Program History

A Short History of the Movement Against Domestic Violence in Shawano County

Kid's Art Project

In 1989, a small group of women formed the organization F.A.C.E.S. (Families, Abuse, Circle of Violence, Encounter of Shawano County) in the basement of Zion Lutheran Church to assist in breaking the cycle of violence in Shawano County.

At that time, Shawano County was the only county in the state that did not provide support for victims of domestic violence through counseling services.

The group’s goal was to provide legal, educational and emotional guidance to women, men and children who were involved in abusive situations. F.A.C.E.S.  was an all-volunteer group. The group expanded to include churches, law enforcement, officials and social services.

In l992, they formed a 3 member board and became incorporated on October 27th  as a nonprofit organization.

The board was expanded as demand for services increased. Available services included a 24 hour crisis line, two community safe homes, weekly support groups, public presentations, referrals made to community resources, transportation, and administration of Emergency Food/ Shelter Funds (FEMA).  F.A.C.E.S. helped 25 victims of domestic violence while still being a volunteer organization.

In 1993, office space was rented and a volunteer office assistant operated the program. From September, l991 to October 17, 1993, F.A.C.E.S.  answered 121 crisis line calls. They had two safe houses in which they placed five women and two children. They also placed 17 women and 20 children in emergency shelter in other counties.

F.A.C.E.S. was given space in the Shawano County Courthouse in 1994.

This space allowed for greater visibility for potential clients. The first Executive Director was hired as a paid employee during this year.

In l996, it was necessary for F.A.C.E.S. to move to the Shawano Medical Center due to expansion of the courthouse.  A federal grant provided funds for F.A.C.E.S. to hire an additional employee as a Legal Advocate.

In l997 federal, state and private grants allowed greater outreach and children’s programming. Volunteer involvement remained strong, making it possible to keep the 24-hour crisis line available to the community.  F.A.C.E.S. served 385 clients.

In August of 1998, in order to reflect the mission of the organization, the name was changed to the Domestic Abuse Support Center of Shawano County, Inc. (DASC).  A toll-free number was added to provide easier access to clients in outlying areas.

In 1999, as community awareness increased, DASC sought community support for their goal of building a shelter and a capital campaign began.  In 2000, DASC received many contributions from churches, businesses and individuals.  With a large contribution from Donna Rae and Larry Klement the vision of a shelter for victims of domestic violence became a reality.  In April of 200l, DASC purchased land for the building of a shelter, located at 380 Lakeland Road in Shawano and began the building process.

On February 11, 2002, the Domestic Abuse Support Center of Shawano County Inc opened its doors to victim’s of domestic violence. By 9:00 am that morning, the first family arrived in shelter.

In 2003, a full-time Sexual Assault Advocate and a part-time Children’s Advocate were hired to provide more direct victim services. Notably, the shelter had a family in residence every night in 2003.  Safe Haven also established an endowment fund in this year through the Shawano Area Community Foundation.

In 2004, the Board of Directors reviewed the mission of the organization and completed strategic planning to better meet the needs of the victims who seek support. A new mission statement was developed:

To encourage a safe community, free of physical violence and emotional abuse, through shelter, caring, advocacy and education.

The shelter also took a new name to reflect the new services of the sexual assault programming. In May of 2004, the domestic abuse support center was re-named

SAFE HAVEN safe haven teal volunteer button

In 2008 the Community Coordinated Response team responded to the community’s need to improve the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program through Shawano Medical Center. At the time, sexual assault victims had to leave the community to have a forensic medical exam completed. Shawano Medical Center, Safe Haven and the Stockbridge Munsee Tribe joined forces to send six nurses to SANE training. These specially trained nurses are contracted through SMC to perform the SANE exams as needed. Having this program available in the community not only assists victims of sexual assault by allowing them to stay in their own community closer to friends and family and resources; it also saves law enforcement time and money.

boy scout ribbons 001In 2009 land adjacent to the shelter was donated by Goodwill Industries to Safe Haven. A future project of building a storage building began. A boy scout wishing to earn his Eagle Scout merit cleared the land in 2010 and removed debris, garbage and poison ivy from the property. He worked hard and earned his merit award.

In 2011 Safe Haven contracted with the Tech Ed Building and Trades Program of Shawano Community High School to build a 2,000 square foot storage garage on the land adjacent to the shelter. The class donated their services and many contractors discounted or donated product to make this project a reality. The garage was completed in early 2012.

2012 marked the shelter’s 10 year anniversary for shelter operations (2/11/2002) and 20 years as an incorporated organization (10-27-1992).

In August 2013, a group of individuals met to review the mission and vision, set goals and give the shelter an updated strategic plan. The mission and vision were reviewed and changed to better include the sexual assault programming.

Mission: to encourage a safe community, free of physical and sexual violence and emotional abuse, through shelter, caring, advocacy and education.

Vision: to be a catalyst for change and to break the cycle of violence so individuals or families can become healthy, self sufficient and independent.

Currently the shelter has 5 full-time and 10 part-time staff which includes: Executive Director, Victim Advocate, Sexual Assault Victims Advocate, Shelter Supervisor, Children’s Advocate and Shelter Advocates who staff the shelter and answer the crisis lines 24 hours per day. Funding is received through State and Federal grants, foundations, private grantors, churches, businesses, organizations and individuals who wish to assist in ending domestic violence.


Safe Haven 

Safe Haven logoPO Box 665, 380 Lakeland Rd.
Shawano, WI 54166
(24 hour Emergency Shelter)

24 Hour Crisis Line