Gov. Tom Corbett proposes increase to rape crisis services

Enola, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 22, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape would receive a 10 percent increase in funding for rape crisis services under Gov. Tom Corbett's 2014-15 budget proposal announced Jan. 22 at the Capitol Rotunda. The proposed increase totals nearly $800K.

PCAR, the oldest rape crisis coalition in the country, distributes funds to 50 rape crisis centers which serve approximately 30K women, men and children affected by sexual assault each year across Pennsylvania's 67 counties. PCAR's network of rape crisis centers also provide prevention education to adults, teens and children in schools, churches, civic groups and other settings.

"Not all states have governors and legislators who demonstrate their commitment to victims and the prevention of these crimes by providing funding in the state budget," PCAR CEO Delilah Rumburg said. "We know times are tight—the funding levels for these services had been stagnant for more than 10 years prior to our increase last year. We thank Gov. Corbett for recognizing the value and need for rape crisis services with this proposal."

Additional funding for rape crisis programs would assist all 50 rape crisis centers in the provision of services such as a 24/7 hotline, support and counseling to victims and their families; accompaniment to the police, hospital or court appointments; and prevention education in the community.

"During the past two years, Pennsylvania has been a focal point for issues of child sexual abuse victimization, prevention and policy reform," Rumburg said. "Whenever efforts to increase awareness and prevention occur, it is critical that services are available to support the victims who are identified or who come forward."

PCAR has supported rape crisis programs in the development of new partnerships to teach and practice prevention skills with mandated reporters, parents and other concerned adults. PCAR is proud to be certified by the Department of Education to fulfill Act 126 requirements for public school districts across the state.

"Protecting our citizens and helping them in times of distress is one of the core functions of government," Corbett said. "I am proposing we continue our commitment to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault and provide support services for victims through a $2.2 million funding increase to these critical programs next year."

Domestic violence programs would also see an increase under the governor's plan from approximately $13.9 million to $15.3 million in state funding.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape is the oldest state anti-sexual violence coalition in the U.S. The organization represents 50 rape crisis centers that serve the state's 67 counties. Each year these centers provide confidential services, at no charge, to approximately 30,000 men, women and children affected by sexual assault.

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