As we enter Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Centre County Women’s Resource Center honors its history and looks toward the future with the announcement of a new name — Centre Safe: Empowering Survivors, Eliminating Violence.
For more than 40 years, CCWRC has provided confidential, free services for victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence. It started in 1975 as a grassroots effort — women bonding together and offering help with challenges they faced. They met in a one-room space that offered resources, including social support, a lending library and opportunities for personal and professional development. Although much has changed, the spirit of those early organizers’ efforts to empower women remains alive within CCWRC today.
CCWRC has offered several crucial services since those early years. It operates a 24-hour crisis hotline with trained crisis counselors/advocates (staff and numerous volunteers) providing support. Its emergency shelter provides short-term housing for victims, and its transitional housing program aids survivors with establishing housing security through longer-term financial and emotional support. CCWRC advocates hold daytime counseling meetings, facilitate support groups and accompany victims seeking medical and forensic examinations at the hospital.
Over time, CCWRC services have expanded greatly to further empower survivors in various aspects of their recovery. Legal advocates provide emotional support throughout complex legal proceedings and can aid in filing protection orders; staff attorneys offer free representation for victims in certain family law, Title IX, and immigration cases; and staff supervise safe custody exchanges and parental visits for families with a history of abuse at the Centre County Child Access Center.
In addition to empowering survivors, CCWRC’s mission points toward eliminating violence in the future. Throughout its history, CCWRC has engaged in the prevention of violence through public policy advocacy, awareness campaigns, and educational programs. Today, the CCWRC offers violence-prevention educational programs for professionals, schools, and community groups. We all have a responsibility to work to prevent violence in our community.
As we work to empower survivors of domestic and sexual violence and strive to eliminate such violence, our agency continues to evolve. That evolution has been and will continue to be sparked by the needs of survivors and the community. As needs arise and change, we will adapt to meet them. Our new name reflects the same values to which we have been committed for years and, in addition, demonstrates new resolve to provide an inviting and safe space for survivors of violence from all backgrounds — gender identities, races, religions and sexual orientations. This is another key moment in our history, and it moves us one step closer to a safe and peaceful Centre County. We hope you will join with us in support as this next chapter of our community movement unfolds.