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Meet Center for Safety & Change

24-HOUR HOTLINE: (845) 634-3344

For more than 40 years, Center for Safety & Change has worked tirelessly with victims, survivors and their family members, offering life-saving and life-changing programs and services to thousands in Rockland and beyond. On October 5, 1979, we opened the doors to our Emergency Shelter and waited for the rotary phone to ring.  The first day, we filled 11 beds and on the second day we filled the remaining four.  Since then, the phones have not stopped ringing.  Today, our shelter remains a safe haven for thousands of children and families.   From Rockland Family Shelter to Center for Safety & Change, our agency has grown into our name, as the only victim-centered non-profit organization in Rockland, offering free and confidential life-changing programs and services to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other crimes.

Mission Statement

Center for Safety & Change provides critical services and support to women and all victims and survivors of gender-based violence and other crimes while working toward justice by creating social change.

Value Statement

We Are Client-Centered

We are committed to growing as an anti-racist/anti-oppression organization in order to serve all people of every race, ethnicity, religion, ability, immigration statuses, sexual orientations, gender identities, and economic statuses with respect and compassion.
We listen without judgment, follow the lead of victims and survivors and provide the supports and services they choose in order to increase emotional and physical safety.
We honor the trust that victims and survivors place in us by ensuring the confidentiality of the information and documents they share.
We advocate on behalf of and alongside victims and survivors by exercising high professional standards and best practices, and by continuing to grow and learn with humility in deference to survivor’s voices.

We Are Multi-faceted Advocates

As advocates for victims and survivors, we provide comprehensive information, critical services and meaningful emotional support while prioritizing the autonomy of the survivor.
As advocates for social change, we provide training and coordinate community initiatives to raise awareness and engage our entire community in the movement to end violence.
As advocates for systemic transformation, we collaborate with schools, colleges, businesses, community-based organizations, places of worship, medical and mental health providers, criminal legal system and other government agencies in order to increase accessibility and responsiveness to the needs of victims and survivors; and pursue survivor-centered policy and legislative change.

Vision Statement

A world in which all people are free from oppression and violence and experience respect, dignity, equity and safety in every aspect of their lives.

Elizabeth Santiago

Chief Executive Officer (She/Hers/Ella/Ellas)

Elizabeth Santiago was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Center for Safety & Change in 2015. The Center is the sole victim assistance provider in Rockland County, New York, serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and all other crimes, such as elder abuse and hate crimes. Since becoming CEO,  Elizabeth has strengthened and expanded the Center’s programs and financial sustainability to ensure services for victims, survivors, their families and the community at large for years to come.  Since her appointment, Elizabeth has increased the organization’s annual fiscal budget twofold. For the first time, under Elizabeth’s leadership the organization underwent a five-year strategic plan.

An activist, Elizabeth has worked on social justice issues for over two decades.  She is recognized for her expertise on issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and creating strategies to end gender-based violence.  Locally and throughout the country, Elizabeth is a sought-after adviser, consultant and trainer and serves as a liaison with federal, state and local agencies while also working with businesses, systems and political leaders to develop legislation and coordinate service networks.

Elizabeth currently serves on the New York State Domestic Violence Council,  the Rockland County Citizen Advisory Council and is co-chair of the Rockland County Coordinated Community Response Stop F.E.A.R. Coalition.  Elizabeth has previously served on the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team, the New York State Office of Victim Services Advisory Council, the board of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV), the board of Rockland County CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for children and the board of the Legal Aid Society of Rockland County.

While born and raised in New York City, Elizabeth is a dual citizen of the Dominican Republic. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Boston College and has a Certificate in Non-Profit Sustainability from Cornell University.  Elizabeth is the co-founder of the Boston College Archbishop Oscar Romero Scholarship for students who demonstrate a balance in academics and social justice community service.  She is an alumna of Leadership Rockland class of 2007 and the proud mother of three adult children, Alex, and twins Roberto and Raquel.