Statement by Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Executive Director Gina Scaramella on Massachusetts Legislature’s approval of a FY19 budget that increases funding for services for sexual and domestic violence to $37.3 million from last year’s actual spending of approximately $33.6 million:
“We’re grateful to House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Harriette L. Chandler, Ways and Means Chairs Sen. Karen Spilka and Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, and members of the Conference Committee for recognizing the urgent need for increased public investment in services for survivors of sexual violence. We strongly urge Gov. Baker to sign the budget. In doing so, he will provide much-needed support for the community-based organizations throughout the state that provide services to survivors of sexual and domestic assault and abuse.
“In the wake of the #MeToo movement, incoming requests at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center for counseling services and guidance in understanding legal options in response to sexual violence have doubled. Last year, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center accompanied approximately 500 survivors of sexual assault who required a forensic exam, just in the Boston area, to a hospital emergency room. In recent months, we have been averaging two such hospital visits a day to support survivors and their loved ones through the forensic exam process, which can take up to six hours.
“Although the experience of sexual assault can feel deeply private, we need a public response to make all of our communities safer. The first step in this process is ensuring that the organizations engaged in our communities’ prevention, education, and crisis response efforts have the resources they need.”