Safe Hope Center houses resources for survivors under one roof
JACKSON, Tenn. — The Safe Hope Center on Roland Drive in Jackson may look like another ordinary building, but as soon as you step through the doors, you realize it is no ordinary place.
The Safe Hope Center opened in October 2015.
“It is a family justice center, which is a collaboration of agencies, who serve any victim of domestic or sexual violence,” Safe Hope Center Director Jennifer McCraw said.
McCraw says when they first moved in, they had plenty of room. But now, they’ve just about filled it all up.
Across the hall is Penny Hensley, the manager of the lethality program at the Safe Hope Center. She says having everyone in the same building makes reporting a crime easier for everyone.
“They can come here and talk to one person that gets them connected with all the services right here under one roof,” Hensley said. “We can communicate with each other, what they’ve told us, so it takes a little bit of the burden off of them.”
Hensley also works for WRAP, the Wo/Men’s Resource and Rape Assistance Program.
“We provide hospital and court accompaniment,” Hensley said. “We have a 24-hour hotline where they can reach an advocate 24 hours a day.”
If you take just a few steps down the hall, you walk into part of the building that might have you thinking you’re in the Jackson Police Department, and you’d be partly right.
It’s actually a substation for the department. The officers here work mostly on domestic violence and assault cases.
“We’re hoping they come here and see us as a beacon of light and of help for the community, for themselves, for the safety of their children, and more importantly for themselves,” Sgt. Isaiah Thompson said.
Once police are done with their investigation, they turn to the District Attorney General’s office and their domestic violence prosecutor.
They stay with the victims from start to finish as they go through the courts.
“It allows that victim to have a point of contact, somebody they become acquainted with, and all those things provide for a better outcome,” District Attorney General Jody Pickens said.
A short elevator ride brings you to a place helpful to the survivors, but it’s also where they need volunteers as well.
The Dignity Closet is where they keep all the clothing and household items donated to the center. They need volunteers to come when they get donations and sort the clothes.
“Once they do take the step and try to get away, getting that order or protection gives them a level of security from their abuser, helps them in making those first few steps to make their escape,” King said.
As they look to the future, officials say they want to keep growing.
“We can continue to meet the needs we’re meeting now, but also it would be great to see other agencies find a home here as well,” King said.
So now you see why it’s no ordinary building, providing safety and hope to men and women across West Tennessee.
If you need help or would like to volunteer at the Safe Hope Center, call 731-425-8185 or just walk in.