SARSSM History, Vision and Mission

Our History: 1973 - Present

Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM), formerly the Rape Crisis Center, began advocating for victims of sexual assault in 1973 when a small group of women learned that support and resources were not available for victim/survivors of sexual assault. To address this need, the founding members organized a grassroots support, advocacy, and referral network. The Rape Crisis Center incorporated in 1976 and opened its first office in 1978.

The following year, a professional answering service was contracted so that all crisis and support line calls would originate through one telephone number and volunteer advocates could be accessed 24 hours a day.  The Crisis and Support Line remains active today and continues to be staffed primarily by volunteer advocates.  

As the agency has grown, awareness and prevention programs have become a central part of our work as seen in the extensive school-based and community education programs offered.  In addition to these numerous awareness and prevention programs, SARSSM has also expanded the resources available to victim/suvivors and concerned others, including support groups, Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) advocacy, and outreach to underserved populations including the homeless and people who are incarcerated.

In March of 1995, the center changed its name to Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM) to more accurately reflect the work performed and the issues addressed by the agency.

Currently, the SARSSM Board of Directors is comprised of a range of community leaders, including medical personnel, social workers, law enforcement officials, and survivors. SARSSM continues to emphasize education and community involvement to end sexual violence. SARSSM strives for equity and representation in Maine State laws. SARSSM is one of nine rape crisis centers that are members of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA).


Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine in its philosophy and through its services will strive to contribute to a world where human relations will be egalitarian and without sexual violence. We will be both proactive and reactive providing education and promoting healing, empowerment and renewal. We will be known for our partnerships with all others committed to this vision. We will be an organization that celebrates and advocates for the human potential for change and growth through adversity.

Mission Statement

Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine shall develop and provide quality services to survivors of sexual assault and concerned others in York and Cumberland Counties who need assistance resolving issues related to sexual assault. SARSSM shall take a leadership role in encouraging a social climate in which sexual assault is unacceptable. SARSSM shall participate in community planning, develop community resources, and promote education and training programs relating to sexual assault.

Nondiscrimination Policy

As a recipient of Federal financial assistance, Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out by Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine arranges to carry out its programs and activities.

This statement is in accordance with the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Regulations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued pursuant to these statutes at Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 80, 84, and 91.

In case of questions, please contact:

Provider Name:   Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine

Contact Person:   Executive Director

Telephone/Email: 207-828-1035 or infosars [at] sarsonline [dot] org

Procedures for filing a complaint