Safe Voices was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1977. At that time, our community struggled with addressing the needs of battered women and children who did not have refuge. Low-income housing wasn’t available, there were no federal or state monies for domestic violence education or victim support programs, and no laws to protect them. Our organization began as a project to meet the critical need for an emergency shelter for abused women and their children. Local women from social service agencies in Androscoggin County attended a conference in Massachusetts to learn about that state's efforts to help battered women. From there, Pearl Residential Facility was born, (known to the community as the Abused Women’s Advocacy Project) with two families accepting women into their homes. In 1979, the agency opened the first emergency shelter with a total of three staff, due in part to federal CETA (Comprehensive Education and Training Act) funding. Over the years, the shelter moved many times, and once it was burned down and much was lost. Currently, Safe Voices is the sole provider of support services and shelter operator for victims of domestic violence in Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford counties.
In 2010, the organization’s name was changed to Safe Voices to recognize that men are victims also and to have a name that reflects hope and empowerment. The new name resonated with those we serve, with one survivor in our support group stating “We had no voice. Now it is safe to have a voice.”
Since 1977, our goals of providing emergency and support services to victims of domestic violence, promoting ways to foster healthy relationships, educating the community about the seriousness and prevalence of this crime, and working toward legislative change so that communities no longer tolerate this abuse—have guided us in developing a strong safety net for victims of domestic abuse seeking support, assistance, and a life free from the threat of further violence. In addition to providing emergency shelter, Safe Voices has a network of local community-based offices in Farmington, Lewiston, Norway, and Rumford. These local offices provide one-on-one support, support groups, children's services, advocacy, information and referral, court advocacy, transporting and accommodation for shelter, community education, and professional trainings.
Safe Voices does not exclude admission to, participation in, or receipt of services or benefits of any of its programs, activities, services, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, ancestry or national origin, color, sex, immigration status, age, religion, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.