KCSDV awarded $1.6 million for New Sexual Assault Work in Kansas
KCSDV is off to an exciting start this New Year, receiving two new grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women: A three-year Rural grant and a two-year Legal Assistance for Victims grant totaling $1.6 million. Both of these projects will target services and responses for survivors of sexual assault.
The Rural Grant will specifically focus on enhancing advocacy services for survivors of sexual assault in the rural areas in the state, specifically addressing the development of collaborative relationships, the needs of foreign-born survivors, and the delivery of training to these rural areas. KCSDV has partnered with its member programs in western Kansas to carry out some of these projects and expects to be working in targeted communities as well as offering support throughout rural Kansas. Needs assessments, community meetings and training are just a few components under this project.
The Legal Assistance for Victims (LAV) Grant will allow KCSDV attorneys and private attorneys to provide much needed legal services and representation to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. While the focus of this LAV grant will be directed toward representing and providing legal services for victims/survivors of sexual assault, some representation will also be provided for foreign-born victims, those survivors with complex family law matters, protection order issues, and more. The legal needs of survivors of sexual assault have been unmet for many years in Kansas. Under this project, referrals for these services will come only from sexual assault and domestic violence programs. By the end of this project, KCSDV hopes that attorneys will be able to recognize the legal needs of survivors of sexual assault and become more effective in their representation in these cases.
"We are excited about these new projects and believe they will move the state toward improved representation and services for survivors of sexual assault in Kansas," says Joyce Grover, Executive Director of KCSDV. "Over the last several years, we have seen discrepancies in the number of incidents reported to law enforcement and the number of survivors served by the advocacy programs, with some counties having no reports to law enforcement. Through these projects, we hope to directly improve responses and services to survivors of sexual assault in Kansas communities."
In preparation for these projects, KCSDV hosted Kris Bien from the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s Resource Sharing Project, a national technical assistance provider on rural sexual assault projects. Kris first addressed working with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and then spent the next day strategizing and planning with staff on KCSDV’s new projects.
"Our focus will be to assist in the development of quality services and responses for survivors of sexual assault throughout the state, working closely with rural programs to make that happen. I am confident that these projects will increase the level of awareness of sexual assault and the needs of survivors in Kansas," said Grover.