Sexual Assault Program Funding
The New York State Alliance against Sexual Assault is deeply committed to helping secure the funds necessary to ensure that rape crisis centers in New York State are able to provide survivors of sexual assault with the most attentive and thorough care. Since 2013, the Alliance has worked with the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault and rape crisis center leaders from across the state to increase the $1.88 million that the state had dedicated in its budget to sexual assault services. With Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, we worked with the state legislature to secure an additional $1.8 million in Fiscal Year 2015.
In Fiscal Year 2016, we continued our fight for more resources based on historic underfunding of the centers and increasing caseloads. We succeed in securing an additional $4.6 million in legislated funds for a total of $6.48 million in FY 2016. And finally, last year, working together with the governor’s office, these funds were added to the governor’s budget to provide a steady source of support to the 76 programs state-wide that support survivors of sexual assault and mount prevention programs that aim to reduce sexual assault state-wide. Additionally, the passage of the campus sexual assault legislation “Enough is Enough” has provided the program network with an additional $4.5 million to provide assistance, training and technical assistance to students, college staff and administrators about sexual violence and campus prevention programs. We are extremely grateful to our governor and our legislative leaders for their commitment to this issue.
Sexual Assault Initiative
The New York City Sexual Assault Initiative is comprised of four of sexual violence intervention programs that are supported by the New York City Council. The programs are: New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Mount Sinai Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention program (SAVI), Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Roosevelt Crime Victim’s Treatment Center (CVTC) and Kingsbridge Heights Child Sexual Abuse Program. In Fiscal Year 2016, these programs served over 3,000 victims and survivors of sexual assault including children, young women and men across all five boroughs and conducted over 10,000 counseling/training sessions. With this funding support, the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault provides training for medical professionals to become state certified Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners, crucial first responders to sexual assault. The other three programs support programs for male survivors (CVTC), for people who are sexually exploited or trafficked (SAVI) and children who are sexual abused (Kingsbridge). Each program in the Initiative was awarded $75,000 in 2015 and $150,000 in 2016. With the additional funding, the Initiative was able to hire Spanish, Mandarin and Hebrew-speaking staff, respond to an increasing demand for training and certification of Emergency Room personnel and eliminate waitlists for counseling/training.
Enough is Enough
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the “Enough is Enough” legislation into law on July 7, 2015 in an effort to address the prevalence of sexual assault on colleges campuses in New York State. The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault was active in commenting on the bill and promoting its passage. The Alliance worked with the governor’s office and his special advisor on women’s issues at the time, Christine C. Quinn, to craft a bill that would offer real and substantial assistance to victims of sexual violence on campuses. The Alliance is proud to have participated in the passage of this bill and is now working on the changes taking place on campuses by collaborating with 6 NYC based colleges and leading a Campus Sexual Violence Working Group that is promoting a document called, Campus Sexual Violence Following the Passage of “Enough is Enough”; Recommendations from the Field. We commend the governor for spearheading this law, which represents some of the most aggressive policy in the nation to fight sexual assault on college campuses. This legislation requires all colleges, public and private, to adopt a series of comprehensive guidelines, including a bill of rights for reporters of sexual assault, affirmative consent, access to and impartial and timely adjudication process and expanded access to law enforcement.
Child Victim’s Act
Statutes of Limitations are laws which specific how long, after certain actions take place, a case can be filed in criminal or civil based on those actions (for example, actions based on a car accident can be brought up until 3 years in civil court after the accident). New York State has a very short window during which a victim of child sexual abuse can bring a civil suit against their perpetrator. It is 5 years from the abuse or from the date the abuse was reported. And some sexual abuse crimes against children also have a 5-year criminal statute of limitations. For multiple years, there have been legislative proposals to rectify this. The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault is part of a large coalition of groups that supports the expansion of the NYS Statute of Limitations in child sexual abuse in the civil and criminal realms