HARRISBURG: The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape presented Attorney General Josh Shapiro with its 2019 Vision of Hope Award April 6 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey.
The Vision of Hope Award is presented annually to recognize those who show a commitment to protecting children through violence prevention and intervention. It helps ensure the safety of children through increasing awareness, strengthening policies or creating campaigns that promote healthy families and communities.
“Attorney General Shapiro’s leadership and determination to seek justice is an inspiration to survivors of sexual abuse,” PCAR CEO Karen Baker said. “PCAR is honored to recognize his ground-breaking work to help survivors heal. His investigations have validated survivors experiences, helped them access justice and is holding people and institutions accountable. Attorney General Shapiro is leading the charge to reform state laws both in PA and beyond which is why we are presenting him with this year’s Vision of Hope Award.”
Shapiro and his team conducted an investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of Dr. Johnnie Barto, a former pediatrician who prosecutors proved spent decades abusing children in the exam room at his practice.
His office also led the examination of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses.
Since the release of the latest Grand Jury report findings about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in PA, the Office of the Attorney General has worked with victims and survivors, advocates, and legislators to pass reforms that will allow victims to seek justice. General Shapiro is committed to assisting adult survivors access to civil remedies for the crimes committed against them and to strengthening protections for children.
Shapiro joins a distinguished list of past award recipients including Jenny Murphy-Shifflet, former president and CEO of Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center of Lebanon and Schuylkill counties; Julie Evans, Director of Prevention and Victim Response at Pittsburgh Action Against Rape; Mary Worthington, Elementary Education Coordinator at Network of Victim Assistance; James Holler, consultant and William Weber Jr. Chief County Detective of Lycoming County.
PCAR works to end sexual violence and advocates for the rights and needs of sexual assault victims. We partner with a network of rape crisis centers to bring help, hope, and healing to people in all of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties. Last year, rape crisis centers provided services to approximately 30,000 victims. Each year, rape crisis centers teach over 300,000 Pennsylvanians how to stop sexual violence in their communities. Over 50,000 professionals are trained by rape crisis centers to enhance the Commonwealth’s systemic responses to victims.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is the leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence. NSVRC translates research and trends into best practices that help individuals, communities and service providers achieve real and lasting change. The center also works with the media to promote informed reporting. Every April, NSVRC leads Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a campaign to educate and engage the public in addressing this widespread issue. NSVRC is also one of the three founding organizations of Raliance, a national, collaborative initiative dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation. The organization was chartered in 2000 by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.