In this quarter’s issue of Frontline, we highlight the efforts of the Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center (SARC) of Harford County and the services they provide to survivors of sexual assault.
1. What is your name, title, and how long have you working with your organization? Luisa Caiazzo, Chief Executive Officer, 11 years.
2. Tell us about your program and the issues it tackles. SARC started as a Helpline and has grown into a full service agency that provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and child abuse. SARC provides a 24-hour Helpline, crisis intervention, 28-bed confidentially located safehouse, counseling, legal representation and advocacy, and community education. SARC has provided services in Harford County since 1978. SARC services support over 1,500 clients a year.
3. Why are you a member of MCASA? MCASA is able to keep me informed of current legislative issues that impact the victim services field as well as advocate directly for needed changes within the law. The expert staff at MCASA provide this critical support which is often time consuming. This allows SARC staff to focus efforts on supporting victims reaching out for services. In addition, MCASA provides top notch training that would not otherwise be affordable or accessible to victim service providers throughout Maryland.
4. What sexual assault prevention work does your program do? Prevention initiatives include education programs at middle and high schools, as well as with business professionals. Participation in SARC's annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event increases each year, with prominent businessmen walking in heels along Main Street, Bel Air. This event challenges stereotypes and opens up an important dialogue in the community.
5. Have you had any recent events or actions you would like to tell us about? Any upcoming events? Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® will be held on Saturday April 29, 2017. Festivities begin at 9:30am in the parking lot alongside the Black Eyed Suzies Restaurant, 119 South Main St, Bel Air, MD 21014. The walk “steps off” at 11am sharp.
6. If your program received $100,000 in new funds today. What would you do with it? SARC is in the process of raising funds to build a 40 bed Safehouse that takes into consideration the best practices learned through trauma informed care research. The current safehouse facility is located in an over 100 year old converted building. Although victims are grateful to have a safe place to go, it is not able to provide the space or features required to empower clients and their families to heal and successfully re-build their lives. $100,000 would be used to help make this dream a reality.