History & Mission - ACCESS - Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support

History & Mission

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ACCESS, the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support, arose from the need to confront and combat the issues of sexual assault and domestic violence in Story County. Established in 1976 as a rape crisis center, ACCESS services were expanded over the years to include a 24-hour crisis hotline and shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children. In 1981, we opened our first shelter facility, a place where survivors and children could share a safe environment and more readily receive the services our growing staff and volunteers were ready to provide. ACCESS continues to serve Story, Boone, Greene, Marshall & Tama counties.

Our Vision   

A community founded in respect and equality that is free from violence, abuse, and power imbalances.

Our Mission           

To address the roots and impact of domestic and sexual violence through services that enhance safety, empower survivors, and promote understanding and social justice within our community.

Our Philosophy

Domestic and sexual violence are perpetuated by a societal structure that reinforces inequity in gender roles, relationships, and the distribution of power. Inequity and violence cannot be tolerated. We believe that systemic change begins with education, advocacy, and crisis care focused on the needs of the individual.

Our Values             

We are intensely committed to our core values. These aspects guide our decision making process and are echoed through our services. They give purpose and meaning to our lives, to those we serve, and to the direction of the organization. 

Compassion. We respect and care about the empowerment of our clients by eliminating barriers to services, addressing and dismantling systems of oppression, and ensuring the confidentiality of services. We respect the dignity of each individual.

Positive Role Models. We model a violence-free agency that is founded in respect, equality, and social justice to best serve our clients and community.

Community. We value collaborations and partnerships with a broad community, working together to effectively and efficiently fulfill our mission.

Best Practice and Future Growth.  We recognize the changes and shifts in our society. To remain a vibrant contributor to the well-being of the individuals we serve, we strive to continuously learn and implement better practices and to be open to new ideas in service.

Our Goals

Through an intense adherence to our philosophy, values, and mission, ACCESS has developed a list of changes we strive to provide within our community. 

  • Provide a safe environment for all people who have experienced domestic and sexual violence, regardless of race, national origin, gender, sexual identity, religion, immigration status, age or ability.
  • Advocate for individuals who have experienced domestic and sexual violence.
  • Promote social change in the judicial, political, and medical systems.
  • Partner with other agencies to promote policies, procedures, and programs to create a safe community.
  • Provide education and professional training to understand and end domestic and sexual violence.
  • Continue to seek resources to implement programs to achieve the vision.
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