RINCON — Safe Haven is an organization that provides much more than shelter for victims of domestic abuse. It also offers numerous free, confidential programs designed to break the cycle of violence.
One of Safe Haven's most vital services is its Crisis Line. It operates 24 hours a day.
Last year, the line was used 845 times by abuse victims in Effingham, Bulloch, Candler, Jenkins, Screven and Washington counties.
"Most of the people we help are just like me and you," said Kimberly Billings, Save Haven's public relations/legal services director. "They have their own homes, they are still going to go to work, they may stay with family or friends, or they are actually going to stay in their home and we may help them get a protective order or offer other services such as help with a job search, child care or something as small as toiletries or clothing, or help with transportation if they don't need emergency shelter."
Safe Haven's 21-bed shelter is in Statesboro but it serves residents of Effingham County.
"Effingham County is one of our bigger counties," Billings said. "We are in Effingham County all the time."
Domestic violence affects all economic groups, races, religions, sexual orientations and professions, Billings said. It is an acute problem in Georgia.
The state is ranked eighth nationally in the number of men who kill women. From 2003-2016, 1,671 Georgians lost their lives due to domestic violence.
Studies indicate that one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence during their lifetime.
Last year, nearly 100 adults and more than 100 children used Safe Haven's emergency shelter.
Almost 90 victims received assistance in the form of legal advocacy services.
Billings is eager to spread the word about what Safe Haven offers.
"We want to give back to the communities that we serve," she said. "Any opportunities that we have to come out to different civic groups, religious organizations or schools, we want to do that. We have talks on teen dating violence where domestic violence starts with the bullying and stalking."
Safe Haven also provides programs on thwarting workplace violence.
"We try to give back as much as we can and just educate on the different services that we offer," Billings said.
To learn more about Safe Haven, call 912-764-4605 or visit www.safehavenstatesboro.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 13th story in a weekly series about organizations in Effingham County Family Connection, part of a statewide initiative that cultivates public and private collaboration at the local level. Georgia Family Connection is represented in each of the state’s 159 counties, making it the largest network of its kind in the nation. The Effingham County Board of Commissioners is the local affiliate’s fiscal agent.