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Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine History
1973-Present

SARSSM

Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM) - formerly Rape Crisis Center, Inc. - began advocating for victims of sexual assault in 1973 after people learned that no resources were available for women who reported sexual assault to the police, or were treated for assault at the hospital. No resources were available for those who chose to not report the crime, either. So survivors organized a grass-roots support, advocacy, and referral network. In 1974 the group grew through membership and expanded its focus to include community education.

February 1975 marked the beginning of an important liaison with Brighton Medical Center. Brighton Medical Center provided office space, a hotline, and clerical services and advisory members for volunteers, enabling the center to continue its work and increase its organizational base. The Rape Crisis Center incorporated in 1976. In 1978 it opened an office funded by Area V Mental Health and staffed by C.E.T.A. employees. The following year, a professional answering service was contracted to serve as a 24-hour Crisis & Support Line for callers. The Crisis & Support Line remains active today and volunteer advocates continue to respond to calls - usually working out of their homes.

In March of 1995, the center changed its name to Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM) to more accurately depict the work performed and the issues dealt with by the agency. From 2001 to 2005, SARSSM grew significantly creating several new staff positions. Through careful organization the staff today consists of 12 (twelve) positions including the Executive Director, Office Manager, Support Program Manager, Education Program Manager, SART Team Manager, SART Youth Advocate, SART Advocate, SART Latino Advocate, two (2) full-time Sexual Assault Educators, a Sexual Assault Educator/Volunteer Coordinator , and a Fundraising Coordinator.

Today, numerous professionally trained male and female Crisis & Support Line advocates answer calls 24-hours a day, 365-days a year. Advocates respond to calls from victim/survivors, family members, friends, significant others, and professionals working with those impacted by sexual violence. Volunteer advocates provide information, referrals, advocacy, and support to individuals reporting incidents of sexual assault. SARSSM continues to emphasize education and community involvement to end sexual violence. SARSSM is one of nine rape crisis centers that are all members of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA).

To learn more about SARSSM and to access information and resources, please visit our website at www.sarsonline.org.

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Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine • P.O. Box 1371, Portland, Maine 04104 • Hotline: 1.800.313.9900