5 of the best organisations that help survivors of sexual assault

Getty/NurPhotoIn Dublin, Ireland, a person walks by a mural made in support of victims of sexual violence.
  • April is Sexual Assault Awareness (And Prevention) Month.
  • National and local organisations alike are ramping up efforts to provide information and direct care to survivors, their loved ones, and the general public.
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network and National Sexual Violence Resource Center work primarily to conduct, interpret, and disseminate research that can improve the treatment practices of those who work with survivors.
  • RAINN is a national organisation that provides individuals with information related to sexual abuse and connects survivors to useful resources.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, also referred to as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Across the nation, there are charities and organisations that help assault survivors and their loved ones in myriad ways, from educating the general public to offering mental-health services, legal resources, and financial aid directly to survivors.

Tatiana Garcia is a licensed professional counselor based in New Jersey who has provided trauma therapy to children and adults who have survived sexual violence. Garcia spoke to INSIDER about a few organisations and programs that she said have been helpful to survivors she has worked with.

It’s worth noting that there are hundreds if not thousands of government organisations and private nonprofits that work to support survivors or to prevent sexual violence, which is to say, there are far too many to list.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse or you want to learn more about how you can support survivors, learning about these programs and organisations can be a useful place to start.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) provides helpful informational resources

NCTSN is an organisation made up of mental healthcare providers, researchers, and other advocates whose mission is to “raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events,” according to its website.

The organisation provides information and training to those who work with vulnerable populations in schools, healthcare, the justice system, and more, in order to enable them to provide trauma-informed care to those who have been affected by all sorts of violence, including sexual violence.

“The National Child Traumatic Stress Network is an excellent resource that I have used with educational print-outs, trainings, articles, and resources in both English and Spanish,” Garcia said. She said educational materials can impact individual survivors in very meaningful ways.

“The most helpful tool has been providing education about how people respond to trauma,” Garcia told INSIDER. “Although everybody responds differently, it can be helpful for people to hear the facts and also other people’s stories. It helps them to understand that there is nothing wrong with them – the way they are responding is a normal human reaction to going through a traumatic experience and recovery is possible.”


RAINN

, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, is a large organisation that offers numerous kinds of support to survivors

Me too rally stop victim blamingGetty/NurPhotoPeople attending a rally to denounce sexual harassment and assault in Los Angeles, California, in 2017.

Garcia also said RAINN is a helpful provider of educational resources for survivors, their loved ones, and those who may work with them in therapy or other environments.

RAINN is the largest anti-sexual violence organisation in the US and, in addition to its informational materials, it offers a number of other services, including a hotline for individuals to find the specific help they need.

“RAINN has a National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline that is confidential and individuals can contact [it] for emotional support and local resources,” Garcia said. The hotline can be reached at 1-800-656-4673.

Andrea Pagano-Reyes, RAINN’s vice president of development, said that contributions to the organisation can go a long way in helping survivors, especially during the month of April.

“95 cents of every dollar goes directly to funding programs and services for survivors,” Pagano-Reyes said. She noted that donations allow “an average of 833 survivors to receive help through RAINN’s victim services programs each day.”

She also said that donations made during April, Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month,will be matched.

At the state level, there are

Victim Compensation

programs to aid those who have experienced violence

Among other things, the aftermath of assault or other traumatic events can include steep costs for medical care and counseling. State governments offer compensation programs that aim to help directly offset these expenses that survivors of all sorts of violence and abuse often face.

“In the United States, each state has a Victim Compensation office that will provide financial [assistance], counseling, and other compensation for victims of violent crime,” Garcia said.

You can find a directory of each state’s program here.

For those in New York City, Safe Horizon offers a broad spectrum of help ranging from therapeutic to legal resources

Believe survivors sexual assault marchChip Somodevilla/GettyA variety of individuals attending a march holding signs that encourage people to believe survivors of sexual abuse and assault.

Garcia, who is based in northern New Jersey, has found this NYC-based organisation to be helpful to her local clients.

“Safe Horizon is a non-profit organisation local to New York City that provides trauma therapy, legal services, resources, and hotlines,” Garcia told INSIDER.

If you’re not based in the NYC area and are seeking state or local resources ranging from shelters to advocacy projects in your own region, a national organisation like RAINN may be able to help you locate them.

Another national organisation you should know about is the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)

NSVRC works at a more macro level, conducting and interpreting research for various administrations and organisations to help them better work with survivors. It also maintains a directory of other state and regional organisations that offer direct services to survivors.

Its website is full of statistics and information pertaining to sexual violence and its directory is a useful tool for finding organisations that serve specific niches, from LGBTQ groups to on-campus advocacy programs.

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