need to make for themselves that are best for themselves.

To learn more SAFE Alliance and how they help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, visit the organization’s website. If you need help, call the 24/7 SAFEline at 512-267-SAFE [7233].

The above story was produced by Community Impact's Senior Multi-Platform Journalist Sierra Rozen with information solely provided by the local business as part of its "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.