Happy new year from the Love Warrior blog! Looking back, looking ahead.

Wow, what a difference a year makes... As I sit back and reflect on 2016, the Safety Compass inaugural year, I am profoundly humbled at the growth, and rich blessing that we have experienced as an organization, thanks to all of you. 

In our first calendar year of formal existence we took a rural grassroots effort that operated from my kitchen table, and turned it into a best practices model of culturally specific advocacy, emergency response, and case management for commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) and young adults in the Willamette Valley. Through partnerships with other reputable organizations including Liberty House and the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, we were able to help establish a CSEC sub-committee within Marion County’s Child Abuse Response Team. We built a partnership with Horses of Hope to provide Equine Assisted Advocacy and Skills Training for survivors at a world class stable in South Salem. We co-wrote, and were awarded a large 3 year federal grant from the Office for Victims of Crime (VOCA) in collaboration with the Center for Hope and Safety. This amazing partnership will allow us to seamlessly house adult survivors of this crime, within a trauma informed housing model.  We built and formalized a partnership with A Village for One to do community based mental health with our program’s participants. We created and implemented an 8-week support group curriculum. We maintained and enhanced a wonderful working relationship with Compassion First (CF), who has been our largest fiscal sponsor organization, and we trained their staff and volunteers. We simply cannot overstate our gratitude for the mentorship and encouragement of CF, as they have been a large force behind our growth this year.

At the heart of all this effort is our prioritization of direct service support for survivors healing from the aftermath of the trauma of commercial sexual exploitation. This year Safety Compass was also able to serve many survivors, both in-person and over the phone. Our numbers have given us a tangible argument for the dire need for this kind of services in this region.  This year (Calculated since April, the month we officially became a non-profit), we were privileged to serve 29 unique and valuable survivors in a crisis intervention capacity, as well as an on-going case management capacity for all who desired to access on-going support. A total of 1, 495 direct service/ crisis-contacts were made with these survivors. We had 7,230 non-crisis related contacts, we did outreach to 47 organizations and trained 475 people.

We met one young woman who stated; “I heard about advocates years ago, and was always hoping I might be able to have my own. I’m so glad you finally came for me”. We met another teen who had been trafficked across the United States and said that she didn’t think she would ever be able to make any friends because she had so much anxiety around meeting people, for fear that they might kidnap her. When we first began working with her it was almost impossible for her to even venture out to attend school. Now this young lady is enthusiastic about working with her advocate and session instructor during equine assisted therapy each week and speaks regularly about how horses have allowed her a reason to want to brave the outside world, and how these safe interactions give her hope that she might be able to make human friendships one day.

None of this would be possible without you. Our Board gave countless hours this year to do the exhaustive work of formalizing our 501c3 status. Our volunteers gave selflessly behind the scenes to make sure survivors received birthday presents and Christmas gifts. Our donors helped lift the Safety Compass vision off the ground and gave it wings so that victims of this terrible crime could receive the healing support they deserve. We are so incredibly grateful for your support. On behalf of the amazing survivors we serve, thank you for joining us in this journey to restore and heal this community one child at a time.  We cannot wait to see what 2017 has instore for us.

 

With a grateful heart,

 

Esther Nelson

The "Love Warrior" Blog — .

History

Original Safety Compass efforts began in 2014, under the name County Line Safety Compass. The name honored the fact that the services were local to the Silverton and Mt. Angel area near the Marion and Clackamas County Line. Initially these efforts were purely grassroots and Founder Esther Nelson resisted formalizing into a non-profit because she wanted to be sure that the numbers would sustain an on-going effort and that the role would not be a duplication of an existing service in Marion County.

County Line Safety Compass came into existence in response to two high profile, local, domestic violence related homicides that took place around the time of the effort's inception. In the first 18 months, Safety Compass has made 156 contacts with 58 domestic and sexual violence survivors, provided community education to 183 community members, trained 30 emergency room staff and administration at Silverton Hospital, and spoke about our services with all sworn personnel within the Silverton Police Department. We are nationally recognized for our efforts to advocate for sex-trafficking survivors, having provided almost 200 hours of consultation assistance to other professionals on how to serve this population of survivors in a culturally specific manner, since the program began in 2014. In the past year Safety Compass has been utilized by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as a resource for local families whose children went missing.

 Safety Compass Staff have been guest speakers for:

  • Oregon Health Sciences, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital: physician’s grand rounds, Portland OR

  • Alameda County HEAT Watch National Sex-Trafficking Conference, Oakland CA

  • Harvard School of Medicine, Summit on Best Practices for Sexually Exploited Children, San Francisco CA

  • National Child Abuse & Family Violence sponsored by Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department, Portland, OR

  • National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Conference, Washington D.C.

  • National Homeless and Runaway Youth Conference, Portland OR

  • FBI Portland Field Office, Portland OR

  • U.S. Attorney’s Office, Portland OR

  • Cares NW Child Abuse Assessment Center, Portland OR

  • Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, Portland OR

  • Beaverton Police Department

  • Hillsboro Police Department

  • Tigard Police Department

  • Washington County Sheriff’s Department

  • Portland Police Bureau

  • Multnomah County Domestic Violence One-Stop Family Justice Center, Portland OR

  • Clark County Juvenile Detention Center, Vancouver WA

  • Multnomah County Juvenile Detention Center, Portland OR

  • Clackamas County Juvenile Detention Center, Oregon City OR

  • Multnomah County Jail

  • Various Domestic Violence Advocacy Agencies, Oregon & Washington

  • Various Sexual Assault Advocacy Agencies, Oregon & Washington

  • Various Child Abuse Assessment Center

  • Various Homeless Youth Care agencies, Oregon & Washington

  • Various Faith Based Groups & Churches, Oregon and Washington

  • Various Open-to-the-Public Presentations, Oregon & Washington

  • Portland State University

 

We can't wait to see what the future holds. Please consider joining our effort by donating or stay tuned for volunteer roles to posted soon!