Every year WCSAP hosts a conference to increase the skills and capacity of sexual assault programs and the systems that respond to victims of sexual assault. Each year a committee of Washington advocates help create a theme and select workshops that reflect best practices, current trends, and cutting edge topics around sexual assault.
WCSAP acknowledges the unique considerations and complexities of advocacy with child and youth survivors of sexual assault and their families. Advocacy support to members working with child survivors and their nonoffending caregivers promotes promising practices in carrying out Washington's core service standards specifically related to working with children. By striving to provide community sexual assault programs with the most current and relevant information, we learn from and contribute to the growing field of child sexual assault advocacy.
Cultural Considerations & Special Populations
Every community has different perspectives and responses to violence. These community perspectives and responses reflect how violence is a fundamentally different experience from survivor to survivor. WCSAP develops resources and provides support around meeting the needs of individuals in culturally and linguistically meaningful ways. We have created resources and considerations for working with survivors in diverse communities, such as African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, disabled, faith-based, LGBTQ, Latin@, male survivors, Native American, pregnant and parenting, refugee and immigrant, and survivors in detention facilities.
Crossing Borders Project
WCSAP is involved with a collaborative effort with Washington Coalition Against Domestic Violence's (WSCADV) Crossing Borders Project. The project aims to build grassroots leadership, increase organizational capacity, expand peer networks, and create a community assessment model for sustained sexual assault and domestic violence outreach, advocacy, and services. Staff reach out to organizations that work with immigrant and refugee survivors with the hope of increasing accessibility to services for rural latin@s and providing culturally meaningful community-based sexual assault and domestic violence services.
In addition to the Crossing Borders Project, WCSAP has compiled information broadly about working with immigrant, refugee, and latin@ survivors.
The Enlace Project (“enlace” meaning link or bond in Spanish) supports the academic, economic, social, emotional, and health needs of expectant and parenting teens, women, fathers, and families in Washington. Started in 2013, it is funded by a four-year, $6 million federal grant from the Office of Adolescent Health. Our reach is statewide and we serve survivors of violence. We specifically focus on:
- Young people (ages 13-24)
- Latina/Latino communities, including indigenous communities and migrant farmworkers
- Washington counties with the highest teen birth rates: Yakima, Grant, Adams, and Franklin
Statewide partners on the Enlace project include the Office of Attorney General (AGO), Office of Superintendent of Public Education (OSPI), WithinReach, Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP), and Washington Coalition against Domestic Violence (WSCADV). The Coalitions (WCSAP and WSCADV) have worked closely with six pilot sites in Eastern Washington (Aspen Victim Services, Lower Valley Crisis Center, Support Advocacy Resource Center, YWCA of Yakima, New Hope, and DV Services of Benton Franklin Counties) and three healthcare organizations (Benton Franklin Health District, Columbia Basin Health Association and Yakima Valley Farmworkers Clinic) to implement Futures Without Violence’s evidence based safety card intervention, with the goal of creating relationships and a direct referral process between sexual and domestic violence advocacy programs and health care organizations.
Advocacy with survivors of sexual assault has many dimensions, but is rooted in assisting survivors in their healing process and supporting their empowerment. General advocacy includes providing support around crisis intervention, safety planning, legal considerations and providing information, referrals, and other resources. Advocacy may involve taking a hotline call, meeting someone at a hospital for a forensic exam, explaining the legal process, or assisting a survivor with basic needs like safe housing or maintaining employment.
Incarcerated and Detained Survivors
Since 2012, WCSAP has been involved in a collaborative project with the Department of Corrections, the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, and local community sexual assault programs, to bring sexual assault advocacy services to incarcerated people who have experienced sexual violence in a DOC facility or in the community. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) requires most detention facilities to provide access to external confidential victim advocacy services. In addition to our work with DOC, WCSAP is partnering with leaders of jails and juvenile facilities to expand these services to all detention facilities in our state. We are proud of the work being done in Washington and are being looked at nationally as a model for service delivery and developing partnerships between victim services and corrections. We look forward to continuing to advance the efforts to support incarcerated survivors and promote zero tolerance for sexual assault in correctional facilities in our state.
Intimate Partner Sexual Violence
Intimate Partner Sexual Violence (IPSV) is an important concern for WCSAP and advocates throughout the state because it is a pervasive problem and one of the most common forms of sexual victimization, but it has often been overlooked. This form of sexual assault includes sexual coercion and assault by a partner or spouse and the sexual aspect of what is often called "teen dating violence." WCSAP has partnered with professional organizations representing law enforcement, prosecution, forensic nursing, and domestic violence advocacy to enhance effective response to IPSV.
WCSAP's lending libraries related to sexual violence in Washington. The lending library is a resource for advocates, researchers, and policy makers.
WCSAP annually provides a lobby day opportunity for its members where they can meet with their state legislators and discuss relevant sexual assault policy and needs.
National Resource Sharing Project
WCSAP is a partner on the National Sexual Assault Coalition Resource Sharing Project (RSP), a project of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The RSP was created to help state sexual assault coalitions across the country access the resources they need in order to develop and thrive. It is designed to provide technical assistance, support, and the facilitation of peer-driven resources for all state and territorial sexual assault coalitions. The RSP recognizes the needs of all sexual assault coalitions, especially those designated as new or emerging, such as organizational growth, professional development, and policy development.
Prevention Resource Center
Washington State has been a leader in the primary prevention of sexual violence and the WCSAP Prevention Resource Center has been an integral part of this work. WCSAP provides Washington state specific information, such Washington's prevention plan and service standards, as well as information about best practice guidelines, relevant resources, and social change frameworks.
Program Management Support
WCSAP strives to build the capacity of organizations to operate effectively to prevent sexual violence and to serve all victims. We provide guidance on nonprofit management and organizational development issues, specific technical assistance to help Community Sexual Assault Programs in Washington State meet the accreditation requirements of the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, and offer additional support for new program managers and programs undergoing transitions.
Sexual Assault Advocacy in Long Term Care Facilities
WCSAP has been awarded a one year Raliance grant that focuses on relationship building between sexual assault programs and long term care facilities (LTC). WCSAP is working with state partners and a pilot site, Safety, Advocacy, Growth and Empowerment (SAGE) of Wenatchee, to engage in relationship building with a long term care facility in Grant County. SAGE will provide education, training, and information on advocacy services available to residents of long term care who are also survivors of sexual violence. The goal is to create a better network of support and a response system for survivors who disclose sexual violence within LTC. SAGE is also conducting an internal assessment of its organizational commitment and capacity to serve Deaf survivors and survivors with disabilities utilizing VERA’s Commitment and Capacity assessment tool.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)
The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. WCSAP supports the Washington SAAM Campaign each year by developing and distributing an educational campaign with the assistance of a statewide committee. Over the last few years the campaign has been branded Be The Solution and has been widely adopted.
WCSAP attends meetings of state and national agencies to make the voices of survivors heard in discussions about victim services, sex offenders, the criminal justice system, technology, and prevention work.
The Alliance to End Sexual Violence in Long Term Care
The Alliance, a statewide collaboration between Disability Rights Washington (DRW), Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP), and the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (WALTCOP), was originally funded by a grant awarded by the Office on Violence against Women (OVW) in 2012. Following the needs assessment completed in 2012, The Alliance became greatly aware that sexual violence was incredibly common in long term care facilities (for purposes of the grant, the focus is on Adult Family Homes, Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes) in Washington State, and it was discovered that “the most common response to addressing sexual violence was none.” The original grant iteration focused on developing understanding and awareness, and creating resources and training on the intersections of disability, sexual violence, and long term care (LTC). During this grant period, The Alliance brought together six LTC residents (Long Term Care Resident Advisory Board) of various ages, facility experience, genders, and life experiences, to inform and review all deliverables produced.
Through current grant work, the Alliance is committed to continuing to address high rates of sexual violence experienced by residents of long term care facilities. The Alliance will work with 3 pilot sites in King County: King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KSARC), The Arc of King County, and King County Long Term Care Ombudsman. These pilot sites will be conducting an internal assessment of their organizations' current commitment and capacity to serve survivors with disabilities and Deaf survivors utilizing VERA's Capacity and Commitment assessment tool. They will also participate in cross training, relationship building, and developing a streamlined referral process for survivors that reside in long term care.