get to know safe project

HISTORY

The roots of SAFE Project can be traced back to 1974. Nine female law students at the University of Wyoming (UW) saw a need to raise awareness about rape at UW and in Laramie. With university approval, some of the women opened and staffed the Women's Awareness Movement Office on campus to provide educational materials. Around the same time, a community group of activists were organizing around the issue of family violence and raised funds to set up a voucher system to pay for hotel rooms for women and children who were fleeing abusive situations. In 1977, the two groups came together and began using the name SAFE Project, or Sexual Assault Family Violence Educational Project. The organization was incorporated as a non-profit agency in May of 1980, with Jane Warren as one of the initial incorporators.   

 

SAFE Project received assistance from a number of organizations in the early years. The first office space was donated for two years by the Susan B. Anthony Center at UW. The University Common Ministry acted as an umbrella agency through June 1982, and SAFE received funding through them from the Tonkin Foundation in Casper and the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. Grants from the Wyoming legislature provided funds to hire staff, establish a 24-hour crisis line, train volunteer advocates, and begin educational programs in Albany County. Church Women United, a group that had been educating the community on intimate partner violence, elected to transfer their shelter fund to SAFE Project in 1982. The funds helped make it possible to purchase SAFE’s first permanent shelter building in the late 1980s. In 1991, an office building was purchased on Steele Street to improve accessibility to services for survivors in the community.


Eventually the clients and staff outgrew the shelter and office spaces. In 2010, two separate buildings were purchased and renovated with community development block grants from the Wyoming Business Council and the Wyoming Community Development Authority, funding from the Guthrie Family Foundation, and proceeds from the sales of the former shelter property and the office on Steele. The building at 319 South Lincoln Street was renovated from apartments into the present day office. The new shelter with space to accomodate more clients and children was updated with a security system and locks, ADA compliant rooms, and new gas heating. Further renovations over time have included pet friendly upgrades for pets to stay in shelter with clients, a fenced playground on site for children, and additional ADA compliant accomodations. In 2016, SAFE Project added an advocate with a satellite office on the UW campus to include related university specific services for survivors and increase access for students, university staff, and community residents.

PRESENT DAY

Today SAFE Project works closely with a number of local, state, and federal organizations and agencies to better assist clients and meet their needs. Since 2009, SAFE has been coordinating the local Sexual Assault Response Team to facilitate increased collaboration among health agencies, emergency responders, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system. Since 2020, SAFE has been adapting to changing needs of survivors, the community, and partner agencies due to Covid.

 

SAFE Project employs a Director and five full time staff, with most of the staff in the main office plus one staff advocate in an office in Knight Hall on the University of Wyoming campus. An average of 25-30 volunteer advocates who completed our mandatory 40-hour training for providing services to survivors actively help staff the 24-hour hotline or intern in the office. An additional 10 volunteers each year are men selected by SAFE to be part of our SAFE Men program and complete training on interpersonal violence to prepare them for providing prevention education. Our Board of Directors is a team of another nine to eleven volunteers comprised of indiduals from a variety of professions throughout the community. 

 

SAFE Project provides free and confidential services and support to survivors of relationship or family violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Services include but are not limited to a 24-hour crisis hotline, a secure shelter for clients and their children and pets, safety planning, hospital accompaniment for sexual assault exams, assistance with protection orders, guidance for student survivors navigating campus systems, resources, referrals, and financial assistance. Prevention and outreach efforts include prevention programs in local schools, presentations around the community, informational/service brochures, materials distributed in Laramie and around Albany County, information and awareness through social media, quarterly newsletters, and awareness events and activities. For National Domestic Violence Awareness Month each October, we hold a candlelight vigil to remember victims of domestic violence homicide from Albany County. More information about our services can be found on our home page and throughout our website, and more information on prevention, outreach and events can be found on the corresponding tabs or by clicking the underlined links.

FUNDING

SAFE Project is sponsored by the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, Division of Victim Services (DVS), and the following state and federal funding for operating and program expenses is provided to SAFE as their sub-grantee:

  • Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) federal grant

  • State Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault grant

  • Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) federal grant

  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Sexual Assault Services federal grant

  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Victim Services grant

Sources of other recent or current funding that make it possible for SAFE Project to provide and expand services:

  • Albany County Community Agency funds

  • City of Laramie Community Partner grant

  • Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) federal grant

  • Consolidated Youth and Engaging Men (CYEM) federal grant

  • Donations from supporters

  • Donations/proceeds from fundraisers by community members and organizations

  • Donations/proceeds and sponsorships from SAFE Project's annual Brunch & Bubbly event

  • First Interstate Bank

  • Guthrie Family Foundation

  • Local churches

  • Local community organizations

  • Mary Kay Foundation Shelter Program grant

  • Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) federal grants

  • Soroptimist International of Laramie

  • Transitional Housing federal grant

  • United Way of Albany County

  • University of Wyoming

  • Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (WCADVSA) grants