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Our VISION: We envision a community in which every person lives without fear of interpersonal violence.
Our MISSION: To empower and advocate for those affected by sexual and domestic violence, child abuse and neglect.
Statement of Philosophy
We recognize that sexual and domestic violence, child abuse and neglect are serious crimes within our society. These acts reflect a social disease of aggression whose victims and perpetrators come from all socioeconomic groups.
We further believe that such violence is encouraged by media role stereotyping which focuses on false images of men, women, and children in our society. It is our belief that public education and awareness can serve to begin to alter societal acceptance of such images.
Because we share the concept that all women, men, and children deserve to be treated in a fair and humane manner, we work toward the elimination of aggression, inhumane treatment, and victimization of all individuals.
SOS began in 1976 as an outgrowth of Emporia’s Chapter of the National Organization for Women. A steering committee of representatives from various helping professions met to set up Sexual Offense Services and coordinate efforts to serve rape victims.
In the fall of 1978, with the addition of services for battered women, Sexual Offense Services became SOS. SOS provided safe homes, food, clothing, money, transportation and referrals for victims of sexual/domestic violence and their children.
In 1982, SOS became a United Way agency. In 1983, SOS began collaboration with Emporia State University to house a Sexual Assault Educator/Advocate on campus in coordination with the ESU Student Wellness Center.
On April 1, 1985, a shelter was opened. The present shelter opened in 1989 and a toll-free line 800-825-1295 began operation in 1990.
CASA Services Begin
SOS CASA of the Flint Hills began in July 1995 to serve the 5th Judicial District that includes Chase and Lyon counties. CASA is part of a national program of volunteer advocates, known as Court Appointed Special Advocates (or CASAs). CASAs are appointed by the court to speak for the best interest of children brought before the court in certain child-in-need-of-care and domestic cases.
Visitation & Exchange Center Begins
In 1999, the SOS Child Visitation & Exchange Center opened. It offers a safe place for children to be with their parents during supervised visits and exchanges. Children involved in complicated custodial or court-ordered processes can spend time with their non-residential parent in clean and inviting surroundings. Monitored exchanges at the Center helps to eliminate confrontational situations and thus reduces the potential for violence or conflict when parents who have a history of ongoing conflict must exchange children for visitation purposes.
In 2000, a state grant program with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services placed an SOS advocate at the SRS office to work with sexual and domestic violence victims at that location and to train SRS employees so they could make referrals. This program was called OARS: Orientation, Assessment, Referral and Safety, and ended in 2012. SOS is no longer an OARS partner program.
Child Advocacy Center Opens Its Doors
In June 2002, the SOS Child Advocacy Center opened to provide a child-friendly, neutral facility in which to interview children involved in cases of child abuse or neglect. The CAC coordinates a multidisciplinary team that makes decisions about the investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of each case. This program expanded to Coffey County in 2007.
Rural Program Begins
In the fall of 2002, a Rural Program director was hired to guide the continuing development of the Lyon County Coordinated Community Response Team and to establish and direct five outreach offices in outlying counties that SOS serves.
In early 2003, four county coordinators were hired to operate SOS outreach offices in Chase, Coffey, Greenwood and Morris counties. These coordinators provide client services, advocate community response for victims and work to develop a supporting volunteer base. SOS county offices are located in Burlington, Cottonwood Falls, Council Grove and Eureka. In 2004, an office was opened in Lyndon and a coordinator was hired to serve Osage County. The Chase office has since merged with our Morris County office in Council Grove.
Prevention Education Begins
In November 2003, SOS was awarded a DELTA grant by the Centers for Disease Control. Objectives of the DELTA grant include developing ideas about prevention of domestic violence and identifying ways to go about making societal change by working with faith communities, education, the workplace and other disciplines. This program ended in 2013 after 10 years of services. SOS Crisis Services continues prevention education with some area schools.
2012 was a year of transition, with longstanding executive director Susan Moran’s retirement, Connie J. Cahoone took the reins as SOS’ new leader. She brought a wealth of skills to the organization from her background in banking coupled for her passion for the work in progress at SOS.