The West Virginia Sexual Assault Free Environment (West Virginia S.A.F.E.) partnership began in 2005 as a collaboration of three state-level organizations: the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (the state sexual assault coalition), the Violence and Injury Prevention Program of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living. The goal of this partnership was to increase access to sexual assault services for victims with disabilities through changing service delivery systems and policies on the state level.
Our Unique Contributions
Through the initial work of the collaboration, the group’s focus shifted to building the capacity of service providers across the state. Utilizing existing service networks, additional local collaborations were created and have been essential to implementing best practices and distributing resources broadly. The original tool kit developed by West Virginia S.A.F.E has been converted into an online training academy and made available through the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (www.fris.org). This free training blends information for disability service providers and sexual assault advocates into one accessible format to support the capacity building of services for survivors with disabilities. Nearly a decade after the project was established, the partners continue to conduct regional and state trainings. Local collaborations, through sexual assault response teams (SARTs), utilize the resources to ensure that additional first responders are increasing access to services for all victims of sexual violence.