FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 20, 1999 Contact: Delilah Rumburg, Executive Director of PCAR,
(717) 728-9740, OR
Charles Robbins, Press Secretary to
U.S. Senator Arlen Specter
PENNSYLVANIA COALITION AGAINST RAPE RECEIVES AWARD TO ESTABLISH
THE NATIONAL SEXUAL VIOLENCE RESOURCE CENTER
Harrisburg, PA - Sexual violence is an urgent and costly health issue. Accordingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded a $700,000 grant to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) to establish the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC). This represents a major victory for sexual violence advocates who have been diligent in their efforts to acquire national recognition of this staggering, yet, invisible problem.
As the first nationally funded initiative of its kind, the center will be established under provisions of the Violence Against Women Act. The resource center also will assist the CDC in achieving Healthy People 2000 objectives aimed at reducing the incidents of violence against women.
"I am delighted that the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape has been selected to establish such a vital initiative in the fight against sexual violence," said U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). "I am confident that PCAR will continue to provide important victim assistance and resources for our community and our nation with the utmost integrity and dedication. I have considered the fight against sexual violence a priority since my days as district attorney of Philadelphia."
It is estimated that 25% of all women in the United States will suffer a violent sexual attack sometime during their lives; with 61% of all assaults involving victims under the age of 18. Sexual violence creates a host of health-related problems, including injury and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as numerous psychological conditions such as major depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, homelessness and suicide.
According to Delilah Rumburg, PCAR executive director, "The resource center will serve as the nucleus of a national movement to prevent sexual violence. As an incubator for this impressive project, PCAR plans to build the resource center into an autonomous entity capable of shaping the nation's practice, research, and policy. In time, we must change public attitudes and beliefs to reduce and, ultimately, eliminate sexual violence."
Broad goals of the NSVRC are to: (1) Strengthen the support system serving sexual assault survivors by providing competent leadership, adequate resources and information to develop the capacity of national sexual assault organizations, state sexual assault coalitions, community-based programs and allied professionals; (2) Provide accurate and comprehensive information and technical assistance in supporting effective intervention in the prevention of sexual violence; and (3) Identify emerging policy issues and research needs to support the development of policy and practice leading to the prevention of sexual violence.
The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in Philadelphia, one the nation's leading research institutions, will join the effort as PCAR's research partner. Dr. Ann Burgess, a renowned Penn researcher and scholar on sexual violence, will direct the research component to study the causes and consequences of sexual violence. The team will also promote effective responses through through far-reaching intervention and prevention activities.
The official opening of the resource center is slated for July 2000 at PCAR's facility in Enola, PA.