Advocacy

SAFE’s experienced team of certified advocates are committed to providing confidential, non-judgmental support to all survivors. Advocates can help with safety planning, referrals to local, state and national resources, assistance with navigating both the criminal and civil justice system, and much more. SAFE’s advocates strive to meet clients where they are and often the first question is “How can I best support you?”

SAFE’s advocates work from the empowerment model which believes that every person has the capacity to make the best decisions for their own situation. This may include the decision to leave or stay in an unhealthy relationship, to participate or abstain from participating in the criminal justice system, and much more. Advocates lay out all the available options for the survivor in an un-biased way, and allow the survivor to choose the option best for them. Learn more about the empowerment model in the “policies” section of this website.

Columbia County Advocacy Sites

DHS Child Welfare

This advocate works with the Department of Human Services Child Welfare department to help non-offending parents navigate the complex and sometimes overwhelming system that is Child Welfare, all the while making sure the survivor’s voice is being heard, and Child Welfare staff are up-to-date on the latest information about the dynamics of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trauma.

DHS Self Sufficiency Programs

This advocate works with the Self Sufficiency office to assist survivors applying for the TA-DVS (Temporary Assistance for Domestic Violence Survivors) grant, and folks who have disclosed to their Self Sufficiency worker that they do not feel safe in their home. This advocate can attend meetings with the client, provide ongoing safety planning and refer to other resources to help the survivor and their family stay safe and healthy.

Healthy Hearts at Vernonia Health Center

Did you know relationships affect physical health? As new research emerges about the link between unhealthy relationships and poor health outcomes, the need for advocates in healthcare settings is becoming more clear. This advocate spends time in Vernonia’s health care clinic providing safety planning, support and resource referrals to clinic patients, as well as community members for whom the commute to St. Helens may not be practical.

The Ruthann Center

Named for Ruthann Harris Inman, a beloved batters treatment provider, The Ruthann Center is a survivor-centered collaborative held at Community Action Team every Tuesday from 9am to Noon. Modeled after Family Justice Centers, it is a place where survivors can meet with a SAFE advocate and access services like TANF, TA-DVS, Legal Aid, crime reporting, housing assistance and more.

Emergency Rooms

SAFE advocates are trained and prepared to respond to emergency rooms in Portland and Longview to help survivors explore their reporting options after a sexual or physical assault, inform survivors of their rights, and provide emotional support when undergoing a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam.

The Starting Place Shelter Advocacy

The residents of The Starting Place can meet with their advocate on-site during office hours to discuss resource referral, long-term housing, emotional and physical safety planning and more.

State and local legislative advocacy

SAFE and its affiliates are always working to advocate for the rights of survivors of violence at all levels. Staff participates in lobby days, sits on state and local task force’s and boards, and much more.