Due to the success of Safe Harbors multitiered intervention and
prevention model, the U.S. Department of Justice deemed the Safe Harbor
program a promising practice. As a result, the Office for
Victims of Crime (OVC) provided Safe Horizon with funding to replicate
the Safe Harbor model on a national level. The following is a summary
of these efforts.
Year One, 19971998
- Conducted a national needs assessment which reinforced the importance
of weaving victim assistance components throughout the program design.
- Established a multidisciplinary national advisory board representing
the fields of social work, education, law enforcement, and community
- Formalized the curriculum and added teacher tips to make it more user-friendly.
Also created an accompanying Safe Harbor Facilitators Manual.
Portions of these materials were piloted in 17 sites representing
10 states and 1 territory (California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois,
Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and the
U.S. Virgin Islands).
The Safe Harbor materials were used in a variety of settings: statewide
health curriculums, alternative schools, leadership and life-skills courses,
substance abuse programs, summer school, and a detention center. Feedback
was collected through pre- and post-surveys and ongoing telephone discussions.
Lessons learned from Year One included the following:
- The curriculum may meet some statewide academic standards within
life-skills, leadership, health, and social studies curricula by incorporating
more reading and writing activities and assignments.
- Counseling services are essential to the curriculum. Using the curriculum
alone as an intervention strategy is discouraged.
- Teachers who facilitate the curriculum often will need additional
training in counseling and facilitation skills.
- School personnel expressed concern that student fear was leading
to poor attendance and reduced participation in class. They were most
interested in Safe Harbors capacity to respond to the needs of
victims and to provide prevention services in schools.
Years Two and Three, 19982000
In the second and third years of the project, 10 Safe Harbor replication
sites were established using the lessons learned from Year One. Select
staff members at each school were trained to tailor the Safe Harbor model
to their school, including shaping staff teams to implement the program.
Safe Harbor staff maintained a partnership with each school by providing
ongoing technical assistance and encouraging schools to serve as models
for other interested schools in their districts.
Lessons learned from this phase of the project include the following:
- The school principals support is essential to ensure buy-in
and integration of Safe Harbor into the school community.
- Onsite technical assistance by Safe Horizon staff augments the Safe
Harbor training by meeting the specific needs of individual schools.
- The program provides schools with the opportunity to improve academic
performance by addressing the social and emotional difficulties that
lead to disruptive behaviors in the classroom.
- The program is best operated by a team of flexible and creative staff
and provides an opportunity to bring together all of the support services
and resources within a school community.
- School staff trained by Safe Horizon need instruction on how to assess
students for trauma related to experiencing or witnessing violence.
- Safe Harbor training provides staff with the opportunity to explore
and identify their thoughts and experiences related to violence and
vicarious trauma. Staff are encouraged to receive support when necessary.