H-SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

Aug 23, 2013 12:06 AM by Victoria Johnson

Domestic violence victims on the Central Coast get more help through RISE

Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault may be getting more help through a new cooperation of two agencies.

The North County Women's Shelter and Resource Center and the Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention center officially merged on January 1, 2013.

Thursday afternoon, the new non-profit, RISE, was unveiled at Twin Cities Community Hospital.

"One in three women will experience a sexual assault or intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Over 60 percent of domestic violence victims have experienced sexual assault or abuse and over 75 percent of sexual assault victims know their perpetrator," says Jennifer Adams, RISE Executive Director.

Just last year alone, Jennifer says the two former agencies served more than 40,000 people needing help, either through direct services or education.

She says by combining forces to create the new agency called RISE, their organization is more streamlined.

"There is a lot of crossover between the issues. This allows us to cross train our staff and provide a better depth of services to our clients," says Adams.

The two organizations are merging resources and together have a 65 year combined history.

"When you've experienced a sexual assault or intimate partner violence, it is difficult to reach out for help," says Adams.

The mission of RISE is to be easily accessible and to help transform the lives of sexual assault victims through services like a 24-hour crisis line, counseling, advocacy programs, emergency shelters, legal support and self-defense and assertiveness workshops.

"Our tag line is respect, inspire, support and empower. It embodies how we provide service and the importance that respect plays in ending violence in our communities," said Adams.

RISE also focuses on education in the hopes of stopping this from happening in the first place. Employees will visit junior highs, high schools and colleges, trying to teach young people to have healthy, peaceful and nurturing relationships, as well as help those who've already been victims of relationships that are not.

RISE is open and maintaining the locations of the original organizations on Zaca Lane in San Luis Obispo and on Vine Street in Paso Robles. For more information, visit riseslo.org.

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