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The Retreat Historic Milestones to Domestic Violence Prevention

Historic Milestones

The Retreat’s mission is to provide safety, shelter, and support for victims of domestic abuse regardless of age, race, or gender, and to ultimately break the cycle of family violence.

30 Years of Service

The world is at a turning point. They know it’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue. The Retreat is an invitation for women and people of all genders to stand in solidarity with survivors to create a bold, visible and united force against domestic violence.


Funding is approved and staff is hired.

Community leaders establish a task force to assess the need for a domestic violence shelter; East Hampton Rotary Club donates the initial funding.

Domestic violence license is acquired

The Retreat is founded as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) New York State licensed domestic violence agency.

Outreach and education programs are developed

Domestic violence outreach and education programs are developed.


East Hampton shelter established

The Town of East Hampton, in partnership with The Retreat, establishes the 18-bed shelter. Advocacy, crisis counseling, children’s services, parenting education and a 24-hour crisis hotline are added.

East Hampton, Southampton, Riverhead, Southold, and Greenport are covered

The Retreat’s scope of work is broadened to include all towns in the East End of Long Island: East Hampton, Southampton, Riverhead, Southold, and Greenport. The Heroes Don’t Hit education program is introduced; awareness campaign to stop domestic violence includes working with men against domestic violence to advocate for offender accountability; offices are established in Southampton and Central Suffolk Hospitals and mandated batterers’ program begins operation.

The Retreat receives Marshalls Peace Prize for Heroes Don’t Hit

The Retreat receives a generous donation of a new building to house the Administration and Client Services Center. The Retreat wins the Marshalls Peace Prize for Heroes Don’t Hit.

Recipient of Freedom Award to End Domestic Violence

The Retreat is a recipient of the 2001 New York State Governor’s Freedom Award to End Domestic Violence.

Retreat Boutique is opened

In July 2003, the Retreat opens a thrift store: Retreat Boutique. Revenues from the store will sustain current program services in light of government funding cuts.

Newsday Community Champions


Henry D. Pearson Award for excellence in leadership.


The Retreat celebrates 20 years of saving lives.


Summits & Art Shows

The Retreat holds East End Social Service Summit and it also holds the first Annual Hamptons Juried Art Show to raise funds for domestic violence programs and services.

Financial programs, grants and more awards

The Retreat launches a goal-centered, strength-based financial management/job readiness training program designed to offer victims who have survived domestic violence the opportunity to harness knowledge and skills essential to breaking free and remaining self-sufficient outside of the confines of an abusive relationship.

We were also awarded the Engaging Men in Preventing Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking grant from The Office of Violence Against Women, a collaborative partnership with the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD).

The Retreat was awarded a grant through the Housing and Urban Development Program (HUD) to provide permanent housing to victims of domestic violence living with disabilities.

Lastly a grant from The Administration for Children and Families which allowed for the implementation of its proposed Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative, a collaboration uniting The Retreat, the Suffolk County Probation Department, Stony Brook University, and the Children’s Museum of the East End in a community-level effort to reduce abuse of women and children.


Project BASE (Barrier and Stigma Elimination)

The Retreat was awarded a grant from The Office of Violence Against Women to provide transitional housing assistance and supportive services to homeless victims fleeing domestic violence. it was also awarded the Charity of The Year distinction by Nana Cares – The Kattie O. Berkoski Foundation.

Project BASE (Barrier and Stigma Elimination), a collaborative project that unites The Retreat, The Mental Health Association in Suffolk County Inc., and Parents for Megan’s Law Inc. (a nonprofit dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse and rape as well as services to victims of violent crime, including the elderly), was launched to assist with creating and intensifying institutional changes that will help raise public awareness and help each agency to better serve victims who are living with mental illness.


The Retreat’s Board President, Nicole Behrens, Wins a Women of Peace Award From The Women’s Peacepower Foundation.


The Retreat and Brighter Tomorrows join together to pilot “Domestic Violence Advocate Assisted Petition Program.”

The Retreat, in partnership with Suffolk County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, was awarded a grant through New York State Department of Health to form Partners in Prevention, Region One of the Sexual Violence Prevention Grant, which addresses the primary prevention of sexual violence toward youth in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The Stephanie House was born

After 24 years of renting, The Retreat purchased its’ emergency shelter and renamed it The Stephanie House, in honor of a dearly departed volunteer.

Retreat shelter volunteer, Susan Cook, received the Unsung Hero Award through the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, in recognition of her enthusiasm, dedication, and history of working with people in need.

Vicki Cooper, Shelter Director, received the National Association of Social Workers’ Student of the Year Award, presented in Albany, recognizing her leadership in the field, her academic achievements and her contributions to the social work profession.

The Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative was renewed, after a highly competitive grant process, for an additional five years. The Retreat became an ally of the NO MORE campaign.


Recipient of the federal grant, Legal Assistance for Victims

The Retreat was awarded the federal grant, Legal Assistance for Victims, enabling us to employ two attorneys to assist clients with all legal matters

The Retreat receives a three-year grant for a Case Manager who will assist clients with all aspects of their lives going forward: housing, job placement, medical assistance, and education.

Barbara Hennessy receives the Child Abuse and Neglect/Family Violence Volunteer Award for Suffolk County.

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