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Guiding Principles

Definition of "Safe House"

A specialized placement for victims of sexual exploitation with youth-centered services intended to provide short-term emergency crisis-intervention and protect youth from harm.

Guiding Principles

All minors who experience any form of sexual exploitation as victims and NOT criminals, regardless of how they present or come in contact with the System.

  • Youth are free to choose (or not) Safe House placement.
  • Cooperation with law enforcement and prosecution is not a condition for placement.
  • The Safe House is a safe and supportive environment where youth can meet their basic physical needs (e.g., food, warmth, shelter, hygiene), and address their social needs to effectively make positive changes in their lives.
  • It is a place to heal, empower, promote and create a sense of hope in the future, and to foster overall life changes.
  • As SEM youth have experienced multiple levels of trauma, all services and policies (i.e. discipline and other) reflect this fact.
  • It is a non-traditional therapeutic environment (--comprehensive, active therapeutic environment involving animals, art, somatic, etc.) and a family-like setting (e.g., staff and youth have meals together, "family style" case management, "youth driven treatment in a family setting).
  • Youth can be placed in the Safe House regardless of their ability to pay.
  • Sexual and cultural diversity are honored.

Draft Mission statement

To provide sexually Exploited Minors with a place to heal and assist them in making successful transitions to healthier circumstances.

Draft Vision statement

SEM youth experience a safe and supportive environment that is responsive to their needs and integrated support services that help them make positive decisions and healthy transition.


To foster positive outcomes, youth who access Safe House services should experience the following:

  • Youth are SAFE physically and emotionally.
  • Youth immediate basic needs for shelter, food and clothing have been met.
  • Youth experience positive interactions (building/rebuilding trust).
  • Youth are empowered, learning and having opportunities to practice making their own decisions.
  • Youth learn and apply new life skills.
  • Youth are connected to appropriate resources, providers and other professionals to adequately meet their needs regarding addictions, sexual exploitation, justice, physical health and/or mental health.
  • Youth are reconnected –or have increased attachment to—family, community, caretakers, as appropriate.
  • Youth are connected (or have an increased ability to connect) with positive peer networks.
  • Youth are supported to meet their long term needs of housing, education, counseling, employment, etc.

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