OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
We have learned alongside our Community Partners as they have faced challenges, overcome barriers, and achieved extraordinary successes. Find out more about each project and the outcomes below.
Health & Well-Being
The SAFE Alliance (fka SafePlace)
Phone Counseling Program
SafePlace seeks to end sexual and domestic violence through safety, healing, prevention and social change. The organization provides a comprehensive range of services, including a 105-bed shelter for battered adults and their children. Sadly, SafePlace has waiting lists for all its services.
The grant from Impact Austin will help alleviate this tragic situation by funding a new telephone counseling program that will be free, easily accessible and have far-reaching impact for women hurt by sexual and domestic violence. The organization expects to provide counseling to a population of approximately 250 that currently cannot access SafePlace’s services. This new program will be critically important for women trapped in their homes and women enduring long waits for services. Phone counseling offers brief, solution-focused therapy and will provide a new and innovative model in the field of sexual and domestic violence.
SafePlace believes this was the first time a professional telephone counseling program was deployed by a domestic or sexual violence support organization. The two-year pilot demonstrated that it was an effective and economical new model.
The program successfully provided critically-needed therapeutic services to adults who otherwise would not be able to access face-to-face counseling. The Phone Counseling Program served 185 people during the grant period, slightly short of the goal due to staffing turnover. Clients completing at least 5 sessions of counseling assessed their progress thusly: 75% increased their safety, 91% increased their emotional wellbeing, and 82% increased their ability to function.
Clients’ assessment of their safety was somewhat lower than targeted because of their tendency to initially minimize or deny the level of danger they faced but subsequent to counseling, more fully realize their situation and rank their safety level lower than at the start.
An unanticipated benefit of the program was the increased flexibility gained in providing services. Prior to implementing Phone Counseling, clients who could no longer attend sessions in person usually had to end their counseling. At first, these clients were transferred to one of the phone counselors who would continue the counseling. However, during the second year, some of the face-to-face counselors began to offer sessions by phone as well which allowed survivors to continue their healing process with the same counselor.
Due to the economical advantages of phone counseling, SafePlace has concluded that it is a good way to expand their overall mental health services capacity within limited resources.
SafePlace was awarded funding from St David’s Foundation to support the Phone Counseling program after the conclusion of the Impact Austin grant period. Without the positive experience from this Impact Austin funded pilot, St. David’s Foundation might not have been willing to invest in an unproven, untested program.
SafePlace is now The SAFE Alliance.