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$4.6 Million NYS Budget Victory for Rape Crisis Programs
New York State Budget Victory for Rape Crisis Programs Includes Additional
$4.6 million to Address Increasing Volume of Sexual Assault
[New York] The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault (“the Alliance”) is pleased to announce) an increase of $4.6 million in funding for 76 Rape Crisis Programs (RCPs) in the New York State budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY2015-16). This additional funding will enable RCPs to address an increasing volume of calls for assistance from survivors of sexual violence, to maintain 24/7 acute care services and to preserve prevention programs throughout the state that were slated to close yesterday.
Over the recent years, the volume of work for RCPs has been increased by 65 percent yet state funding has not kept pace with the increasing demand for vital services. Furthermore, the timing was crucial since many prevention programs were slated to close as of March 31, 2015. With these funds, we will strive to keep as many of these programs operating as possible.
Sexual violence is a serious public health, public safety and human rights issue of epidemic proportions. According to a national, scientific study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in 5 women, and 1 in 71 men, have been raped in their lifetime. Among women, sexual assault is more prevalent than smoking in the United States. Despite of the prevalence of this crime and perseverance of advocates over the last 30 years, sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes in the U.S - two out of three sexual assaults are not reported to police. With 11 colleges in New York being under of Federal investigation for violations of Title IX, there is a need for increased expert resources to respond to student reports of sexual violence and to build the capacity of universities to handle this issue on campus.
Mary Haviland, Executive Director states: “I am thrilled to see the Governor and the NYS State Legislature rally to increase funds to the rape crisis centers in the 2015-16 budget. Not only will these resources assist rape crisis programs respond directly to sexual assault, they also carry the hope of reducing sexual violence in the future by enabling the continuation of prevention programs. The Alliance is deeply grateful to leadership in the NYS Assembly and Senate. We thank Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal for her continued leadership over the last two years on this issue and for the hours that she spent working with leaders from the field over the last months to address the funding challenges of this crucial network of services. We also wish to recognize Senator Catharine Young for her on-going leadership in the NYS Senate over the last two years in the effort to increase resources for rape crisis programs. Finally, the Alliance thanks the Governor Cuomo and his Counsel, Alphonso B. David, for their efforts to work with advocates over the last few months to help identify the gaps in resources.”
Assembly Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) said, "New York's 76 rape crisis centers are on the front lines in the battle being waged every day against sexual assault. RCPs provide life-saving services to survivors of sexual assault as well as critical prevention, education and training. The $6.48 million, nearly double the funding appropriated last year, in the FY 2015-16 budget is a product of months of intense work with advocates to ensure that state funding levels recognize the scope of the problem and the herculean efforts of the RCPs."
Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I- Olean) stated, “Rape crisis centers statewide have proven themselves as valuable resources for services and support for survivors of rape and sexual assault. A significant loss in funding would have crippled the centers, forcing them to lay off staff and dramatically scale back a range of proven programs. With the funding secured in this year’s budget, we can feel confident that no crisis centers will need to be closed and survivors of rape and sexual assault will continue to receive the funding they need and deserve,” said
Lastly, the Alliance would like to acknowledge the RCP Funding Working Group whose tireless leadership led to this victory. Mary Haviland states “their persistence and dedication to serving survivors of sexual violence and ending sexual violence even under the one of the most challenging of funding climates is truly inspiring.” The Group includes Joanne Zannoni, Executive Director from the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Susan Xenarios, LCSW, Director of Mount Sinai St. Luke's Roosevelt Crime Victims Treatment Center, Lindsey Crusan, Director of Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program for Rensselaer County at Samaritan Hospital, a member of St. Peter's Health Partners, Randi K. Bregman, LMSW, Executive Director of Vera House, Inc., Michael Polenberg, Vice President, Government Affairs at Safe Horizon, and Rachel Gregory, Prevention Education Coordinator at Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc. The Working Group will continue to advocate for the recurring funding for the network beyond the FY2015-16.
The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault builds the capacity of communities, organizations, and institutions to advance the right to live free from sexual violence and reduce the harm it causes individuals, families, and society
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Michael Polenberg addresses the media and Denim Day supporters on behalf of Safe Horizon