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Frontline features a different rape crisis and recovery center in Maryland each quarter. We ask them five questions in honor of the 1 in 5 women who are survivors of rape in their lifetime.
The following questions were answered by Anne Bean, Coordinator of Family Violence Programs in Cecil County. She provides oversight and planning for the Cecil County Domestic Violence Rape Crisis Center, the Cecil County Child Advocacy Center, and our local Family Violence Coordinating Council. She has worked with the Department of Social Services for 15 years.
Tell us about Cecil County's Rape Crisis Program and the issues it tackles.
The Rape Crisis Program has been in existence since 1989 and is part of a dual program. The Clinical Director of the DVRCC is also the full time clinician for the rape crisis component of the center. Additionally, there are two part time clinicians and a full time Rape Crisis Outreach/ Volunteer Coordinator associated with the Rape Crisis Program. The services provided by the Rape Crisis Program include individual and group therapy, court and hospital accompaniment, education, 24-hour hotline, and advocacy. The program provides services to victims of sexual violence who are ages 14 and above. Although there are only a few staff members assigned to the Rape Crisis Program, there is a great deal of representation in the community by the program. Staff regularly attends meetings of local committees and work groups ensuring that the rights and needs of victims of sexual violence are advocated and acknowledged.
Why are you a member of MCASA?
Being a member of MCASA affords the program many opportunities for education and expertise whether through formalized training or routine Director's meetings. It provides a forum to come together with others doing the same work in Maryland. SALI is an incredible resource for the clients served through the program as well as the staff. Being a member of MCASA also provides us a "voice" on the State level through the legislative advocacy that is tirelessly done each year. Through this work many improvements have been made for victims of sexual violence.
What sexual assault prevention work does your program do?
We embrace every opportunity to provide education! Staff routinely facilitate training in the local high and middle schools, often employing a game we invented that mirrors Jeopardy. The questions deal with sexual violence issues, healthy relationships, and warning signs of dangerous relationships. The teenagers seem to have a great time competing to earn points. Staff has also recently been presenting at the local job readiness program on a monthly basis. This provides an opportunity to reach both men and women of all age groups.
Have you had any recent events or actions that you'd like to tell us about?
Plans are currently being made for a "Family Fun Fair" to coincide with opening day of the local Little League. The hope is to attract families to participate in some fun activities while offering educational opportunities regarding the prevention of sexual violence. It is also a way to encourage other community businesses and vendors to partner in this endeavor. This is the first attempt in an event like this and the staff is very excited about it!
If your program received $100,000 in new funds today, what would you do with it?
Several thoughts come to mind when thinking about $100,00 in new funding. I would hire a children's therapist so that the Rape Crisis Program could treat younger children. I would also address transportation needs. Cecil County is a rural County without a lot of options for public transportation. Taxi services are very expensive. This can be a barrier for some victims of sexual violence in receiving continuing services. I would also provide funding for completion of forensic nurse examiner training to local nurses. Due to some recent reductions in funding we are currently unable to do this. Lastly, I would look to obtain some services for clients from a psychiatrist. Survivors of sexual violence may contend with some complex issues that really require the attention of a specialist. Finding these services can be challenging in Cecil County.
This article appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Frontline