Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, a listening ear free of judgment

The RACC is a local organization helping those in the community seeking help, support

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Elizabeth Samuelson, a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker in the state of ND, gives insight as to why she works at the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center and how the program helps individuals in the community.

Samuelson graduated from North Dakota State University after completing the university’s dual degree program for Social Work and Human Development & Family Science. She is the Safe Harbor & Family Advocate, serving both the RACC and Red River Children’s Advocacy Center.

Sign at the RACC building in Fargo/Moorhead.
Photo by | Hayden Austin

“I work at RACC to make an impact. Every day, I get to see clients lighting up, knowing we believe them,” said Samuelson. “I get to see children in control of themselves and in safe spaces. I get to build relationships with people who need a positive connection. I get to be that person who will listen, be there, whenever my clients are ready for whatever comes next for them.”

RACC provides advocacy and counseling services to victims of domestic/dating violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, trafficking/sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse in eastern North Dakota and west central Minnesota. They focus on creating a community free of violence, transforming the community response to violence, as well as providing services to survivors that will aid in their own healing. 

Individuals/students can access services by calling their 24-hour confidential crisis line (800-344-7273) or (701-293-7273), or attending an appointment at their agency. 

The community education team provides education on personal safety, domestic violence awareness and healthy relationship curricula to all Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead public schools. They also provide training and education presentations to community businesses, agencies and groups interested.

“I firmly stand behind our focus in creating a safe community for all people,” said Samuelson. “We do this by working directly with adults, children, families and community partners.”

Samuelson works primarily with MN based clients, youths up to age 24 who have experienced or are experiencing sexual exploitation or human trafficking. She also works with the children at the Red River Children’s Advocacy Center in Fargo who have experienced various forms of child abuse, and with adult clients experiencing sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking.

“Every day I am working with clients who need our services and community members who share in our goal of creating a community free of violence,” Samuelson said. 

RACC seeks feedback from individuals who visit their office to receive services. According to the RACC website, the program served 2,608 people in 2021, with a projected 96% of participants saying they felt understood and that they received helpful services. 

“I think my day-to-day helps our clients because I get to literally meet them where they are at. Our youth, especially, don’t always have the means to get out to our office. When I can go to them, I get to build those relationships and provide connections with one of the most vulnerable populations,” said Samuelson. “This I believe will allow them to be safer as they become more independent and show them that they can lean on RACC when they need to without judgment.”

Members of the NDSU and Fargo/Moorhead community who seek help and/or support can visit the RACC website or social media for more information. 

“RACC is here for you. We know that sometimes we are the first point of contact for clients and how hard it is to take that first step,” said Samuelson. “We also know that in working through various community systems in regards to DV and SA, we are not always the first contact. We are here for you wherever you are in your journey, judgment free, with a listening ear.”

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