HARRISBURG, Pa., April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), through a grant agreement with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), is working to raise awareness around sexual violence and provide prevention education to individuals and communities.
In his 2015-16 budget, Governor Wolf proposed a 10 percent increase in rape crisis programs and services to protect the victims and educate communities about the effects of sexual assault.
In America today, nearly one in five women and one in 71 men has been the victim of rape. Additionally, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. According to the U.S. Justice Department, sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with 68 percent of sexual assaults against adults left unreported. When it comes to child sexual abuse, the vast majority of cases are never reported to the authorities.
"Each year, thousands of Pennsylvanians—children, teens, women, and men—are sexually assaulted," said DHS Acting Secretary Ted Dallas. "Governor Wolf's budget proposal is a great step in the right direction to funding these critical programs and putting a stop to these terrible crimes."
This April, PCAR is focusing on sexual violence on college campuses where one in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted while in college, and 90 percent of these assaults go unreported.
"Sexual assault psychologically devastates the victim and has profound repercussions on their families and communities," said Dallas. "We are working with PCAR to provide the critical support needed to victims, and to raise community awareness about sexual violence. Working together, we can put an end sexual violence in Pennsylvania."
DHS has partnered with PCAR to support the victims of rape. PCAR, the oldest rape crisis coalition in the country, works to eliminate sexual violence and advocate for the rights and needs of sexual assault victims. In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, DHS funded rape crisis services for approximately 30,000 victims of sexual violence and their significant others, including an estimated 117,537 hours of service from PCAR sub-grantees. PCAR sub-grants with 50 local nonprofit rape crisis programs covering all 67 counties.
"Gov. Wolf's proposed budget shows a powerful commitment to victims of sexual assault," said PCAR CEO Delilah Rumburg. "This is a clear statement that the governor values the help and healing provided by rape crisis centers and needed by so many Pennsylvanians. We thank Gov. Wolf for recognizing the value and need for rape crisis services with this proposal."
Rape crisis programs play a critical role in providing services to victims of sexual violence and their non-offending significant others and family members through emergency crisis intervention services and ongoing social services support. Rape crisis direct services include:
- A 24-hour hotline;
- Crisis and supportive counseling services; and
- Accompaniment through the medical and criminal justice systems.
These programs also provide prevention education materials and activities for schools and community groups, including college campuses. Additionally, they give trainings to a broad scope of professionals to enhance their responsiveness to victims of sexual and domestic violence and families.
"Through our partnership with PCAR, we are helping victims recover from violence, and enabling them to live full, happy, and productive lives," said DHS Social Programs Director, Karen Herrling.
To learn more about PCAR's services and programs, go to www.pcar.org.
Media contact: Kait Gillis, DHS, 717-425-7606
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Human Services