When the Safe Berks facility on Chestnut Street in Reading opened its doors in 2012, then known as Berks Women in Crisis, it marked the first time all services were offered under one roof. However, due to the growth of the organization, a second location has become essential.
The new office will be located at 147 N. Fifth St., Reading, and will primarily house the Safe Berks Legal Services team and some administrative staff. While the official opening date is not yet known, some staff are currently in the process of moving and the office will be fully operational before the end of the year.
“In the past nine years, our services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault have expanded greatly as we work every day to save lives,” said Beth Garrigan, Safe Berks CEO. “Due to the expansion of our services, we have created and filled many new positions. Through all of this, we realized we have just simply outgrown our home at 255 Chestnut Street.”
“The Legal Services team will be closer to the Berks County Courthouse, where they spend much of their time serving survivors,” said Garrigan. “We are truly grateful to Penn State Health St. Joseph, John and Lisa Gallen, and the Ethosource team for their assistance with donating, delivering, and setting up the furniture for these new Safe Berks offices.”
During the past few years, some of the new positions at Safe Berks include Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Coordinator, Legal Support Coordinator, several Bilingual Community Educators, Grant Writer, Manager of Medical Advocacy Partnership Program (MAPP), an additional MAPP Specialist, two MAPP/Rapid Response Advocates, Economic and Housing Specialist, and Director of Human Resources.
“Every day I am amazed by the dedication of our staff,” said Garrigan. “They are constantly enhancing the services we offer survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. This second location will allow our staff the space needed to continue their lifesaving work.”
Safe Berks provides free and confidential services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. All services are available in English and Spanish, and translation will be utilized for any other language needed. Safe Berks services include shelter, counseling, legal services including assistance with requesting Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders, medical advocacy, and education.
For crisis services, including requests for shelter or medical advocacy, call the 24-hour hotline at 844-789-SAFE (7233) or text SAFE BERKS to 20121. To request Safe Berks Legal Services, please call 610-373-1206, ext. 107. Anyone in immediate danger should call 911.