Safety NetIt is essential that the voices and needs of rape survivors not be lost, as we enter the third week of the federal government shutdown. Rape and sexual assault are crimes which are not easily spoken about, but the voices of survivors must not be further silenced by the impact to the rape crisis safety-net, should this standoff continue.
As the professional voice of rape crisis centers in the state and a leader in the nation, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) is committed to ensuring that the needs of survivors are not lost. Rape victims rely on the ability to access 24-hour emergency services including hotlines, advocacy and support immediately following a sexual assault. The individual counseling and group services offered at the 84 rape crisis center programs in the state, are essential to their healing from sexual victimization.  Rape victims should not be re-traumatized by a system unable to respond to their needs, should the federal shutdown continue.
California’s state general funds contributes a mere $45,000 to the entire state to fund a range of rape crisis services. In the fiscal year 2011-2012, the 84 programs served 31, 598 rape victims, meaning that the general fund contribution was $1.42 per survivor served. It is clear that the rape crisis safety-net has operated primarily with the use of federal dollars that flow throw the state, however, the federal shutdown now threatens to completely halt services for rape victims.
Soon, the state will expend the remaining federal dollars and with the limited contributions from California’s general fund, the continuation of rape crisis services are seriously threatened. CALCASA continues to gather information about the impact to California and work with national advocacy groups to apply pressure for an immediate resolution.
Read the CALCASA press release here.
Photo by Resident on Earth. Creative Commons