St. Augustine, Fla. (Nov. 21, 2016) – Betty Griffin Center, which provides emergency shelter and services for survivors experiencing domestic or sexual abuse in St. Johns County, received a $100,000 grant from the Women’s Giving Alliance to assist in funding the nonprofit agency’s new Hope and Recovery Program.

According to Betty Griffin Center Executive Director Joyce Mahr, the nonprofit agency will partner with Stewart-Marchman Act Behavioral Healthcare, a local substance abuse and mental health service provider, to provide survivors with the safety, support and hope they seek in their path of recovery and violence-free
living. This program will address the gaps in service delivery and the lack of access to appropriate services for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse with co-occurring substance abuse issues.

“Since addiction is an issue that affects about 75 percent of the survivors we serve, the grant will allow us to engage a therapist and an advocate to work directly with these survivors to overcome their dependency on drugs and alcohol,” Mahr said. “We’re grateful for the support of the Women’s Giving Alliance to help us fund
this program, which allows us to continue applying a holistic approach in helping the people who come to us for assistance.”

In accepting the grant, the center has set a goal that 80 percent of all self-referring survivors will complete a survivor-focused safety plan that meets their unique safety needs as it relates to domestic and/or sexual abuse and substance abuse, with participants receiving an after-care plan that meets their individual safety
and recovery needs.

“This grant will give staff the capacity to further empower survivors of domestic and sexual abuse so they can more quickly resume a life free of addiction and abuse,” Mahr said.

About Betty Griffin Center
The Betty Griffin Center was founded in 1990 by concerned citizens and incorporated as the Safety Shelter of St. Johns County to develop plans to provide shelter for local victims of domestic violence and their children. In 1992, the nonprofit agency contracted with a local motel for space and started a 24-hour crisis line and court advocacy program. By 1994, the agency purchased and opened Betty Griffin House as a permanent shelter. The shelter was expanded in 1998 to meet local demand, and a sexual assault program was added the same year. The Sexual Assault Victim Recovery Program is currently recruiting on call volunteers to provide victim advocacy. For information contact Kelly at 904-808-8544.

Today, Betty Griffin Center shelters 250 to 350 victims of domestic and sexual abuse annually, operates a 24-hour helpline, provides professional counseling for victims of domestic and sexual abuse, provides age appropriate violence prevention training and operates two thrift stores at Julington Square and Anastasia Square to assist in funding the agency’s ongoing operations
For more information or to make a donation, visit To report if you or someone you know is being abused, call the Betty Griffin Center 24-hour crisis helpline at (904) 824-1555.


Media Contact:
Ron Whittington
(904) 563-0402