Philanthropy in Action
Through JP's Peace, Love, & Happiness Foundation, both John Paul and Eloise DeJoria have supported organizations and initiatives that have provided support, care, rehabilitation, and education for women faced with the complex issues surrounding domestic violence, sexual assault, and abuse. When Eloise learned that only 9.2 percent of all sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement, she began to research the problem and solutions. Up until 2015, St. David’s Main was the only place in Travis County where sexual assault victims could go to get evidence collected 24/7 by a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). And even then the process ended up costing the victim thousands of dollars in out of pocket fees and was often retraumatizing.
In 2015, through the generosity of many in the community, including the DeJorias, SAFE received the funding necessary to open Eloise House, a facility dedicated to providing survivors of sexual assault with forensic exams and support services, all free of charge.
To make the process of reporting a traumatic sexual assault easier and much more considerate of the victim in every way—physically, mentally, financially—SAFE forensic nurses and advocates provide extensive support in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault. Eloise House has been specifically designed to be a place where survivors feel safe and comfortable. They are given the support of both forensic nurses trained in sexual assault exams and advocates who help them navigate the complex legal issues as well as provide resources including peer support, crisis assistance, emotional support, and medical and therapeutic care. Advocates are not affiliated with the police, the medical system or the legal system. They are there to provide emotional support and to help sexual assault victims understand their options, including reporting to police, safety planning, and ongoing counseling referrals and follow-up services.
Since Eloise House opened in 2015, SAFE’s Sexual Assault Services Department has responded to more than 2,000 visits from sexual assault survivors in Central Texas. Eloise House has seen a 10 percent increase in forensic exams each year since the clinic opened. Eloise House conducts an average 40 exams a month, although the average for September is generally closer to 50. In September, 2018 alone, the clinic saw 76 patients. With the overwhelming number of visits, the community need to expand was clear.
Thanks to the generosity of the community and the support of local philanthropic organizations including JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation, the expansion of SAFE’s Eloise House forensic clinic will now include a second waiting room, a shower, and two comfortable exam rooms, enabling advocates and nurses to see more survivors of sexual assault simultaneously.
For more information: safeaustin.org
24 Hour SAFEline: 512-267-SAFE (7233)