ANDERSON, Ind. — Ricker’s has expanded its Safe Haven program. As of October 21, all Hamilton County, Ind., Ricker’s Convenience Stores will offer anyone in an abusive situation a safe refuge and place to call for help.
Alternatives Inc., a nonprofit specializing in the prevention of domestic violence, and United Way of Central Indiana are partners.
“Ricker’s is an ideal place for Safe Haven because of its 24/7 hours of operation as well as its locations and proximity to neighborhoods,” said Mary Jo Lee, CEO of Alternatives. “Convenience stores also allow victims a discreet way to get help as other customers will likely assume they are there to shop.”
A sign on the stores signals that victims can enter the Safe Haven, where Ricker’s staff is trained to assist victims in calling 911 or Alternatives, depending on the situation. Alternatives then arranges for victims to be transported from the store to an emergency shelter. From there, Alternatives’ staff begins assessing victims’ needs.
First launched at Ricker’s stores in Madison County in June 2003, the Safe Haven concept stems from concerns expressed by a police chief in a small Madison County community that domestic violence victims had nowhere to seek around-the-clock help.
“We are thrilled to provide this same service for victims in Hamilton County,” said Nancy Ricker, co-founder of Ricker’s. “The well-being of the communities we serve is a high priority of Ricker’s, and we are willing to do whatever we can to help those in need.”
Noblesville Police Chief Kevin Jowitt said, “Hamilton County law enforcement officers are grateful this life-saving partnership is coming to our communities.”
In November 2014, the Safe Haven program received national recognition when Alternatives was one of 131 organizations highlighted by Vice President Joe Biden during the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. The program was identified as an innovative collaboration serving victims of domestic violence.
Jay and Nancy Ricker founded Ricker’s in 1979. The Anderson, Ind.-based company has more than 52 convenience stores.