Who We Are: History
Safe Passage is the domestic violence and sexual assault agency serving DeKalb County. Incorporated in 1981 as a result of citizen concern that there was no safe place for victims of domestic violence, the agency has continued to expand programs and services to a significantly increased number of clients each year. We provide a range of services 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
In 1990, a satellite office was opened to serve the southern part of the county, which is approximately 35 miles from the DeKalb site.
In 1992, the agency, in partnership with the DeKalb County State's Attorney's Office, sponsored a domestic violence task force in which 45 community leaders actively worked to develop new Criminal Justice System policies and procedures related to domestic violence. Countywide pro-arrest policies, improved prosecution policies, and an abuser program resulted.
In 1995, Safe Passage developed a Transitional Housing Project, which was a priority need as identified through a city-wide process initiated by the City of DeKalb. The project involved the acquisition and rehabilitation of property to be used for transitional housing.
In 1996, we developed a 24 hour hospital response program in cooperation with Kishwaukee Hospital. Last year, those services were expanded to include the hospital in Sandwich. Also last year, we added a sexual assault response team to our 24 hour hospital services.
In 1997, in cooperation with a local Hispanic advocacy organization, we began family education groups for Hispanic women designed to safely provide domestic violence information to a population not ordinarily disposed to seek services. Child care and transportation were provided. This effort substantially increased the number of Hispanic women we were able to reach and was part of a coordinated multi-agency effort. This year, we began providing a group for Spanish speaking men convicted of domestic violence.
In 1998, a program for victims with substance abuse problems was developed and funded. The program is a joint effort between Safe Passage and Ben Gordon Center. An anger group for women was also developed in order to ensure that victim-sensitive services would be available to women referred by the courts in 1999.
In 1999, the children's program created a specific prevention program for teens and pre-teens, in addition to all regular children's services. This program, locally funded, is designed to help boys choose non-violence in relationships and to help girls avoid becoming involved in violent relationships. This program is also provided to non-English speaking children and to children who attend alternative schools.
In 2000, the children's program was further expanded to include opportunities for assessment and treatment by licensed psychologists, and individual and group art therapy by licensed art therapists. Safe Passage also implemented a victim advocacy program with law enforcement in a local police district. The program, called DART (Domestic Abuse Response Team), has been working successfully and will be expanded this year.
In 2001, Safe Passage was able to expand our transitional housing project to include a broader, more holistic focus designed to help clients and their children make the transition to independence. In addition, we began a partnership with the county health center to provide on-site medial screenings to our clients. An arrangement with Prairie State Legal Services also made it possible for our clients to have access to an attorney on regularly scheduled weekly visits at the shelter.
In 2002, Safe Passage began working cooperatively with Northern Illinois University on the development of a relationship violence project that is funded through the United States Department of Justice. Additionally, Safe Passage became part of the Steering Committee for the 16th Judicial Circuit Family Violence Coordinating Council; the Executive Director of Safe Passage chairs the Abuser Services Committee of this council. In addition, Safe Passage was a part of a State-funded project on community policing in domestic violence cases, in order to ensure better services and partnerships with law enforcement.
In 2003, we entered into a partnership with the Youth Service Bureau to provide domestic violence and assessment services to adolescents in trouble with the law. Additionally, we acquired a sexual assault and abuse services program through an agreement with then Executive Director of Ben Gordon Center. In 2004, sexual assault services received state funding for the first time in DeKalb County history.
In 2005, we were able to expand our space for our increasing programs and services. Space for children's services, the new sexual assault program and general counseling space was added. This space will allow us to maintain the level of service we have established over the years. Safe Passage has continually responded to the changing needs of the DeKalb County community and has worked to ensure that State resources of all kinds are brought to bear on the needs of DeKalb County citizens.
Current Statistics FY2014
Fiscal Year July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014
Domestic Violence Program:
Approximately 650 clients received over 18,900 hours of service
Sexual Assault Program:
Approximately 120 clients received almost 2,000 hours of service
DeKalb County Domestic Abuse Program:
Approximately 150 clients received over 2,700 hours of service
Approximately 50 volunteers provided over 3,400 hours of service.
We receive funds from the following:
- Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)
- Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV)
- Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA)
- Illinois Attorney General Office
- DeKalb County Mental Health Board "708" (DCMHB)
- DeKalb County Community Foundation
- City of DeKalb
- City of Sandwich
- DeKalb Township
- Sycamore Charities
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- United Ways/Community Chests: Kishwaukee, Shabbona-Lee-Rollo, Sandwich, Genoa-Kingston, Somonauk, Waterman, Malta
- Private Community Support: Businesses, Churches, Individuals, Schools
- Abuser Service Fees
Pastor, UU Fellowship of DeKalb
NIU - Research Associate
Center for Governmental Studies
DeKalb Police Department
Manager, System Analyst
Gallagher, Bassett Sus
DeKalb School District
Evelina Jose Cichy
Retired, Kishwaukee College