In this quarter’s Program Spotlight, we highlight the efforts of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center (DV/SAC) of Prince George’s County and their important programs and services for survivors of sexual assault.
1. What is your name and title? Donna Melynda Clarke, Program Administrator at the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center.
2. Why are you a member of MCASA?
I am passionate about ending senseless sexual exploitation and violence towards members of our community. It is long-time concern of mine and I believe that through appropriate education and legislation, we can drastically reduce these acts. We see MCASA as a tremendous ally to our efforts throughout the State of Maryland, and particularly our needs in Prince George's County. Since our county is 2nd only to Baltimore City for the number of rapes, and is the highest of all counties, we greatly appreciate and support the work done by MCASA to provide training, and advocate for funding and needed legislation.
3. Tell us about your organization’s current prevention activities.
DV/SAC is the primary rape crisis center for Prince George’s County. In that role, we respond to victims, law enforcement, and child advocacy centers whenever there is a need for a sexual assault forensic exam. In addition, we provide comprehensive wraparound services for the victims, families and those persons who have been collaterally affected by sexual and intimate partner violence including:
Through our community education project, we provide bystander and primary prevention workshops and presentations to area public and private schools, faith organizations, and community organizations. Our community educator also provides professional training to law enforcement, college advocates, and persons interested in becoming volunteer victim advocates.
4. What are some recent events you would like to tell us about? Any upcoming events?
We have several awareness events throughout the year, including a 5K Walk/Run with Maryland National Capital Park Police at Watkins Regional Park in Prince George's County Maryland. Our key event is Take Back the Night, which is held during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. This event presents the stories of survivors and allows the public to become more cognizant of level of sexual violence in our community.
5. One of MCASA’s top priorities is to advocate for additional funding for rape crisis centers. In 2017, the General Assembly passed the Sexual Assault Victims Resources Act of 2017, which provides dedicated and increased funds for rape crisis centers. What does the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center hope to do with this funding?
We would be able to train for more forensic nurses, upgrade photographic equipment and other tools needed for forensic exams, and print and distribute more prevention literature.