By Wendy Holdren
More than $150,000 in federal funding will be awarded to the West Virginia State Department of Health and Human Resources to continue the Rape Prevention and Education program, according to an announcement from Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin.
The Rape Prevention and Education program awards grants to states to strengthen sexual violence prevention efforts by implementing and evaluating prevention programs in rape crisis centers, sexual assault coalitions, state departments of health, and other non-profit organizations.
This grant will assist the Women’s Resource Center, which is one of nine rape crisis centers in West Virginia.
Executive director Patricia Bailey said each of the nine will receive money for prevention education.
“For us, that’s a big deal. If you can educate and make people aware, you can prevent a lot of these crimes from being committed against women.”
Bailey said the Women’s Resource Center has been promoting educational programs for a while, but the problem has been funding.
“Federal funding for sexual assault until two or three years ago was not there. I’m really glad the federal government decided to make money available for prevention and crisis intervention. Prevention is going to be what’s going to change the game.”
Any school, community or civic organization in the service area (Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas and Summers counties) that would like to set up a presentation can contact the Women’s Resource Center at 304-255-2559.
She said programs contain age-appropriate material for classrooms. The content is put into terms that school age children understand, which greatly helps promote prevention.
“That’s the whole point of the prevention education monies. Once something has been done, it cannot be undone. Sexual crimes have an impact on people for life. If we can teach people how to stay safe, what to watch out for and avoid, we can keep crimes from happening.”
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