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Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, the region's nonprofit rape crisis center and children's advocacy group, has received funding that will allow it to bring on a sexual assault outreach specialist.
We've pasted the press release from Hope Haven at the bottom, so give it a read.
Hope Have Receives Grant for Outreach Specialist
Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, the regional non-profit children’s advocacy and rape crisis center, has received funding from the Violence Against Women Act program for a Sexual Assault Outreach Specialist. The new staff member of the agency will be responsible for providing education and outreach to law enforcement agencies, hospital personnel and the public in the 14th Judicial Circuit about a change in the South Carolina law regarding adults reporting sexual assault and rape.
The 2005 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) and South Carolina Act 59 allows rape victims time to decide whether or not to pursue their case. Before the legislature passed Act 59 in June of 2009, the South Carolina Office of Victim’s Assistance (SOVA) would reimburse hospitals for conducting a sexual assault forensic exam as long as the victim reported the crime to the police. Now, that same exam can be done at any South Carolina hospital and the victim can decide later about whether or not they want to report it to law enforcement.
“Sometimes rape victims do not seek medical attention when they should because of the sensitive nature of the crime,” said Shauw Chin Capps, Executive Director for Hope Haven. “This new law allows victims to seek the care they may need, access STD and pregnancy prevention, and also have the evidence collection kit performed without having to talk to the police. Hope Haven is very excited to be able to spread the word about this new law because of this award.”
There is a small window of opportunity for collecting evidence in cases of rape and sexual assault. The decision about whether or not to prosecute the offender can be made later, thanks to Act 59. Following the exam, the evidence will be stored, and the rape victim can take up to one year to decide whether or not they want to make a report to law enforcement.
About Hope Haven
Hope Haven of the Lowcountry is a nationally accredited not-for-profit Children's Advocacy and Rape Crisis Center located in Beaufort, South Carolina. We provide state-of-the-art child forensic interviews, crisis counseling, victim advocacy, evidence-based mental health treatment, family support, law enforcement partnerships and educational programs. Our mission is to provide comprehensive services that lead to healing for child victims of abuse and adult victims of rape, sexual assault and incest. We also strive to increase the community’s awareness of these issues through education and outreach.