CALCASA meets with Congresswoman Judy Chu


Today and tomorrow, CALCASA’s Executive Director Sandra Henriquez and Director of Advocacy Services Denice Labertew, are in Washington D.C. asking members of congress to reinstate the rape set-aside money that is a part of the Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant. We need you to take action immediately to protect your rape prevention education monies!
For all of us advocates in California, the rape set-aside is vital to prevention efforts against sexual assault. The importance of this funding to local programs as they seek to achieve healthy communities by addressing sexual assault cannot be overstated. In California, the rape set-aside is used to support local rape crisis centers to provide prevention services and statewide training and technical assistance to California’s rape crisis centers to increase their capacity for primary prevention.
The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, California Department of Public Health, and 84 rape crisis centers throughout California recently received word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the CDC is withholding all of the PHHSBG (including the rape offense set-aside) until the FY 2012 appropriation’s process has been completed. Essentially, this results in an immediate stop in funding nation-wide to all rape set-aside grantees. Sexual assault service providers in California are slated to lose over $800,000 as a result of the loss of the Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant and its $7.5 million rape offense set-aside funding.
Additionally, due to the uncertainty of the federal budget at this time, the CDC is withholding 20% of the National RPE Program funding allocated to each state for the 2011/2012 year. Currently, the CDC is only distributing 80% of the FY 2012 RPE funds, which has forced all rape crisis centers in the state to reduce services available to prevent and intervene in sexual assault. Centers have had to cut already bare-bones staff, decreasing the level of impact and quantity of services available to communities.
Both Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant (PHHSBG) and Rape Prevention Education (RPE) monies support activities that focus on preventive measures that improve health outcomes and are a part of a cost-effective fiscal philosophy.
We are asking you to contact your Congressional Senator and House member to urge them to prioritize $7.5 million from PHHSBG funding nationwide to be used for sexual assault prevention. The request should be made in their 2012 Appropriations Request. It’s important for you to reach out to them as soon as possible.
There are two links below. The first link is the contact your Senator, the second is to contact your representative in the House. It is vital that you complete both letters for this effort to be successful!
SENATE: http://takeaction.calcasa.org/Groups/CALCASA/Advocacy/?IssueID=26699&SiteID=-1
HOUSE: http://www.votervoice.net/groups/calcasa/advocacy/?issueid=26578

Additionally, you can call your senator! Call now to make your voice heard. You can also forward this email to a board member, people in the community, colleagues and friends.
To find out how to contact your Member of Congress, go to www.senate.gov or call Capitol Hill switchboard at 202.224.3121 and they will connect you to your Member of Congress.
When you call your Senator, your call will be answered by a receptionist. Tell him or her that you want to leave a message for the Senator. The receptionist will take down your message. Tell them:

My name is YOUR NAME. Thank you for your continued dedication to ending sexual violence and supporting survivors. AGENCY NAME from CITY, California is asking that you help to reinstate the $7.5 million rape set-aside from the CDC Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant funding to be used for sexual assault prevention and intervention. The importance of this funding to local programs as they seek to achieve healthy communities by addressing sexual assault cannot be overstated.

Thank you for your support and advocacy on this important issue. If you need any support in writing your letter, please do not hesitate to contact CALCASA.