Sustaining and Expanding Services for Victims of Sexual Violence
The federal government provides financial support to programs and services that support survivors of sexual violence. Each year, RAINN works closely with allied stakeholders, Members of Congress, administration officials, and others to secure and expand funding for these critical programs and services. RAINN supports the following priorities for the 2016 federal budget.
The need: local support services for survivors
More than 1,000 sexual assault service providers provide critical support to people impacted by sexual violence throughout the country. These local providers require a consistent and specialized funding stream in order meet an increasing demand for local recovery and support services. The Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) ensures centers have the resources they need to do their critical work.
- The response: reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act
In response to this call for funding, the 109th Congress passed legislation in December 2005 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and create a new federal funding stream dedicated entirely to the provision of direct services for victims of sexual violence. The new SASP in the Services and Outreach Title of VAWA 2005 will also provide resources for state sexual assault coalitions that assist sexual assault service providers.
The need: prevention, education, and safety programs on college campuses
Each year, U.S. colleges receive federal funding to improve services for survivors of sexual violence and implement important prevention and education programs on campus. Colleges have to meet certain requirements about disclosing crimes of sexual violence and provide critical resources to survivors in order to be eligible for this type of funding. These requirements are outlined in key federal laws, such as the Clery Act, Campus SaVE, Title IX, and VAWA.
- The response: collaboration with lawmakers to renew funding streams
Each year, RAINN works with lawmakers to ensure these funding streams are renewed, and in some cases expanded. These funds are critical to continued success of programs in place today and the expansion of programs and services in the future.
The need: continuous improvement and high standards for victim services programs
Vision 21 is a an initiative of the Department of Justice’s Office on Victims of Crime (OVC). Following more than a year of extensive research and discussions with leaders in the field—including RAINN—OVC produced a report outlining the current state victim services programs and included concrete suggestions for improvements. Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report highlights the National Sexual Assault Hotline as a model national program and provides a roadmap for ensuring that innovative victim services programs are developed, executed, and funded.
- The response: Vision 21 grants continue to improve services for survivors
Vision 21 grants support the process of auditing victim services programs and identifying ways to improve them, including technological innovation. Grants also help fund direct improvements to services. For example, in 2015 RAINN was able to expand services on the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline to include free, 24/7, confidential support for Spanish-language survivors and their loved ones, thanks to support from an OVC Vision 21 grant.
How you can help
You can play an important role in of the conversation about sexual violence in America. Visit RAINN’s Action Center to #ActWithRAINN. Tweet your Congressman, write them an email, and show your support for these crucial programs.