The Healing Place was first established in 1986 operating as an outreach of the Rape Crisis Center of Buncombe County in Asheville. Forty clients were served the first year of operation (1986). In 1987, the first support group was formed. Past groups included support groups for adolescent victims, adult survivors of child sexual assault, adult victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and non-offending parents of children of sexual assault. Presently The Healing Place offers an Expressive Arts Therapy Group for adult survivors.
In 1990, The Healing Place broke away from the Buncombe County Rape Crisis Center, incorporated and on April 13, 1990 obtained our own 501©3, non-profit status, as Rape Crisis Center-Henderson County.
When The Healing Place became independent of Rape Crisis Center-Buncombe County in 1990, the community began to strongly support the center. Referrals came in from numerous human service agencies and schools. Requests for education programs from civic organizations, churches, and schools greatly increased. An Administrative Assistant and Education/Volunteer Coordinator were hired. Various fundraisers were held for the center. In 1991, a tremendous boost came when Burt Reynolds came to the Flat Rock Playhouse with his one-man show for Friends of Rape Crisis Center-Henderson County. As the center expanded to serve children as well as adult victims, a name change was in order and started doing business as The Healing Place: A Sexual Assault Response and Resource Center in the summer of 1991 and officially changed the name on October 24, 1996.
Prevention education became a priority for The Healing Place when United Way recommended more involvement from the center in the school system. An education committee was formed that included community members, as well as board members. “I Make Myself Safe” program was developed and implemented in the schools in the winter of 1991.
Additionally, in 1991, The Healing Place expanded its services to reach Transylvania County with a special $3000 grant from United Way of Transylvania County. At that time, a telephone line was installed to provide immediate access to services and an advisory board of Transylvania County residents was formed to recruit volunteers and develop fundraisers for the Transylvania County center. In 1995, with a grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission: Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), an office in Brevard was rented and staffed five days a week and a full-time Volunteer Coordinator was hired. The Counselor spent two days a week in the Brevard office and three in the Hendersonville office with the Volunteer Coordinator spending the opposite time in each center.
By 1993, the “I Make Myself Safe” program was expanded to grades K, 1, 2, 5, 8, and 9. From 1994 to 2008, respective education presentations were made in all Henderson County Public schools.
Then in 1997, The Healing Place was approached by FOCUS, the Child Advocacy Center of Henderson County, about the possibility of combining services. FOCUS served victims of child sexual abuse, so combining the two programs streamlined services and allowed one agency to better serve clients of all ages. The object of a Child Advocacy Center was to reduce duplicative interviews and secondary trauma to the victim. A Child Services Coordinator was hired to administer the Child Advocacy Center program. This program included advocacy, support, coordinated forensic interviews of children, multidisciplinary case review, case management, and court support.
In July 1999, The Healing Place closed its office in Transylvania County. In an effort to effectively utilize available funding, the rape crisis program of The Healing Place was assumed by SAFE, the domestic violence agency of Transylvania County. The Healing Place made great strides in Transylvania County educating the community on the issue of sexual assault. SAFE was able to utilize their volunteer base and crisis line to continue to offer comprehensive services to victims of sexual assault in Transylvania County.
In 2007, The Healing Place received a grant to hire a Prevention Specialist and developed a Primary Prevention Educator Training Manual to engage men in the sexual violence movement.
A new piece of legislation, The Healing Youth Act of 2009, required schools to define sexual assault and to ensure students knew where to get help in their own community. The Healing Place developed programming for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders based on the act and the school system took over the agency’s educational programming in the elementary grades. Components of the awareness program for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders included cyber safety, healthy relationships, risk reduction, and ensuring students knew about the services of The Healing Place.
In 2011, The Healing Place received a grant to provide therapeutic services to Spanish speaking victims in their native language. The program proved to be a huge success and continues to justify the need for services in Spanish. The Psychologist provided services from 2011-2014.
In 2011, The Healing Place was approached by Hope House, a safe house located in Henderson County that worked with domestic minors who had been victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. The Healing Place therapists provided mental health treatment to all the girls in the program until Hope House moved in October, 2013.
In 2012, community partners chose to forfeit national accreditation as a Child Advocacy Center. The Healing Place continues to provide crisis intervention, case management, court support, and therapy to child victims and their non-offending families.
The therapists of The Healing Place developed a parenting series called “Parenting the Sexually Abused Child” in 2012 in order to help parents understand the dynamics of child sexual abuse. Participation is voluntary and parents can self-refer or they can be mandated by the courts or by the Department of Social Services.
Because of the large increase in the number of victims requesting services, The Healing Place decided to focus its efforts on providing specialized services to victims. In September, 2012, the Board of Directors refocused the efforts of the agency and revised the mission statement.
By the fall of 2013, The Henderson County Public Schools had incorporated most of the components required by the Healthy Youth Act into the standard course of study. The Healing Place continues to present the Sexual Abuse Awareness Program to 9th grade students at all four high schools, Balfour Education Center, and Early College.
In September, 2013, The Healing Place moved into the United Way building on 5th Avenue and saved over $25,000 a year on occupancy and related costs.
Since 1986, our logo has gone through several changes. Our current logo represents sexual assault as a life event that victims can overcome by the tagline “Beyond sexual violence”. The teal ribbon is the national logo used nationally to signify sexual violence.
The Healing Place has served the following number of clients in the past:
1999-2000 – 465 clients
2000-2001 – 486 clients
2001-2002 – 426 clients
2002-2003 – 417 clients
2003-2004 – 360 clients
2004-2005 – 504 clients
¬2005-2006 – 595 clients
2006-2007 – 624 clients
2007-2008 – 679 clients
2008-2009 – 843 clients
2009-2010 – 707 clients
2010-2011 – 957 clients
2011-2012 – 905 clients
2012-2013 – 1065 clients
Funding for The Healing Place comes from a variety of sources. They include:
City of Hendersonville
United Way of Henderson County
Governor’s Crime Commission
Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
North Carolina Council for Women
The agency’s marketing and fundraising plan includes grants, an annual appeal, a fundraising luncheon, and support from churches, businesses and individuals. Over the years, The Healing Place has held concerts, Goofy Games, golf tournaments, Monopoly Tournaments, and various other fundraisers. In 2013, the agency married education with fundraising and its signature event was born: the Celebration of Courage. The event brings a national speaker to Henderson County to put a face on the various aspects of sexual violence.