In 1979, a group of citizens who were concerned about domestic abuse and rape in the Northern Black Hills developed a survey to assess the local need for direct services. The survey was sent to human services and law enforcement professionals in Butte, Harding, Lawrence and Meade counties of South Dakota. The results of the survey showed that there was a definite need for direct services and the Women in Crisis Coalition (WICC) was formed to help women in crisis situations by providing temporary emergency shelter, food, advocacy and referral services. Another important aspect of their mission was to raise domestic violence awareness and educate the community about the incidence and causes of rape and violence against women.
A Board of Directors was organized, and WICC was incorporated with non-profit status granted on November 14, 1979. Clients were sheltered in private homes and motels for a limit of 3 days until a shelter facility was rented in Spearfish in May 1987. WICC purchased a permanent shelter in Spearfish in March 1990.
On February 9, 1991 the name of the organization was changed from Women in Crisis Coalition to Victims of Violence Intervention Program, Inc. (VVIP) and later that year the name Artemis House was adopted for the Spearfish shelter. In 1992, Crisis Intervention Shelter Services in Sturgis began serving residents of Meade County and VVIP became responsible for residents of Butte, Harding, and Lawrence counties.
In 2010 a capital campaign was begun to secure funding to build a new shelter in Spearfish to replace the existing facility which had a crumbling foundation, poor air handling and asbestos. The Artemis House operated a satellite shelter in Lead which was sold in January 2011 and by April 2011 the capital campaign secured funding for the new shelter.
A rental facility was occupied while the new 5555 sq. ft. facility was under construction at the same location as the previous Spearfish shelter. The new Artemis House completed in May 2012 at the same location. The design accommodates up to 42 individuals with seven suites, living room, kitchen, dining room, mechanical room, five restrooms, six offices, conference room, basement storage, a fenced backyard, and nine parking spaces.
This shelter currently serves Butte, Harding, and Lawrence county residents and the organization which began in 1979 as the Women in Crisis Coalition, now known as Victims of Violence Intervention Program, Inc. will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2019.