Fifty-six states and territories have coalitions to address the issues of sexual assault and domestic violence. Of these, 23 have dual coalitions, addressing both domestic and sexual violence; in the other 33 states and territories, there are two single issue coalitions.
Coalitions connect local, state, and national work. Coalitions provide a critical bridge between the work of local advocates providing direct services, statewide policy makers, and federal responses to violence against women. Through statewide memberships and regular convening of meetings with member programs, coalitions are able to relay the challenges and successes of local work to the national level, and convey best practices emerging at the national level to local member programs.
Our coalition helps to support quality rape crisis services in a network that creates consistency from the San Juan Islands to Walla Walla. The coalition does this through support to programs in the form of technical assistance and training.
The Coalition’s public policy and systems advocacy efforts have yielded many tools to the everyday work of advocacy such as the Sexual Assault Protection Order and the revocation of the "Marital Rape Exemption." WCSAP also works to ensure sexual assault services funding is sustained in the state budgets annually.
WCSAP is a leader in the anti-sexual violence movement and is a membership organization. There are different types of memberships available, including: student, individual, organization, and program. Becoming a member of WCSAP means that you can access information, training, and resources to support your work with survivors of sexual violence, their family and friends, the general public, and all those whose lives have been affected by sexual assault. Tip: if you are interested in attending a WCSAP training and you are not a member, it is often less expensive to become a member than to pay for the training, and this allows you to access resources and free trainings for a year! Learn more about membership.
WCSAP does not pass through sexual assault funding (generally) or monitor your program — the Office of Crime Victim’s Advocacy and other funding agencies do this. WCSAP uses our expertise and experience to help support best practice in service provision to sexual assault survivors. WCSAP also advocates for the needs of sexual assault programs in the state with funders like OCVA to foster mutually beneficial relationships.
Why Is the Sexual Assault Coalition Separate From the Domestic Violence Coalition in Washington State?
Survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence have complex and varied needs respectively. Sometimes these needs overlap and sometimes they are specific to their type of victimization. Both are complex and require specialized knowledge and resource development. Although many survivors experience multiple forms of violence and trauma the impact of sexual violence is unique. Additionally, in Washington State, not all sexual assault agencies are also domestic violence and/or crime victim services providers.
Because domestic violence and sexual assault funding is disparate, it is important for the needs of sexual assault survivors to have a strong voice. Focused public policy, systems advocacy, and technical assistance are necessary on issues specific to sexual assault such as forensic exams, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, rape kit backlog, campus response, Rape Prevention Education funding, and many more. We are fortunate to have two coalitions in the state focused on efforts specific to the needs of both domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.
About Technical Assistance
WCSAP strives to be the advocate’s advocate! Technical assistance (TA) is one way we can do this for you. We define TA as providing consultation to support your work. This may be sending you some resources via email, talking out a complex advocacy situation with you over the phone, or visiting your program to provide more intensive support.
Here are some examples of what advocates like you, and programs like yours, have received technical assistance about from WCSAP:
- General advocacy
- There are a lot of Spanish-speaking immigrants in my service area, what are some ways I can do outreach to this community about sexual assault?
- Medical advocacy
- My client is getting charged for their SANE exam, what can I do?
- Legal advocacy
- How do I know if a survivor I am working with should petition for a DVPO or a SAPO?
- I want to do effective primary prevention in my community, and I’m having trouble finding a curriculum that fits my needs. Can you help me adapt an existing curriculum?
- I’m a new director and accreditation is next month!
- Advocacy with children
- My program wants to serve child survivors, but no one is seeking our services. How do I make sure children and caregivers know our services are here for them?
Nope. Anyone at your program can call WCSAP for technical assistance.
WCSAP’s practice is to keep all requests for technical assistance confidential outside of our agency. What does this look like?
- Similar to advocacy work with survivors, unless you tell us that you want another person to be a part of your TA with WCSAP, we don’t discuss the details of your request outside of our agency
- We don’t retain detailed information about a survivor’s situation or sensitive details of TA requests (e.g. HR information).
- We don’t tell our funders details about specific technical assistance or who requested it.
- If our technical assistance includes visiting your program in person, our grant reports will say where we went and may say what type of visit (e.g. accreditation support or legal advocacy) but not the specific content discussed during the visit.
- We do provide general information to our funders about technical assistance trends and topics in order to advocate for the needs of advocates and survivors. This is how we prioritize our programming.
What you need is probably a combination of what WCSAP knows, what you know, and what your community needs. Each TA is a collaborative and specialized process for that unique situation. Solutions are complex. Usually someone calls WCSAP because they’ve exhausted all of their agency resources or need an outside perspective. We can be a sounding board for you, share resources you may not know about, and connect you with other programs that are struggling with the same things. Some resources just don’t exist yet, but we can help you strategize about how to fill those gaps and meet survivor and community needs.