Safe Space, Butte, MT


Safe Space, Butte, MT


Contact Name: Ellen Donahue
Phone Number: 1-800-479-8511
E-mail: ssadm@safespace.org
Key Words: (1) Male only; (2) high school age; (3) racially diverse; (4) alternative high school setting; (5) multiple-session, curriculum-based program; (6) semester-long class
Population served
Safe Space is a school-based prevention program delivered to a group of young men in an alternative school. On average, the program serves approximately 5 to 10 individuals per month. All males who are enrolled in the “Social Issues” class at the Abraham Lincoln Alternative High School participate in the program.
Medium used to convey message
The program offers a course entitled “Social Issues” but does not use a specific curriculum. The 2002-2003 school year is its sixth year in the school but only the second in which male and female students have been split into two separate groups. The group “ground rules” are usually established at the beginning of each semester, and then the students are asked for input on issues they want to discuss.
Goals, objectives, and desired outcomes
The goal of the program is to deliver services in junior and senior high schools. The program also provides temporary emergency housing for survivors of domestic and sexual assault, a 24-hour crisis and information line, three weekly survivor support groups, one weekly children’s group, a Women’s Resource Center, a 911 emergency cell phone program, and 24-hour on-scene domestic violence and sexual assault response and advocacy service.
Theoretical/ scientific basis for the approach
This program is based on an empowerment model and feminist theory.
Level of evaluation
The program submits semiquarterly reports to the Montana State Health Department. Program staff define their success by increased usage of services; individuals who no longer require services; and individuals who have been educated and understand the dynamics of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and family abuse. The program has been involved in groups with male youth since September 1997.
Staff capacity
The executive director facilitates the weekly classes at Abraham Lincoln Alternative High School. She began working in the field of domestic violence in 1989 and holds a master’s degree in social work. Safe Space has a staff of two full-time and two part-time employees. Despite limited staff, the program provides educational presentations to more than 1,000 students each year and more than 1,500 individuals in the community.
The stability of the funding for this program is uncertain. Each year the program faces possible cuts in its current funding because all of its funding sources are competitive, including those on the local level. Most of Safe Space’s monetary support comes from federal sources. Staff are concerned about possible cuts in VOCA allocations to domestic violence and sexual assault programs.