JANUARY 6, 2014
Ten years ago, MCASA created SALI – the Sexual Assault Legal Institute. It was one of the first and only legal services offices devoted solely to the needs of survivors of sexual assault and abuse. In the fall of 2003, SALI was created with the help of the Violence Against Women Office at the Department of Justice. OVW recognized that, while many victims of domestic violence had access to legal services, there were virtually no services for sexual assault survivors who were not intimate partners of their assailant. The Maryland Legal Services Corporation provided more support by recognizing that child victims also need help and expanding SALI services to victims of child sexual abuse.
SALI has now served over 1500 survivors, educated thousands of professionals about the legal needs of survivors, and helped train the next generation of lawyers through its internship program. This issue of Frontline includes information on legal needs of survivors, law and prevention, and some memories from SALI staff. We will honor SALI’s accomplishments and some of the leaders who helped support SALI on January 16th in Annapolis. We invite you to join us.
While you are in Annapolis, we hope you take the time to visit your legislators and remind them that sexual violence is an important public policy issue. In these tough economic times, one of the most important policy issues is continued funding for rape crisis centers. This Frontline highlights the center in Prince George’s County: the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center. State funding is vital to its existence.
One of MCASA’s most important responsibilities is to ensure that the voices of survivors and professionals working with survivors are heard by our policy makers. We have a strong legislative agenda this year. Two of our legislators write about their bills. Senator Brian Frosh explains his proposal to stop internet solicitations of proxy rapists to terrorize people in their homes. Delegate Luke Clippinger describes his bill to close a loophole in Maryland’s laws regarding sexual exploitation of teens. We are grateful that these leaders have shared their proposals with us and look forward to working with them as Maryland’s legislative session gets underway.
Please help us ensure that survivors are heard. Join MCASA and contact your legislators about the issues that matter to you. Together we can continue to help end sexual violence.
Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault