This month marks the start of a new term for Maryland’s policymakers. We welcome a new Governor, new administration, and a record number of new legislators. MCASA continues to have an active voice in Annapolis and looks forward to continuing to craft policies to end sexual violence.
On January 22nd at Harry Browne’s, we will be honoring leaders in the anti-sexual violence movement for their work. Delegate Luke Clippinger, from Baltimore City; Rosalyn Branson, the Executive Director of Baltimore’s rape crisis center, TurnAround; and Laura Neuman, a survivor of sexual violence and the former Anne Arundel County Executive, will all be honored with MCASA Visionary Awards. We hope you join us and support our work. For more information regarding this event, visit us here.
This legislative session, we will continue to press forward with bills to limit the parental rights of rapists and to expand protective orders to cover victims of sexual and dating violence. Delegate Eric Luedtke has been working closely with community members in the wake of an incident involving child sexual abuse by a school contractor, which he discusses in “Sexual Assault in the Maryland School System.” MCASA looks forward to working with him on legislation to help improve the laws in this area. We are also continuing to work closely with Delegate Ariana Kelly as the state Planning Committee to Increase Access to Sexual Assault Forensic Examination begins its work. She has continually demonstrated her passion on this issue and expresses her long-time commitment to establishing a hospital-based medical exam system that works for everyone in her article “Stop Putting the Burden On Survivors.”
Our full legislative agenda is on our website. We expect it to grow as the session progresses. Please help us help survivors: we ask all MCASA members and supporters to commit to contacting their legislators at least 3 times during the legislative session. To find your legislator click here, and to sign up for MCASA’s legislative elerts please add your name to our list.
This issue also discusses three major issues facing our communities: child sexual abuse, sexual violence in religious communities, and revenge porn.
As we continue to address the issue of child sexual abuse and prevention, we encourage you to use our online training program, “Preventing, Identifying, and Reporting Child Sexual Abuse in Maryland.” This self-paced online course is designed to help Maryland educators and clinicians learn about the effects of child sexual abuse, prevention techniques, and Maryland-specific mandatory reporting requirements.
Finally, this issue’s Program Spotlight highlights the Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program in Montgomery County. This county-based agency serves a wide range of victims of crime, including victims of sexual assault. It is a leader in developing strong responses to immigrant survivors and underserved populations, and its director, Nadja Soares Pereira Cabello was one of MCASA’s founding mothers.
Best wishes for 2015. Hope to see you in Annapolis,
Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault