Published November 16, 2009
MA: Sexual Assault Services Slashed
UPDATE - FRIDAY NOV 20 -BIG NEWS!!
Yesterday, the legislature voted to partially restore the SANE line item by including $400K in the supplemental budget. Today that bill is headed to the Governor's desk to be signed. In addition, the Governor can match these funds with $600K from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services so that funding for essential sexual assault services is restored.
We need you to act immediately - the Governor is expected to sign the bill later today! Click the button below to send him a message urging him to restore full funding to the SANE program.
(Nov 13) Earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick cut $1 million (one third of the budget) from the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program. This cut will mean the near elimination of a crucial system of coordinated care for survivors of sexual violence.
The SANE program trains and funds nurses who are contacted whenever a survivor reaches a designated hospital; it funds advocates who are on call 24 hours a day to accompany survivors to the hospital and it funds Children's Advocacy Centers that play a special role for children who are survivors of sexual abuse. These programs play a crucial role, not only in providing compassionate services to survivors, but also in ensuring that evidence is collected and handled properly so that rapists are identified, prosecuted and convicted. (learn more about the effectiveness of SANE programs here )
The planned cut will effectively dismantle a system that stretches to 17 rape crisis centers and 27 designated hospitals across the state. What's more, there isn’t a backup plan.
ACT NOW to urge Governor Patrick, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Judy Ann Bigby, the Lt. Governor and your state legislators to restore funding to this essential program.