Tertiary prevention addresses the lasting consequences of victimization (e.g., by providing ongoing counseling for victims). It provides specialized treatment including teaching coping and life management skills to the survivors of domestic/sexual violence. This helps them to mitigate some of the damage and restore a sense of safety and mastery over their lives. In essence, it turns them from a victim into a survivor.
Many of SAFE in Hunterdon’s programs provide these tertiary prevention services. SAFE offers confidential counseling and healing programs to the incarcerated women of Edna Mahon Correctional Facility (EMCF) for Women. National estimates show that 90% of women in prison have a history of domestic and/or sexual violence, often stemming back to childhood trauma and abuse. For many of these women, wounds left unhealed from these traumatic experiences contributed to the circumstances which led to their incarceration. Healing from trauma and abuse is often critical for true rehabilitation and the reduction of recidivism.
SAFE also collaborates with local substance abuse residential programs to offer tertiary prevention services. Groups are provided at no cost to educate the clients about domestic and sexual violence and about what a healthy relationship looks like. These process groups often lead to a client disclosing that they are victims of abuse. They can then be directly linked to the Intake Manager at SAFE and be scheduled to see a counselor. All SAFE counseling services are free of charge. Additionally, SAFE collaborates with local mental health providers to offer services to vulnerable populations. A weekly group at a local partial care program provides supportive counseling to clients who are unable to attend individually due to the amount of time (25 hours each week) the clients are required to spend at another program.
Tertiary prevention also includes intervention in family violence to prevent recurrence of the situations and behaviors that cause harm. SAFE in Hunterdon provides legal advocacy for clients who need assistance in understanding the legal system surrounding restraining orders, both temporary and permanent. SAFE also provides court accompaniment to victims of violence so they can feel supported.
SAFE in Hunterdon also provides a 24/7 emergency hotline for victims to call so they can be linked to services. Through using this services, they can receive emergency shelter for them and their children for up to 60 days. Families who quality may also apply to live at the transitional housing program, where they can live free from violence for up to 18 months while they stabilize the supports in their lives.