Working today for a safer tomorrow.
It’s a story of passion and compassion,
one step at a time.
For thirty-seven years our focus has been to support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault - always with compassion and a strong belief that there’s hope and an opportunity for healing.
Step 1: In the beginning
Founded by The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis in 1975, with funding from Lilly Endowment, The Julian Center was born as a small group of individuals providing information, referrals, and guidance to women in crisis. It was a time when the phrase “domestic violence” had no meaning. It was a time when domestic violence and sexual assault were often referred to as “acts that happened behind closed doors” and rarely considered a public concern.
Step 2: Easing the suffering
The 1970’s, largely influenced by the women’s movement, brought a significant shift in social attitudes. Women - who once felt trapped as victims - found the courage to speak out and the strength to reject the notion that they were to blame for their perpetrator’s behavior. By 1978 the term “domestic violence” had taken form and the brutality - previously ignored - gained attention. Women were breaking free and needing help. What they found was that almost no community resources had been developed for domestic violence victims. To help fill that gap we expanded our services and founded The Julian Center Counseling Center in October 1978. Staffed with therapists experienced in sexual assault and trauma therapy, the center provided women - previously living in horror and in shame - a way to healing and a path to a new understanding.
Step 3: Protecting the strong
The most dangerous time for a victim is when she decides to leave her abuser. That was true in 1982 and it is true today. Many victims did not have a safe place to go. With the encouragement of the United Way and Lilly Endowment, we opened the doors of the first domestic violence shelter in Central Indiana. The shelter was founded in a former convent and, once opened, provided shelter and support to 35 - 45 women and children at a time.
Step 4: Out of hiding
By 1996, we had outgrown the former convent and were turning away more women and children than we were serving. We launched a $7.5 million capital campaign to build a new, larger facility designed to provide safe shelter, counseling, health services, education for shelter children, and advocacy. We also decided to locate on a major thoroughfare and publicize the location of the shelter.
Step 5: Holding batterers accountable
As the new facility was being designed and constructed, we entered into an agreement with the City of Indianapolis to house the newly created domestic violence investigative unit of the Indianapolis Police Department at our new facility. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office also provided a deputy prosecuting attorney on site. All of these developments resulted in added security for our clients and improved the criminal justice response to domestic violence. For more than ten years, this collaboration has succeeded and grown. Most recently when the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was formed, the Sheriff’s unit for domestic violence joined us at The Julian Center.
Step 6: National recognition
Three years after opening the doors of our new facility, The Julian Center was recognized as one of three best practice models under the President’s Family Justice Center Initiative. We were commended for offering a multitude of services in one location, our collaborative efforts with other local community service providers, and the breadth of services offered to victims.
Step 7: The mission continues
A statistic published by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence reports that victims often return to their abusers when viable options for permanent housing cannot be found. To address the problem and the threat it poses to our clients’ ability to reestablish their independence, we once again decided to expand victim services. In 2009, we launched a project in partnership with Herman & Kittle Property Group to build a complex with 71 permanent housing units. The permanent housing opened its doors in July, 2010 and is now filled with hundreds of surviving women and children safely and comfortably settled in their new homes.
Years of Service,
During its 37 years, The Julian Center has grown to meet the needs of sexual assault and domestic violence victims. We will continue to find innovative ways to help victims choose safety and recover from the trauma of assault as long as there is need for such services. Pray the day will come when the need for such services no longer exists. Until that day, The Julian Center will be here.
Working today for a safer tomorrow.