News & Events

Domestic violence affects all facets of families

October 25, 2012

Safe Futures, formerly the Women’s Center of Southeastern Connecticut, has been providing free, confidential services to women, men and children since 1976.

As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Safe Futures is partnering with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence to celebrate Purple Tie Tuesday on Oct. 30, an appeal asking men to wear purple ties to show their commitment to end domestic violence.

“Purple Tie Tuesday began three years ago as a statewide initiative to engage men in our efforts of raising awareness and putting an end to domestic violence,” said Melva O’Neill, Community Engagement Coordinator, Safe Futures.  “And although we recognize that men are victims of abuse, and that boys are deeply impacted when they witness violence in their home, women are the majority of victims of violence from their male partners. We are fortunate in our community that we have been involving men for over 18 years in our Men Against Domestic Violence campaign and, more recently, our Engaging Men think tank. Together, we can reduce and end violence in our community. It starts with raising awareness.”

John Foley, MD, a cardiologist on the Backus medical staff and Medical Director of the Congestive Heart Failure and Wellness Program has supported Safe Futures, along with his wife, Marie Kenny, for more than a dozen years.

Ms. Kenny originally became involved with domestic violence advocacy when she served as a Mass. State Trooper and was eventually appointed to the governor’s Commission Against Domestic Violence.  Following their move to Conn., Ms. Kenny served the on the Board of Safe Futures.  Today the husband/wife team teaches courses on domestic violence to physician groups who are mandated to receive training once every two years.

“As President of the Connecticut State Medical Society, I assist with grant writing and legislative efforts to help perpetuate funding for domestic violence.  It’s not right that any child or woman go to bed afraid at night,” said Dr. Foley.

Due to funding cuts thee years ago, Safe Futures was forced to close its Norwich office and operate solely from its New London location.  With the closure, the number of people served in Norwich dropped by about 450 annually.

After receiving generous support from local organizations, Safe Futures was able staff and re-open a part-time office on hospital grounds in Norwich. Safe Futures advocates are now available to meet with clients on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Center for Mental Health on D Ground.

For more information about Safe Futures, call the center at (860) 886-4370 or visit their website at

Safe Futures operates two 24-hour hotlines, an emergency shelter and a transitional living program for families working to rebuild lives shattered by domestic violence or sexual assault.  It also provides legal assistance, counseling and advocacy, case management, support groups and educational programs for schools as well as community groups. All 21 towns in New London County are served by the agency.