Someplace Safe celebrates, plans open house for second anniversary
Domestic violence. Sexual assault. General crime.
Three very real criminal acts that encompass a wide range of behaviors - from physical or mental abuse to sexual harassment or rape to theft, homicide or even identity theft.
For victims of any type of criminal act, there is a place - besides a law enforcement center - where they turn to for help.
Someplace Safe is a non-profit corporation dedicated to serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and general crime.
Incorporated in 1979 and now based in Fergus Falls, Someplace Safe also has outreach offices in Perham, Alexandria, Glenwood, Elbow Lake, Morris, Wheaton, Ortonville and Breckenridge.
The Alexandria office of Someplace Safe is celebrating its second anniversary and the staff is hosting an open house next Thursday, March 12 from 3 to 6 p.m.
The public is invited to tour Someplace Safe and check out the newly decorated resource room, which is used as a gathering place, a training room and an art room.
During the open house, visitors can enjoy savories and sweets and take the opportunity to meet and visit with the six full-time staff members.
In addition, there will be a display of silhouettes of victims of domestic violence in the state of Minnesota during 2008.
About Someplace Safe
Someplace Safe provides free and confidential services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and general crime.
Services, according to Susan Keehn, an advocate at the Alexandria Someplace Safe, include a 24-hour crisis hotline, resources, advocacy, support groups, shelter and safe housing, legal advocacy, school, community and professional training, as well as other services.
In addition, Keehn noted that Someplace Safe advocates will do presentations to businesses, organizations, churches or wherever else it's needed about domestic violence and how people in those places can help.
"Any group wanting to learn more can give us a call and we will be there," said Keehn. "Our goal is to make this community safer. Ideally, we would like it to be violence free, but that would be a huge undertaking."
During the 2008 fiscal calendar for the Alexandria office of Someplace Safe, Keehn said there were 128 women, 22 men and nine children who received help because they were victims of domestic violence.
Those were the number of victims who were helped directly, meaning they contacted Someplace Safe themselves. The numbers don't represent those who were referred to Someplace Safe because of being in a domestic violence situation.
From February of 2007 to September of 2008, Someplace Safe provided services to 62 primary victims of sexual assault. Primary victims are those who were violated. It also provided services to 31 secondary victims, which includes parents and/or friends of the victims.
From February of 2007 through September of 2008, Someplace Safe made contact with or offered services to 1,360 primary victims of general crime and 20 secondary victims.
According to the Someplace Safe Web site, www.someplacesafe.info, domestic violence is defined as a pattern of controlling behaviors to an intimate partner. The abuse can be physical, emotional and/or sexual.
Sexual assault is defined as any sexual activity involving a person who does not or cannot consent. Sexual assault includes obscene phone calls, exposing, sexual abuse of children, incest, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation of clients by professionals, Internet exploitation or rape.
And general crime is defined as any type of crime that includes, but isn't limited to, assault, burglary, elder abuse or neglect, fraud, harassment, hate crimes, homicide, identity theft, kidnapping, property crime, robbery, stalking, theft, terroristic threats and vehicular homicide or injury.
How to get help
To contact Someplace Safe, victims can either call the 24-hour crisis hotline toll-free at 1-800-974-3359 or the office phone at (320) 762-1995.
The Alexandria office of Someplace Safe is located at 700 Cedar Street, Suite 237, which is in the Marian Building.
For Internet resources, visit Someplace Safe at www.someplacesafe.info.