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ABOUT US

We are a Front-line Responder

 

When incidents of child sexual and physical abuse, witnessing violence, and other serious maltreatment of children in the Columbia River Gorge are reported, SafeSpace is at the ready.

About SafeSpace

In partnership with local law enforcement and social and medical professionals, SafeSpace Children's Advocacy Center of the Gorge is a front-line responder to reports of child sexual and physical abuse, witnessing violence, and other serious maltreatment of children in the Columbia River Gorge.

SafeSpace is the Gorge’s only nonprofit organization that coordinates the efforts of child protection staff, law enforcement professionals, family advocates, medical experts, and mental health clinicians under one roof. Our staff:

  • facilitates our partners’ collaborative response

  • conducts medical assessments

  • conducts forensic interviews

  • provides child and family advocacy and crisis intervention services 

  • coordinates and makes referrals to mental health therapy 

All of our services are aimed at reducing trauma so that children and families may begin the healing process. SafeSpace services are free of charge to every client.

Learn more about how a Children's Advocacy Center like SafeSpace works.

Our Mission and Vision

Our mission is to reduce trauma to child victims of abuse through multidisciplinary evaluation and advocacy in a safe and healing environment.

We envision a world where…

All child victims of abuse receive a timely forensic interview, medical exam and family-centered services.

Child abuse survivors and families learn skills and receive support to reduce further trauma.

Children are not defined by the abuse they have suffered.

Who We Serve

Between Oregon and Washington, SafeSpace serves children and their families in the counties of Hood River, Wasco, Gilliam, Wheeler, and Klickitat. We do not discriminate against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, national origin, handicap, religion, or sexual orientation. 

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History

SafeSpace CAC was founded in 2009 by a group of dedicated community members with a vision to create an environment where child victims of abuse could share their situation with law enforcement, child protective workers, and specially trained professionals. The center provides a location for children and families where they can receive these services in privacy, safety, and in a child-friendly location.

The Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Intervention Account (CAMI) was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1993, to help support the development and operation of community-based child abuse intervention centers. SafeSpace is one of 21 such centers in Oregon.

Prior to our opening in 2009, children were interviewed at the police station or at the child welfare office, sometimes more than once. If a medical exam was necessary, it had to be done in the emergency room or the child had to be taken to the nearest child abuse center in Portland or LaGrande. Multiple interviews and lengthy travel times often caused additional trauma to the child.

Karly's Law

Following the death of Karly Sheehan in 2005, the Oregon Legislature voted 59-0 to pass HB3328, known as Karly's Law. Karly Sheehan was a 3 year old Corvallis girl who was murdered by her mother's boyfriend in June of 2005 following previous unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse. She was one of 18 children to die as a result of child abuse in Oregon in 2005.

Karly's Law requires that a child receive medical attention within 48 hours if that child is found to have suspicious physical injuries in the course of a child abuse investigation. In addition, investigators are required to photograph suspicious injuries and ensure that those photos are seen by a physician and others involved in the child's case. The law standardizes protocols and improves the communication process used by Oregon's multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) to enable them to respond to suspected cases of child abuse more quickly, and to respond with medical professionals specially-trained in assessing child abuse related injuries. In short, the law seeks to improve the system that provides safety and protection for children.