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RISE was formed on January 1, 2013, when the North County Women's Shelter & Resource Center and the Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention Center of S.L.O. County merged into a new organization serving both victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as their loved ones.

The merger was an important step in providing comprehensive services to victims of violence in our community while also consolidating administrative activities. On August 22, 2013, the name was officially changed to RISE, with the tagline– Respect. Inspire. Support. Empower.

We believe RESPECT is the cornerstone to ending violence and creating peace. We INSPIRE the community to be active in the movement to end gender-based violence. We SUPPORT loved ones of those affected by sexual assault/abuse and intimate partner violence. We EMPOWER survivors to heal from trauma and transform their lives.

Together, the agencies have decades of experience and provide the following services to those affected by intimate partner violence and sexual assault/abuse: 24-hour crisis line, crisis intervention, case management, restraining order assistance, accompaniment and advocacy, prevention education, two safe houses and individual and group counseling. All services are provided confidentially, free of charge, and in English and Spanish to anyone (regardless of age, sexuality, gender identity, race, class, or ability) who has been directly or indirectly impacted by intimate partner violence or sexual assault/abuse.


During the 1970s, grassroots rape crisis centers were established in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. The first rape crisis centers in the United States originated independently, but resembled one another. By 1974, 61 community-based rape crisis centers were established in 27 states. Rapid growth continued during the 1970s and region-wide communication fostered multicenter action for social change. In 1976, Public Law 94-63 created the National Center for Prevention and Control of Rape (NCPCR) to sponsor research, demonstration and training programs that would shed light on causes of sexual assault, its mental health impact on victims, and the effectiveness of varied treatment and prevention strategies.

The Rape Crisis Center (RCC) in San Luis Obispo County began in 1975 when volunteers met in parks and garages where they applied for nonprofit status and established bylaws. The Rape Crisis Center was incorporated on December 31, 1976, and was granted nonprofit status in 1980. The name was changed to Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention (SARP) Center of San Luis Obispo County in 2000 to encompass the expanding functions of the organization.


Also during the 1970s, domestic violence centers began to pop up across the nation. In California in 1977, the Domestic Violence Center Act (SB 91, Presley) passed which provided safe houses for women at the local level with funds from marriage license fees. Another large stride was taken on September 13, 1994 when the Violence Against Women Act was signed into law.

The North County Women’s Resource Center was formed in 1982 by the dedicated members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The agency began simply, as a source of general information, education, and referrals. At the time, there was no domestic violence shelter in the northern region of San Luis Obispo County, so in 1985, the women of AAUW had successfully worked with community members and government entities to open the first safe house in Atascadero. The agency was incorporated the same year, and officially became the North County Women’s Shelter & Resource Center.

The organization continued to expand by adding outreach and counseling into area schools in 1997 and Temporary Restraining Order services followed in 1998. A second safe house, in Paso Robles, was added to the organization in 2001. The office was relocated to Paso Robles in 2011, after 29 years in Atascadero.

RISE is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides crisis intervention and treatment services to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence and their loved ones. All services are provided confidentially, at low or no cost, to anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or ability. All crisis services are available in Spanish and English.