What is the Sexual Assault Services Organization (SASO)?
SASO provides advocacy and support for victims of sexual assault, and education and prevention programs aimed at increasing public awareness and safety. SASO is committed to changing attitudes, values and behaviors that tolerate abusive interpersonal conduct.
SASO presently offers support and assistance provided by trained volunteer advocates and SASO staff that includes: 24-hour crisis intervention and counseling; medical and legal advocacy during forensic exams, law enforcement interviews, and court proceedings; free trauma support groups, financial assistance for individual therapy; and referrals to other agencies.
SASO provides comprehensive prevention programs to community schools and programs including our Child Assault Prevention Program, the Bystander Intervention Program and Family Living and Sexual Health Modules such as Healthy Relationships, Gender Norming, Conflict Resolution, Sexual Violence, and Digital Safety. SASO currently works with all school districts in LaPlata County, 9-R, 10-JtR, and 11-JT.
SASO continues our commitment to serving those most marginalized in our community, recognizing their vulnerability to sexual violence. SASO has two Cultural Outreach Coordinators who focus on building relationships with underserved community members and providers. SASO outreaches to prevent sexual violence and support those who have endured it, connecting them to healing resources. In February 2020, SASO opened a satellite office in Ignacio, Colorado to better serve Southeast La Plata County and the Southern Ute Tribe. Staff host community cultural conversations monthly, partnering with agencies serving immigrant, Native American, LGTB, youth, elder, and physically and intellectually disabled community members to share best practices in working with these populations respectfully, increasing awareness and decreasing bias.
How will this money be used?
All services provided are free of charge, so that no one who has experiences sexual violence experiences a barrier to receiving help. This funding will be used to support all programs, from supporting victims and survivors who have experienced sexual violence with advocacy services to providing prevention education programming in our community schools and cultural outreach programming throughout the community.
How will it make a difference?
SASO is the only community advocacy agency serving victims of sexual violence in La Plata and San Juan counties. Your funding supports victims with advocacy services, free of charge, when they need it. It could be with information, helping understand reporting options, emergency care like housing or food needs, medical forensic advocacy, court advocacy and more. It has a direct impact on our community.
You will also help us bring prevention education and outreach throughout LaPlata and San Juan County to educate our youth on consent, healthy relationships, being a positive bystander, effective communication skills, gender norming, cyber safety and understanding the dynamics of sexual violence to stop it.
What we accomplished last year:
2020: What a year!!! Even with pandemic restrictions, SASO was able to serve 210 unduplicated victims, with 640 contacts, 1,101 victim services and 472 referrals to community resources such as therapists, law enforcement, medical care, victim service and other community assistance organizations. The SASO office has provided as safe environment for multiple Law Enforcement reports, following San Juan Basin Health guidelines and we have tracked 9 court cases either in person or via WebEx. In addition, SASO provided 74 general and cultural outreach programs to 1,369 community members on topics such as our Violence Against Native American Women Symposium, collaborative talks with Rainbow Youth Center, Community Connections, La Plata Youth Services, Campaneros, 4 the Children, etc. Our community education programming trained 16 new victim advocates in the spring (we were not able to conduct our 2nd training in the fall due to the pandemic) and additional education through 17 programs to 336 people.
Volunteers are a key component of the success of SASO’s victim service programming and SASO used 31 volunteers providing 6,280 volunteer hours covering the 24-hour crisis hotline throughout the year. It also provided 10 additional trainings to the community supporting the work of our Sexual Assault Response Team.
Our prevention programming was only able to have 5 events, to 25 students. We met with students from Animas High School and LaPlata Youth Services to educate on being a positive bystander and share healthy relationship skills and consent. In March, our office moved to stay at home orders, and all staff worked remotely with the exception of when victims needed to meet in person or there were Law Enforcement reports. We are hopeful for 2021 and have all necessary systems in place to care for the victims and community we serve.
24 Hour Hotline: 970-247-5400 Durango Office: 970-259-3074 Ignacio Office: 970-563-0695