We recognize that sexual and domestic violence, child abuse and neglect are serious crimes within our society. These acts reflect a social disease of aggression whose victims and perpetrators come from all socioeconomic groups.
We further believe that such violence is encouraged by media role stereotyping which focuses on false images of men, women and children in our society. It is our belief that public education and awareness can begin to alter societal acceptance of such images.
Because we share the concept that every person deserves to be treated in a fair and humane manner, we work toward the elimination of aggression, inhumane treatment and victimization of all individuals.
To empower and advocate for those affected
by sexual and domestic violence, child abuse
We envision a community in which every person lives without fear of interpersonal violence.
SOS began in 1976 as an outgrowth of Emporia’s Chapter of the National Organization for Women. A steering committee of representatives from various helping professions met to set up Sexual Offense Services and coordinate efforts to serve rape victims.
In the fall of 1978, with the addition of services for battered women, Sexual Offense Services became SOS. Understanding the needs in the community, SOS provided safe homes, food, clothing, money, transportation and referrals for victims of sexual/domestic violence and their children.
In 1982, SOS became a United Way agency. In 1983, SOS began collaboration with Emporia State University to house a Sexual Assault Educator/Advocate on campus in coordination with the ESU Student Wellness Center.
On April 1, 1985, a shelter was opened. The present shelter opened in 1989 and a toll-free helpline 800-825-1295 began operation in 1990.
SOS Begins To Add Children's Programs
It became clear that domestic violence and sexual assault were the root causes of the harm to children in each of those situations, therefore Executive Director Susan Moran worked to add all 3 of these programs: CASA of the Flint Hills, the Child Visitation and Exchange Center and the Child Advocacy Center over time. Susan was an innovative force in the community and with SOS. She saw each program as a natural fit. This decision also prevented duplication of administrative services and non-profit boards since SOS admin and board could handle it all. Unifying these programs helps staff to share knowledge, resources and be cost-effective.
CASA Services Begin
SOS CASA of the Flint Hills began in July 1995 to serve the 5th Judicial District that includes Chase and Lyon counties. CASA is part of a national program of volunteer advocates, known as Court Appointed Special Advocates (or CASAs). CASAs are appointed by the court to speak for the best interest of children brought before the court in certain child-in-need-of-care and domestic cases.
Child Visitation & Exchange Center Begins
In 1999, the SOS Child Visitation & Exchange Center opened. It offers a safe place for children to be with their parents during supervised visits and exchanges. Children involved in complicated custodial or court-ordered processes can spend time with their non-residential parent in clean and inviting surroundings. Monitored exchanges at the Center helps to eliminate confrontational situations and thus reduces the potential for violence or conflict when parents who have a history of ongoing conflict must exchange children for visitation purposes.
Child Advocacy Center Begins
In June 2002, the SOS Child Advocacy Center opened to provide a child-friendly, neutral facility in which to interview children involved in cases of child abuse or neglect. The CAC coordinates a multidisciplinary team that makes decisions about the investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of each case. This program expanded to Coffey County in 2007.
Rural Program Begins
In the fall of 2002, a Rural Program director was hired to guide the continuing development of the Lyon County Coordinated Community Response Team and to establish and direct five outreach offices in outlying counties that SOS serves.
In early 2003, four county coordinators were hired to operate SOS outreach offices in Chase, Coffey, Greenwood and Morris counties. These coordinators provide client services, advocate community response for victims and work to develop a supporting volunteer base. SOS county offices are located in Burlington, Cottonwood Falls, Council Grove and Eureka. In 2004, an office was opened in Lyndon and a coordinator was hired to serve Osage County. The Chase office has since merged with our Morris County office in Council Grove.
Prevention Education Begins
In November 2003, SOS was awarded a DELTA grant by the Centers for Disease Control. Objectives of the DELTA grant included developing ideas for domestic violence prevention and identifying ways to accomplish societal change by working with faith communities, education, the workplace and other disciplines. This program ended in 2013 after 10 years of services. Despite the end of the DELTA grant, SOS Crisis Services continues prevention education in many area schools.
Executive Director Transition
Longstanding executive director Susan Moran retired in 2012 and Connie J. Cahoone took the reins as SOS’ new leader. Connie brought a wealth of skills to the organization including her wealth of knowledge in banking along with her passion for the mission and vision of SOS.
SOS Community Advocacy & Service Complex
In December 2017, SOS hired Swanson House Fundraising Professionals to oversee the Stronger Together Capital Campaign for the purpose of consolidating all Emporia SOS programs, including its emergency shelter, under one roof of operation. Fundraising began in March 2018 and a building was purchased on July 31, 2018. As renovations are nearing completion and fundraising efforts reach their final goal, all local SOS staff will occupy the SOS Community Advocacy & Service Complex at 1420 C of E Drive by the end of May 2021.
SOS Serves Everyone
Violence can affect anyone - it does not differentiate between people and neither does SOS. It is the policy of SOS that all individuals have the right to participate in employment, programs, educational, trainings and all activities operated by SOS regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ethnic or national origin, ancestry, age, military or veteran status, disability status, marital, parental or family status, economic status, genetic information, or political affiliation.