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 Gail Reid, Director of Victim Advocacy for TurnAround Inc. in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
Tell us about your program and the issues it tackles
TurnAround, Inc. is the assault crisis center for Baltimore City and County. TurnAround provides services to survivors of sexual violence, victimization, and exploitation. Our agency also serves survivors of domestic violence, including children who are exposed to violence in the home.
Why are you a member of MCASA?
A challenge for our agency is working in communities in which there is a high level of exposure to various forms of interpersonal violence and victimization. Many of the individuals we serve have been exposed to violence and even multiple victimizations, and have learned to minimize the impact of repeated exposure to trauma. We have to work to maintain awareness and attention on sexual violence within the community. No one provider can do this alone, and being a member of MCASA provides us with a network of organizations and individuals to maintain this focus at local and state levels.
Does anything make sexual assault work different in Baltimore City and County compared to the rest of Maryland?
The challenges faced by TurnAround mainly involve the high demand for services within our two jurisdictions, which report the highest rates for both sexual and domestic violence in the state. Because our agency has worked to strengthen our collaborative relationships with our partners in the criminal justice system, our services are often in demand to respond to victims and these requests usually involve considerable urgency. We are committed to assuring that victims of sexual violence and exploitation, as well as victims of intimate partner violence, have access to the criminal justice system.
What prevention work does your program do?
Our sexual assault prevention efforts are education-based and focused on youth. TurnAround provides over 80 presentations a year at local schools, reaching over 2,000 elementary, middle and upper school students each year. Our community education staff also focuses on outreach to high risk populations, through presentations at treatment centers, addictions facilities, and shelters. Each year, over 10,000 individuals receive information about sexual violence.
Two years ago, TurnAround established programs serving victims of sex trafficking, many of whom are domestic minors. This program screens adolescents admitted to juvenile detention facilities, provides ongoing support and case management, and operates a drop-in center. Much of this work includes identifying youth who are at risk for trafficking and intervening early towards prevention.
If your program received $100,000 in new funds today, what would you do with it?
I would give our hardworking staff a raise! This line of work is difficult and our employees don't usually get the recognition or compensation they deserve.
This article appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of Frontline