MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Women’s Center, Inc. has received a three year Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Sexual Assault Victims Services grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that began on January 1, 2019. The grant will enhance the agency’s sexual assault program in Alger and Marquette County and will allow the agency to focus on assisting victims in underserved populations such as the elderly, disabled, mentally ill, LGBTQ, homeless and “at risk youth.”
“Since 2016, we have seen an increase in the number of people accessing our services for sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, but we know we are not reaching many sexual assault survivors,” said executive director Beth Casady. “This new grant provides more staffing resources to expand current services that are needed in our region.”
The funding will pay for a full-time Sexual Assault Program Coordinator, a full-time Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Coordinator, and a half-time therapist for sexual assault victims. The Women’s Center currently operates a volunteer SART in Marquette County. The new funding will allow full-time dedication to enhancing the SART services in Marquette County, establishing a program in Alger County, and expanding direct client services.
Casady said, “Many people do not know about our sexual assault program. Often victims of sexual assault, dating violence or stalking carry with them the trauma of that experience or experiences without speaking to anyone about it for years. We saw this with the revelations in the “#MeToo” movement and the Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh hearing. We are here for everyone, regardless of when the assault took place and regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or disability. Our services are free and confidentiality is one of our core values.”
For more information on the Women’s Center and its services for men, women, and youth, visit their website at www.wcmqt.org.