The SAAFE Center staff and volunteer victim advocates provide crisis intervention, emotional support, medical and legal advocacy, support groups, and information and referrals for sexual assault, stalking, sexual harassment, and sex trafficking victims.

Services are available free of charge to any Wood County resident or anyone victimized in Wood County. All services are confidential and can be anonymous if the person wishes. The SAAFE Center is dedicated to providing services to diverse populations.

On-going support for the victim is maintained for as long as the client needs this assistance, including attending court appearances, speaking with family members, assisting with job and housing needs, and completing Crime Victim Compensation Fund applications.

Crisis intervention and emotional support

The SAAFE Center advocates (staff and volunteers) are available to help victims through any crisis, whenever that might occur. Some people contact The SAAFE Center within 24 hours after an act of violence has occurred. Others don’t feel comfortable reaching out for help for days, months, or even years later. Sometimes, people report that they felt “fine” following the victimization, but then something in the future triggers a negative memory back to the violence and that is when the crisis occurs for them. All of these scenarios make sense after a traumatic event and advocates are available to help whenever the person feels assistance is needed. Read more

Where can I meet with an advocate?

Advocates meet with victims at the hospital, high school, BGSU, police station, courthouse, The Link, or any other neutral setting. Victims can also call and speak with an advocate at any time of day or night as there is always an advocate on-call. Advocates are reached by calling The Link hotline (419/352-1545) and asking for a SAAFE advocate.

Medical advocacy

If a victim is sexually assaulted or severely physically harmed and goes to the Wood County Hospital Emergency Room, a SAAFE advocate will be called to the hospital. The advocate is able to explain the medical procedure if a sexual assault kit is to be performed and answer other medical concerns, such as those about HIV, STIs, pregnancy, and medication.

Legal advocacy

If a victim’s case is pursued through the legal system, an advocate can explain court proceedings, including protection orders and what happens at each court hearing, and accompany the victim to court.

The first court hearing to hear the charges is called an arraignment and both misdemeanors and felonies are arraigned in the municipal courts. An advocate can help explain the sometimes confusing aspects of the court system to a victim and their family/friends.

Educational groups  

The SAAFE Center offers groups to help educate and provide awareness about sexual assault for survivors and also those who care about them. The groups are run for 4- to 6-weeks and cover topics like sexual assault and the law, healing and recovery, and negative coping techniques. The groups are held in Bowling Green. Being with other survivors helps in normalizing the experience. There is no charge for these educational groups.  If you are interested in learning more about these groups call 419/352-1545 (The Link) and ask for a SAAFE advocate.

Information and referrals

If The SAAFE Center cannot provide direct services, referrals will be given to another agency for help. The SAAFE Center maintains a wide referral listing to help in many different kinds of situations.

Diverse Populations

Services are provided regardless of gender or gender expression, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. Family members and friends are also provided free services.

Overwhelmingly, sexual assault victims are female and the majority of advocates in the SAAFE Center are also female.

Women of color are encouraged to seek services as we actively recruit other women of color as advocates and all staff/volunteers receive cultural competency training.

Males are also victimized (typically by male perpetrators) and The SAAFE Center has male advocates to specifically work with such clients.

LGBTQQI receive appropriate services as SAAFE Center Advocates are intent and committed to service and assist this population.

Older women who are sexually assaulted or harassed are often reluctant to reach out for help. The SAAFE center has mature staff and volunteers who are available to help clients sort out their options.

The SAAFE Center works primarily with adults but also assists adolescents (13 years and older) who have been sexual assaulted or are being sexually harassed by acquaintances (sexual abuse by family members is referred elsewhere).