Around Teton Valley, you’ll find restaurants, grocery stores, bathrooms, doctor’s offices, and even our playgrounds with blue stickers and the words “Are You Safe?”. These stickers serve as an ever-present reminder of those in our valley who are in fact not safe and experience fear as part of their daily lives.
The impact of Covid-19 has imposed even greater threats to these individuals and their children. The pandemic has introduced not only fear of contracting and spreading the virus but of stay at home orders as well. When ordered to quarantine by staying at home, these victims have no safe refuge from an abusive family member. They are more isolated than ever and less able to reach out for help. During this challenging time, it has been our greatest work to communicate that Family Safety Network is available to victims 24/7.
Victims of physical and emotional abuse are manipulated into feeling powerless. They are often dependent on their abusers for housing, financial security, and shared parenting. It’s difficult to believe there is a way out. Family Safety Network empowers victims by offering hope that there can be a way out.
The victim advocates at Family Safety Network walk beside victims providing options to increase their safety. That might look like filing for a protection order, creating a safety plan, or leaving an abusive home. We maintain two safe housing facilities here in the valley sheltering clients in crisis and house individuals transitioning to sustainable independent living. In some cases, due to the lack of affordable housing and a small community, we help individuals relocate outside of Teton Valley.
The following messages from clients help remind us why this work is critical:
“With your support, there is a boy who is protected from further verbal and physical abuse. There is a cycle of generational abuse that is broken, and we are no longer having our lives threatened. We can look forward to enjoying family life as normal people do. This is life-changing.”
“Thank you for showing me and my children compassion, understanding, and most of all safety. I am flourishing at life and content. Thank you!”
Teton Valley is not a safe haven for everyone. The number of clients served and cases reported are similar to national averages for domestic violence and sexual assault. Your support of Family Safety Network matters because it provides the hope of a better tomorrow to individuals and families in Teton Valley who have forgotten what it feels like to be safe. It matters that the individual who is now safe, can begin to take next steps – whether those be to open a bank account, a new P.O. Box, or to secure steady employment and safe permanent housing. Over the past five years, the average number of clients served monthly has grown significantly. Your support of Family Safety Network assures our ability to not only continue serving and empowering our clients but to also invest in education and prevention to bring an end to domestic violence.