Mitchell Area Safehouse and Family Visitation Center
- Need: To provide victims of domestic violence a safe space, advocacy, education, and family support services.
- Intervention: The Mitchell Area Safehouse and Family Visitation Center in rural South Dakota provides emergency/transitional housing, support groups, and community education.
- Results: In 2018, Mitchell Area Safehouse answered 1,061 crisis calls, provided shelter for 206 survivors, and advocated for 847 survivors.
Established in 1984, the Mitchell Area Safehouse in rural Mitchell, South Dakota, provides 24/7 emergency and transitional housing for adults and children who are escaping situations of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault. The facility uses security cameras and an alarm system that connects directly to police dispatch.
Established in 1996, the Family Visitation Center (FVC) provides a safe location for children in abusive situations or whose parents are determining custody rights. The FVC serves as a neutral location for children being picked up by parents with visitation rights or for monitored visitation at the Center (for cases of documented or suspected abuse).
The Safehouse and Family Visitation Center serves the following rural counties:
The Safehouse provides:
- Hotline: 605.996.4440
- Temporary emergency shelter
- Food, hygiene products, diapers, and other immediate needs
- Weekly support groups for adults and children
- Community education to increase awareness of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault
- Domestic Abuse Intervention Project: a 27-week program for those who abuse others
In addition, trained advocates provide:
- Assistance with protection orders (also called restraining orders)
- Housing assistance (financial and rental assistance available for qualified applicants)
- Referrals to agencies/programs that address medical, mental health, and legal needs
- Referrals for education and employment opportunities
The Family Visitation Center also provides:
- Common Sense Parenting Classes: This 6-week session helps parents teach their children skills like self-control and other positive behaviors.
- S.M.I.L.E. (Start Making It Livable for Everyone): This 2-hour class teaches separated or divorced parents how to help their children adjust in a healthy way.
- Responsive Parenting Classes: This 6-week session teaches parents of infants and toddlers about early brain development and social-emotional growth.
In 2018, Mitchell Area Safehouse answered 1,061 crisis calls, provided shelter for 206 survivors, and advocated for 847 survivors.
The Family Visitation Center served 35 families and provided 148 assisted exchanges, 188 supervised visitations, and 104 supervised telephone calls.
In addition, the organization provided 24 education programs, which reached 947 individuals and offered 34 community awareness events.
Mitchell Area Safehouse has 16 board members, 29 volunteers, and 6 services groups, all of whom completed a total of 6,509 service hours in 2018.
There is a perception that domestic violence and sexual assault don't happen in small towns. The Safehouse is working to provide more community awareness on these issues.
The FVC services are so important for children in the area; however, visitation services have very limited federal or state funding. The continuation of the FVC is more and more dependent on funding from the community.
Community support and networking with other social service agencies are crucial.
Abuse and violence
Housing and homelessness
November 14, 2017
Date updated or reviewed
November 1, 2019
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2019. Mitchell Area Safehouse and Family Visitation Center [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/986 [Accessed 25 October 2020]
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