The New Hampshire Department of Justice has received a $238,057 grant through the Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) to provide assistance to victims of sexual assault, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced today. SASP was created in 2005 with funding from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which Senator Shaheen has strongly supported and worked to reauthorize.
"Protecting New Hampshire citizens from domestic abuse is a critical priority, and the funding announced today will provide important services to keep our citizens safe," Shaheen said. "I've spoken with victims of sexual violence in New Hampshire and know that this type of investment makes a real difference. I will continue to work with Congress to pass a comprehensive version of the Violence Against Women Act to help ensure that funding for these services continues to be available."
The funds will be awarded to the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence and distributed to New Hampshire's 12 crisis centers to support direct service to victims, 24-hour crisis lines, child care, peer support groups, and emergency shelter and transportation. The funding for SASP is awarded through the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women.
Shaheen has repeatedly called on Congress to pass a bipartisan, comprehensive version of VAWA and has visited crisis centers throughout New Hampshire to highlight the services the program provides. Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor this past week to again voice her support for victims of domestic violence.
"The Sexual Assault Services program (SASP) grant provided by the Office on Violence Against Women will go a long way in providing life-saving services for victims of sexual assault by allowing more advocacy and support for non-offending parents and expanded direct service advocate hours to focus on sexual assault and working with the victims," said New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney.
"Last year over 2,000 women, children, and men in New Hampshire reached out for support related to a sexual assault," said Maureen McDonald, Community Relations Director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. "This piece of funding will help ensure that these survivors receive the crucial services they need to heal from the trauma they have experienced."
Despite the advocacy work being done in New Hampshire, nearly one in four women in New Hampshire has been sexually assaulted, at least a third of New Hampshire women have been the victim of a physical assault by an intimate partner and more than half of all women in the state have experienced sexual or physical assault over the course of their lifetime, according to the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. According to the Department of Justice, twenty-five percent of college women will be the victim of a rape by the time they complete a four-year program.