Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Hosts a Community Forum in the Mt. Pleasant Community

from Teresa Matthews, Manager of Advocacy Services

The CRCC hosted a community forum at the MT. Pleasant library on November 10, 2009 to offer services and have a dialogue for people affected by the heinous acts of Anthony Sowell. The CRCC was grateful for the support of community partners such as the Women’s Center of Cleveland, Hitchcock Center for Women, SAFY, and the Cleveland Municipal School District who also participated in the forum. There were approximately 35 people in attendance.

Some of the topics raised by the audience where:
- Why does Cleveland not have a missing person bureau?
- Why does it take so long to investigate a case?
- If clients are referred to our agency how long does it take for services to start?
- Is CRCC is in Cleveland schools to provide prevention education to students?
- Service providers addressed the topics of substance abuse and mental illness and the resources available to the community.

The overall consensus of the audience was that our society needs to become one that will believe survivors of sexual assault regardless of that person’s lifestyle or the choices they make. No one deserves to be a victim on rape and not be believed or supported.

In October the Justice System Advocacy department has made it even easier for survivors to connect with an Advocate by starting a referral process with Cleveland Police Sex Crimes Unit. We have also started back doing roll calls where we are meeting with all police departments to explain CRCC services and the dynamics of sexual assault.

Through these efforts and continuously working with other social service agencies we hope that survivors of sexual assault will feel supported through the healing process as well as the criminal justice system process.

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