History of SafePlace
More than 35 years ago, women’s advocates in Austin saw a need to support women in the community who had experienced sexual and domestic violence. Within a few short years the Austin Rape Crisis Center (1974) and Center for Battered Women (1977), the first rape crisis center and the first shelter in Texas respectively, opened their doors. The Center for Battered Women was one of the first in the nation, receiving national acclaim as a leading program to offer safety for abused women and their children.
Through the years, both agencies expanded their services to better address the ever-growing needs of the community and, in 1998, joined to combine resources and help more survivors, their families and the Austin/Travis County community. SafePlace became a unified source of hope for women, children and men hurt by sexual and domestic violence. The agency continues to be nationally-recognized as a leader for its innovative and effective programs.
SafePlace has come a long way in the last 35 years. While continuing to support the immediate needs of survivors through the 24-hour hotline, hospital accompaniment, shelter and counseling services, the agency has added programs that educate, build awareness, provide support in accessing resources and work with the children of survivors to move beyond the trauma resulting from the violence in their lives.
SafePlace provides extensive community outreach, education and prevention programs through the Expect Respect Program for teens and youth, Disability Services, Deaf Services, Community Education and Community Dialogue. Many of these programs, trainings and materials are used nationwide by other shelters, law enforcement and advocates.