Michelle L. Shae | National Crime Victim Service Award
Director, YWCA Hanover Safe Home Program
Michelle L. Shae, Director of the YWCA Hanover Safe Home Program, has helped victims of crimes in Maryland and Pennsylvania for 30 years. Her tireless devotion has made a difference to countless survivors.
Recognizing that children testifying in court were overwhelmed by the judicial process, Ms. Shae built supportive volunteer programs as the Director of Victim Witness in Carroll County, Maryland, in 2013. Therapy pets from Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services provide emotional support to child abuse victims before or after testifying. Bikers Against Child Abuse volunteers help restore child victims’ sense of safety; give them denim biker jackets and biker names; and accompany them to court and trial preparation. These partnerships help prevent re-traumatization.
Ms. Shae joined the YWCA Hanover Safe Home Program in May 2016. Under her leadership the program grew from 3 employees helping 694 victims a year, with an annual operating budget of roughly $300,000, to 13 employees helping approximately 1,500 victims, with an annual operating budget of more than $1 million by 2020. Ms. Shae developed new partnerships with law enforcement and community agencies, including the Adams County Adult Correctional Complex, which provides services to incarcerated victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
Ms. Shae rallied Safe Home to step in and ensure that victims of domestic violence in Adams County would continue to receive help when the local domestic violence service provider closed in 2019. In October 2019, Safe Home became a core program with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), and the sole PCADV-funded provider of domestic violence services in Adams County.
Alongside Safe Home’s sister agency, YWCA ACCESS York, Ms. Shae created a Protection from Abuse office within the York County Courthouse. As a result, victims of domestic violence in York County are more likely to follow through with their protective orders. Additionally, the constant presence of domestic violence advocates has strengthened collaborations with Judges, court personnel, and advocates working to provide more comprehensive and trauma-informed services.
When the world changed in response to the pandemic, Ms. Shae singlehandedly kept the Adams County office open. She personally handled in-person services, court accompaniments, and hotline calls. Ms. Shae’s unwavering commitment to clients, victims’ services, and victims’ rights is an inspiration. She helps crime victims find the justice they deserve.
2022 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video
Watch this video to learn more about Michelle Shae, 2022 recipient of the National Crime Victim Service Award.