Apr 2, 2024

Report: Ohio expanding qualified Rape Crisis Centers

Report: Ohio expanding qualified Rape Crisis Centers

Nadia Ramlagan

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Ohio is expanding its qualified rape crisis centers serving rural areas in the central and southeastern regions of the state.

Taylr Ucker-Lauderman, chief engagement officer with the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, explained that qualified centers have to meet certain criteria, and typically provide crisis intervention, legal and medical assistance, counseling and referrals to other local resources. She said collaboration among centers to assist sexual abuse survivors and educate the public about violence prevention is critical.

"One really exciting outcome of 2023 is that we did see two additional rape crisis centers identified as qualified rape crisis centers, which means that they are supported by the Alliance," Ucker-Lauderman said.

One in four women and about one in 26 men have experienced completed or attempted rape, according to the CDC. If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline. It's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-656-4673.

Ucker-Lauderman added survivors of sexual assault often need housing and other basic resources, noting these services are especially needed in geographically isolated areas, and are often unavailable if domestic violence isn't co-occurring. Rape crisis centers may be one of the few options sexual violence survivors have.

"That means increasing the capacity of the service providers across the state, making sure that they have the training that they need, the funding, the staff," she said.

Molly MacMath, executive director of COMPASS Rape Crisis Center in Northeastern Ohio, said while centers, hospitals and police departments play a critical role in preventing sexual violence, communities should be working to come up with creative ways to approach the issue.

"There's so many other entities within our communities that really play a role in the awareness and prevention of violence," MacMath said.

According to Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence's annual report, last year rape crisis centers across the state provided 556 nights of shelter through the Alliance's Meaningful Access Housing Program.

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