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Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine shall develop and provide quality services to survivors of sexual assault and concerned others in York and Cumberland counties who need assistance resolving issues related to sexual assault. SARSSM shall take a leadership role in encouraging a social climate in which sexual assault is unacceptable. SARSSM shall participate in community planning, develop community resources, and promote education and training programs relating to sexual assault. Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine in its philosophy and through its services will strive to contribute to a world where human relations will be egalitarian and without sexual violence. We will be both proactive and reactive providing education and promoting healing, empowerment and renewal. We will be known for our partnerships with all others committed to this vision. We will be an organization that celebrates and advocates for the human potential for change and growth through adversity.
In 1973, Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (f/k/a Rape Crisis Center, Inc.) began as a grassroots effort to advocate for victims of sexual assault after recognizing that there were little, if any, resources available to women who had been sexually assaulted. These efforts resulted in a network of survivors who volunteered to be available to provide support, advocacy and referrals to others. After incorporating in 1976, SARSSM opened an office in 1978. In the following year, a 24-hour hotline was established for those affected by sexual assault. Today, the hotline functions with trained volunteer advocates. In addition to telephone support, SARSSM advocates are available to provide in-person support to victim/survivor(s) at the hospital, police station and through the court process. Staying true to its mission, SARSSM has grown to be able to offer community education through its school-based programs, training for social service providers, educational programs for law enforcement and health care providers, and programs for local businesses. SARSSM is also the sponsor of the annual Take Back the Night March and Rally. SARSSM works closely with other community members to ensure a compassionate and effective response to sexual assault by sitting on community tasks forces and advisory councils, project collaboration with other agencies and organizing Sexual Assault Response Teams. Currently, SARSSM operates with 7 staff, a broad base of volunteers on the hotline, and an active Board of Directors. It receives federal, state, county and municipal funding, is a member of the United Way of Greater Portland and the United Way of York County, receives donations from a supportive community and holds several fundraising events annually, including the Chocolate Lover's Fling.