During the late 80’s and early 90’s, there were no sources of information and referrals geared specifically for survivors of rape. Education in the area of sexual assault, date rape, sexual harassment, and rape were extremely limited and many times amounted only to what was covered lightly in health and home economics class. Through the use of the Harcatus Policy Advisory Council a survey was completed which indicated a lack of trust in the law enforcement, medical personnel and community, as shown by individuals who stated they had been raped.
Members of the Harcatus Policy Advisory Council began collecting information on rape crisis centers. They tried to locate a local agency that would be willing to start a rape crisis center as part of their services. Many attempts resulted in creating a plan, which would change the approach to open a rape crisis center in Tuscarawas County.
A strategy meeting, attended by a small group of interested local residents, was held on August 1, 1996. The participants were encouraged to review what services were offered towards sexual assault victims and to identify any gaps. The following is the original list of needs identified by the attendants.
A task force was developed at this meeting. The task force met August 13, 1996 to create a mission statement and complete forms to incorporate for non-profit and become 501(c)(3) tax exempt. A Board of Trustees was formed and a name was adopted.
COMPASS initially started with one full time employee, the Executive Director, but with funding this quickly grew to three full time employees by the end of 1997.
By 2003, the following services were provided by COMPASS:
In December 2006, COMPASS became a subsidiary of Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland & East Central Ohio. This collaboration gave COMPASS the opportunity to focus its resources on serving mission and less on fundraising. In 2008, COMPASS began assisting those victimized by sexual violence, stalking and domestic violence in obtaining civil protection orders. In January 2011, COMPASS hired a part-time Prevention Educator to assist with the school prevention program. As numbers served increased, this position was moved to a full-time position in 2013 (5 positions at COMPASS).
Also in 2013, COMPASS moved from its original location in the basement of the Schoenbrunn Moravian Church to a new office space closer to downtown New Philadelphia. This move gave COMPASS more office space and accessibility for clients.
In October 2015, COMPASS employed a full-time Outreach Advocate with an office at Kent State University Tuscarawas (6 positions at COMPASS).
July 1, 2016 COMPASS merged with Stark County Rape Crisis Center, who was under Red Cross at the time. COMPASS now employed the following 10 positions:
With the expansion into Stark County, COMPASS added counseling and case management to the ever-growing list of services provided to survivors of sexual violence. In addition to the offices in New Philadelphia and Kent State University Tuscarawas, survivors can also receive services at a new Canton location at the Ken Weber Community Campus at Goodwill.