In each issue of Frontline, we feature one of MCASA’s member programs in our Program Spotlight. This quarter, we focus on the Rape Crisis Intervention Service, the rape crisis center serving Carroll County.
What is your name and how long have you worked with your agency? My name is Janice Kispert, and I am CEO of RCIS. I have worked at RCIS for ten years.
Tell us about your rape crisis program and the issues it tackles. Since 1978, Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County has provided counseling and supportive services to victims in Carroll County who have been hurt by sexual violence. We have also educated the community regarding sexual assault issues and advocated for victims with the vision of eliminating sexual violence in Carroll County. Our licensed therapists provide therapy services during evening hours. Our confidential services are free-of-charge to victims of sexual assault and their non-offending caregivers who are part of their support systems. Walk-in crisis intervention services are available Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. We serve victims and their non-offending caregivers, family members and/or other support persons aged 12 and older. RICS operates a 24-hour telephone crisis hotline which is staffed mainly by RCIS certified S.T.A.R. (Sexual Trauma Advocate and Resource) volunteers. S.T.A.R. volunteers are community members who have received specialized training in dealing with trauma and other issues related to sexual assault. Volunteers sign up for shifts and agree to be “on-call” for a period of time. Currently, we have 20 active volunteers of all ages, and offer S.T.A.R. hotline certification trainings throughout the year. In addition to providing crisis intervention via telephone, our volunteers also provide on-site accompaniment for alleged victims of sexual assault who present to Carroll Hospital Center’s (CHC) Emergency Department at any given time of the day or night.
Why are you a member of MCASA? RCIS is a member of MCASA because we believe in the mission of MCASA and SALI and recognize the importance of our support in order for them to maintain their services. We value the expertise and knowledge they bring to our movement to assist victims of sexual violence and provide advocacy on behalf of programs, such as ours, throughout the state.
What upcoming events is RCIS holding soon? On October 10, 2016, we will host our 17th annual, “A Culinary Experience” event. The event is our largest fund raiser and enables us to keep our services free. We invite local restaurants to participate in the event by offering samplings from their menus. We also have raffles, a silent auction and a very exciting live auction. More than 400 people attend the event which has been dubbed “the best non-profit fund raising event in Carroll County.”
What sexual assault prevention work does your program do? We sponsor an annual men’s sexual violence prevention activity known as “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes.” The event encourages males of all ages to don women’s shoes and literally walk a mile in them. We usually have over 200 participants and literally stop traffic as the men parade down Westminster’s Main Street on a busy Saturday morning. We have also launched a bar napkin prevention project with a by-stander intervention message. Our “If you see something---say something. Be an active bystander” message printed on teal bar napkins along with our name and hotline number will hopefully draw participation from anyone witnessing a questionable event.
If your program received $100,000 in new funds, what would you do with it? We need to expand our outreach and educate the public about our services in a two-tier approach. The first effort would be to provide sexual assault prevention education to our community and the second effort would be to provide sexual assault intervention and treatment to victims.