Dear Legislative Friends,
We thank you for the recognition and support of our work and of the 51 rape crisis centers in the Commonwealth as demonstrated by the restoration of the rape crisis line item to level funding in the FY 2012 budget. We know how difficult these budgetary decisions are for you in the current economic times.
Pennsylvania can be proud of the 40-year history of leadership in victim services which has been recognized and awarded. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) are home to national resource centers (the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, respectively) that provide assistance to professionals across the United States and the globe.
The PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) contracts with PCAR to ensure that victims of sexual violence in every county in the Commonwealth are afforded quality, standardized services 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. These services include accompaniment to medical care, police and court proceedings, hotline support and counseling. Additionally, we contract with the PA Department of Health to provide Rape Prevention Education (RPE) funding to support rape prevention programs in every county.
PCAR manages an average of 23-25 grants per year from the US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), and various corporations and foundations. PCAR has consistently leveraged our state funding and expertise to obtain grants which bring millions of dollars into the state to create jobs and serve to further our mission.
Our original mission to work to eliminate sexual violence in all forms and advocate for the rights and needs of victims has remained unchanged for nearly four decades. PCAR is committed to our work on behalf and in support of ALL victims of sexual abuse and our standards of care reflect this. Because more than 33,000 victims of sexual violence receive services yearly in Pennsylvania, we work hard to assure our standards allow for the care of a 4 year old child, a 63 year old man, a 16 year old homeless youth, 20 year old student, and the many adult survivors of incest, male and female, who seek support years after their abuse has ended.
You, as our champions, have supported our legislative agenda to provide for an increase in the statute of limitations for victims to report rape and to increase penalties for offenders who administer intoxicants to rape victims; to mandate training in colleges and universities about sexual assault; and to provide responsible policy to manage sex offenders.
Every decision and action we make is guided by what is in the best interest of all victims, and supporting local programming to work with victims in their communities. PCAR staff interacts with survivors and provides support and assistance to our member programs daily. We share the grief and outrage of rape survivors and their families each time a victimization is shared with us, and every time we are called to assist when our system has failed a victim such as when the media reveals personal information, or a community engages in victim blaming. Not one of us has forgotten why we are here.
Like you, PCAR sometimes faces scrutiny when we make difficult funding decisions. Like you, we take our charge to consider the needs of the full Commonwealth seriously. PCAR will always try to do what is right and what is in the best interest of the many quiet voices and unseen survivors that work beside us and live in our communities.
Thank you for your support and enabling us to do this important work.
Chief Executive Officer
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape