Providing solutions, safety, and prevention in the darkest moments

Posted on October 2, 2019

It’s an unfortunate reality that there is an ongoing need for trained individuals and agencies to provide support for people experiencing personal trauma like relationship violence and abuse. However, from this need and the gravity and severity of these situations emerge exceptional people and organizations whose sole mission is to provide that desperately needed help.

Reaching a milestone 50th anniversary this year, Center for Community Solutions offers hope and healing for victims of relationship and sexual violence in addition to its ongoing efforts toward education and prevention in San Diego. From its formation as the Center for Women’s Studies at San Diego State University in 1969, the agency has evolved over its five decades as a trailblazer in its work to end violence, improve the lives of survivors, and educate the community on healthy relationships as a means to prevention of future trauma. Last year alone, it served 21,000 individuals through its emergency hotline, prevention work, legal counseling, and much more. Its revolutionary efforts have resulted in many significant firsts in its field, including the creation of the first 24-hour hotline for victims of domestic violence, the first Temporary Restraining Order Clinic for battered women in the state of California, and the first facility to address the lack of emergency housing for battered women in South and East San Diego County. Its work has also earned Center for Community Solutions numerous prestigious grants.

Verna Griffin-Tabor

“It’s really important for the community and any survivors to know that hope and healing are available and absolutely possible,” says CEO Verna Griffin-Tabor. “There’s every reason to be hopeful about these issues if we don’t turn away.”

Its reputation, longevity in serving the community, and the collaborative relationships CCS shares with statewide and national coalitions and local law enforcement, prosecutors, medical providers, and advocates make it readily identified and available to those who need it most, though Griffin-Tabor admits there’s always more to be done. And more is exactly the goal. In addition to its services dedicated to survivors of trauma, extensive energy is put into outreach designed to educate and, ultimately, prevent future incidents of violence. “We believe that this violence is preventable. It is not inevitable,” says Griffin-Tabor. “And the way it can be prevented is if all of us in our community and across our country invest in early prevention that is not fear-based but is based in healthy communication, healthy boundaries, and consent.”

Despite the deep emotional and physical complexity of the issues Griffin-Tabor and her team experience on a daily basis, she says, “The courage and the hope that I witness through the survivors that we work with — it’s staggering how incredibly committed and graceful and caring [they are] when they have been so harmed. It’s just an honor to be a part of this work and know that CCS is helping move the needle for change and helping people live full and complete lives.”   Deanna Murphy

Photo by Vincent Knakal