HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) approved $3.4 million in grant funding from the Endowment Act Fund, which will be awarded to 44 entities throughout the Commonwealth that assist victims of child sexual abuse.
"This first round of awards under the Endowment Act focuses on programs that assist child victims and adult survivors of sexual abuse, children's advocacy centers, victim service organizations that provide direct services, and training to treat victims of child sexual abuse," Chairman Josh Shapiro said. "These grants are another step in our continuous efforts at PCCD to make certain that we are doing everything we can for victims of child abuse in Pennsylvania."
"After traveling a long road, I am thrilled to see this money being distributed locally to organizations that provide valuable services in our communities," said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34), who filed the lawsuit that led to the settlement agreement. "The effects of child abuse are devastating to the children, their families and our communities. The Endowment Act ensures that Pennsylvania money stays local to help our neighbors in need."
Per the settlement agreement reached in January 2015, $48 million in monetary penalties imposed on the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) were deposited into a separate account in the State Treasury. PCCD is charged by the Endowment Act, or Act 1 of 2013, to distribute those funds for the benefit of the residents of Pennsylvania and for the specific purpose of assisting child sexual abuse victims.
PCCD relied on the expertise of the Children's Advocacy Center Advisory Committee (CACAC) to develop the initial funding announcements and provide advice to the Commission on the grants to be funded. The CACAC, which is chaired by Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, was statutorily created by Act 28 of 2014 to expand access to children's advocacy centers and increase their availability to serve child victims of sexual and physical abuse.
"Every child victim of sexual abuse should have access to a children's advocacy center," District Attorney David Heckler said. "CACs are essential to building cases that hold perpetrators accountable in court with the least possible further harm to the victim and they help children to heal. The Endowment Act funds will be key to strengthening CACs where they exist and creating them where they do not."
"Pennsylvania's prosecutors have long advocated that the Endowment Act funding must be used to help Pennsylvania emerge as a leader in child victim services," said Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association President and Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman. "The programs supported by the Endowment Act funds announced today will have a long and incredibly positive impact on child protection in Pennsylvania, particularly in its support for Children's Advocacy Centers."
"Sometimes from evil, comes an opportunity to do good work," Jennifer Storm, Victim Advocate, said. "We stand here today with that opportunity, announcing grants that will ensure that victims of sexual violence will not be left in the shadows to suffer in silence."
"These funds have their roots in the heinous acts committed by Jerry Sandusky but today is a day to be hopeful," Chairman Shapiro said. "Today we took another step in our collective efforts to help the most vulnerable among us, our children."
Our Mission is to enhance the quality, coordination and planning within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, to facilitate the delivery of services to victims of crime, and to increase the safety of our communities.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency