Safe Harbor has partnered with the Sacred Heart Center (SHC) to provide services to immigrant survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

This intentional collaboration helps those who have been impacted by domestic violence and abuse to heal and rebuild their lives, and ultimately break the cycle of violence within our community. Through this partnership, Safe Harbor and SHC deliver counseling and case management to members of the Latinx community in a manner that affirms the individual’s culture and identity.

The SHC is one of the only organizations in the Richmond area dedicated to serving the low and moderate-income Latinx population by serving as a hub that opens pathways to social and economic integration, family success, and community leadership.

According to Tanya Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Sacred Heart Center, “The partnership with Safe Harbor is one of our deepest and most collaborative partnerships that we have.  Over the last two years, we have expanded access to services to Spanish-speaking families and we have cross trained our organizations, including staff and Board members, among other accomplishments.  We have also created a true cross-functional team between our two staffs, which allows for our teams to work better together, with trust and respect. We are very grateful for this partnership.”

Services include individual counseling and support groups with bilingual, bicultural Spanish-speaking counselors; bilingual case manager; transportation for clients to counseling and case management appointments; child care services, and educational trainings about the intersection of domestic violence and the immigrant community.

This expansion of services will address the critical needs of Latinx domestic violence survivors, fill in the gaps in services, and reduce some of the barriers that the Latinx population faces in accessing domestic violence services.

“We are so grateful of our partnership with the Sacred Heart Center.  It is important that all survivors receive the support and services they need to heal and rebuild their lives.  Our partnership with SHC allows us to meet these survivors where they are, in a place that is safe and familiar,” says Cathy Easter, Safe Harbor’s Executive Director.

After leaving her abusive husband, C worked tirelessly to build a new life for herself and her child. Her dream of living a better life without suffering was cut short when she was detained by immigration and spent time in a U.S. detention facility. While there, C’s husband took their child into custody. Upon her release, C contacted Safe Harbor to begin individual counseling for her experience with domestic violence.

Eventually, C was granted visitation rights, and during one such visit, her child disclosed a sexual assault by the father. Due to lack of evidence, a judge granted joint physical custody to both parents. C was let go by her employer due to missing work because of court and medical appointments, and she is now fighting to regain full custody of her child, while slowly trying to rebuild a better future.

During this time, C has received support from the Safe Harbor and SHC partnership. This collaboration has provided her with both transportation to and child care during counseling sessions and support groups, assistance with filing claims and financial assistance, and referrals to community services.

C says that although the past months have been some of the toughest months of her life, she has found inner strength and self-confidence because of the support from Safe Harbor and SHC’s partnership. She knows she can count on both organizations to help her through her healing journey.