Local centers that help survivors of sexual assault land state funding

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Three local centers dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault were awarded thousands of dollars from the state to further their mission.

The YWCA Dayton Center for Survivors of Sexual Violence was awarded about $150,000 from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services. The YWCA center offers support groups, counseling, prevention education, a crisis hotline and other programs to help those who have experienced sexual assault.

The center’s website says it has served about 75 clients so far this year and has offered more than 200 hours of counseling.

“The services provided by our rape crisis centers are essential for helping sexual assault survivors recover from trauma,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in a statement. “These funds will not only help survivors get the support they need but will also ensure that service providers have enough staff members to walk along with survivors on their recovery journey.”

The grant is funded through the American Rescue Plan Act and COVID-19 funds, the OCJS said. Throughout the state, $4.8 million in grants was dispersed to 25 rape crisis centers. The money will be used to help offer virtual crisis services, support emergency needs and pay for staffing.

Also receiving money locally is SAFE on Main in Warren County getting about $111,000 and Project Woman of Ohio in Springfield getting about $87,000.

SAFE on Main provides services to help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, their website says.

Project Woman offers similar help and executive director Laura Baxter said the money the organization receives will be put towards ensuring dedicated staffing for their crisis stabilization services. In 2021, Project Woman served more than 100 people who experienced sexual assault.

“Project Woman has experienced an increased need to address crisis stabilization and reduction of secondary trauma related to systems, including access to healthcare,” Baxter said.

The crisis stabilization services an approach to building emotional safety for survivors of rape, sexual coercion and other sexual violence, Baxter said, and an advocate uses strategies to increase emotional support while reducing exposure.

Women who have experienced sexual assault often have to overcome many barriers on top of the trauma of the actual assault, Baxter said. Many women know their abusers, which can cause issues when trying to report or seek help. Baxter said many women who called the crisis hotline didn’t feel safe going to the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the services Project Woman provides to people who experience sexual assault is important to the community.

“The rape crisis center is a space we can help advocate and encourage safety, create safe exit plans, and encourage survivors to go to the hospital,” Baxter said, noting that getting medical treatment is important. She said at the hospital, abusers sometimes won’t leave a patient alone to be examined and Project Woman can assist in those situations.

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